Chapter Three


Screams racked the girlsí dorm.

Paige was pulled sharply out of a dream and momentarily lost reality. Then she realised where she was, and where the screams were coming from.

After pulling Jubileeís covers off her to wake her (for some reason she could sleep through anything except cold), she raced down the corridor to the room at the end, currently occupied by Susy.

The girl in question was definitely the one screaming. She was leaning against her bed, left arm flopping by her side like a sack, bone threatening to break through skin any second. At a glance there was no sign of a break in, no one had attacked her. There was no obvious explanation for her injury.

Paige sent Jubilee for an adult, then tried to calm Susy down.

"Please honey, stop screaminí. Ah know it hurts, but it ainít doiní you no good. Ahím here now, and Ms Frost or Mr Cassidy are cominí any minute to take yíalong to the med lab and fix you raht up, so youíre going to be okay." She carried on speaking comfortingly, not bothering to hide her accent so early in the morning. "Thatís better, no more screaminí. Cryinís fine, you can cry as much as ya like, itís just that screaminí kinda hurts me too. Okay? Good."

Susyís scream, however, was replaced by Bansheeís as he flew into the room. The White Queen and Jubilee followed shortly.

"Sheís broken her arm, Mr Cassidy. Ahím not sure how."

"Thatís all right lass. Yeíd best be goiní back to bed now, though. Thereís nae more you can do here."

"Cassidy," Emma interceded. "She should at least accompany us to sick bay. After all, she was the first at the scene." She turned to Paige. "Thank you so much for stopping her from screaming. I donít know whether you realised this, but Susanne tends to broadcast her feelings on a psi-band which is difficult to block."

"Ah didnít know she was a psi?"

"She isnít." Emma sighed. "She just thinks loudly."

By this time, Sean had taken the wounded party to the med lab, and was putting a cast on her arm as the others approached. Jubilee had dutifully woken the other students to inform them of the situation, so a bleary-eyed bunch surrounded Susyís sick bed.

"How did you manage it?" Ev asked, trying to stop his feet from going back to sleep before the rest of him.

"I expect," M said, "she floated up to the ceiling while she slept, then awoke with a crash."

"You done that, chica?"

M shot Skin a dirty look.

"Well, actually," Susy said with embarrassment, grimacing as Banshee finished the cast, "I just rolled out of bed. I was going to go to the kitchen for a drink."

"Howídíya break ya arm so bad from that?" Jubilee asked between bubbles of gum.

{Does the girl never stop with the gum?} Susy thought.

//No// she heard Ms Frost say.

Banshee filled in before Susy could shrug.

"A recently healed break is very susceptible to beiní rebroken if yeíre nae too careful."

{They broke your arm?} Angelo thought with shock.

Emma picked the thought up, and transmitted it to Susy.

{My foot, too} she thought wistfully.

"Yes," she said out loud, "the cast came off about a month ago. I didnít realise it was still soft." She noticed Jubilee stifling a yawn. "Iím sorry I got you all out of bed, but Iím okay now, okay?" With her right hand, she shooed them away. "Go to bed, sleep well."

"Sure, gínight," Jubilee said instantly, and went thankfully to her room. The others went more slowly, in dribs and drabs, just to be courteous, but eventually she was left with just the two head people.

"I think we need to talk," Emma said.

Susy smiled weakly. "Yeah."

Sean shot Emma a ĎWhat do you know that I donít, and why donít you ever tell me anything?í look.

//I just want to check on something Angelo thought. Susanne might have been assaulted, and Iím going to see if sheíll let me scan her mind. Itíll be easier for her than to tell me.//

{Shouldnít ye let her come to ye in her own time?}

//For once, Cassidy, trust me. I know what Iím talking about. Why donít you stick to ruining Frank Sinatra songs?//

Banshee tightened his lips and walked out, careful not to think what he wanted to think about his fellow teacher before he was out of the room. Not that that would stop her listening, of course, but she might be too busy with Susanne to reply.

Emma smiled at Susy.

"Some day heíll stand up to me, Iím sure. But until then, I donít mind winning every single argument we have."

Susy smiled back.

"Um," she started, "I want to thank you for everything youíve done for me since I turned up here. I mean I feel like Iíve been taking advantage of you, and Iím sorry. Iíll leave if you want me too, but Iíd rather stay here and earn my keep. Iíll cook, wash up, whatever you want, if you donít make me leave."

This all tumbled out in a rush, before Ms Frost could protest. She smiled.

"You donít have to leave. Having been in contact with your parents -" Susanne gasped, "- I know they want you to go back only when you think youíre ready. If youíre really worried about being an imposition, Iíll make you a part-time student." Emma thought about this for a moment. "Yes, that would sort out Visa problems too. Well?"

"I...I suppose so. If you werenít worried about that though, what did you want to talk about?"

"What happened to you?"

"What do you mean?"

"What Ďtheyí was Angelo talking about?"

"I...I thought you spoke to Mum."

"She respects your privacy. She didnít tell me anything, but now youíre hurt again, Iíd like to know."

Susy shut her eyes, to stop herself from crying. "I donít know if I can tell you," she said.

Emma softened her approach. "I know itís hard. If you donít mind, I could scan you - read your memories. Would that be better?"

Susanne considered this for a while.

Finally, she said, "Does it hurt?"

Emma shook her head.

"All right then."

"Relax," Emma told her, then took a deep breath and, one hand to Susanneís forehead and one to her own, shut her eyes and began to sink into the girlís mind.

E-mail me, Cynjen, the author, with comments!

litres of ice-cream were sold in Italy today.