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BlackEagle Girls
and The Ice-Angel of Death

Chapter 17 - Last gasp, Priscilla.

'And you have no idea of where you have been for all of this school Monday?' enquired the Assistant Head-Master of Hopewell Hall, staring intently at Priscilla, who was now sitting up in a school Infirmary bed, looking suitably dazed.

'Well, um, sort of here and there, um, I think. It's all a bit hazy Mister Mitikovski. I kind of remember coming to school and then... well everything goes wobbly. Seems like I got to my dorm room and felt dizzy... then later I was outside... somewhere... and I... maybe that was when I had to lie down... The gardens were so nice... Pretty flowers blooming... Then I think I went walkies for a while... '

'Walkies!' spluttered Stanley Mitikovski. 'You are not a puppy dog Miss Black! We have been searching for you since lunchtime when your Form Mistress reported your absence. Now you turn up in the school Infirmary. Sister Menzies tells me that you arrived after six, alone and confused. What is going on here?'

'Now now, Mister Mitikovski, don't badger her,' said Sister Menzies, appearing from behind a screen. 'The young lady is plainly disoriented. I've given her a sedative and notified her parents. It seems clear that she is not able to account for her whereabouts this afternoon. Perhaps tomorrow.' The Sister emphasised her remarks with the plumping of pillows at Priscilla's back that clearly indicated the conversation was almost over.

'Yes... Yes, er, tomorrow,' nodded Mitikovski, absentmindedly. 'It is just that all these things are happening at once. First that boy Beresford, have you had word of him yet? And then the queer appearance of the unsigned missive to the Head Mistress and our discoveries and now this young lady vanishing and returning, I'm telling you Sister Menzies, it is all very much happening at the one time altogether, do you understand?'

'Well yes, I think so,' answered the Sister, smoothing down the sheets over Priscilla's knees. 'And yes, I've had a call from Doctor Sheppard at the hospital. Neil Beresford is out of danger and it seems likely that he will be well enough to communicate by tomorrow. But tell me Mister Mitikovski, what is all this about messages and discoveries?'

'Ah, that is good news, regarding the young fellow I mean,' replied Mitikovski, backing off. 'Now however, I must be on my way. The Head requested that I bring her up to date on this latest development. And for the moment, about the discoveries, in present circumstances, I'm not telling you!'

'You have a visitor Priscilla,' said Sister Menzies, watching the Infirmary door swing closed. 'Do you feel well enough?'

'Aw yeah sure, that is, um, I think so. Err... Dad, Mum?'

'Yes they're coming in presently, but no, it's your friend Monique.'

'So what's cooking?' asked Priscilla as soon as Monique had settled herself and the Sister was out of earshot.

'Ohh,' Monique shook her head slowly. 'Where do I begin?'

'Well you could start from where we all quietly went our way after that bust-a-move from Charlie down in Archives. Like, I crawl up here and deactivate and surface so that I can get myself enlisted in this empty whoopsy-sick department to cover my invisible tracks and you guys shoosh along outside. And while I'm thinking about it please remove the Activator from my bag while nobody's looking, not that there is anybody else in here at the moment but the Sister. So what's happening?'

'Look Priscilla, we told the boys only the little that we dared: that The Ice Man and his gang are trying to silence me because I'm your friend and we both suspect them of involvement with drugs. It was difficult, even with the help of Belinda and Narenda. I mean we have nothing to show as proof, and although your brother and Charlie are concerned I don't think they are convinced. But Louis is certainly worried about you. He's been told that you're in here and will probably visit as soon as he recovers from his um, personal injury. Charlie might come too, and they'll both have lots of questions. Like how did we stumble upon drugs in the school in the first place. So I suppose you'll have to tell at least a part of the truth about us being kidnapped and taken on a fright ride because we were pressuring Roseanne Sole. Which makes me think again. Why were we targeted? Why did the Ice Man want to scare us in the first place?'

'I wonder,' said Priscilla. 'What is so big-deal about Annie Sole that these dick-heads would risk the whole set-up?'

