Some occurences at the Chalet School around Halloween and Bonfire Night.
St Clare's House Characters:
Hilda Annersley, Jo (Bettany) Maynard, Karen, Nell Wilson
Alternate Universe, Humour, Seasonal
01 Nov 2011 Updated:
17 Nov 2011
1. Chapter 1 by Selena
2. Chapter 2 by Selena
3. Chapter 3 by Selena
4. Chapter 4 by Selena
5. Chapter 5 by Selena
6. Chapter 6 by Selena
It was Halloween at the Gornetz Platz. Darkness had fallen long ago. The rain which had descended intermittently all day drizzled on. The only other sound on the Platz was the low howl of wind. The trick-or-treaters who had been prowling earlier that evening had long since gone home to warm fires and hot drinks. Not a sound could be heard coming from the big San or the villages dotted around the mountains.
Mist swirled mysteriously around the roof of the large, well appointed building that housed the Chalet School. Inside it was quiet and still - girls and mistresses alike lay sleeping. Then, breaking the silence came a sound.
It came from deep within the building coming, one might say, almost from the belly of the school. If the Platz had not been so still it would have been easy to miss. It was a faint, but very distinct cackle.
The eerie laugh had come from a room at the very centre of the School, on the lowest floor of the house. This room was where regular, if infrequent, meetings were held between four talented witches. The room was convenient, secluded, and beyond even Matron’s sensitive hearing range. It happened to be a kitchen, so the witches had named themselves the Coven of the Kitchen. On this special evening the Coven had come, together with their familiars, to hold their annual Halloween meeting.
The leader of their esteemed group was also the oldest member. She sat at the head of the large kitchen table, her black robes elegantly draped over the chair. She strangely did not appear to have been accompanied by her familiar. It was at once obvious from her stance and the ways in which the other witches behaved towards her that she was very much in charge. She had not been the one to emit the cackle, but instead sat observing her contemporaries in silence, perhaps reading their thoughts as she gazed at them with her clear eyes, that had never needed glasses.
Just then a jet black cat hopped up on to the table and strolled across it, passing the leader. It paused briefly as it passed Hilda, with a glance in her direction before continuing its promenade towards another witch. The second witch, named Karen, reached out to the feline and stroked her fondly. The cat was of course Karen’s own familiar. As the Head Cook at the School, Karen was easily able to justify her pet as a mouse catcher. Such was Karen’s rule of iron in the downstairs rooms that no-one had ever dared wonder aloud why the cat caught mice by simply staring intensely at them until they spontaneously burst into flames and disintegrated.
Meanwhile in a corner of the kitchen the third witch was having a rather hard time persuading her own familiar to stay put. It seemed to want to roam around, as the cat did, but as it was a large cow and the kitchen was not really very big, that was not awfully convenient. The third witch, getting more and more frustrated with shoving the cow back in its corner and trying to interest it in a box of some kind of food, eventually lost her temper and got her long, slim, silver tipped wand out. A muttering, a shake of the wand and a sudden flash of light and the cow was finally still.
The fourth witch, who had been watching the proceedings, was about to let out another cackle when she caught Hilda’s eye on her. Instead she shook her long, knee length mane of black hair (which she wore loose only for meetings of the Coven), and walked towards one of the other chairs pulled up to the table. She was joined by Karen, who also took a seat.
Hilda looked pointedly at the remaining witch, who was now walking round the stationary cow gazing at it thoughtfully. The white streak in her hair glowed a little as she considered the animal. The cow blinked back at her.
“I’m not sure if I haven’t done that spell too strong again,” she said, before giving up her observation and joining the other witches around the table.
“We shall now begin the business of Halloween,” announced Hilda, rather grandly, and raised her wand dramatically.
Thanks for the comments :-)
Hilda brought her arm down swiftly while muttering something under her breath. There was a flash of light and blue smoke billowed around the table and the four witches seated around it. As the smoke cleared it was revealed that a set of cups and saucers, a sugar bowl, milk jug and a large coffee pot had appeared on the middle of the table. All these item were made of delicate china with a pretty design. They sat complacently on the table as if they’d been there all along.
