and The Ice-Angel of Death
Chapter 5 - You dirty rat!
In the few moments that it took Barry Garland to reach the submerged
girls, a widening stain of pinkish red was erupting in the bubbling
foam above them. Taking a long breath, he dived beneath the water.
Priscilla, screaming Monique's name, was only restrained from jumping
in by Tsu, Narenda and Belinda Moss, who had fought her way through the
frantic onlookers to come to Tsu and Narenda's aid.
In the meantime, Miss Van Weenan, doing her best to keep control of the
situation, was calling for First Aid to alert the infirmary staff.
'Send someone up to Sister Menzies! Tell her to get down here now!'
And while her attention was momentarily diverted, Ray Sharp, Form
Captain of One B, neatly evaded her restraining arms and even though
back in school uniform after his own event, plunged in and was stroking
steadily toward Mister Garland's bobbing head. The two girls, still
locked together, burst to the surface, choking and coughing as Garland
dragged them up and managed to separate them. 'Get her out of the
water!' he shouted, leaving Monique to Ray, as he struggled with
Roseanne's hefty, thrashing form. Billows of swiftly-diluting pink
foamed about them, slopping to the margins of the pool as Ray, his arm
around Monique's shoulder and neck, brought her to the grasping hands
of those waiting. Marge Turnbull dog-paddled her way to the poolside,
crawling out like a drowned rat, and was swiftly covered in a bath
robe. Although it appeared that she was somewhat disoriented because
Priscilla could see, between the intervening bodies, that Marge was
twisting her head and looking back toward the heaving water, her eyes
scanning beyond those involved in the drama closer to its margins.
Meanwhile, Mister Garland was having a difficult time with Roseanne,
who was still struggling and screaming even as he got her to the pool's
edge. 'That bitch tried to kill Annie! She knew I was crampin' an' she
tried to hold me under! She kicked Annie in the guts! I think I'm gonna
throw up... I thi...' Roseanne suddenly went limp, her head flopping
against Garland's neck, a trickle of watery blood dribbling from her
Amidst the pandemonium all around her, Priscilla strained against the
encircling arms of her friends, her eyes now on Monique as she was
helped from the pool, coughing and spitting out water.
Sister Menzies burst upon the scene, swiftly taking control of the situation; issuing orders and overseeing
both Monique and Marge Turnbull away to the infirmary within moments of her arrival. 'Hurry, get Miss Sole
onto a stretcher, she may have internal haemorrhaging. Be careful how
you handle her!' she commanded of the two First-Aid Prefects, who
immediately sprang into action.
Then, as Tsu, Narenda and Belinda relaxed their hold, Priscilla twisted
free and was about to dart after Monique when her wild-eyed gaze fell
upon a lone figure kneeling at the far end of the pool. It was the same
white-haired youth of her dream and he seemed to be scooping something
out of the water. To Priscilla's goggling eyes, at first glimpse the
translucent object looked like a jelly-fish, but whatever it was, the
boy briefly examined it, rose and threw it aside, hurrying around the
pool edge to catch up with Sister Menzie's departing group.
Pushing her way through the crowding students, Priscilla was almost
deafened by the tumult of voices: 'Good on yer Mister Garland!' 'Yea
Sharpy, well done son!' 'Come on, we've got to get you out of those wet
clothes!' 'Barry, Barry! Are you alright?' This from Roger Dance the
History teacher who had suddenly appeared from out of nowhere. 'Get
them both into the showers and bring some towels!' 'What about the rest
of the events?'
'Yere! Are we gonna have more swimming trials today or not?' 'Roseanne
got kneed in the tummy and now she's got a belly ache!' 'She didn't
deserve it! She was was cramping!' 'Monique was trying to help her!'
'Bull! Monique was getting her kicks!' 'Yer talkin' crap, the French
girl turned back to help her and let Karen win!' 'The rest of the Meet
is cancelled. It will be re-scheduled at Monday's assembly!' 'What
about all that blood? Do ya think Sole's been badly hurt?'
