A Whateley Academy Vignette
A Pocket Full of Tansy
by E. E. Nalley
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game
Sympathy for the Devil - The Rolling Stones
May 1st, 2007
Kane Hall Tunnels, near Got To Eat, Whateley Academy
Tansy was annoyed.
She and Ms. Grimes had finally come to a kind of understanding. And Ms. Grimes was beginning to cut her some slack. The 'Junior High' kids weren't so bad, most of them. There were ten in a wild series of grades from Angelina 'Ember' Cromwell the pyrokinetic with serious control issues in the Third Grade all the way up to the three girls who would be freshmen next year. They weren't a bad group, of course all of them took turns messing with the one boy of the group, Gene 'Mega-Boy' McDonald although the logistics of keeping control of a ten year old who could grow to ten feet tall had its own set of headaches.
Even when he wasn't complaining that his preferred code name was both a video game intellectual property and, as Ms. Grimes frequently told him, as he hadn't started puberty, he could hardly call himself a man. Mega or otherwise.
But it wasn't Gene or Angelina that had Tansy down in these filthy tunnels. No, as always it the three little pests who were more trouble than the other seven combined. Cee-Cee, Tansy's usual source of information on the little kids had told her she'd heard Estelle tell Bethany that she had heard (what was that, fourth hand?) one of the tech heads was working on a generator that ran on essence. So of course, off the three pests went. Tansy was just grateful that none the little kids accepted Cee-Cee because she looked so much older, which made her natural inclination for revenge the perfect information source.
Of course Tansy had to give Cee-Cee a little mental nudge to rationalize herself as a spy not a tattle tale.
So she and Ms. Grimes and several security guards were down here, wandering around trying to find them. Being alone in these tunnels was not high on Tansy's list of fun things to do, in fact it didn't make the list at all. The more she heard about these little rabbit warrens, the more she didn't want to be anywhere near them. The rumors were even worse, that even the school didn't know all the tunnels and, worse, there was a story going around that Ms. Everhart found some student down here that had been lost for years . She didn't believe it, but stranger things had certainly happened.
Tansy came across a small branch tunnel and turned off the main tunnel to follow it, drawn by a sense of someone familiar. There were a number of turns and switch backs, and then finally, she began to hear voices. “You?” a boys voice demanded. “You don't know anything!”
Not them , she thought, but maybe they saw them...?
Tansy started to pick up her pace to ask the nerds when she was stopped, shocked into immobility. “You think not?” purred an oily, familiar voice.
What was the Don doing down here?
“I know everything . I know you play the buffoon down here, but Hekate called you Master . I know you're the source of what she used on Cavalier and Skybolt, and I know the Syndicate calls you Nimbus and unless you want Mrs. Carson to know everything I do, from now on you call me Master!”
Tansy crept to edge, at last, something she could use! Finally she would have her edge and turn the tables on the Don. But then, then the other boy laughed. It wasn't the same, moderately fearful tone. It was darker, deeper and it sent shivers down Tansy's spine. The laugh drew out, then finally the other declared, “Tell her! You pathetic little fool, do you think she'll believe you? The black guard! The rapist ! You've worked very hard to make this entire campus afraid of you, of what a villain you are. You know nothing of evil, Boy!”
“I...I'll tell...!” Tansy had heard the Don's voice in a lot of ways and emotions, but she had never heard him terrified before.
“I am the master of power the likes of which would melt your pathetic little mind!” 'Nimbus' gloated. “You think yourself my equal! Why, I could feed you to beings that would feast on your soul for a thousand years! You aren't my pawn, Sebastiano, you are my slave ! And you will do exactly as I tell you, or I will cast you into infernal realms that will make every imagining you've ever had of the Christian Hell seem like paradise by comparison!”
The tunnels were always cool, but the icy cold that griped Tansy's heart was the cold of Death and had nothing to do with the temperature. This wasn't bravado, this wasn't male boasting. Her father had dealt with men who were dead inside, remorseless killers. Once she had heard him talking to one and she'd scanned his mind, see what he was capable of. Nimbus was much, much worse than a simple hired killer. It occurred to her if she was caught here being killed would be the best outcome. She had to get away, and she had to get away right now! She carefully backed away from the corner and the voice of the Don begging for his life and soul then turned when she was sure she wouldn't be over heard and fled.
