and The Ice-Angel of Death
Chapter 2 - Shadows in the Corners of Night
'Hey Zits! Yeah I'm talking to you Zits! Am I getting through? Sure I
am. Now you just lay back quiet and listen. This is Whitey and I'm
telling you to shut yer mouth, shut your eyes and ears and leave Annie
Sole alone. Get it! Do what I tell you, or The Ice Man won't like it
and he'll send Monkey to visit you. Now you don't wanna fool around
with us, so just play it cool and keep outta Annie's way. Yeah, play it
cool Zits,' rasped the voice. 'You're too little to get involved with
the big guys. Come back later when you grow up, then maybe we can all
play some ball!'
Squinting between the fingers of a hand that almost, but not quite,
obliterated her vision, Priscilla had the blurred sight of a face
staring down at her. It was glaring, the eyes flicking back and forth,
back and forth, the skin and the hair surrounding it seemed
surprisingly creamy, but it was those restless eyes that riveted her;
red eyes, or maybe violet, certainly violent.
'What are you talking about!' Priscilla managed, writhing to free
herself from the cloying grasp of the fingers holding her head against
the pillows. 'It's her! She's the bully! Get off me! Let me go!'
Rolling onto her side she almost tumbled out of bed, her outstretched
hands just preventing her from striking the unyielding surface of the
Infirmary floor. Shivering with the coldness of shock, she struggled to
right herself and regain the security of her bed. Where am I? she
wondered, rubbing at her eyes in the early light of dawn which now
seeped through the high windows that lined the room. She peered wildly
about at all the shadows that still lurked in the corners of night and
finding nothing that seemed to threaten, fell back and drew the covers
up around her neck. Ohh, she thought, got to have been a dream...Scary,
nasty dream...Got knocked down by that big cow
Roseanne...Basketball...Got knocked out by Sister Menzies...Got to go
back to slee...
'Priscilla! Priscilla? Come on! Wake up! It is me, Monique!'
A hand was gently shaking her, rousing her out of the depths of uneasy
slumber; drawing her back to consciousness. 'Come on Priscilla, it is
way past time for breakfast. It is Saturday morning. Remember?
Yesterday, Friday afternoon, basketball tryouts? Roseanne Sole knocked
you unconscious. Mister Garland brought you here to the Infirmary. You
have been...how do you say? Oh, errm, oui! "Out of it" since last
night. Here I wake you and Sister Menzies comes now to check on your
Priscilla nodded dumbly at Monique as the Sister arrived, pushed a
thermometer under her tongue and began the ritual of testing blood
pressure, reflexes, memory and sight awareness. In the end Sister
Menzies nodded, 'You'll do. Everything seems to be working. Feel
wobbly? I expect you are. Wait half an hour, have some juice and
cereal, then make your way back to your dorm. Monique here will help
you along. I don't think that you've got anything more serious than a
jolly good whack and a few abrasions. Ointment will help those, but if
you feel it needful, you should report to Miss Poe and your parents.
Must get on, I have a Second-form sprained ankle to attend.'
When they were alone, Priscilla managed, 'Moni, I had a lot of dreams;
terrible, scary ones! Some seemed like they were actually real. I don't
know...Is this a dream? Are you really here with me?' She turned
troubled eyes toward Monique's face and was met by her friend's
'This is real, I am here with you. Pinch me if you want, then pinch
yourself. You're awake. You got, how do you say it? Yes! Dumped on by,
what do you sometimes call her? Ah, Boefhead! That Roseanne Sole, she
still tries to get even after what happened with John Wynd, when it was
her that caused all the trouble.
It has been months since then, you do remember? Anyway, she has been
suspended from the basketball team until it is decided as to whether
her action against you was on purpose or accidental.'
Priscilla nodded weakly as a trolley rolled toward her bed, propelled
by a senior student, who set about placing a tray across the covers and
setting down her light breakfast.
'Moni!' hissed Priscilla as the youth wheeled the trolley away, 'That
'Him?' said Monique, gazing at the receding form of the teenager. 'What
do you mean by "Him?"
