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The Witching Hour

Posted on Sun Jul 2nd, 2023 @ 17:35 by Claire Cavendish & Valjean Beaumont & Phoebe Hunter & Jonathan Monroe & Reagan D'Angelo & Cameron Johnston & Donald Johnson & Otis Jackson & Rebecca McMillen & William McAvoy & Jhanvi Dhar

Chapter: All Hallow's Eve
Location: Auditorium, Avalon Institute
Timeline: 23:55, Sunday October 31st, 1992
1330 words - 2.7 OF Standard Post Measure

It had been a couple of hours at least and while the punch was non-alcoholic the bottle of Scotch that Claire had gotten from the cellar an hour or so ago definitely wasn't. Which led her to being on the stage, in front of the music teacher playing themed music for them. "Alright. First of all! Huge round of applause for DJ, our DJ. The DJ." She looked over at the music teacher and gestured her prop flamethrower at him. "You're on fire!"

DJ took off his hat and made a low bow before waving back to the crowd,"I'm just living up to my name, Claire," he said with a large grin as he put his hat back on.

"Wohooo." Phoebe yelled cheering. The music was epic and she was exhausted from dancing which did not bode well as she was on night watch that night.

Cameron, who at some point in accepting Claire's dance-off challenge had come to finally regret his muscle suit, raised an arm from where he lay melodramatically sprawled on his back and added to Phoebe's sentiment with a thumbs-up.

Reagan found herself in the far more enviable position of being able to sweat out her dance moves and drinks through a good portion of exposed skin. Normally skimpy wasn't her thing, and it'd taken some getting used to to move fluidly without having a wardrobe malfunction on the floor, but she'd managed. Returning from the drink table on quick, shuffling boots, she knelt to Cameron and offered him an arm to sit up with and a glass of water. "Here you go, Champ. Next year, we do the Abba thing and you can be the Dancing Queen."

"Someone get that man a soda," Jonathan cheered, lifting a cup to the speedster in salute at his efforts. "Or a dozen cups of coffee, maybe."

"On this most auspicious of nights, All Hallow's Eve, I want to take the opportunity to thank all of you. You've been doing an amazing job and I couldn't have asked for a more dedicated and passionate staff!" Claire's thoughts dwelled, back to her youth growing up in London before being sent off to the states, returning only to be basically shunned and exiled in Wales. It had been a crazy couple of years that had led her to be the head of Avalon Institute. "When we acquired the castle in '89 we couldn't imagine what we'd manage to build in just three short years. You are all amazing!" She applauded, then lifted the microphone to her mouth again, "Yes you can applaud yourselves."

Otis clapped his hands together and swayed dangerously to the right causing him to knock into Phoebe. He quickly righted himself as he looked sheepishly at her. He hadn't planned to drink too much tonight but he had been having such a good time that he had let himself get carried away, and boy was he going to regret it in the morning.

Phoebe laughed and put an arm around the man to keep him straight. "You need poisoned tea and a lot of it." She whispered using her other hand to bang on a table. She had a theory she was going to be on her own to watch that night.

"Hear hear!" Jonathan called. "And to our humble but inspiring leader!" he added, toasting back towards Claire.

Reagan stood from attending to Cameron to hold her hands around her mouth and cheer for Claire, before heckling playfully, "To our lovely Sugar Plum Fairy, Queen of Avalon!"

Rebecca smiled, and certainly took the time to applaud. Not just herself and all it took to make it here, but to everyone else as well, and what it took THEM to get here. They seemed so well adjusted, which might have been more an act or a mask to some more than others but that didn't matter right now. She was here, they were here, and they were all in this together. To that, to that effort, to that strength of unity, she applauded. Though, at the mention of Sugar Plum Fairy, Rebecca giggled. "You did NOT just..." she called to Reagan.

Claire motioned for everyone to quiet down a bit so she could finish her thought. "Let us raise a glass, for all of those on the fringes of society that be called monsters, witches, or demons. May there be a world where the hospitality of all hallow's eve is extended to all." She lifted her glass of whisky and waited for the rest of the gathered faculty to join in. "SlĂ inte!"

As the chorus of agreeing people around her joined in a distant clock in the castle chimed the midnight hour. It was accompanied by the sound of thunder rumbling in the distance. It had been a clear night, and while the auditorium just had small windows nobody had seen any form of lightning. From behind Claire a shimmering light akin to the aurora washed through the walls and over the stage before overtaking the rest of the room at a breakneck pace.

It felt like she had been hit by an unseen force, for a moment it made it hard to breathe. As she gasped for air she realised that her powers were triggering turning her and everyone in a ten metre radius invisible. "FU-..!" The expletive was interrupted as she popped out of the physical world, the familiar pop of her suddenly transporting herself audibly amplified by the fact that there were at least a dozen simultaneous plops as all the nearest faculty disappeared from the auditorium.

In that split second Claire's mind flashed to Nessie, the plane underneath the lake, trying to guide the outcome of the teleportation somewhere it wouldn't do so much damage. Like it would be really bad if they suddenly appeared in her father's den. Or if they suddenly showed up on the doorstep of the anonymous benefactor whom she promised not to make public. The loch. She had to make sure they all reappeared in the loch.

A sizzle in the air, as if Valjean had just started baking the breakfast bacon all at once. The clear indicator that Claire was about to reappear, but so much louder than anything before. The cold hangar walls with Nessie seated nicely in the centre reflected the sound as Claire, Valjean, Reagan and DJ reappeared and landed on the ground.

The purple headmistress was only there for a second though, another pop and audible sizzle as she was gone once more, leaving the three others disoriented and confused. Her new surroundings were familiar and immediately filled her with dread. The old bookshelves, the antique oak desk, the smell of lingering cigars. Around her were William, Jonathan. Cameron, and Otis. She reached for Cameron trying to find an anchor in the material but before she could grab on she was gone, leaving the four men behind.

The sound of the teleporter hitting the small white pebbles of an aristocratic driveway leading up to a massive mansion in the countryside was accompanied by three identical landings close to her. She looked at Phoebe, Jhanvi, and Rebecca, and lunged this time to try and hold on to one of them. She didn't want to be stuck disappearing and reappearing for however long it was that this had overtaken her. She felt the fabric of Phoebe's Greek style garb in her clutched hand when she plopped out again. The three women left alone on the doorstep of an ominous and unknown mansion.

Which is when Claire reappeared, this time it was about two metres off the ground. "-..CK" With that she plummeted down, with Kaylee, Adeline, and Sarah splashing into the cold October water of the Scottish Loch right outside Avalon Institute. It was almost as if they held still above the surface for a second before gravity caught up with them and pulled them into the waiting arms of the icy waters.


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