Jasper: Chapter Two

Author: W. K. Hayes

Jasper: Chapter Two

 

            Jasper’s housemother stood in the doorway as one of the workers walked him home. Jasper Hornsby, where have you been”, she scolded.

            The older, heavyset man replied, “He was playing down in the sewers and bumped his head”.

            “For the last time, I wasn’t playing anywhere near the sewers…some neighborhood kids threw me down there”, Jasper argued.

            “Mind your tongue, Jasper”, the house mom snapped.

            “Yea…sure”, Jasper replied as he walked on past her and into the house.

            Jasper could hear the house-mom apologizing to the worker and simply shook his head in disbelief as he headed up the cream-colored carpeted stairs. He was barely halfway up when he heard one of the kids asking another one, “Did Jasper pee in his pants”.

            Jasper spun around on the steps and replied, “No, I went swimming in the sewers”.

            “Mind you mouth, Jasper”, the house mom barked. “You’re already in enough trouble as it is”.

            Jasper simply looked at her and asked, “How long have you know me…seriously? How long have you known me and yet you honestly think I would play in a sewer”, he bitterly argued, turned and marched on up the stairs.

            “No video games for you tonight”, she yelled up behind him.

            Jasper simply rolled his eyes without looking back. Truth was, she didn’t know him since Jasper had only been there a year and the house mom seemed well-preoccupied with the six kids on hand to actually take time to get to know any of them. Jasper had his own theory that she was simply using them for the money.

            Jasper heard her whine about how he got the carpet all wet and simply ignored her selfish attitude as he walked on into his bedroom and closed the door. Although he was starving, he was no hurry to head back downstairs and opted for a shower and some dry clothes, instead.

            “Too bad it was just a dream”, he sighed as he marched on into the bathroom without saying hi to one of the younger girls that past him in the hallway.

            When he was finished: washing, drying and crawling into his pajamas, Jasper headed out into the hallway only to run into the housemother, Miss Marble, who was waiting for him.

            “Young man, we need to talk about this”, she told him.

            “Look, you’re right. I shouldn’t have let my temper get in the way but I really was thrown into the sewer, Miss Marble”, Jasper replied.

            His mature response surprised her as she replied, “And, I’m sorry I doubted you but that’s still no excuse for talking back to me. So, for your punishment, you’re to stay in room for the rest of the night. Fair enough”, she asked him.

            “Fair enough, Miss Marble”, Jasper agreed.

            “I’ll bring up dinner in a minute”, she replied as she turned around to head back towards the stairs. “Oh, and one more thing”, she added as she turned back to look at Jasper that who was already halfway through the bedroom door.

            “Yes, ma’am”, Jasper replied.

            “I want you to stay home from school tomorrow…just encase you get sick or need to go to the hospital. Speaking of which, how is your head”, she asked.

            Her show of concern was quickly changing his opinion of her as he replied, “It hurts but I’m not sleepy so I don’t think I have a concussion, or anything”.

            “You’re too smart for your own good”, she replied with a red-lipstick surrounded smile.

            Jasper had never noticed that she had blue eyes hidden behind horn-rimmed glasses or, that she had her blonde hair down for once. Fact is, she looked like she was dressed to go out that evening. He stepped back out into the hallway and asked, “Miss Marble, did you have plans this evening”?

            “I was supposed to be attending a parent-conference for Michael; he’s been in a lot of trouble at school, lately. Still, when you didn’t get home in time to help watch the younger kids, I postponed it”, she answered and headed on down the stairs.

            Jasper simply nodded his head and headed into his room while closing the door behind himself. Unlike most boys his age, Jasper wasn’t big on posters and toys. Instead, he had a small library of books, a desktop computer that needed to be upgraded but was too expensive, according to Miss Marble and his clothes. Unfortunately, bouncing from foster home to foster home had left him very few personal belongings.

            Still, he couldn’t shake the vivid dream he had, had and so he began scanning through his books to see if he had anything on the subject only to realize he didn’t. One luxury Miss Marble was good about was allowing him to have internet access.

            Jasper sat down in his thirty-dollar desk chair and slid in behind his desk before booting up his computer. Just like clockwork, he always had the same thought that the computer sounded more like a crazed machine grinding to life than something of a high-tech, stream-lined, nature.

