Chapter Eleven: To The Rescue
Jesta, for her part had headed off down the corridor, intent on finding
her holographic box and escaping the confines of Bainbrook Castle for good.
It was not her fight, she reminded herself, and she had not been told that
there would be rats at this dusty old dump. Whatson would pay, she decided,
running grimy fingers through messy hair. It was a miracle she had even
escaped with her life!
As she reached the far end of the corridor, she heard a bloodcurdling shriek, and then the sound of wood clattering onto stone below. Despite herself her heart clenched in her throat. Had Sylva fallen? Was there now a crumpled body at the bottom of that stone cell?
Instinct told her to run as far from the scene as she could, but before she could act on her impulses there was a second shriek, this time a definite call for help. For a moment, Jesta hesitated, but the cry came again, piercing and desperate, and, cursing inwardly, she turned on her heel, making her way cautiously back along the corridor. It was not easy going, for she was guided only by the dim shards of moonlight that penetrated the corridor, but try as she might she could not leave her rival there to die.
"Spiting Jewel is one thing. Killing them is another." She muttered to herself, edging up to the trapdoor and glancing down. She could just make out Sylva, hanging desperately onto the wooden frame, and she muttered another curse. Pulling the Jewel out would put her at risk too, for she realised that in the darkness it would be only too easy for them both to fall headlong into the abyss once more. But for some reason she knew that she had to try.
Sylva let out another cry for help at that moment, and Jesta grimaced, making up her mind.
"Oh, shut that babyish wailing!" She exclaimed. "Noone's dying!"
"Jesta?" Sylva sounded incredulous, then, "Dammit, are you just going to leave me here?"
"Do you think I'd have come back if I was gonna do that?" Jesta was scathing. "I might hate you, Sylva, but I'm not a goddamn murderer." She paused, assessing the situation carefully, then, "How good is your grip?"
"Not so good...I think my fingers are slipping." Sylva was clearly terrified. "Can...can you pull me out? I mean, I can't pull myself up any. Surely I'll be too heavy for you?"
"Well, we'll see. I'm not a wimpy Jewel." Jesta settled herself as firmly as she could beside the hole, then she reached her hands in, grabbing Sylva tightly around the wrists. "Okay...okay, I've got you. Dammit, girl, what do you eat? You're heavy!"
"I warned you I was a dead weight!" Sylva shot back. "There's no need for the personal comments! I thought you were strong?"
"I could leave you here, so shut up bleating." Jesta snapped back. "Getting you out is going to be a tad more difficult than I imagined. That's all. But give me a second. I...I've got you."
"Are you sure?" Sylva sounded anxious.
"Well, if I haven't, you'll soon know about it." Was Jesta's rejoinder. "Damn, I wish there was more light in here!"
"Can you pull me up just a little? Maybe then I can get a better hold!"
"I could try...but I don't really want to dislocate my shoulders!" Jesta snapped. "You're heavy enough. Look, quit it, all right? Let me think."
Before Sylva could think of a response, there was the sound of footsteps on the cobbles and the corridor was illuminated by the glow of torches. Startled, Jesta nearly loosed her grip, causing Sylva to yelp, but she recovered herself almost immediately, glaring at the four Jewels as they converged upon her.
"Jesta!" Copper exclaimed.
"What did you do with Syl?" Sadie demanded.
"I'm down here!" Relief touched Sylva's tones at the sound of her friends' voices. "Help - get me out!"
"Down where?" Nancy frowned, sweeping her torch beam across the floor. "I don't...oh crap! Down that hole?"
"It's a trapdoor." Jesta corrected her. "And would you quit staring at it and help me yank this yank outta here before I lose both my shoulders?"
"Oh God." Topaz realised the severity of the situation and she was soon at the side of the hole, reaching in to take some of the weight from Jesta's tired arms. Soon Sadie and Copper too joined in, and between them they hauled their missing member out of the hole, and into the safety of the corridor.
Jesta stood, dusting herself down, and casting Jewel a disparaging look.