“An excellent way to begin the meeting!” remarked Bill, as she pushed back her white streaked hair, which has come loose during her earlier struggle with her familiar.
Joey nodded her approval, then winced – her absurdly long hair had got caught on her chair which had tugged painfully when she’d moved her head. Impatiently she pushed it to one side, grumbling under her breath that having long hair was all very well when one was standing up!
Bill began to pour the nectar from the coffee pot into the waiting cups. It was a bright green liquid. Karen sighed contentedly. “I’m so glad you thought of a way of disguising this nectar as ordinary brown coffee, Hilda. It’s lovely being able to drink it everyday, instead of just secretly at our meetings.”
Hilda smiled smugly. “My pleasure, my dear girl.”
Joey murmured agreement with Karen as she accepted the cup Bill passed to her. After sipping her drink Joey took a closer look at her cup. The design on the dainty china was made up of a pattern of faces. They were not just any faces however – they were miniature portraits of Old Girls. Not painted portraits though. If you looked carefully at the china you could see the faces sometimes moved. In fact the faces at the bottom of the cup were getting rather red from the heat of the drink it contained. Some of the faces, most in fact, were smiling, but one or two scowled. Joey was peering at one of the miserable faces.
“Gosh! So that’s where Phil Craven got to!” She looked up at Bill, “You are clever with your pottery spells Bill!”
Bill smiled appreciatively. “Well if those girls aren’t returning as mistresses or marrying doctors it’s good to keep them involved with the School somehow! I’ve already begun on a complimentary set of plates.”
Joey leaned in closer to her cup and waved at Phil. Phil glowered back.
“You should sell some at the Sale!” cackled Joey.
By now Hilda had decided that enough time had been spent on refreshments and cleared her throat meaningfully.
“Ahem. It will soon be Bonfire Night and so we must decide on our annual Bonfire Spell. Have any of you given it any consideration?”
Joey, Bill and Karen stared at each other hopelessly. What could they do this year? It had to be something practical, not too obvious or dramatic. The last thing they wanted was to attract attention to the School, or, worse, arouse Matey’s suspicion.
Hilda leaned back in her chair and took a long sip of her luminous green drink. Watching her colleagues’ desperation she sighed quietly to herself, and a faint stream of green steam came out of one ear. It was always left to her to come up with an idea. They never took responsibility for these big spells, just had silly, unrealistic ideas obviously thought up on the spur of the moment.
Karen was the first to speak, suggesting they perform their usual Halloween warm up spell on Sally Denny. This was met with instant enthusiasm from Bill and Joey. Hilda smiled. She also enjoyed making those particular potions. However she felt they were being distracted from their main purpose of the evening and so curbed her own enthusiasm for the moment.
“There will be plenty of time for that after we have decided on the special Bonfire Spell.” She stated firmly. As she had silently predicted they immediately began their next tactic of reminiscing about previous years’ Spells.
Thanks for your comments :-) I appreciate them all very much. I'm sorry I've not updated sooner, I've had a very busy week.
Hope you enjoy Chapter 3...
“I think we should do another Food Spell,” said Bill, “the potion we invented last time is brilliant!”
“Yes, it certainly is!” agreed Joey, wholeheartedly.
“Just think of all the chaos the last one created!” protested Karen, her mind wondering back to when they had developed a special ingredient – a potion that, when added to any cake, biscuit or pudding mix caused the resulting food to be totally fat-free.
“But it was worth it!” exclaimed Joey, “How else would I ever have kept my girlish figure after all those babies?”
Bill nodded agreement. “Yes, Joey’s right – it was certainly worth it. Although it did take us almost till Christmas to develop it and we very nearly got caught.”
Hilda put her oar in here: “We must take good care not to get caught this year. I agree that spell is wonderful. However I think we need to work on something a little less…destructive this year.”
The four witches all sat back, took another sip of nectar and thought of the state of their kitchen by the time the spell had been completed. Joey thought of the lime green potion-slime that coated the sea of pots, pans, cauldrons and utensils that had covered the kitchen table for over a month. Bill thought of the way she had concealed the sounds of muffled explosions coming from the depths of the School. Her tall tale of practising Science demonstration experiments for use in her lessons had luckily passed muster.