            As he sat there propped up on his elbow, he fluttered his lips sarcastically at the monitor as he waited and waited. After several minutes, it finally finished loading and Jasper went online running searched for alchemy.

            Website after website, he couldn’t find anything that grabbed his interest. Most of the websites simply offered historical descriptions of Alchemy without actually offering any potion mixtures. In his frustration, Jasper held down the power button until the computer shut off.

            “It was just a dream, anyway”, he told himself.

            “What’s just a dream, Jasper”, Miss Marble asked as she came in with a tray of food.

            “I dreamed I was offered a shot at going to a school of alchemy”, Jasper replied with all due honesty.

            “That must have been a wild dream”, she replied.

            “It was but it seemed so real”, he replied, almost as if he pleaded with her to believe that it may have been real.

            Instead, she replied, “Unfortunately, some dreams really do seem real, Jasper”.

            “True”, he replied as he dismissed it as being a dream although he still wished it would have been something more.

            “Why don’t you eat and get some rest”, she offered and added, “I would give you something to help your head but the doctor says it might mask the seriousness of the injury. So, he told me to keep an eye on you for the next few days which will give me time to deal with the kids that tossed you in the sewer”.

            “Thanks, but I’m afraid that will only make things worse”, Jasper replied.

            “Welcome to the real world, Jasper”, she replied with a smile. “Once I make it clear to their parents that the next time they even breathe in your direction, I pressing charges and suing for damages, as I should do now”, she said, sharing her plan with him to stop the bullying.

            “Thanks”, Jasper told her as he curled up on the bed, underneath the covers and grabbed his tray of food from her. “Alright, Hamburger smothered in mushroom gravy over a bed of rice, with broccoli and cheese on the side. Thanks Miss Marble.

            Michael, a angry-looking redheaded boy came in the room carrying a glass of tea and simply told Jasper, “Here”.

            “Thanks, Michael”, Jasper replied as he grabbed the glass and placed it carefully on his nightstand that held a small alarm clock and a picture of his parents.

            “Eat up and get some rest, you can bring the tray down in the morning”, Miss Marble said as she followed Michael out of the room.

            “Thank you, again”, Jasper said as the door clicked to.

            Without wasting another second, he started eating only to realize just how hot the food was he grabbed for his glass of tea to cool his mouth back down. Then, slowing himself down to blow on his food, he began eating again.

            After he had finished, he placed the tray, with the dirty dishes, on top of his dresser which sits next to a closet and decided to make one more pass by the bathroom.

            As he stepped out into the hallway, he ran into the oldest kid in the house, Jimmy. Jimmy was a tall, athletic kid about sixteen, with short blonde hair and crystal-blue eyes making him quiet the eyepiece to the neighborhood girls. Even then, Jimmy was vain about his good looks although he did care about how he looked, in general.

            “Here you got flushed down the sewer, Jazz. Are you okay”, he asked as he stopped Jasper in the hallway.

            “Yea, hit my head pretty hard”, Jasper replied. Then, as an afterthought he asked Jimmy, “Do you know anything about Alchemy”?

            “No”, Jimmy replied with a stunned look on his face. “Just how hard did you hit your head”? Jasper ignored Jimmy’s teasing and told him the dream. Afterwards, Jimmy remarked, “So, that’s what it is, huh? Tell you what; I’ll stop by the town library and see what I can find on the subject”.

            “Thanks”, Jasper replied as Jimmy shot into the bathroom. Jasper simply shook his head and strolled back into his room. Indeed, it was a good thing he really didn’t need to use the bathroom to begin with.

            After the day he had, it didn’t take Jasper long to fall asleep. In an instant, he found himself sitting next to Anya at a dining room in the old-world, style manor.

            “Okay…somebody explain this to me”, Jasper said as he shook his head.

            “Oh…it’s simple enough”, Mark replied. “When you’re awake, you’re back home where you belong but when you sleep, you come here”.

            “Do what”, Jasper asked as he looked all around him, lost and confused.