'Well it must have something to do with the Sole family of course. I mean from what we overheard when Morris Sole and that other man came to complain to Head Mistress Poe about Roseanne's treatment and what we now know about The Ice Man and his father, it would appear that the two rival gangs have some kind of agreement. Maybe it is that Roseanne is to be kept in, what is the saying? Oh oui, Cotton Wool, in exchange for the Ichema's control of drugs coming in and out of Hopewell. Perhaps these boys, filled with bravado, were waiting for a chance to terrorise a couple of young girls so as to enlarge their reputation as stand-over people in the school. Perhaps they just like the feeling of power over others, and now how the Ice Man, Joe and Whitey will explain their bruises I can only guess with some mirth. Charlie did a very good job.'

'This is no time for gloating,' said Priscilla. 'Those jerks are on the loose and maybe they still have the Angel Ice. When they find out that their secret hide-away has been exposed and that I'm not dead, if they haven't already, they might decide to have another go at you or me, or perhaps just make a break for it.'

'They haven't done so yet. Sometime after the three of them crawled out of Archives with their tails between their legs, Tsu and Terri managed to locate and follow Tony and Whitey until they entered Tony's dorm. A while later, having cleaned themselves up, those two emerged and went off to football practise. Of course, even after all this, they could just simply deny everything,' offered Monique.

'Do you think so? What about our anonymous letter to Miss Poe telling her about the secret hiding-place under the Chapel and the phony padlock on the outer gate. Sure, we didn't accuse anyone by name, but Tony the Ice Man knows we could. Also he knows we have others on our side.' Priscilla thought a moment. 'And yet they both just calmly went off to footy-practise? What about Joe Simiani?'

'Narenda and Belinda were doing their best to keep track of him.'

'Umm, footy-practise? I don't suppose The Ice Man or Whitey were carrying any extra baggage? Packages, boxes, bags?'

'No. From what Terri and Tsu have reported both boys went off toward the oval dressed in the usual: jerseys, shorts, boots. No knapsacks or carryalls, not even water bottles, just a net bag full of footballs.'

'Are they still keeping an eye on them?'

'Yes. The lights are on across the practise ovals of course, even though the days are growing longer. But the teams need to have the extra light to keep track of all those footballs being kicked about.'

'And our two hooligans were carrying?'

'Oh what? Footballs? When there are already so many...'

'You wouldn't think... would you?'

'That... possibly, inside... Non! But yes! Anything is possible, but what could they do with them?'

'Look Moni, I'm kinda stuck in here and if I take off again I don't think even Henry could defend me. You and the other girls are going to have to take it on. Tsuang Tsu and Terri know the ropes, they're our teachers, and now it's time for us to do the teaching. That's what they both want us to learn. You're gonna have to do this without me but, hey! Gimme back our Activator. Just stick it here under the mattress. I'll get in contact after my visitors have gone and that sedative the Sister gave me starts to wear off. Ho-boy, I'm so calm I could go fishing or fly a kite. I feel really cool. I just hope that whatever Sister Menzies shot me were only calming pills and nothing that makes me sleep forever. But maybe I'll play that card when Mum and Dad and Louis get here. You know, "I want to talk but I'm getting really tired." Like, I do want to see them all naturally, even though there's nothing actually wrong with me, although they don't know that, but it's best if I can get rid of them as quick as, and I know I'm beginning to ramble a bit, must be the seda... sedati... you know, those happy pills...
Anyway... I'll do my best Moni dear, to keep up with what's doin'. Now get going before anyone else arrives... '

Monique watched for a moment while Priscilla quietly slid lower under the covers and settled down. As their eyes met, she withdrew the Hand Activator and slipped it beneath Priscilla's mattress. 'I do not think Harry would approve of leaving this with you.'

'I'll talk to Harry. I'm not a child. I'll take responsibility.'

'Responsibility! We are both just new girls in a new school. Responsibility is a very big word, especially with what we have been entrusted. Who could believe it?'

'Only The BlackEagle Girls,' Priscilla replied with a wink.

'Pssst! Psst! Yap! Yap! Priscilla! Hwakey-wakey! This is your Top-Doggy here. Harry to Priscilla! News bulletin on the B.E.G network. Aw com'on Priscilla Black, log in!'

Priscilla was lying on her side, her left leg drawn half-way up, her right hand cushioning her face. Whatever the pulses of dreams filling her mind, these were slowly washed aside by the insistent demands drawing her back to consciousness. Although that consciousness in some ways was so fantastic that she had to wait a few moments in order to decide what was real and what was dream.

'Better get your act together Kiddo. Stuff has been happening while you've been in la-la land. Are you able to respond?'