'He was in my dreams! I'm sure of it. He was the one that covered my
face with his hand and threatened me! Didn't you see him? Creamy
skin and hair...and his eyes...'
'Yes Cilla, I saw his eyes, they look weird but it is not the first
time that I have seen eyes like that. In Africa there are albinos too,
they are usually pale-skinned and have hair that is white or
creamy-coloured and their eyes can be red or pinkish-violet, but what
of it? Zebras have been know to have albino foals, just plain white...'
'But it was him!' Priscilla shrilled insistently, 'The one in my
dream that had his hand over my face, the one that warned me to stay
away from Roseanne!'
Monique looked slightly puzzled, but took up a tumbler of orange juice
and held it out to Priscilla. 'Perhaps you are right. I know that
Senior Students are rostered to work here in the Infirmary and it is
possible that you saw him and...' she held out the glass, 'that is how
he has invaded your dreams.'
Priscilla took it with trembling fingers. 'Do you really think so? Do
you think I just kind of imagined it?'
Monique put her arm around Priscilla's shoulder. 'I never know what to
think about you. You have a good imagination, but then again, you are
normally very rational.'
'Yeah, normally,' Priscilla said, gulping the juice and moving the tray
aside. 'C'mon Monique, help me get dressed and back to our dorm. I also
remember that we have a meeting this afternoon with Tsu and Terri.'
The two girls spent the rest of Saturday morning doing their usual
chores: washing underwear and socks, ironing uniforms, cleaning shoes,
making calls and completing assignments. After lunch they had time to
defrag; reading, listening to music and, in Priscilla's case, bringing
her diary up to date. As well as that, she found herself beginning the
first tentative lines of a short story that had been lurking in the
back of her mind for some time.
'Cilla,' said Monique, dreamily turning the page of a young girl's
adventure-romance from the library, 'are you still catching up about
what happened after John Wynd disappeared from school?'
'No,' Priscilla replied, preoccupied with her next sentence. Then,
after a few moments of silence, she added, 'There's nothing much else
to say. The school and the police and anyone else who cared are
convinced that he simply ran away. Miss Poe and the others wanted
answers, but all they have ever been able to come up with was that he
came back to school, packed a bag and walked out. From there, he just
vanished. End of story. A pity that there wasn't an end of story with
Boofhead. She's still around and I've got the bruises to show for it.
And now that time's gone by, the real truth about her pretending to
have been dragged up on the roof is slowly fading. Seems like none of
those recordings we got ever made it back to the teachers.'
'That I do not understand, yet as both of us agreed, we would not be
the ones to allow the real facts to surface,' said Monique, turning a
page. 'Still and all, we should not dwell on such things. There is much
that we can look forward to, such as the swimming heats next week, but
also I must tell you about the basketball. I am afraid that you are not
to be considered for the next game because of your injury.'
'Moni, for now I'd be glad not to be considered for knitting,' said
Priscilla, 'and anyway, we've got more important business before
dinner. Nearly two o'clock. Let's go see the others. Time for our
Even though it was early in May, the late west-riding sun was shining
bravely across the wide open area of the Quad. All the flagpoles were
bare, standing like so many tall goal-posts, their metal pulleys and
fasteners clattering faintly in the soft autumn breeze of another
capricious Melbourne afternoon. On the far side, Priscilla and Monique
could see Tsuang Tsu and Terri Tory-Toth waiting for them beneath the
leafy branches of a large evergreen.
'Hi guys,' said Priscilla, sitting down on a school bench and rubbing
at a patch on her skinned elbow,
Tsu sat down beside her saying, 'Well, it seems that you are in the
wars again. Just look, sticking plaster here and there, and I am sure
you have more bruises than we can see.'
'You're not wrong,' replied Priscilla, 'but I suppose I should expect
as much, having Roseanne as an enemy. Next time I'll be watching.'
'And that is a part of the reason for our meeting,' said Terri,
inspecting the bumps and grazes with an appraising look. 'It's time for
us to consider what we should do next.'