            “Yea, it’s safer for us that way and it protects the secret of the, Professors of Light”, Inga chimed in. “Well, for you guys anyway. The professor believes I’m in a coma and that’s why I’m always here”.

            “What about you guys”, Jasper asked the other three. “Surely we don’t all live in the same time zones although I’m certain you guys are all American”.

            John simply replied, “You’ll learn the schedule and jumping back and forth between that reality and this one will become second nature to you”.

            “Cool”, Jasper replied with a smile. “I’ll be honest with you guys, I was afraid this really was just a dream and that I would never get to come back”.

            “My reaction was different”, Inga replied as she pushed one her blonde ponytails over her shoulder causing Jasper to notice that she had changed her hair again. “To this day, I miss my family”, she briefly explained.

            Mark ignored Inga’s comment, undoubtedly having heard it before. Instead, he remarked to Jasper, “You sound like you’re starting to believe”.

            “Actually, I am. When I got home, I dug through my library but couldn’t find a single book on the subject.  I even tried looking online hoping I would get a better idea but all the sites I came across seemed pretty useless”, Jasper replied.

            “No real Alchemist would dare post a website bearing the secrets of Alchemy, Jasper”, Professor Amaethon interjected as he joined them at the table.

            “I wish you would have warned me about the whole dream-thing, sir”, Jasper told the professor.

            “Believe it or not, jasper, it was your determination that returned you here. Had you failed the final test, you would be dreaming about nothing of consequence, I’m sure. Nevertheless, you passed and are now a welcomed member into my fold of students”, Marcum proudly announced.

            “Thank you, sir. I do have one question; I’m staying home from school the next couple of days and I was wondering if you had any good books I can read…and, is that even possible”, Jasper asked as he leaned forward hoping that it would be possible.

            “Actually, I’ll arrange for a special book to be in your library at home for you to read during your, ‘Waking Hours’. In the book, you’ll learn a great deal more about Alchemy. In the meantime, classes will be beginning shortly so, Anya, please show Jasper how to use the doors, properly”, Marcum said right before he vanished from the table.

            John, Mark and Inga walked towards the open doors, only to disappear right as the stepped through the door-facing.

            Jasper looked at Anya and asked, “Do you ever get used to that”?

            “Of course”, Anya replied as she got up from the table. “Come on and I’ll take you to your classroom”.

            Jasper pulled himself out of the chair as he followed her over to the doorway. “So, when do we actually rest”, he asked her.

            “We’re only here in spirit, Jasper. Our bodies are still at home and in bed which also helps keep the students safe from harm by protecting our identities and the secret of the Professors of Light”, Anya explained.

            Anya started to say something else to Jasper when he stopped her. “Hey, that’s one of the kids that through me in the sewer”, Jasper said, speaking of the chubby girl that had kicked him.

            Quickly, he ran out into the hallway and stopped her. “Hey, what’s the big idea of throwing me down the sewer”?

            “Unlike the guys I was with, I was under orders to drop you down the drain”, she replied coldly and started to walk away.

            “Who told you to flush me like that”, Jasper asked as he grabbed her by the arm to stop her from walking away.

            “Professor Amaethon, stupid”, she coldly replied as she jerked away from him.

            “Whoa there”, He snapped. “Look, I’m not mad about it anymore but why in the world would they want someone as mean as you here”?

            “Look, yourself”, she barked. “You’ll learn that if you even slightly give away your secret, you’ll have the Wytches of Malaforn knocking on your door in that reality which, is where they exist”.

            “Jasper, we really need to get to class”, Anya told him as she tugged on his shirt. Jasper took a few steps backwards before turning around to follow Anya back to the dining room doorway. “Jasper”, Anya started to say to him.

            Jasper interrupted her and asked for her to call him, “Jazz”, like Jimmy always did.

            “Okay then, Jazz. What Rebecca told you is very true and very important for you to remember. You see, here you can be the Alchemist and you can be who you really are. But, in the real world, you can’t even smell like Alchemy or the Wytches will be paying you a really, unwanted visit”, Anya warned him. “Anyway, getting on with the doors and how they work, when you approach a doorway, simply think of which room you wish to visit and walk on through”, she explained in basic terms.

