• The surrounding land was like a picture from those old story-books, but, you know, like the really old stories. The rare type, the uncensored, original versions that were passed down by far, forgotten generations, not those rainbow, glitter-puke, "Happily Ever After"-everytime types. I'd always preferred those original types as a child.

    Looking out the car window I could almost see the shadows leap through and between the thick wall of trees and take shapes, and I wondered if the ancients had been inspired by these very same illusions. It was a beautiful, frightening place, and maybe I could have fully appreciated it if my parents hadn't been abandoning me among it.

    "It's alright honey," Mom tried to smile comfortingly, "This will be a great experience for you."

    I groaned, and pulled my baseball cap low to hide my face.

    "Come on, Theo," said my Dad, "Pouting isn't going to change anything. Lots of kids your age would be thrilled to go to this school."

    I didn't answer. Maybe some people would love this "opportunity" as they called it, but then why couldn't they have gotten it then? It was the first time I'd ever switched schools, and so far the experience hadn't been a walk in the sun, not that parents understood. According to them, I should be just tickled pink about leaving behind all my friends to go to some uptight boarding school on the other side of the world.

    "What if no one speaks English?" I muttered, the lastest in my long line of pathetic excuses to get out of this.

    "Don't worry, the place is used to people from all around, so there will be plenty of English-speakers."


    "Do they have a baseball team...?" I actually asked this with a little hope. At my old school, baseball was my life, and it was one of the few schools out there that had it's own team. I wasn't really a fan of any leagues in particular or anything, nor did I collect cards or any other cult merchandise, it was playing the game itself, especially when I was on the bat.

    "Um... probably not, kiddo... sorry."

    I scowled, pulling cap down lower than ever. It was green with a white T stitched in front, for my name, Theodore. Theodore Toovson, thought most people call me Theo. I was fifteen years old, and had been living in a small US town my whole life with my parents, and had thus far lived a pretty happy life. We had a nice house, I had awesome friends, we spent lots of time together... up until a few weeks ago, when Mom and Dad popped their oh-so-wonderful news that they were dumping me at a Danish Boarding School for the rest of my High School years.

    How such a twisted, demented, insane, out-of-the-blue idea flew into their skulls was beyond me. I mean, I knew that I had some Scandinavian heritage (something Mom tried to make me never forget, though I often did), but this... this was madness.

    How to desribe how I felt? Somewhat betrayed, very nervous... I didn't think I'd done anything to provoke them into sending me away.

    "If I did something bad, I'm sorry." I said for what was probably the eight-hundredth time since they first informed me of their diabolical plan.

    "Oh goodness Theo, you haven't done anything wrong!" sighed Mom, exasperated. "Don't you believe us when we say that we think you'll actually enjoy this?"


    "Think of it like... like going to Hogwarts."

    "I hate Harry Potter."

    She sighed again, and Dad just shook his head. How could they think I'd enjoy this? I would be in another country, in a new building with a million strange people, and pretty much left to fend for myself. The rest of our drive was spent in a long awkward silence that I wasn't so eager to break, so I just went back to watching the trees and shadows, trying to calm myself. It was another twenty minutes before the crunching sound of gravel under our tires was heard, and the line of forest was abruptly cut off into a wide, well-kept, grassy clearing that led to a huge, old-styled building. The car stopped, and I was dismayed at the sight of a uniformed man making his way right toward us.

    "Hello there, welcome! You must be the Toovsons." he smiled an old creepy butler smile, "We've been expecting you."

    We? Who was we? We've been expecting? I started getting all sorts of images from things like Frankenstein, Dracula, ready to lure me into their dark castle to steal my brain, or blood, or other bodily function part...

    Mom started to get my bags out from the trunk as Dad chatted happily with the butler guy, and after staring at them all horrifiedly for a couple more moments, I sighed, and got out of the car.

    "This must be young Theodore," said butler guy, "We're so happy to have you here at High Seas."

    How did he know that? I didn't think that one guy could speak on behalf of a whole student body who hadn't even met me yet... but I just did my best to crack a polite smile.