"You took long enough. I thought you guys were joined at the mic stand." She said darkly. "My arms are gonna be all wrenched and bruised forever now, thanks to you!"
"You shouldn't even have been here." Nancy told her coolly. "Nobody invited you."
"If I hadn't been here, your precious Sylva would be mashed by now." Jesta retorted. "But don't worry. I ain't sticking around. I've had damn enough of you, this castle and history for a long time!"
Before anyone could stop her, she was gone into the darkness, and, seeing nothing else for it, the Jewel musicians surrounded their final member, eager to ascertain that she was all right.
"I'm fine. Just shaky." Sylva nodded her head. "She...she is right, you know. Much as I hate to admit it. I would have fallen...she came back to help me."
"Well, I suppose even a villain has her limits." Copper said softly.
"Yes, but if it hadn't been for that villain, Syl wouldn't have been in trouble to begin with, because we'd all have been in the King's Room all night." Nancy pointed out. "What happened anyhow, Syl? How did you come to be, well, in there! There wasn't a trap door there earlier!"
"I think there must have been." Sadie ran her fingers around the edges of the hole. "Only it must have been covered in dirt and dust and stones and years of grime. Maybe it was forgotten about. Somehow you must have stumbled onto it."
"Jesta and I both did." Sylva remembered. "I knew we'd fallen, but I didn't realise we'd gone through the floor as such." She shivered. "It's horrible down there - dusty and dank and there are spiders and rats. There are chains fixed to the floor and hooks in the wall...and we found an old ladder and tied it up with some old rags, but it gave way and I almost fell."
"Maybe it was a dungeon or something. A prison cell." Topaz suggested. Sadie's eyes widened.
"In the guide book there is something about a missing oubliette." She whispered. "That they'd found reference to it in some thirteenth century chronicle but that they've never managed to find it! Maybe...maybe Syl and Jesta did!"
"What's an oubliette?" Nancy demanded.
"It's one of those prison cells where they throw you in and leave you to rot." Copper shivered. "I remember in one of the stories I read once, the hero got thrown into one and had to escape somehow."
"Oublier...french for to forget." Topaz murmured. "Ugh. You mean they just tossed them in and left them to starve?"
"Pretty much." Copper nodded. Sylva shivered.
"You mean I might have been down there with dead people?" She demanded. "With, like, mediaeval bone dust? Ewww! I need a bath!"
"Well, we're kind of far from anywhere for that." Despite herself, Sadie grinned, pulling her friend to her feet. "Come on. It's getting close to midnight and it's been an eventful enough night as it is! Now we're all together again I vote we go back to the King's Room, have something to eat and play with Copper's cards. I know I'm too riled up to sleep right at the moment, and I'm sure everyone else is. Between ghosts, Jesta and missing dungeons, we've already had way too many adventures here. Let's go plan for a quiet rest of night, huh?"
"I'm with Sadie." Nancy nodded her head. "Tomorrow we can tell Tessa or whoever comes for us about the oubliette. For now, my sleeping bag is calling me and I'm starving. Everything else can wait."
"Do you think Jesta really did get lost?" Topaz glanced back in the direction their foe had gone. Copper nodded.
"I think so. She was brave, you know, helping Syl - she could have dislocated her shoulders holding on like that." She responded. "And she looked freaked out enough...I think she'll get as far from here as she can."
"So long as she doesn't mention being here, I don't think we should mention her being here either." Sylva said slowly. "She did save my life, even if she is a bitch."
She rubbed her shoulders. "Though she isn't the only one with sore arms. I'm going to have to hope I'm not all seized up tomorrow for our concert."
"Well, let's hope you get to have a hot bath back at the hotel before then, because right now you look like a Hallowe'en old hag." Nancy grinned. "Dead person dust really doesn't suit your complexion, you know."
"Shut up! That's gross!" Sylva protested. Topaz gently hauled her friend to her feet.
"She's just teasing." She assured her. "Come on...let's head back. Your torch is safe up there, by the way. And once we're back where we belong, Nancy and Copper can tell you all about the castle ghost."