May 1st, 2007
The Back Quad, just outside the Crystal Hall, Whateley Academy
Tansy pushed her hands deeper in her pockets and shivered. It had been almost sixty degrees today, but she couldn't escape the deathly chill that haunted her. Ms. Grimes had phoned her to let her know the three little pests had been found and hauled back above ground. Tansy was thanking a God she never really thought about before that her phone hadn't gone off while she had been eves dropping. What would have happened had that...that thing... discovered her?
Solange shivered again, her mind racing.
She was alone and she knew it. Nancy had made it clear she wouldn't risk her position being Aries' plaything months ago. Arnold was in the Don's pocket and now Nancy was likely his source for what Kodiak was up to in the Alphas. No, she'd never risk being exposed to help her. She thought briefly of Wyatt, he was good man, deep down, but then, that was the problem. He was a good man and he would never trust her.
Especially not after months of banging that red headed whore. Having her whisper in his ear. Having those wonderful breasts push against... Tansy shook her head. She hated Loophole! Loophole had brought her down! And she wasn't gay! She had really enjoyed feeling Wyatt...with that horrible, huge thing ...
Tansy growled out loud to make herself focus.
She was in trouble. Real, life threatening trouble and if the boasts were to be believed, and Tansy had absolutely no reason to doubt them, her very soul was at stake. She needed friends. She needed allies, and she needed them fast . She couldn't go to Carson, she'd never be believed, for the same reasons Nimbus had taunted the Don with.
Tansy looked up at the terrace where the fixers were holding court and her eyes settled on Kelly Donohugh. Banned Aids! Of course! Everyone had been healed by him at one time or another, everyone trusted him and he was gay which made him non-threatening! Perfect! Tansy began walking briskly over, fixated on the solution to her problem. The blond headed, willowy young man turned just as she reached conversational distance. “Kelly, I...” was as far as she got before a blow to her jaw knocked her to the ground, seeing stars. If she hadn't been an exemplar, her jaw would have been broken.
“Bitch!” someone shouted. “You stay away from him!”
Tansy shook her head to try and clear it and realized that she had been so fixated on Kelly, she hadn't seen who he was sitting with. “Montana!” shouted Kelly as he jumped to his feet to restrain the big, shaggy inventor. “That's uncalled for!”
“Don't take her side, Kelly!” Montana shouted back. “After all that bitch has done! Don't let her corrupt you too!”
“It's important...” Tansy tried to start, struggling to get to her shaky feet only to have her top grabbed by Montana and used to haul her up to his enraged face.
“Important?” he snarled, his yellow eyes filled with murderous hate. “Do you think anybody gives a flying fuck about your latest little scheme? Or how important you think it is for you to get Kelly under your thumb?!”
“No!” she shouted, her mind still addled by his first blow. “The mage! The mage that gave Hekate that spell she used on Cavalier and Sky...” It was exactly the wrong thing to say. Montana roared with outrage and hurled Tansy nearly fifty yards to slam into the hundred plus year old oak tree that was between the Crystal and Laird Halls. Two ribs snapped from the impact and her breath was expelled from her body as she landed in an unceremonious heap at the base of the tree.
“I'll show you how it feels!” Montana bellowed as he ran over. “I hope that son of bitch eats your soul! ”
Through lidded, painful eyes, Tansy watched her death approach until a second, larger blur intercepted the shaggy monster. “Sebastain!” Mr. Donner shouted, locking up the boy's arm behind his back. “What in God's Name do you think you're doing, son?”
Montana squirmed and tried to break the teacher's hold. “Bitch! That bitch is trying to put Kelly under the spell her lover Hekate used on Cav and Sky!”
The shop teacher's massive fist slapped into the side of the boy's head, knocking him away to the side and tumbling head over heels on the ground. “Get a hold of yourself, Montana!” he thundered. The shaggy boy shook his head, his bell obviously rung by the blow.