'For a start,' said Tsu, 'we need to broaden our position. Fon Jien and
I have been in contact with Harry and he agrees. But of course this
should be done slowly and with utmost caution. What we must have are
carefully selected individuals who will be able to comprehend and fit
neatly into our group...'
Priscilla chuckled, shaking her head, which made her feel so muzzy that
she abruptly halted, stars still spinning. 'Like we just pick a target
and say, "Look, how about joining us in a sort of Secret Girl's Gang
led by a chatty dog. But it's really O.K. because he's actually an
alien from a place called Wasat way out in the solar system, and anyway
what we're really all about is bringing peace and unity to all
Man-kind, with a side helping of incoming aliens who actually want to
fit in with us, even if they happen to be talking dogs and eagles
'I think Priscilla that you are still suffering from the knock on your
head,' said Monique, lifting up her hand.
'Tsu and Terri are being serious. If we are to spread our message we
must tell people what it is all about, and that does require new
'What what's all about?' muttered Priscilla, lowering her head and
covering her eyes with her hand. 'I just don't...can't remember exactly
what we're supposed to be doing...'
'Yes you do,' said Tsu gently, 'we are a part of a global network that
is slowly growing. We are not the only ones. There are many others, all
helped and guided by people like Harry...'
'Harry's an alien, he's not people,' answered Priscilla rather sharply
so that the girls stared at her in surprise. After a moment she looked
up at them, her hand brushing her brow. 'Oh listen, I didn't mean that
like it sounded, I mean, what I meant was...Bloody hell! What was I
thinking? I know what Harry's about. It's just that it's so way-out. I
know that he and, who can figger, so many of his kind are here on Earth
and that they don't mean us any harm and only want to help and live
here but...Gee...If I'm having trouble, how can we expect others to go
along with all this?'
'They will only go along with this if we choose well and can show them
the way,' said Terri softly. 'How about our Form Captain, Belinda Moss?
She has already travelled the world before her parents decided that
Australia was a better place to live than England.'
'She seems pretty cool for a Pom,' agreed Priscilla, 'Moni, Tsu, what
do you think?'
'I like Belinda, from what I have seen of her, although being Captain
of One A, Tsu and Terri have a better idea of whether she is suitable,'
'I think she would be an acquisition,' nodded Tsu, 'so we all seem to
'And if I had a choice some time ago, I should have chosen John Wynd,'
said Monique, 'though now of course he is no longer with us...'
'Wherever his mission has taken him,' concluded Tsu, raising an eyebrow
at Priscilla before going on, 'but that is not our concern now. Is
there anyone else that we should consider?'
'Boys included?' asked Terri.
Tsu weighed up the question. 'Umm, in these first grades of ours, they
all seem very immature. Most of them are too full of sport and showing
off to each other. I wonder if they've actually discovered girls yet?'
'Ohh, I reckon even Henry, my younger Brother has,' Priscilla replied.
'He seems pretty involved with lizards and pirates and Robin Hood, but
I think he's aware and knows more than he'd want anyone else to know.
I'm sure he fancies you Monique.'
Monique almost blushed, although it was hard to tell, but her eyes
sparkled as she said, 'Umm, a little young for me, yet when he is older
and matures...' She gave them her big Whoopi Goldberg grin.
The other three burst into laughter. 'You'll have to wait until you're
much too old,' said Priscilla, holding a hand to the side of her head.
'Anyway, Henry's not going to be at Hopewell until next year, that is
unless we have to move somewhere else in the meantime.'
'Well we mustn't just consider people who are at Hopewell Hall,' said
Tsu, guiding the agenda, 'however it is best that we deal only with
those we have greatest knowledge of. Priscilla, what about your older
'Umm, well he's a boy, but let's not hold that against him. He's
dependable and honest, bit of a stuffed-shirt, gives Henry a hard time
so he can't be all bad, a tad nerdy, but I just don't see where he
could fit in and besides, it could be tricky having Louis with us and
Henry not knowing...'
