Mrs. Pettyjohns School of Knowledge nestled amongst the tall majestic bay trees, at the top of Arcane Mountain. The setting sun shone brightly down on the enormous tiered white stone building, surrounded by emerald-green, evergreen bushes, which came to life with splashes of reds, pinks and orange flowers that swayed in the gentle morning breeze. The school had been there for as long as anyone in the quaint little town of Dansville, California could remember. Moreover, as far as anyone knew no one in or around the small picturesque town had ever been inside the school. It was rumored, that only the most brilliant minds were ever allowed to go there.
“Mr. Tolliver, as mayor you should be allowed to enter that school and see what is going on. I heard tell of flashes of lightning over the school, and strange sounds in the middle of the night. Something is not right there and I demand to know what is going on,” Mrs. Abigail Norton stated indignantly.
James Tolliver mopped the sweat from his dark heavy brow and sighed. Abigail Norton, the arrogant old toad, and she did remind him of a hugely bloated old toad, with moles on her face. Her wiry dull brown hair was swept up on the top of her head and held there with what looked to him, to be a hundred hair pins. She had a wide pasty dour looking face, with beady little green eyes that she was forever batting as she spoke. Abigail was angry because she had tried to enroll her conceited daughter, Bertha, who was a carbon copy of her mother, into the School of Knowledge, and was denied. Mrs. Pettyjohns had refused to even interview her daughter. Moreover, Mrs. Pettyjohns had informed Abigail that her sixteen-year-old daughter, did not have the intelligence required to attend her prestigious school. Tolliver agreed whole-heartily.
“Now Abigail, you know we have no jurisdiction over the mountain. The school was on that mountain, before there was a town. The one stipulation we had to agree to, before we built the town, was that we could never interfere with the school. There is nothing I can do. Our ancestors were told, that when or if someone was allowed to enroll in the school, that Mrs. Pettyjohns would personally send an invitation to them. ”
Abigail knew that being the banker’s wife, had afforded her the privileges of bossing everyone in the town around. No one dared to oppose her for fear of having their markers called in and losing everything, when they did not have the funds to pay. Her problem was that Mrs. Pettyjohns did not owe the bank; therefore, she had no way to force them to allow Bertha into the prestigious school. Looking down her substantial nose at James Tolliver, her eyes wandered over him, taking in his bushy brows that were raised up into his wrinkled forehead. He was taller than her, around six-foot four, so she had to tilt her head back to look him in the eyes.
“My Bertha is smarter than anyone at that school. If Mrs. Pettyjohns will not allow her to attend the school, then I will have her school closed down. What use is a mayor if he cannot get things done for his betters? Well then, we will just see about this.”
Drawing herself up in a straight-backed stance, Abigail said, “Come Bertha, we will just go talk to your father. There must be something we can do about closing that school and getting rid of a useless mayor. I think there is something evil going on up there. It must be so or they would want someone as smart, beautiful and as good as you.”
James Tolliver heard her final remarks, as she slammed his door, on their way out. He stood there and looked out his office window, watching Abigail and Bertha cross the street and head towards the bank. Shaking his head, he turned and waddled to his desk. James was a balding man, weighing over three-hundred pounds. Younger than most mayors, his age appeared to be in his upper forties. James had never told anyone his true age, mainly because no one would believe him if he did. Picking up his private phone, he placed his call.
“Abigail just left here heading towards the bank. We are going to have to do something about that woman, before she causes a problem,” he said to the person on the other end of the line.
After listening a moment he said, “Yes Nina, I understand. I will see what I can do, but we both know she has a big loud mouth. There is no telling how many people she has believing her story, of the school being an evil place. You know she is always trying to instigate trouble for someone. I will see you later tonight and report as to what happened,” “James smiled as he thought about going to the school and how he loved the time he spent there.
“Sure wish I could turn her into a frog, especially since she looks like one already. Since I cannot do that, I will just have to do what I can,” He said as he turned off the lights and left the building.
It was lunchtime at the school and the large impressive lunchroom was alive with chatter.
“I just heard Lisa Hart achieved mind travel status. Can you believe it?” The precocious little ten-year old redhead, Nancy Stellar, asked her friends. Nancy wore dark rimmed glasses, wore her hair in a long braid that hung down to the center of her back, and was to her friends, a walking encyclopedia.
“Mind travel status, you cannot be serious. She is only sixteen and no one has ever gone that high until they were super old, like Mrs. Pettyjohns,” Missy remarked.