As Priscilla struggled amongst the milling group, she became aware of a
throbbing in her temples and lifted a hand to her forehead. Everything
seemed to be slowing down, the voices around her were grinding to a
halt, distorting, diminishing, fading... Then a sudden new feeling took
up the almost static pulse, her vision cleared, and sounds about her
again became audible. She halted, coming to such an abrupt standstill
that Narenda, who was close behind, collided with and embraced her to
steady herself from falling.
'Narenda!' said Priscilla, looking around, 'Help me!'
'What can I do Priscilla? You look so pale. Come, come with me over to
the seats and sit down. Tsu And Belinda are... Oh girls, I thought you
were just behind, tell Priscilla to rest a moment, she is so upset
about Monique... '
The other two, now joined by Terri Tory-Toth, guided Priscilla to the
benches and sat her upon the initial-scratched wooden surface.
'Monique will be alright, I don't think she was the one bleeding,
except maybe from a few scratches on her back,' said Terri, anxiously
kneeling at Priscilla's side.
'Yes, yes, I know,' Priscilla replied, 'but I've got to get up to the
infirmary to see her anyway. We were going home this weekend... Kinda
special... Henry's birthday you know... but... but look I know this
sounds crazy, but can one of you go back to the far end of the pool and
look around on the tiles for a... a... well I thought it was a
'Priscilla, are you feeling sick?' said Tsu, an expression of concern
on her face. 'Perhaps you are right, we need to get you up to the
infirmary too so that Sister Menzies can... '
'I'm fine, just fine!' Priscilla replied emphatically, so emphatically
that her head momentarily spun, 'Just... just do this for me... It was
probably plastic, a clear plastic bag or something, please go and find
it one of you, I think it might be important.'
'I will go,' said Narenda, looking from Tsu to Terri to Belinda, an expression of complete incomprehension on her face.
It took only moments for Narenda to locate the object and come hurrying
back through the slowly diminishing mob that was now drifting away
toward the exits that led to the Quad.
'Is this what you wanted?' she asked, opening her hand and offering a soggy, flattened plastic bag.
'Yeah, I think so,' Priscilla replied wearily, gazing down at it.
'What is it?' said Belinda. 'Why did you want it? It seems like just any plastic bag, although it has a tear in it.'
Priscilla was staring intently at the bag, noting a tiny slime of red
in one corner. 'I... I don't know... Guess I'm just too suspicious.'
She took the bag from Narenda, wiped it on her skirt and carefully
folded it up, stowing it in her blazer pocket. Then, looking up, she
said, 'I gotta get over to see Monique, but would one of you do me a
'What is it Priscilla?' asked Terri.
'Could somebody stay here for a while and see if anyone comes in looking like they're searching for something.'
'Well... er yes, I can do that,' said Narenda, somewhat uncertainly, gazing around blankly at the other girls.
'No!' Priscilla replied rather sharply. 'Oh sorry Narenda, I didn't mean to bark at you. If maybe Terri... Would you mind?'
'Heck no,' Terri answered.
'I'll stay here with her too, if that's what you want?' Belinda added,
although it was plain that she and the others were wondering about
Priscilla's state of mind. 'The pool is open for another hour, and it
seems that students are still allowed in, so we won't be too
conspicuous sitting here watching them. Is it about the bag?'
'Yeah, about the bag,' Priscilla nodded, lurching to her feet. 'Gotta go.'
'I will come along with you, said Tsu, beckoning Narenda to follow.
By the time the three girls walked through the south wing classrooms,
crossed the Quad and made their way into the Admin area, arriving at
the Infirmary Section on the ground floor, Marge Turnbull, still in a
robe, was heading out through the glass doors.
'You alright Marge?' Priscilla asked as they passed.
'Oh yeah, I'm O.K. Just swallowed half the pool. Annie's pretty crook
though. They're sending her off to hospital for tests. They think she
might be bleeding inside. Reckon Monique's in big trouble.' She hurried
off before they could ask any more questions.
'Never mind what she thinks,' said Priscilla, pushing through the doors. 'I want to see Moni. Come on.'
They found Sister Menzies on the phone at reception. '... an ambulance.