Karen thought of the despair she had felt each time the potions had gone wrong and also of the feeling of unreserved glee when she had finally cracked it! She also contemplated the various kitchen maids she had tried out each version of the spell potion on, especially Maria, who had gained two stone in weight and Elise, who had grown half a foot taller and turned vaguely blue. Karen smiled to herself wickedly as she remembered how she’d purposely given some of the failures to Anna.
Hilda thought it was time to get on with the meeting.
“Enough about the Food Spell. No matter how good it is, we’re not doing another one this year. We must think of something else.” She eyed each of the other three witches sternly, in turn.
Joey was next to speak. “As you know, I’m very appreciative of my Hair Spell,” she said, “it’s very convenient to have really long hair, which, when I give the ends a good yank in the morning, curls itself up into two perfect earphones. I only have to stick a few hairpins in to look like they’re holding it all up and I’m all ready!”
Bill and Karen agreed it was a useful spell.
“We really couldn’t let you continue to go around as you were, looking like you’d been dragged through a hedge backwards!” laughed Bill.
“Especially when you wanted to try to grow your hair to ankle length,” added Karen.
“It’s certainly growing,” commented Hilda.
“Yes,” agreed Joey, “it’s just past my knees now, but the thing is, and I don’t want you to think I’m at all ungrateful, because I truly am…but…” Joey paused and looked earnestly around, wary of giving any offence.
“The thing is…I’d rather like a new hairstyle. Earphones are rather old fashioned, and people are starting to comment on them. They’re wondering why I don’t experiment with a new style like most girls do,” said Joey.
“That’s a fair point,” said Bill, “But what style do you have in mind?”
“Well I’m not really sure,” confessed Joey. “I was hoping you could advise me and we could come up with something together. Something a bit more modern.”
“I thought all the fashionable hairstyles were short these days?” queried Hilda.
Karen agreed, “Yes, very long hair is rather out at the moment. I’ve got a magazine with lots of hairstyles in though – you could have a look through that and decide what you’d like.”
Joey brightened at this idea.
“Well we don’t have time for all that now. Maybe next year, Joey. We need a spell to do this year,” said Hilda, who was starting to get a bit exasperated now.
The four of them took another sip of their drinks and fell silent, all of them deep in thought, fat free food and Joey’s hair forgotten for the moment.
I hope you enjoy the next instalment - i will to finish it in the next couple of days before i go on holiday :-)
Joey was the next to speak. “You know, I think we should have another bash at the Spell we worked on Jem,” she said thoughtfully.
Bill and Karen looked doubtfully at each other.
Hilda replied, “I don’t think that’s a good idea. We aren’t actually sure if the original spell has worked yet. We don’t want to give him a double dose!” she added with a quick grin.
“No I suppose not,” said Joey.
“Has Madge said anything to you about it Joey?” enquired Bill. The idea for last year’s Bonfire Spell, to turn Dr Jem into a Werewolf, had been her idea.
“Hardly! She doesn’t know we did it!” retorted Joey.
“But she would have said if she’d noticed anything odd about him, wouldn’t she,” persevered Bill.
“Like excess hairiness?” suggested Karen, helpfully.
“Or trying to bite his patients?” said Hilda.
“Or a sudden aversion to romantic moonlit walks?” added Bill, with a smirk.
“Well yes, I suppose she might,” conceded Joey, “But she’s not mentioned anything yet. Anyway, it would only become apparent once every full moon & he may be trying to hide it. If it’s actually worked.” She added.
“But Joey, there was that conference of TB doctors over in England, a couple of months ago” pointed out Karen, “There was a full moon then and the conference did break up rather early under strange circumstances.”
“They weren’t strange circumstances!” scoffed Hilda. “One of the delegates was injured and had to go home so they postponed the remainder of the conference.”
“But they never said what caused his injury,” Joey pointed out.
“It could have been anything,” agreed Karen.
“Yes, anything,” echoed Bill, meaningfully.
“Well, we’d better leave that spell alone for now, until we’re sure if it worked or not,” said Hilda firmly. “We don’t want to do him any permanent damage.”
They all went back to thinking of a new Spell idea. Hilda sipped her nectar, looking in turn at each of the other witches, wondering who would come up with the next idea.