Priscilla's eyes flickered open in the dark. She had no idea of the time. Reaching under the mattress she fumbled out her Activator. It was pulsing very gently in the personal send/receive mode so that she only had to whisper, 'Harry, is it really you?'

'Who else? And we're on a party-line. I've got others tuned in to tell you what's been happening.'

'Oh... Oh sorry Harry. It's just that I actually got pretty tired by the time Louis and Dad appeared; kinda funny, they were both limping, but for different reasons. As usual Mum was tied up with rehearsals... I couldn't stay awake, no kidding... Heck! My watch says nine-thirty... '

'Yeah, ain't luminous watches the greatest new innovation,' said a squeaky, cock-sure voice with an American accent.

'Cagney! You little rat. Just couldn't tear yourself away could you?' Priscilla whispered, secretly pleased.

'Well... nah. Guess Atouille an' me are startin' ta get hooked on tha wild life. Or is that wildlife? Ya know, all them kangaroos and emus and koalas and those little ratty critters. We been watchin' 'em on tha Australia channel inside the Black Eagle.'

'They are most probably Numbats, Quolls or perhaps Quokkas, or even Boodies and Woylies, Cagney,' said Belinda's rather strident voice. 'I have been reading and researching about them recently.'

Vreading and vresearching about them vrecently, have you?' mocked Priscilla, bridling momentarily at Belinda's seemingly superior tone, before quickly mellowing again. 'Sorry Belinda, I'm just frustrated, don't mind me... '

'We won't,' said Harry. 'Now let's get cracking, because I know all of you need to get some sleep, unlike some smart kid who's been taking it easy while the hard work's been happening. Over to you Tsu and Terri. Get Priscilla up to speed.'

'Hi Priscilla, Terri here, both of us have lots to tell. It seems that you were right about the footballs. Close to the end of practise on the oval, Whitey and The Ice Man kicked several out over the walls. We watched them do it. Not long after there was a lot of commotion: sirens, people yelling. Then Uniformed Police and Plain Clothes drove into the grounds. For a while they were all over the place, you didn't hear the noise?'

'Nah, missed it. Probably doing some homework. That or maybe just zonked out, thanks to Sister Menzies. Luckily, as I told Moni, I'm the only one in here tonight, but if the Sister fronts I have to go silent. So anyway, give!'

'Well, we don't know what actually happened outside but it is a pretty good guess that somebody was waiting to collect and so was the Law. They must have had a tip-off about the Angel-Ice. Though not from any of us,' said Terri.

'No but, oh sorry Priscilla, it's Tsu speaking. Terri and I followed The Ice Man and Whitey after they they realised that their plan was going wrong. They managed to evade everybody and get up past the chapel to the north gate. Almost there, they caught a glimpse of Mister Dance and a police-woman stationed amongst the trees, doubled back and disappeared into the bushes. We followed them using the invisibility mode of our Activator, but when they split up Terri and I had to as well. I took the activator and Terri followed Whitey as best she could...'

'And of course, visible again, that was a lot harder,' interrupted Terri. ' Not long after, I lost him when school staff and police closed off the north pathways around the chapel.'

'Meanwhile, I was still able to keep Iceman Tony in my sights,' resumed Tsu. 'He is a crafty one, and that is for sure. He managed to get out of Hopewell still carrying a couple of footballs, and you know how he did it?'

'Called a cab?' suggested Cagney.

'Almost. He went out in the back of a police car. I saw him sneak into it when nobody was watching, and only moments later, before I had time to find a place to re-appear and alert somebody, the constables drove it through the side gates and away. What happened after that, who knows? But he took those footballs with him.'

'And inside them went the Angel Ice,' muttered Priscilla, twisting her legs in consternation and dragging the bedding up around her in the cold. 'They probably tried a few dummy balls over the wall to make sure the coast was clear before risking the real stuff. Seems like someone else knew what their emergency plan was. But who? What about Joe Simiani and Whitey?'

'Belinda and I did not have an Activator. Hello. It is Narenda here Priscilla. We are altogether gathered in Terri's dorm so we can speak with you, as you might have guessed.'

'Yeah, sure Dodo.'

'What does this "Dodo" mean Priscilla?

'Sorry Narenda, just me getting feisty again at being stuck in here. If I didn't have to stay here because of the stink it would cause if I vanished again, I'd be right with all of you, you guys know that.'

'Of course we do, and Terri has just told me about a Dodo and I do not mind being called an extinct bird if that is what you want me to be.'