“Mr. Donner?” he asked, confused, but more calm. The shop teacher hauled him by the shoulder.
“You've got some explaining to do, Sebastian!” Mr. Donner told him angrily. “The headmistress' office!” he ordered, punctuating the command with a shove in that direction. He turned to see Kelly hovering over Tansy, his hands glowing as her ribs were healed. “Kelly?”
“She'll be alright,” the young man said.
“I need you as a witness. You too, Miss Walcutt...?”
“No!” Tansy gasped. “I don't want anything to do with it! I don't want to press charges, or whatever!”
Mr. Donner looked at Kelly in confusion. “Did she start...?” Kelly looked up and shook his head.
“No sir, she just walked up and Montana started swinging, it was like a rager fit.”
“Miss Walcutt...?” Mr. Donner asked again, but Tansy felt very strange, as if she was loosing control of her emotions. She could feel a crying jag coming on and was desperate not to let it out in front of the two men. She looked at her arm and saw that Banned Aids was still touching her and though very faint, his hands were still glowing.
“Please,” she managed through the suppressed sobs, “Please just leave me alone.”
Kelly's touch was the most soothing human contact Tansy had ever experienced in her life. It was warm and caring, yet undemanding and perfectly safe. She looked into his green eyes and he smiled. “You sure you're alright?”
“I...” She covered his hand with hers and felt something within her give as if a joint, long aching and sore were to finally pop back into place. “I...”
Kelly smiled and gently withdrew his hands, withdrew the first real connection with another human being Tansy Walcutt had ever experienced. “Sorry,” he said with a smile. “I really am gay.”
Tansy blushed at being read so easily and looked away. “I...I'm fine, thank you. I just want to catch my breath.”
Kelly stood and nodded. “Sure, take it easy for a minute. The tingle will pass in a bit. Then you'll be just like you were before.” He nodded at Mr. Donner and the two went off in the direction of the Headmistress' office. The boy's parting words haunted Tansy as she sat up against the tree. Somehow she felt connected to the oak, almost as if it were not just alive, but a thinking being, touching the tree centered her and she could feel it's roots, it's deep connection to the Earth and from that it was as if the sky parted and Tansy Walcutt had a moment of absolute clarity.
“I'm a bitch,” she whispered.
Just like you were before.
This wasn't about allies, or enemies, one-upmanship at school, or anything else that had occupied her mind. Nimbus gave Hekate the spell to enslave Cavalier and Skybolt. He had known how she would use it, and he didn't care . Tansy had seen the tape Wyatt had found. Seen the murderous rage that had suffused his face. And she had seen that expression turn to her when she'd snickered at their humiliation.
Just like you were before.
She couldn't help it. She'd been so tormented as a little girl, fat, ugly the world owed her and she delighted in the misfortune of others. To see others have a taste of what she'd endured. But , the tiny little voice she'd ignored so long inside her pointed out, neither Jean-Michel nor Elaine had done anything to her . And they certainly didn't deserve what had happened to them. And, she realized at long last, it wasn't funny. It wasn't a prank or payback. It was evil .
Just like you were before.
That was it, she thought to herself. That was when I lost everything . That was when he turned against me and that was when he decided to cast me out . In her mind, she saw the Don on the video tape, abusing Skybolt while making her tell Cavalier how much better the Don was as a lover. And though her words had been sure, as if she believed every word she said, looking back now, something about her eyes, the lost, hollow look in her eyes told Tansy that somewhere she knew what was happening to her, and she was powerless to stop it.
Just like you were before.
There really were fates worse than death.
“Loophole wasn't why Wyatt threw me out,” she whispered. “I am! I...I am a monster...” she looked around desperate, horrified at what she had become. There were lines she couldn't, wouldn't cross, this had to be stopped! Tansy scrambled to her feet. She would tell Carson, use her power if she had to, somehow she would make Carson...
What ? Some part of her sneered. Make the woman who would like nothing better to hand you over to the police understand how you're much worse than she imagined? That will go over well.