Bill smiled to herself, thinking of Dr Jem as a werewolf. What if they could do something similar with one of the Mistresses? Or even Matey? Bill’s eyes gleamed.
Meanwhile, Karen was staring at one of the kitchen cupboards and wondering if it would be a good idea to suggest having a snack. She’d just tried out a new Food Spell recipe that week for mince pies and cream that almost made one lose weight.
Joey returned to staring at her cup as she pondered their dilemma. She recognised most of the faces pictured on it instantly. One face by the cups handle had caught her attention and she was just peering at it, trying to figure out who it was, when there was a strange sound.
Final part tomorrow, fingers crossed! :-)
The musings of the four witches had been interrupted by a sort of slow creaking sound followed by a loud thud. Bill’s cow had keeled right over. It lay now, pale, still and to all appearances, dead. However it was fortunately still alive, as Bill discovered when she rushed over to it.
“Sod it!” exclaimed that witch, exasperatedly. “I always do that spell too strong. Joey you’ll have to teach me how to do it properly. You always do that one so well.” Bill turned to look at Joey’s own familiar who stood quietly and contentedly in another corner of the kitchen. The other witches followed her gaze. Certainly Joey’s familiar did not appear in any danger of falling over. It was even moving slightly.
“If someone walked in on us right now Joey, and saw that dog of yours, they’d never believe their own eyes,” stated Karen, observing Joey’s perfectly well behaved dog, Bruno.
“I’ve been experimenting for years with dog training spells,” said Joey modestly. “It’s taken a lot of practice to get it this good.”
“What does Jack think?” queried Karen. “Doesn’t he wonder why Bruno is so well-behaved all of a sudden?”
“Oh I never use the spell at home, except when I’m sure I’ll be alone” Joey assured her. “I don’t want to be found out. Bruno is his own energetic self most of the time.”
“Has Anna noticed anything? She is in the house with you virtually all the time, surely she must have suspicions?” asked Bill.
“I usually wait until she’s out shopping before I use the spell,” replied Joey. “I don’t mind telling you I’ve had a few near misses though!”
“Really?” said Karen.
“Gosh yes!” said Joey. “Only last week Karen came home an hour early and would have immediately smelled a rat if Bruno didn’t make his usual commotion as she came into the house. You know how exuberant he is.”
Bill, Karen and Hilda all nodded together.
“Luckily I spotted her coming up the path,” continued Joey. “I shut the drawing room door pretty quick, waited until Anna entered the house, and flung myself at the drawing room door, barking madly for all I was worth!”
Bill, Karen and Hilda stared open mouthed at Joey, as she carried on with her tale.
“It was rather sticky, trying to bark convincingly and tell myself to shut up and lay down all at the same time!”
“I imagine it was,” said Hilda rather weakly.
Then the cow groaned again, and everyone turned their attention towards it.
“I hope that poor animal recovers and we don’t have a week of eating beef again,” stated Karen, looking pointedly at Bill.
Bill looked back, aggrieved.
“Really Bill,” said Hilda, “you must have got through a whole heard of familiars by now!”
Bill looked embarrassed at this remark, turning red and staring at her feet.
“It is also unusual for a witch to have a cow as a familiar, rather than a nice black cat,” said Hilda somewhat critically, looking approvingly at Karen’s cat.
Bill suddenly realised she had not seen Hilda’s own familiar that evening.
“Where is Hatty?” asked Bill, “I haven’t seen her for ages?”
Hilda, in reply, simply opened the door of a nearby kitchen cupboard. There, hanging upside down from the edge of a shelf, was a small, neat rather compact bat.
Everyone peered into the cupboard to observe it more closely. The bat hung like a curtain from a rail, not moving an inch, apparently as comatose as Bill’s prone cow.
“I’ve never quite understood the point of that bat of yours,” said Bill.
“She might not look very busy but “that bat” as you put it has been assisting us all evening!” retorted Hilda.
“What do you mean?!” exclaimed Karen.
“Bats have excellent hearing, mine more so than most,” revealed Hilda, “How else do you think I can be the eyes and ears of this School?! Hatty is able to hear the slightest noise anywhere in the building and immediately picks up on any movement, particularly that of Matey!”