            “So, all I have to do is think of my class, walk through this doorway and I’m there”, he questioned.

            “Not just this doorway but any doorway in this reality will lead to the room you wish to visit”, Anya replied.

            “Sounds like a map would prove handy”, Jasper replied.

            “No maps are allowed, Jazz. The longer you attend Professors of Lyght School, or PLS as we call it, the more opportunities you’ll have to visit other rooms and areas. Also, while you’re here in the Gather’s Hallway, named after Professor Ariel Gather, the founding Monarch of the school, you can visit other parts of the school, like the library and the Professor’s Gathering”, Anya explained.

            “What’s the Professor’s Gathering, Anya”, Jasper asked.

            “No more questions”, Anya replied as she pushed Jasper through the doorway and into his classroom before he could catch his balance.

            “You’re late, Mister Hornsby”, Professor said announcing himself and his lack of patience for tardiness.

            “I apologize, professor. I ran into one of the bullies that shoved me done the sewer in attendance, here”, Jasper replied with great disdain that she would even be selected for the school with her poor attitude towards others.

            “That must have proven interesting. Still, she became the messenger of fate in helping you come here”, Marcum pointed out.

            “Actually, I did thank her for kicking me”, Jasper joked and quickly told the truth. Nah, I didn’t do that but I did thank her for bringing me here. Still, I don’t get why she was picked since she is really mean”.

            “Jasper, hold that thought”, Marcum interrupted. He waved a finger in the air and tapped the air as if he hit a button, from Jasper’s perspective. However, from the Professor’s point of view, a small cloud appeared as a, office-system, phone appeared and the button he pressed was for another professor’s classroom. “Professor Harbinger, will you have Rebecca come here, please”, Marcum asked.

            Professor Harbinger replied in an elderly woman’s voice, “The new kid, right”?

            “Yes, of course”, Marcum replied as he smiled at Jasper as a show of meaning no offence.

            “I’ll have her there in a moment, Marcum”, the professor replied with an air of informality.

            “Thank you, Professor Harbinger”, Marcum replied, respectfully. Then, he confided in Jasper by saying, “She’s been around since the beginning of time making even myself, look extremely young by comparison of years”.

            The doors opened leading to Jasper’s classroom as Rebecca walked in, only to close behind her. “Yes, Professor Amaethon”, the girl said as if she was being bothered by him.

            “I know you were practicing your chants, Rebecca. However, I feel it necessary to put an end to certain, mysteries regarding Jasper”, Marcum told her.

            Jasper picked up on the sideways way of talking and asked, “What is the deal…I’m tired of asking. I mean, every time I turn around, I feel like secrets are getting piled up on top of secrets”.

            “And they are, Jasper…you need to learn to be patient”, Rebecca said to him. Only she said it in a soft of gentle manner as if she was being sincere.

            “So, what is the deal with you? I mean, even here at the school you were mean to me. I don’t get it”, Jasper remarked.

            “I could not talk to you without permission…is it that hard to figure out”, she replied. “Jasper, I’ve been watching you from a distance for the past year and trust me, I didn’t enjoy one bit of it”.

            “I am pretty boring”, Jasper joked. “Still, here at the school, you seem like an okay person and Professor Amaethon seems to think you’re okay. So, when we’re awake, am I still going to have to deal with, Mr. Hyde”?

            “No, now that you know who I am, I won’t bother you anymore. Fact is; it’s best that we avoid contact when we’re awake”, Rebecca answered him.

            “Hey, I’m sorry”, Jasper replied. “I was just joking”.

            “I’m not”, she shot back. “Jasper, I don’t care if you see the witches come and take me, don’t give yourself away”.

            “She’s right, Jasper. Doing so would only mean a similar fate”, Marcum added.

            “Well, what about practicing while I’m awake”, Jasper asked as he looked forward to practicing the things he had learned.

            “You are always welcomed to read as much as you won’t but never practice while you are there”, Marcum replied.

            “They’ll pick up on it, huh”, Jasper remarked more than he questioned. “That’ll work too but knowing that I’m not just dreaming would help benefit my belief that this IS more than just a dream”.