“Ms. Hartford...” she started, stepping forward again, but again her mind had an answer. She remembered the enraged look on Ms. Hartford's face when she'd been called into the office and Mrs. Carson had suspended her. Remembered how angry she had been that Tansy had brought her beloved Alphas so low.
Tansy's mind spun as panic began to set in, she was completely alone.
As she spun trying to decide what to do, an external feeling of panic forced its way into her mental space and something invisible crashed into her. Reflexively, Tansy grabbed whatever it was, and it felt like a girl. She could feel breasts against hers and hips and a very nice ass under her hands, and within whatever it was that was keeping her from seeing this girl, a feeling of panic and the intense desire to flee.
Calm her power commanded and without thinking, she pushed the girl behind her, into the oak and stepped in front to protect her. Mindbird came running out of the Crystal Hall, throwing active telepathy hard enough for a week of detention for violation of the Psychic Canon of Ethics.
“Solange!” she shouted and ran over. “Have you seen Kayda? She's under a protective custody order.”
Tansy blinked, finally realizing who was pressed up against her ass. “No,” she said truthfully, though for reasons that were a mystery even to her. She very carefully pushed her mental shield backwards to hide the girl's mind behind her. “I haven't seen anyone out here but you.”
“She's invisible,” snapped Mindbird.
“Then I couldn't possibly have seen her, could I?”
“Thanks for nothing!” snarled Mindbird as she stalked off in the direction of Poe. Almost regretfully Tansy stepped away from the invisible girl and turned around.
“It's alright, you can come out now,” she said softly. The young Lakota girl appeared against the tree and sagged. Her eyes were bloodshot and haunted and her skin was ashen. She looked up, listless and nothing like the vibrant girl she'd seen when the Don had made yet another hamfisted play at mental domination.
“Why did you do that?” she asked.
Tansy looked off at the retreating back of Mindbird and shrugged. “I...I don't know. You...you needed it, so I did.” Tansy shoved her hands into her pockets and looked away. “I figure I owe you at least that much for keeping the three little pests out of my hair at lunch lately.” She looked back at Kayda and smiled. “What do they want you for?”
“They're going to expel me,” she whispered. “I hurt Lanie.”
“Loophole,” she clarified. “I...I bound a spirit to her and now she's in Doyle in a coma and it's my fault.”
Tansy blinked and put her hands on her hips. “What?” she demanded. “You dragged that red headed bitch off somewhere and did a ritual on her?”
Finally the girl jerked and her face flushed with anger. “No!” she declared. “It was an accident! Lanie was afraid Kodiak was playing with her mind and she wanted a spirit to protect her! And I...I...oh, God, what have I done?” she wailed. She leaned against the tree and the tears flowed down her face. Without realizing why, Tansy reached out and took the younger girl into a hug against her.
A cold shiver ran down Tansy's spine again. Her power always worked best with physical contact and now she could see in the jumble of Kayda's mind that Loophole hadn't been worried or curious about having her mind messed with, she was terrified of it. Kodiak messing with people's minds? He could do that ? But, then why was he so angry? She wondered. Out loud, she said softly, “I...I may not get along with Loophole, but I know the truth when I hear it. It's obvious you never meant any harm and Carson won't expel you for that.”
Kayda snatched herself loose from the hug. “How do you know?”
“Because what I've done is hundreds of times worse!” she admitted in a whisper. “And I'm still here. It...it takes a lot for Carson to give up on someone. Sure, she's probably mad but that doesn't mean she's going to expel you. You've never hurt someone on purpose.”
A parade of injured souls came down the main street of Tansy's mind, lead by Montana, but he certainly wasn't alone. Tansy winced and hung her head in shame. “I've suddenly realized I'm not the person I thought I was.” She forced a smile and put a hand on the girl's shoulder. A strange combination of hatred, rage and shame floated up from the touch and it took everything Tansy had to casually speak and then withdraw her hand. “I hope you never find out what that feels like. I...I don't know how I'll make up for half of what I've done, but they say a step starts the long journey, right?” She sighed and made a vague gesture. “You, you'd better get going before she doubles back.”
