Chapter 2 – Rubin
When my Aunt left the room I immediately grabbed my intricate uniform from the trunk and tried it on, it all fitted perfectly! I slid some grips into my hair to hold it back and I climbed the ladder on the wall up to the tightrope. I didn’t realise just how high this was! I felt like I was a bird looking down on everything but I also felt like a rock about to fall all the way down…
“Ahh!” I shouted as I wobbled on the ladder I caught onto it tightly and stopped myself from shaking; I knew I should be more careful on this thing. I stood on the little platform at the top and placed one foot gingerly onto the rope, it wobbled dramatically and I immediately stepped back. I’d been a tightrope walker all my life but I had an accident and I hadn’t done it since. What had happened was that when I was about 10 years old I was practicing like I do everyday in a grand hall with the rope right at the top of the globe almost a mile from the ground, but the rope wasn’t secured properly to the wall and when I stepped onto it, it snapped and I fell all the way down and hit the floor below. Everyone said I was lucky to be alive but I had a broken leg, arm and foot and my hips were cracked and dislocated, my neck was also broken and I had cracked my head open. It took me ages to recover from it and when I did I vowed I never wanted to step foot on a tightrope again, but now I was going to try. I took a deep breath and grabbed the pole fastened to the wall, unclipped it and held it for balance.
“Ok, be brave Rubin, you can do this” I reassured myself I closed my eyes and stepped onto the tightrope, clutching the pole so hard it hurt. I began to walk forward, taking tiny little baby steps at a time.
“I can do this,” I said I kept walking picking up the pace a little and making my way across. I paused when I arrived at the middle of the rope and I balance on one leg with my left leg stretched out behind me. I smiled ear to ear, I had got over the accident and I was back! I practically sprinted my way across the rest of the bar and jumped up and down in celebration when I arrived on the opposite platform. I climbed down the ladder and checked the time. It was 8:15pm.
“No!” I exclaimed I grabbed my little grey hoodie and yanked it on and took the grips out of my hair before racing to the lift to go to dinner. As I arrived at the bottom and the elevator doors opened all I saw was a maze of corridors, I had no idea where I was going. I wandered down the corridor to my right and arrived at the boys’ rooms, big mistake. There were boys flooding out of their rooms going to dinner late and charging down the corridor flinging fire sticks and putting on clown noses.
“Hey!” I shouted “Can someone show me where the dinner hall is?” No one answered me, all the boys just kept charging past me and knocking me this way and that. Eventually one guy knocked me so much I slammed into the wall and fell on the ground, I just sat there, I didn’t see the point in standing up when I would just be knocked down again so I waited for them all to pass me. The corridor was very suddenly silent and I looked up and there was no one to be seen. I stood up very slowly almost expecting a charge of guys to suddenly stampede back and knock me flying again.
“Hey!” said a voice behind me “What are you doing down here? You’re a girl!” I turned around to see a rather handsome looking guy.
He had blonde spiky hair with a fringe sweeping his face just showing one of his crystal clear blue eyes. He had a black hoodie on with an emblem of three juggling balls and he had some black trousers on and no shoes. In his hands he held three juggling batons, which he kept juggling with ease, and little effort.
“S-sorry” I stammered, “I’m knew here I don’t know where I’m going”
“Don’t worry about it, I got lost on my first day to” he smiled “Come with me I’ll show you the way” He began to walk down the corridor still juggling his batons.
He led me back the way I had come and down the corridor straight ahead. You could hear the noise of the dinner hall all the way back down the corridor I was surprised I didn’t hear it before. Then again the boys were in there now, which was bound to increase the noise level. “
So what’s your name then?” I asked him “Jackson McHumphrey” he said blushing “Please don’t laugh”
“I’m not laughing,” I said with a smile “What’s your name anyway?” he asked
“Rubin” I said and shook his hand
“Nice to meet you Rubin” he smiled
“Nice to meet you to Jackson” I replied, “Can I call you Jack?”
“Yes Jack is fine,” he said with a grin With that we both walked into the dinner hall and straight into the jungle.
“Rubin!” my Aunt shouted “Jackson! Your late!”
“Sorry Madame Rubin here got lost and I helped her to find it” Jackson replied
“Well don’t be making a habit of it,” my Aunt said “And will you put those blasted batons down Jackson!” Jack dropped his batons onto the table and sat with the rest of the boys.
There were two long wooden tables one full of girls and one full of boys.
“Rubin over here!” Era called I smiled grateful that someone had saved me a place and I slid in next to Era. “Ok Rubin let me introduce you to a few people” Era said smiling “That’s Hattie” she pointed to a very young looking girl who held a magic wand in her hand “She’s a magician’s assistant” Era said
“Nice to meet you” I said and shook Hattie’s little hand
“This is Olivia” Era said gesturing towards a very tall girl with long wavy black hair and very pale skin she looked like a vampire. “She’s in the freak show business and yes she is a real vampire,” Era said with a grin
“Hi!” Olivia said cheerily and held her hand out for me to shake
“Don’t even think about it Liv” Era said pushing Olivia’s hand away “She was going to bite you” Era whispered
“Oh” I said slightly taken aback
“And finally this is Saskia” Era pointed to a girl asleep on the table “She goes out at night a lot, she walks the tightrope same as you except she prefers to drive her motorcycle along the rope” Era giggled
“Hey Rubin!” Leah shouted from down the other end of the table
“Oh, hey Leah” I replied
“Leah would you mind not talking? Your voice is painful” Era said snappily
“Era would you mind putting a bag over your head, your face hurts my eyes” Leah replied with a snicker
“Don’t make me come down there!” Era shouted
“Bring it you little knife thrower!” Leah answered
“Ladies that is enough!” my Aunt Mildred shouted
“Sorry Madame” Leah and Era droned in unison
“Why do you two hate each other so much?” I asked Era
“Because when we first joined here Leah decided to steal my boyfriend!” Era growled
“Oh why did she do that?” I asked
“She was jealous and didn’t want me to have more than her, so she took him and they’re still together!” Era folded her arms
“Who is he?” I asked
“Jackson McHumphrey” Era said with a sigh
“I met him!” I exclaimed, “He’s really nice”
“Yeah well I thought so to at one point” Era said sadly.
After we finished our food we all filed out of the dinner hall, girls first followed by the boys.
“Hey Rubin wait up!” Jack called after me
“Hey Jack,” I said with a smile
“I was wondering, would you like to go for a walk sometime?” he asked
“Oh, sure I guess” I said with a smile
“Ok I’ll see you here around 11ish?” he asked
“Sure” I said
“Great!” he exclaimed
“Jack baby wait for me!” Leah called
“Something wicked this way comes,” sighed Jack
I laughed and made my way back to the lift. Jack seemed nice enough I wouldn’t have thought he would do what he did to Era; maybe they got it all wrong. I pressed the button for the top floor and began my treck to my room.