"The castle ghost?" Sylva stared. "But..."
"We'll explain when we get upstairs." Copper grinned. "It's like Sadie said, Syl - it's already been an exciting night, but at least there are no trapdoors or hidden dungeons in the King's Room. And I don't know about anyone else, but I'd like a good night's sleep!"
* * * * * * * *
"And so, not only have Jewel succeeding in their Hallowe'en challenge,
raising a plentiful amount of cash for the new hospital ward and for the
continuing restoration of Bainbrook Castle, they have also done their bit
for British history, in uncovering the oubliette which has remained lost
since the seventeenth century, when the castle first fell into disrepair
during the civil war." The English Heritage spokesman cast a beam out at
the assembled reporters, then smiled at the five musicians. "Tonight, of
course, Bainbrook Castle will be the site of Jewel's own concert - a date
which has already sold out and which promises to be a major local event!"
"I think half the cameramen showed up to take pictures of us without makeup and covered in castle dust, you know." Sadie decided, as the crowd cheered and applauded. "Explaining exactly how we found the oubliette is gonna take a bit of imagination, too."
"I think we say that we stumbled on it in the dark. No need for anything more." Copper decided. "Besides, Syl had a narrow brush with death. We don't need to remind her of it."
"Well, girls, I 'ate to think what you got up to last night." Jetta greeted her musicians as they stepped off the dais and into the melee of fans and reporters, eager for a scoop. "I'm relieved to 'ave you all back in one piece, mind you! You never know in these old buildings."
"The King's Room was safe enough, Jetta." Topaz assured her. "It was actually quite nice to wake up there this morning with the sun streaming through the window and all those people gathering outside. And it means a whole lot to know we succeeded and we made a difference by doing what we did last night."
"Was it really that deadly dull?" Jetta's grey eyes sparkled with amusement. "I was a bit afraid it would be, you know...no televisions, nothin' 'igh tech. But it was a good PR opportunity, and I don't suppose much goes on down in the Welsh Marches anyhow."
"No, I suppose not." Sadie hid a smile. "That's part of the castle's magic, though, Jetta. I think we all agreed that we've never had a night like it before, and we probably never will again."
"I guess that's probably true." Jetta acknowledged. "Though I hope not too many old buildings will want Jewel to kip over in them. After the publicity blitz 'ere over that oubliette...how did you come by that, by the way?"
"Oh, it...made itself known to us." Nancy grinned. "Syl found it, actually. We just...uh...helped a little."
"Hrm." Jetta pursed her lips. "Is that why you all look like you were victims of a flour factory explosion this mornin'?"
"Something like that." Copper laughed. "But it is dusty in there, Jetta. All the old stone - you know?"
"Yes." Jetta nodded. "I'm bloody glad I spent last night in an 'otel, if you want the truth."
She turned to glance up at the big stone building, imposing in the cold November sunlight. "But still, it didn't hurt Jewel any to spend one night somewhere different. And it's not like it was a hard assignment, was it? I mean, you weren't scared, were you?"
"No, of course not, Jetta." Topaz grinned. "After all, there's no such thing as ghosts!"
NO SUCH THING AS GHOSTS
Chapter One: Flight To England
Chapter Two: A TV Welcome
Chapter Three: Avril
Chapter Four: A Rival
Chapter Five: Sadie's Family
Chapter Six: Suspicions
Chapter Seven: Bainbrook Castle
Chapter Eight: Jesta's Game
Chapter Nine: Trapped!
Chapter Ten: The Castle Ghost
Chapter Eleven: To The Rescue
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita, Luis and any other characters in this fiction which do not appear in the animated Jem series are copyrighted to me (E.A Woolley) as of January 2002 <unless otherwise specified> and are not to be reproduced without permission ANYWHERE. Jetta, Pizzazz, Stormer, Roxy, Raya and all other original Jem characters are the copyright of Hasbro Inc, Sunbow, Christy Marx and the other writers of the Jem series. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!