Tansy turned to go, but Kayda reached out and caught her hand. The anger and the shame was gone and skin to skin, Tansy now had a benchmark of what a good person felt like, and how far she was from it. “If...” she swallowed and forced a smile. “If Mrs. Carson hasn't given up on you, you shouldn't give up on yourself.”
“Loophole is lucky to have a friend like you,” Tansy said softly. “I wish I'd been as wise in making my friends as she was.” Through her hand Tansy saw Elaine Nalley as she never had before, a soft, ready smile, a willingness, a downright eagerness to be friends, the kind of honest country girl she'd always sneered at. But now...
Kayda's smile became more genuine and less forced. “That's the great thing about friends, you can always make more. If you want to come by and talk sometime, I'll listen. I bet Lanie,” she looked over at Doyle Medical Center, obviously worried. “I bet Lanie would too. She's a good person. Not in that silly way, or that sweet, TV crap, just, she's a really good person. I misjudged her and I'm really grateful she looked past that and now she's my friend.” Kayda's green eyes met Tansy's blue. “I bet, when she's better, if you gave her a chance, she'd be your friend too.” Through the hand, Tansy relived Kayda see Loophole naked in a hot tub, naked with a dozen or more other girls. She saw the young Lakota girl's attraction to the other girl, her guilt at that attraction due to fear of betraying her love.
And then through Kayda Franks' memory Tansy kissed Loophole. Not a friendly kiss, not a quick peck on the cheek. There was tongue and the feeling of wet, naked flesh against flesh. It was perverse and twisted; orgies going on at the school? Right under the faculties collective nose?
Once upon a time, having discovered secrets as deep and dark as this would have been the highlight of Tansy's month . She would have immediately set about how to screw over the owner of the secret she'd discovered, what black mail or threat of social piranha-hood she would use like a club against them. Now...now she felt dirty for even thinking that way.
“I...I could use a friend,” Tansy admitted. Something about the word friend triggered something in Kayda's mind and in a rush an over powering series of images assaulted Tansy.
“I'm in Poe,” Kayda told her. “Come by some time and we'll have some tea. You really helped me today, Tansy. I won't forget it.”
“Alright,” the older girl admitted finally. “I will.”
The smaller girl squeezed Tansy's hand and turned, fading away as she did so in the direction of Poe. Tansy stared after her, trying to sort out the mental avalanche of images. It was obvious Loophole had made a considerable impression on the young freshman, she was taking the girl's injury hard, it was so strange, they barely knew each other.
Kayda was deeply scarred. Tansy wasn't sure what exactly had happened, the memories were buried deep in a pile of shame, self loathing and deep, black depression. Tansy knew what had caused that collection of emotions. Rape , she thought to herself; she'd bet her life on the fact that Kayda had been raped and it left her devastated. Tansy knew from some of the other girls both in Dickinson and Melville that rape was something most women would never get over.
From the images and the memories it became clear that something very much akin to whatever Kayda was suffering through had happened to Loophole, but every imagine of the red head was a strong one. Loophole smiling, Loophole laughing, Loophole kissing her and Loophole almost effortlessly dominating the little group of lesbians in the hot tube. And in her mind, Tansy saw Loophole turn towards her, her hair wild and unkempt about her head making a bloody halo, those intense green eyes hidden behind a mask of blue tinted mud that covered them from temple to temple. They were hard eyes, the eyes of a killer, unafraid of anyone or anything. That was why Kayda idolized her, as ridiculous as it sounded, she saw her as someone who could protect her from...
Loophole as a warrior? Sure she was an exemplar, and once Gunny Bardue had turned the tables on her little stunt with Sizzle the two of them had fought hordes of ants done up as street toughs and back alley brawlers, practically without breaking a sweat! The memories spoke of Loophole becoming Wicked and having fought an entire squat of SWAT cops by herself!
Tansy cast a final glance at Poe and made up her mind. It would take some research, to make sure what she understood was what in fact had happened. And it would take eating a very large humble pie, but Tansy had found the ally, the protector she needed. To atone for all she had to atone for she'd need a protector.
And yet ...
No. Not that. Never that.