Shattered: Chapter Two
So...after a long wait, chapter two of SHATTERED is upon us!
I hope you enjoy it!
CHAPTER 2: VLADIMIR
At Vladimir’s academy, everything was in chaos. As soon as Alexandra Raven had appeared to spontaneously combust, all who had witnessed this shocking event let out blood-curdling screams.
As Vladimir gazed about him, he noticed that Hecate looked as if she was about to be violently sick. To make matters worse, next to her, Alexandra’s mother fainted. All in all, the whole situation was disastrous.
Suddenly, Alexandra’s weightless body began its descent to Earth. Falling from the high precipice, she looked like an angel – an angel covered in her own blood and grime from the filthy stonework. In that moment, Vladimir made a split-second decision.
Using his teleportation powers, Vladimir grabbed Alexandra, before she hit the cold earth. Once he had landed safely on the ground, Vladimir was stunned to see that, despite the incredible fire display, there was no marks on her body apart from the deep bruising she had suffered, as a result of her terrifying possession. Surely she should have been burnt to a crisp? However, that wasn’t what worried Vladimir the most.
Whilst Vladimir examined her body, he noticed that Alexandra was no longer breathing. Instead, she was extremely pale, her eyes were closed and she was as cold as ice.
This was dreadful news indeed.
“Vladimir,” Hecate’s cry disrupted his thoughts, as she did her best to tame her heaving stomach. “What happened?”
Vladimir didn’t know what to say.
“Oh god,” she swiftly stammered, noticing Alexandra’s motionless frame. “S…she is n…not b…b…breathing.”
Slowly, Vladimir nodded, feeling a terrible pain build in his chest - a pain that he had not felt in a very long time. He noticed a change in Hecate’s posture, as she crouched down next to Alexandra’s body.
She stiffened considerably.
As Vladimir gazed at her, concerned, Hecate’s bloodshot eyes rolled into the back of her head, before only the whites remained. The moment this happened, with a shiver creeping up his spine, Vladimir realised that Hecate was checking the otherside.
Hecate must have stayed like that, for only a few seconds, as she searched the land of the dead. To Vladimir, it felt more like an eternity.
With a drawn-out, ghostly groan, Hecate returned to the world of the living. Her striking features were a mixture of confusion and relief.
“A…Alex,” Hecate stuttered, as her body returned to its normal temperature. “A…Alex…s…she’s n…not there.”
Vladimir looked at her stunned.
“W…what do y…you mean?” It was Vladimir’s turn to stammer, his face betraying his own puzzlement at these words, especially as Alexandra was giving off all the vital signs of someone who was deceased. He should know what that looked like by now. He had seen enough dead people to last a lifetime.
“I…I checked the…the p…portal e…entrance,” she told Vladimir, quivering. “And s…she hasn’t p…passed through. H…her n…name was…wasn’t on t…the b…board.”
As soon as Vladimir had heard this answer, he felt his heart lurch. This was because one, it wasn’t every day that you were given a glimpse into the afterlife and two, the whole thing didn’t make any sense whatsoever.
Taking her hand, he clenched it tightly.
“Surely that’s a good thing?” he managed to retort, shooting her a small, encouraging smile, although he was baffled beyond comprehension.
“I…I g…guess s…so,” she ultimately replied. “But I…I still don’t u….understand. H…how’s t...t…that…even…possible?”
As students started to gather around the three of them, pointing and whispering at Alexandra’s freezing body, Vladimir motioned for help from the rest of his stupefied staff.
After a long pause, Mr Allen jumped to attention
“Everyone into the dining hall,” he cried, giving Hecate, Vladimir and the body of Alexandra room. “NOW.”
Many of the students were still in shock, or were screaming. However, seeing Mr Allen’s fierce expression stirred them into action.
Miss Beast stepped in line to support her fellow professor.
“You heard the man,” she boomed, trying not to express her true emotions. Despite the fact that she hadn’t particularly liked Alexandra, especially as she had proved to be so useless at PE, she had grown somewhat fond of the girl. Also, she had been so young. The whole thing was a terrible tragedy. “Move it. All of you.”
As Mr Allen and Miss Beast tried to sort out the hysterical students, Mrs Frost, who snapped out of her trance, flew over to Vladimir and Hecate and crouched down beside them both. Then, she placed her fingers on Alexandra’s neck.