'You're actually a very special bird Narenda, and I take that back about the Dodo,' said Priscilla, silently wishing that she didn't have such a knack at spouting off before she had time to think. 'So anyway, what about Joe the Monkey and Whitey?'

'Well, unless they had some way of becoming invisible themselves and slipping out, it would seem that they are both still somewhere inside Hopewell. That is unless the staff have caught them by now,' said Tsu. 'But so far everything is quiet. I think Teachers are still patrolling and we are not even sure if the police have gone, or if they know that The Ice Man is on the loose. And if Belinda and Narenda get caught in here with us we are all in big trouble.'

'Probably best to sneak off to your dorms after this and settle down for the night... but... where's Moni?' said Priscilla, her eyes suddenly widening in the darkness with the realisation that she had not heard from her friend.

'Yes... Well we aren't sure about where she is now,' said Terri, somewhat hesitantly.'

'Whadya mean ya aren't sure!' hissed Priscilla with such force that even Annie Sole, had she been a party to the conversation, might have wilted from the blast. 'C'mon, cough it up or I'll get outta here right now and go looking!'

'Hold it kiddo, easy on, easy on!' Came Cagney's voice.

'It's alright Miss Priscilla,' said Harry, cutting in, 'Nothing to be too concerned over, just a little unusual, that's all.'

'Harry, everybody! What are you trying to tell me?' Priscilla exploded in exasperation.

'Well only that Monique was sent up to Miss Poe's office around seven-thirty, and as far as we know is still there,' said Belinda.

'Right, fine, O.K. And why was she sent up to the Head Mistress?' Priscilla was now restlessly flexing her legs under the tight sheets in the darkness. 'Questioning her? And what about? Why would Miss Poe or the Police want to talk to Moni? And if they had a reason... like we all know what that reason is, but they shouldn't unless our unknown informer has blabbed, why aren't they here giving me the third degree? And why didn't any of you take that Activator and go check out what's doing?'

'Because they're speakin' ta you on it, Dodo!' said Cagney in his most pugnacious tone. 'No one's gonna hassle you until the morning while yer half whacked. Just cool it kiddo, I guess that yer pal Monique can handle herself with the Authorities, O.K. Alright? She's probably back tucked up asleep by now, but after we get through with talkin' ta you, Miss Narenda and Miss Belinda, they can take the Activator gadget an' go knock on her door.

'And what if her roomy wakes up? Wouldn't it be easier to ring on Moni's mobile, not for a conversation of course, but like just to hear her answer?' Priscilla grouched.

'Tried. Turned off,' said Terri. 'And anyway the girls will be in invisible mode, so no problem there.

'Yeah, right, I suppose,' muttered Priscilla, far from satisfied. 'Worth a shot, I suppose.'

'Look thrill-seekers,' came Harry's steadying voice, 'There isn't much more that we can do right now. We just wanted to bring you up to speed Priscilla. It's time for all of you girls to get some sleep and see what happens in the morning.'

'Sure, in the morning which... Woh-boy! Pardon me,' said Priscilla, stifling a huge yawn as the adrenalin seemed to drain out of her body. 'Hope I'm over this knock-out stuff from Sister Menzies by tomorrow?'

'Time to kiss all the frogs and get yer beauty sleep,' said Cagney. Anyway, email me, CagneyRat@ouille.com.angetit.  Nah, just kidding. Harry will let me know how this all finally pans out. Stay cool girl.'

'I'm going to miss you... You little rat... Take care in the U.S. an' make sure you drop Atouille right back in his own garbage dump... Night girls... Night Harry, wohhh!' Priscilla yawned, switching off and tucking the Activator under her mattress.

It began as a pale image of a soft, ghost-like being, moving on a faint breeze.
Wraith was a word that sprang into Priscilla's mind as it drifted along unhindered through the mists of her dream.

Then swiftly her dream began to sour into nightmare.
A grey form seemed to loom over her, blocking out the faint moonlight and a voice hissed, 'Don't try to scream because... you... eh!... won't... have the chance eh!... to... now that I've taped up your mouth!'

But this time it wasn't a nightmare.

The voice whispered closer in Priscilla's ear. 'Eihi, ehi! Ehiji! Ehiji! Yes, yes-ehiji! Monkey has come for you! Ji! Ji!'


Chapter 18 [next]

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