            “I’ll give you a sign tomorrow”, Rebecca replied. “I believe you can see my bedroom window from your house. I’ll hang a sock in the window and then you’ll know”, she told Jasper. However, before she let Jasper reply, she asked the professor, “Can I go back to classroom, now”?

            “Of course and thank you for your assistance”, Marcum replied. Rebecca didn’t say anything else as she walked through the open doorway that magically took her straight to her own classroom giving Jasper a glimpse of cathedral like décor. “Jasper”, Professor Marcum said trying to get the boy’s attention. “One other thing, do not give her away, either. That means, no, ‘knowing’, looks or notes or anything about this…swear an oath, right now”.

            Jasper did take them seriously and promised, “I swear an oath to the Professors of Light that I will never knowingly do, or cause, any of my actions to reveal the secrecy and privacy of this school and its existence including any member herein”.

            “Well said”, Marcum replied.

            “I meant every word it but I did have a cheat. I remember reading it in the dining hall”, Jasper replied revealing his photographic memory.

            “Remarkable”, Professor Amaethon said. He reached behind him on the lab table, nearest the door, and asked Jasper to read it.

            Jasper opened the book and simply zipped through the pages, only to close it when he was done. “Ask me anything”, he said with confidence.

            “I’m very familiar with your ability. However, I fear that you may have memorized the book but failed to comprehend what was in it”, Marcum replied.

            “Oh, you wonder if I actually learned it”, Jasper replied. “And, you would be right. I do have it memorized but I’ve learned that just because I know something doesn’t mean I understand it. This will simply make things easier for me”.

            “Good, having power and knowing how to wield it properly are very important here”, Marcum replied.

            “Still, I’m sure you have a curriculum planned out for me”, Jasper asked, showing signs of his eagerness, to start.

            “Well, since you’ve had time to read the book I was going to send home with you, perhaps you can spend the time practicing the potion on page twenty-nine”, Professor Marcum suggested as he considered with what speed, Jasper could complete his course on Alchemy.

            “Thanks, Professor Amaethon for not giving up on me”, Jasper said as he shook hands with the old man.

            “Thank you for not giving up on yourself, Jasper”, Marcum replied as simply vanished.

            Jasper looked at his hand to make sure he was still intact before giggling at his own silliness. It was true, Jasper had learned to embrace his new secret life and in seven hours, he had completed ten potions starting from page twenty-nine through thirty-nine. Still, he didn’t know how to seal his potions.

            Professor Amaethon reappeared as the waking hour approached. “How was your first day in the lab, Jasper”?

            “Hi, professor”, Jasper replied in a friendly tone. “I mixed up ten potions but I don’t know how to seal any of them”.

            “Ten potions on your first day…so, tell me, what you made”. Marcum asked.

            Jasper simply replied, “Pages twenty-nine through thirty-nine”.

            Professor Amaethon thought for a moment and replied, “Great, you made the Healer’s Herb through the Nebo growth spell but are they right”? Marcum checked each one by simply dipping his finger in them and watching as they turned glowing white, one by one until he had done all ten. “Indeed they are, Jasper. Very good! Still, tell me what you learned about them”?

            “I learned that each potion can be useful under the right circumstances”, Jasper replied.

            “So, you focused on using them in battle, like a video game”, Marcum asked.

            “Well, I do like my role-playing games with all the potions and such”, Jasper replied with an unusually big grin.

            Professor Amaethon didn’t share in Jasper’s glee is he told the young boy, “Jasper, these potions will be used in battle and everything you produce, when the time comes and it is coming”.

            “Another war”, Jasper asked as he became more serious.

            “The higher power of existence will not allow another war. However, the Wytches of Malaforn will stop at nothing while picking their targets well. Any student, during the waking hour, is constantly at risk of being taken”, Marcum told Jasper.

            Even then, Jasper knew there are two sides to every coin. So he asked, “What are we doing to get them back”?

            “I’m glad you asked”, Marcum replied as he handed Jasper a book.

            “What’s this”, Jasper asked.

            “Hurry and hold it to your chest”, Marcum said.

            Jasper quickly clung to the book only to wake up in his bed the following morning.

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lilyfly profile image

lilyfly 5 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

O.K., I'll read it again... what gives w/ jasper?

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