“D…dead,” she eventually pronounced. “N…no pulse.”
Hecate shot Vladimir another mystified look.
“B…but she can’t be d…dead,” she exclaimed. “I’ve just checked t…the o…other side and s…she’s…n…not there.”
Mrs Frost’s reaction was indescribable.
“That doesn’t make sense,” she replied, her eyes wide in disbelief. “S…she has n…no pulse.”
Mrs Frost couldn’t bring herself to say Alex’s name. It was too painful.
“We know,” Hecate and Vladimir confirmed in unison. This was a mystery that none of them could solve.
It was then that a feral shout resounded around the grounds. One of the students, who they didn’t recognise, somehow manage to break free of Miss Beast’s renowned iron grip and race over to where Vladimir, Hecate and Mrs Frost were sitting, crowded around an immobile Alexandra. His face was streaked with tears.
“N…n…n…no,” the young lad stammered, his brain clearly unable to comprehend what had just happened. “A...A…A…A…Alex n…no…” The student was incapable of forming proper sentences.
Instead, he was in “shut-down” mode.
In an instant, the student collapsed on the floor next to Alexandra’s body, clawing at the earth that surrounded her like an animal in his distress.
Vladimir motioned to Hecate to help console this student who, although was unable to speak, had clearly known Alexandra well. It was there, in his wild eyes.
Nodding, Hecate complied with his wishes.
“Come over here,” Hecate said softly, trying to compose her own hurtling emotions. She gently led the trembling boy away from this dreadful scene.
Unexpectedly, regardless of his apparent distress, the boy followed her like a tame puppy. She tended to have that kind of effect on some people.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
As soon as he had heard this simple question, the student looked at her, confused. This reaction was hardly surprising, considering the circumstances.
“D…D…David,” he eventually managed to stutter, stumbling in his grief. He glanced over to where Alexandra lay on the cold ground.
He let out a broken sob.
Hecate sat down by the side of the lake and motioned David to do the same. He did so without complaint.
“Are you new David?” Hecate asked him, watching over the top of his head, as Mrs Frost and Vladimir dealt with Alexandra’s unmoving form.
Slowly, the student nodded.
“Y…yes,” he answered. “I…I’ve only j…just a…a…‘awoken’.”
Hecate’s heart went out to the boy. He was in such a bad state of shock, debatably the worst she had ever seen. In order to hold his attention, she continued to talk.
“What’s the nature of your power?” she asked the boy, intrigued. His eyes were a deep, vivid green - so vivid in fact that they almost looked unnatural.
Ignoring her last question, probably due to the emotional turmoil he felt, David unexpectedly let out a wounded howl. It was the kind of cry an animal might make if its mate had just died.
“D…dead,” he stammered, fresh tears streaming from his eyes. “A…Alex…is d…dead and I…I didn’t even g…get the c…chance to s…say…s…sorry. I…I’ve been s…such a…a…fool.”
At seeing David’s clear anguish, Hecate’s heart filled with deep sorrow.
“It certainly seems that way,” she replied, unable to stop herself.
David looked at her funnily.
“Y…you don’t sound convinced,” he said, frowning. “D…do you t…think that t…there’s a…a…chance that s…she might be a…alive?”
Hecate shrugged, sighing.
“Truthfully,” she eventually replied. “I don’t know what to think. It’s all s…so confusing.”
Just then, in the distance, Hecate noticed Vladimir motioning to her to bring David inside. At seeing his frantic gestures, Hecate returned his indication with a nod. Subsequently, she turned and looked at David.
Instantly, her heart leapt with profound emotions, as she witnessed the optimism burning deep within those emerald depths.
“And yet,” she found herself adding, standing up and leading the two of them towards the academy. Her next words were spurred on by witnessing such faith. “I’m a true believer in hope, even in the most puzzling and seemingly despairing of circumstances. Therefore, we’ll just have to wait, pray and see.”
Placing a comforting hand on David’s shoulder, she steered him in the direction of the looming, oak doors. As she did so, her heart was pounding. If Alexandra was indeed alive, as ridiculous as that sounded, then it would be a miracle. A crazy miracle at that, but a miracle nonetheless.