Talking Trees

Mrs Voss was great. She stood at the front of the classroom, her eyes shining as she illustrated the history and origin of black magic. It may have been thanks to her wonderful story-like way of telling things, or the fact that Dario silently surveyed the classroom with his glittering black eyes, but no one disrupted or nodded off once. The bell went sooner than I'd hoped, and Mrs Voss seemed to look genuinely sorry that she would have to end a lesson. 

"For your homework, I would like you to research one famous black magic user, and write half a page on what you find. This is to be handed in on monday, for our lesson then." 

On the way out of class, most people were whispering about the new teacher. "I don't think much of her."  A loud voice crowed over the rest, Marcio caught up with us and marched along, keeping his head high. "And that bird of hers... just plain weird if you ask me."

Leo leans round me and grins at him. "That wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that Dario nearly took your head off? Would it?" Everyone snickered at Marcio's blush.

"Course not, I could have destroyed that hawk if I needed to." Everyone knew that Marcio's Okan had been a dog, a relatively powerful but not rare one. 

"Yeah, and then got expelled for doing it?" I asked. We were strictly forbidden to fight in our Okan forms. You weren't even supposed to shift in certain places. Some of the teachers, and occasionally a few third years knew how to summon out their Okan, and make it a spirit beside them. I suddenly wondered if that was what Dario was to Mrs Voss. I asked Leo about it when we wandered back to our homeroom at the end of the day.

"Could be" He said, "She seems, I dunno, pretty powerful to me." I listened up, Leo's 'extra gift' was that he could sense things about others, emotions but also power, and intentions. He had an incredibly strange Okan, he was a fox, but for some reason he had long horns, like a goat, that curled from his head when he shifted. It was very unusual, but it happened, sort of like a mutation. Leo never knew his parents, and so he figured maybe his mutation came from conflicting Okans.

"Like, good powerful or bad powerful?" I asked.

He frowned slightly, "I'm not sure, I couldn't really tell... she just seemed, like she was experienced in wielding magic." 

"Oh, well maybe-" I was cut off by Annora, who was running towards us, calling my name.

"Aria! I have to- Um Leo, could I speak to Aria alone, for like, two secs?" 

"Sure" He said "I'll be over there with Isaac" He turned and walked over to where Isaac was sitting, with a few other guys. Annora watched him go and then turned to me.

"What's wrong?" I asked, because something was definitely up, she was looking about nervously, as though she was afraid someone was going to leap out and grab her.

"Well, you know how I can, you know, communicate with trees? Well, after Sports, we were heading back up the field and, don't call me crazy, but I swear the trees were scared of something!" She looked up at me, but I was confused.

"Scared of something? What do you mean?" 

"I don't know okay, it was just as if, some bad presence was near them, and they didn't like it." I opened my mouth to answer, but someone spoke right behind me, making me jump.

"Everything okay?" Jax was leaning casually against the wall, as if he'd been there the whole time. I hadn't heard him approach, or felt his presence, but I guessed that was because I was listening to Annora. 

"Yes, it's all... fine" Annora said, she looked nervous at his presence, and I got the feeling she hadn't seen him come over either. "I'm going back to Leo's, I'll call you later okay?" I noted she spoke only to me, as if she was trying to pretend Jax wasn't there. Then she turned and sprinted back towards Leo, leaving me alone with Jax. 

I turned to him "I didn't hear you approach" It was an accusation.

He looked slightly confused "I'm told I'm very silent when I want to be" then he grinned "Do you want to come back to my place?" 

The idea seemed so strange I couldn't say anything. I didn't know him very well, not really, but he seemed so calm and casual I couldn't say no. "Alright then, are we getting the bus?"

He smiled and winked at me "You'll have to see"

The End

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