How long? Good. We have been observing her. She is now conscious. No
further signs of bleeding. She has a superficial cut to the inside of
her mouth and is complaining of pains in the abdomen. No. No bruising,
but there seems to have been quite a deal of blood... No, not from the
other girl, she has abrasions to her back... nothing internal. Yes, we
will keep her here overnight anyway... Very well, we'll have Roseanne
ready when the ambulance arrives.'
'As my little Brother Henry would say, "Never have a phone conversation
with your back to the door: classic goof in all the movies" ', croaked
Priscilla, easing herself onto one of the drab, grey vinyl-padded forms
lining the waiting-room walls.
'Thankyou, bye,' Beth Menzies dropped the phone onto its cradle and turned to find the three girls facing her.
'Oh, Ladies, I didn't hear you come in... '
'Classic B grade movie line,' muttered Priscilla under her breath, then louder, 'We've come to see Monique, Miss Menzies...'
But before anything else could be said, the ward door opened and
several people emerged. '... locker keys to Miss Van Weenan for both
Sole and Bateleur's uniforms and personal items...' Sonia Poe,
Headmistress of Hopewell Hall, stopped short as she caught sight of the
trio. 'Ah! Miss Black! I take it that you and your friends have come to
see your Roomy Monique?'
'Yes Miss Poe,' Priscilla replied, trying not to sound as if the Head
Mistress had just stated the blindingly obvious. 'Can we? Sister
Menzies said she has to stay in overnight for observation but it's my
Brother's birthday on Sunday and we were going home today after school...'
'Not tonight,' said Beth Menzies firmly. 'Monique appears to be fine,
but my duty of care is to be sure before releasing her. Tomorrow, late
morning at the earliest,' she concluded, her arms folded across her
'Well, there you have it Ladies,' said Miss Poe, 'Sister Menzies has
the final say in situations such as this and,' she added, 'there are
also questions unanswered about this afternoon's incident in the pool.
I shall require further information as to exactly what took place. It
seems that Miss Sole has suffered some kind of extreme internal trauma
brought about by physical contact with Miss Bateleur, and the School
will not rest until the matter has been examined thoroughly. To that
end Mister Mitikovski and Mister Garland, as well as Miss Van Weenan
here, will be investigating. On the surface it would appear that Miss
Bateleur might have taken the opportunity to even up an old basketball
score upon your account Miss Black. And so I shall await reports from
my staff this evening and review the matter over the weekend. On
'You can't be seri...' Priscilla began to protest, then, feeling the
pressure of Tsu's hand upon her shoulder, she asked dejectedly, 'Does
she have to stay at school until then?'
'That will not be necessary,' answered Miss Poe. 'Upon Sister Menzie's
release, Monique may venture out, but be assured that she must be in my
office before assembly at eight-thirty on Monday morning.'
'Well can we at least see her now?'
'I think it would be best, in your somewhat excited state, that Monique
be left to rest and that all of you go off and have your evening meal
and an early night,' answered Sister Menzies, and Priscilla could see
by the set of her face that Beth Menzies was not about to alter her
'Far and away!' shouted Priscilla in frustration as she, Narenda and
Tsu burst from the Admin building and emerged onto the broad expanse of
'Priscilla!' hailed a voice out of the gloom of the late autumnal
afternoon. It was Terri Tori-Toth in company with Belinda Moss. The two
groups hurried together, shivering in the swiftly cooling air. 'How is
Monique?' asked Belinda, rubbing her hands together with Tsu's.
'We did not get to see her,' said Narenda, but Priscilla cut in quickly, 'Anything to report?'
'Yes, yes!' said Belinda. 'Marge Turnbull came back to the pool to get her uniform from the locker room...'
'But thhenn,' said Terri, dragging out the moment, 'she spent quite a
long time wandering about. She seemed to be watching the kids in the
pool, but every now and then we could see her sniffing around, sort of
looking for something; especially in the water!'
'Ah!' said Priscilla. 'The plot begins to congeal! I smell a rat. A bloody big rat!'
Chapter 6 [next]