    Dad chuckled, "Theo here wasn't all too thrilled to come here at first."

    "Well that's perfectly normal," the man said, "All new students are nervous at first, it is obviously a big change." He smiled warmly, and I decided to ease up a little on the guy and return it with a genuine smile. The dude seemed nice enough, like he'd seen this before (which he probably had), and just wanted to be comforting... maybe he wouldn't kill me after all.

    After all my bags were out of the car, it was time to say good-byes. Mom squeezed me tight and ranted about how much she loved me, and Dad readjusted my cap lovingly. I was still upset with them for dumping me, but still, I was going to miss them painfully, and I frowned indulgently. They just smiled and promised we'd be together again for all the holidays, but all I could think about was how that time seemed like a million years away... then they got in the car, and they were gone.

    Butler-Guy let me watch them shrink smaller and smaller down the path, till they were out of sight, before he cleared his throat and offered to show me to my dorms. I was a firm believer in fairness, so I refused to let the old dude carry my bags alone, and we made our way to a large section of the building reserved as living quarters for the students. It was fairly big, though not very fancy. The commons area had plain, single-colored furniture, with the few decorations being very Scandinvian culture-oriented. I was drawn in by some of the old, Viking-age type weapons displayed over a fireplace before moving on.

    The Boys' room area was also plain, just being various long hallways with numbered doors, in a similar fashion to a hotel. They just went on and on, with the occasional sharp turns, all of which were one-wayed, so that you never saw what was on the other side until you actually got there. I wasn't sure if it was that, or just the heavy silence of the place, the only sounds being our footsteps, but I found the place to be a bit unsettling. The man stopped at Room 201.

    "Here you are," he said, putting down one of my bags, "This is where you will be staying." The lock on the door was an old-fashioned key hole, and Butler-Guy took out a loop of skinny keys to unlock it.

    One side of the room was completely neat and blank, whilst the other side... well... I apparently had a roommate. The bed was a mess, and his entire side of the wall was covered in posters for various punk and rock bands. The dresser on his side was littered with concerning things, like spike-adorned wrist-bands, several sling-shots, a swiss army knife, some boundy balls, gum wrappers, paper clips, and what appeared to be a small doll crudely made from tissue, with several thumb-tacks stuck in it's head. What kind of lunatic was this?

    As if reading my mind, the old guy said, "You will be boarding with Mister Luke Eldr."

    Apparently a lunatic named Luke Eldr. Great. All sorts of new paranoid situations formed in my head...

    "School will start in an hour," said Butler-Guy, bringing my bags to the neat side. "The school usually serves breakfast for the boarders, which is why the rooms are empty."

    He handed me a package with my new uniform in it, and my own set of keys for the room, before leaving.

    I allowed myself one last sigh over the whole ordeal. There. That was it. Nothing could be changed about this Theo, so you might as well stop complaining. Make the best of it. Maybe you'll make some friends. Maybe they'll have a sport you'll like. Maybe this Luke kid won't try to kill you in your sleep. I quickly changed into my uniform, and began to pack away my things into my new dresser...

    Tap, tap...

    I looked up at the sudden sound. There, by the window, was a large black bird.

    Tap, tap, tap. It pecked at the glass annoyingly with it's long beak, stopping in-between taps to quickly nod and tilt it's head in that frantic way birds do. As I stood up, it hopped around a bit, letting out a cry that was muffled by the glass. I opened the window.

    "Shoo!" I waved a it, "Shoo! Go, I have enough stress already. I don't need your annoying noises!"

    It let out another cry, and looked me directly in the eye. Suddenly, I became chilled to the bone and couldn't move... I didn't know what was wrong, but the way it stared at me was ominous... and I swear, for one, quick, cold moment... it's eyes became red. However long we stood there, I never knew, it felt like eternity. But eventually the bird flew off, and stunned, I absent-mindedly turned to clock...

    "Crap!" I exclaimed, "I'm going to be late!"

    The strange incident fled from my mind, as I grabbed my school-issued bag and ran out the door to my first day.