Walking up behind the eight year old, Missy Lanea’s chair, Mrs. Nina Pettyjohns leaned down and whispered “and just how old do you think I am?”
“Missy jumped in surprise at the closeness of the head mistress. Bobbing in a curtsy, her shoulder length blond hair bouncing, she gave Mrs. Pettyjohn’s a dazzling sun-kissed smiled, then answered her meekly.
“Whitley Tyne said that his grandfather told him that you were as old as the universe, so, I think that according to Earth science, give or take a few billion years, that would make you approximately fifteen billion years old,” Smiling shyly, Missy looked up at Mrs. Pettyjohns when she had finished speaking.
“Humph, well if earth’s scientist knew what they were talking about, then that would be about right. As your science Aft-star Professor Tribble teaches, science is a theory not a fact. In a million years from now, scientist will have changed their ideas and theory’s entirely. One day, man will learn the secrets of the true universe, but not before they are truly ready. Can anyone of you recite the Aft-star mantra to me?
Standing up Jinnee Adler smiled and said, “Yes ma’am Mrs. Pettyjohns.” Clearing her voice, she straightened her crisp white cotton school blouse over her dark azure blue uniform pants. Reaching up she scratched her small pert nose, then taking hold of one of her thick, waist length, blue-black braids, she began reciting.
“We the beings from the stars and galaxies far away and unnamed by earth’s inhabitants, will never reveal the here-to-fore known mysteries of time, space, travel or anything that earthlings deem as magic. The knowledge known to the heavenly beings comes only to the kind, loving and pure of heart. They alone will find their way to the School of Knowledge, and know in their hearts the words, that will allow them access through the gates and doors of other worlds.”
Clasping her hands together, Nina Pettyjohns exclaimed, “Well done Jinnee, you have made me proud. Another star on your sash, I do believe, for that exquisite recitation.”
Standing straight and tall and willowy, the headmistress gave Missy and her friends a radiantly exquisite smile. She then touched Jinnee Adler on the top of her head, with an index finger and the new star appeared on the dark azure blue sash hanging from Jinnee’s pants.
Looking like a rainbow in her multi-colored floor length taffeta day gown, Mrs. Pettyjohns bid them good day and continued her walk up and down between the long rows of tables, gliding as if her feet did not touch the floor, which they didn’t, gifting each student with a benevolent smile.
Jumping up and giving her friend a hug, Missy said, “Oh my, jumping black holes, would you look at the star she gave you. Your new star has completed your Gemini constellation; it is the Pollux star, your home star gate. This is wonderful Jinnee. Now you have the power of two, isn’t this great?”
“I just got my Alpha Arietis star to complete Aires, last week, when I blazed in Professors Willard’s flame wave class.” Trevor Argali told her, as he held out her sash out to admire it.
Trevor was a tall, lanky ten-year old, boy, whose hair was naturally highlighted with all the red and gold coloring known to man. His face and body was covered with dark golden freckles, which gave the impression, until one inspected him closely, of a sun-kissed tan. He had a perfectly proportioned face and there was an air of importance in his stance and attitude.
“Yeah, and I received my connecting star for Scorpio when I Hyper-morphed in Professor Travell’s, Time Warp class. I was walking in from Aqua class and I tripped over Laurence’s shoe when somehow it happened, I morphed into the Astral Projection room and then back. I explained it was an accident to the professor, but he said I would not have been able to do it if it was not my time, so he gave me my connecting star,” Andrew Aquinas laughingly told them.
At eleven years old, Andrew was a highly intelligent child with creamy dark bronze skin that seems to glow. His shiny black hair touched the top of his collar and hung in unruly waves upon his head. His patrician face emitted a magnetic intensity and he had a strangely hypnotic personality. His strength and harnessed aggression were visible in the strong lines of his face, the square chin, and in his dark penetrating eyes. He was handsome to the point of being beautiful.
“I am so proud of you Jinnee. I told you it would not be long before you completed your home star. Trouble is stirring in town, I feel it in the air, and I think we should go see, what we can learn later tonight. But for now, we need to go to Professor Moltare’s Diviner class, and you know how upset she is when we are late, “Ngame Akan told them.
Ngame was almost eleven and was the unofficial leader of their group. Her skin was the color of warm dark chocolate and glowed as if the moon had reached out and kissed her. Her short black hair was covered with a beautiful red and bronze wrap, which Ngame told them, was called a ‘Gele.’ Ngame was considered to be the most powerful Augury, the school had ever known, for a good reason. If Ngame said something was going to happen in the future, it did.
To be continued…