'What about his aboriginal friend Charlie Fairman?' suggested Terri.
'He too could be an acquisition, yet from what Louis has said I guess
that Baroonah prefers to keep his own counsel. I do not think he would
willingly like to be a team player,' answered Tsu, 'and as far as any
others in the higher forms, we just do not know enough about them. It
is no use approaching the Prefects either, as they will be leaving at
the end of the year and besides, I think it best that sights be set on
students closer to our own age. That way you will all progress together
in the future.'
'How about Narenda?' suggested Monique, 'she may not be physically
strong but she is resourceful. Remember how quickly she made Miss Van
Weenan aware of Roseanne bullying others to vote for her as Form
'You don't think her religious beliefs might be a problem?' asked Terri.
'We are all products of our ancestors, of where they came from and what
happened to them in the past,' answered Tsu, 'and also what influenced
them, be that religion or politics. Until put to the test, there is no
way of knowing how anyone will react. Yet what is asked here is not the
rejection of any religion or belief, it is only the opening of a
greater window of knowledge; something that stretches beyond anything
we have ever dreamed. Part of our task is to reach out to all, no
matter who they are, no matter what they believe or think. What we are
looking for is the human being, hiding behind the mask of Humanity, who
will open arms and embrace something beyond their comprehension. We
four here, in a very small part, have already experienced what that is,
yet can we ask this of someone like Narenda?'
'You almost sound like a grown-up,' said Priscilla dreamily, still
absently rubbing her forehead. 'I suppose the only way we're going to
find out is to take a chance.'
'What do you think Terri?' asked Tsu, turning to her friend and
'Not that I know her very well, but if Monique thinks she's worth it,
worthy of becoming a BlackEagle Girl, then I vote for Narenda,'
answered Terri emphatically.
'Are we all in agreement?' asked Tsu. The others nodded, Priscilla's
head wobbling a little. 'Good,' Tsu continued, 'and perhaps we should
keep in mind some of the boys for the future as well, like your Form
Captain Ray Sharp. But first let's try Belinda and Narenda. I know
Belinda hasn't gone home this weekend and I'm sure I saw Narenda at
lunch. There seems little point in wasting time, why not approach them
later this afternoon? Priscilla, you've already had some practice with
John Wynd, and it would be much more convincing coming from both you
and Monique together. Of course Belinda and Narenda might need a trip
before they're ready to accept the truth. Harry has said that the
BlackEagle can be available at any time for such a venture. So girls,
over to you.'
'Over to us?' said Priscilla, her mouth dropping open for a moment
before recovering. 'Wait on, we're not the seniors here, shouldn't it
be your part to take this responsibility? And anyway Tsu, I picked up
when you said, "That way you will all progress together in the future",
what did you mean by that? Are you going someplace?'
'We both are,' said Terri, patting Priscilla's hand. 'It is part of
what happens. My parents are moving back to Budapest next year. They
want to live and work again in the country of their birth, at least for
a while, to renew ties with the old family and take up business that
has come to them through my Uncle.'
'And Fon Jien and I are going to live in Hawaii after Christmas. There
he will be enlarging his tropical fish enterprise and I shall be
attending a new school,' said Tsu.
'But what about the Lhasa Green Dragon restaurant here in China Town?'
asked Monique, stunned.
'My Guardian's partners will take care of it,' Tsu answered, 'and don't
worry, it is not as if Terri and I are disappearing completely. We will
all be able to stay in communication.'
'Email on the Internet?' asked Priscilla.
'No silly, we don't want anyone to hack into our secrets. Harry and his
friends will be our contacts. It's part of the new Australian
BlackEagle network,' laughed Terri.
'And we still have all the months of this year together,' said Tsu.
'Time enough for you two to begin. When Terri and I move on after
Christmas, The BlackEagle Girls will be established at Hopewell and in
contact with many more groups in Australia and around the world.'
'But we will not have you!' exclaimed Monique throwing her arms about
Tsu, as all four girls, tearfully embraced.
Chapter 3 [next]