“That’s jolly impressive!” said Joey, “It doesn’t look like it’s actually doing much! I suppose what we also need is something that can monitor Mary-Lou for us! Maybe we could create some kind of invisible creature that could follow her around unseen and report back to us.”
Hilda, drawing on her extensive Head Mistress experience, put a look on her face that would be enough to instantly quell a riot of Middles. “Of all the absurd, impractical, quite frankly ridiculous ideas, that has to be the icing on the cake…” Then her face broke into a smile, “Joey you’re a genius! Let’s do it!”
“Let’s chorused Bill and Karen.
Here's the final part - i hope you like it!
Thanks for your coments :-)
Twenty-three minutes later, the four witches were standing in the kitchen gathered round a large, black cauldron that steamed weird, blue smoke. Karen stirred, Bill muttered strange words under her breath, Hilda swished her wand and Joey cackled, until Hilda told her to be quiet, as she was beginning to get on her nerves.
The Bonfire Spell was no ordinary spell. It was a special, joint effort. The power of four witches together on Bonfire Night was infinitely greater than any one witch on her own.
They had prepared the ingredients together and were now brewing it up as one witch.
“Do you think it’s ready yet?” queried Karen.
“Put some of the potion in that glass, and we’ll have a look,” said Hilda, in charge as usual.
Karen obediently ladled out some of the liquid from the cauldron. It was a dull orange colour, quite thick.
“Yes, I think that’ll do,” said Hilda peering at it dubiously.
Joey, cackling quietly, so as not to annoy Hilda and become their guinea pig, went over to Bill’s cow and began to try and drag it over to the cauldron.
“Stop that Joey, we’ll bring the potion over” commanded Karen. Bill looked like she was about to protest at this new use for her cow, then thought better of it.
Hilda poured the unappetising contents of the glass into the cow’s open mouth, then stood back.
All four witches stood in a semi circle together and watched the cow, waiting. The cow watched them, puzzled.
Then something began to happen. The cow started to vibrate. Its feet wobbled, its ears quivered, its tail wagged. Blue and orange smoke began to drift out of its ears and mouth. The cow closed its eyes and groaned. Bill looked worried.
The cow then let out an enormous burp and there was a loud bang that rattled all the kitchen cupboards, filled the whole room with blue and orange smoke, and made Bill, Karen and Joey almost jump out of their skins. Hilda didn’t even flinch, of course.
Gradually the smoke faded away and where the cow had lain there was now…a small neat creature, with an extremely short fluffy tail. It blinked up at them, slightly bewildered. Then it daintily adjusted its long, rather floppy, ears and twitched its whiskers.
The witches had fallen silent, but the peace was broken by Bill.
“My…cow!” stuttered Bill.
The creature paused in the act of smoothing down its soft, brown fur, which was understandably a little rumpled, and looked up at her. “Who are you calling a cow?”
“A talking rabbit!” said Joey, “How on earth will you keep an eye on Mary-Lou?!”
“Easy,” said Hilda before anyone else even had time to think, the rabbit included. “I will introduce “Pets” again. Hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs…although we’ll know who the real guinea pig is.”
Joey addressed the rabbit, “Got any special talents then?”
The rabbit pondered this question for a minute before replying, “Not really. Just the usual.”
“What’s “the usual”?” queried Karen.
“Oh you know,” continued the rabbit, nonchalantly, “Just the normal surveillance skills and temporary invisibility, plus photographic memory and the ability to communicate telepathically with bats. By the way, my friend in the cupboard over there just communicated to me he’s a bit bored & hungry, but someone called “Matey” is still fast asleep.”
The witches looked at each other. The Spell did seem to have worked, although exactly how effective a young cow/rabbit could be remained to be seen.
Joey’s eyes flashed. “Well,” she said, picking up her cup of nectar, “here’s to the Bonfire Spell and let’s hope this creature is more effective as a surveillance rabbit than it ever was as a cow!”
The witches all raised their cups together, and chorused “Watch out Mary-Lou!”
The room was filled with cackles, the loudest being not Joey’s but Hilda’s.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.