Balthazar - Old Friends

Well that didn't go as well as I wanted it to. The years had been as there always were, vulnerable, scared, closed off. But not matter what I tried they didn't respond to me, not even with a blink. They just stared, and stared and stared. Talutah had been invaluable, after her little speech the kids finally started to open up...some of the stories I heard...At the very least I walked away with a new reason to do my job. At the end as the kids filed out the door Talutah had picked up her bags to leave. 'Thanks for taking time to do this,' she must have seen how disappointed I was because she stood and looked at me for a long while.

'Look, these kids are terrified. Most were attacked and then brought here, thrust into a world that they have little to no control over...they don't want to be lectured to or told calming techniques, no matter how nicely you smile at them.' She paused shifting her books from one hand to the other. 'They want to be listened to. To be talked to like human beings.' she forced a smile. 'I'll see you in class Mr. Bane.' Note to self, I owe that girl a drink...or whatever the kids drink up here. As the kids charged past me the monotone world of white and gray through my eyes darkened for a brief moment before I walked into Mr. Lightman's lecture hall. The headmaster still looked the same in his fine well tailored suit with his long locks of stark white hair, eyes that could still scan straight through you. He was marking papers at his desk when I walked in. 'Sir?'

'Balthazar!' he smiled looking up from the crumpled assignment. 'You’re looking well.'

'You too Sir,' I smiled walking down the steps to his desk. He stood and offered me his hand to shake. 'Do you mind if we use the left hand?' his thick eyebrows met in the middle as his brow furrowed. 'A small gift from Beor.' taking off his white glove the thick line of scars across his wrist look black and lumpy as they had scabbed over horridly.

'Ah,' Mr. Lightman said inspecting his wrist. 'Has the doctor seen this?' his eyes peered at me piercingly over his spectacles. 

'Yeah.' I lied. And he knew it.

'Hmmm, how was the lecture with the first years?' he asked sitting back into his chair. A dry laugh coughed itself up from my chest as I sat in one of the closest desks.

'Painful.' when I didn't say anymore he just looked at me, silent, fingers steepled in front of his face. 'I couldn't connect with them...I told them about what happened to them, I told them about what would happen to them during changes, how to control their rages. If that girl hadn't stepped in...' I shook my head.

'Talutah is a fine student, a great shame she has to graduate this year. She'd do very well here. Don't beat yourself up Balthazar; it's not your fault you don't understand.'

'Of course I understand but...'

'No!' said Mr. Lightman strongly. 'Balthazar you don't understand! These kids don't want to be told what happened to them, they know exactly what happened to them. They were attacked, bitten, most often than not some of their families members have been killed during these strikes, sometimes dozens of people...Balthazar you were born this way it's all you've ever known. But these kids were viciously made to be like you. You can't imagine how it feels to one day be a normal human living a normal life then the next you're at academy for werewolves after being bitten by a six foot tall wolf.'  Mr. Lightman said swiftly. He was right...I hadn't a clue what that must have felt like...I've been bitten, mauled, struck, lashed. But I've never had my own body change beneath me...oh my god! I must have sounded like a pompous ass! Don't worry everything will be alright, things like this happen every day. I'd said those words to scared children...

'Oh my god...' the whisper was out in the air before I had a chance to close my mouth.

'Don't fret. I'm sure you won't make the same mistake when you next see them.' he smiled at me, a soft gentle smile like that of a grandfather to grandson.

'How's Lucy?' I asked thinking of my old friend that once sat next to me in this classroom...once kissed me under the full moon...

'You aren't still in contact?'

'The Lightning Pack didn't get its name for staying in one place for very long, I try to get messages out when we stay in cities but it's difficult to find the time.' he scanned me again with those eyes. I feel fourteen again after I got caught climbing.

'She's doing well. She's an English teacher in a high school...She misses you.' I moved my eyes out the window to a scene of kids making their way to the classrooms after the sound of the bell.

'I better be going, you have a class coming.' I said flying up the steps to the door.

'How's your father?' That was a smooth transition, went from the person I love to the person I h...

'I wouldn't know.' Yanking open the door I began to walk out speedily when a girl bumped into me. 'Oh I'm sorry my mistake.' I said genuinely apologetic. She looked up at me, her face vacant of any emotion.

'I hate boys...' were here last words before she walked into the classroom, leaving me surrounded by a sea of children making their ways through Nightshade.

The End

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