Chapter Nine: Trapped!
"Well, wherever Jesta is, she certainly isn't down here."
Nancy pursed her lips, sending her companion a shrug. "Do you think that she could have left the castle already? I mean, I suppose that lame footsteps trick could have been the limit of her arsenal."
"If we think of Jesta as being as spiteful and conniving as Stefana, back home, we should know she wouldn't give up so easily." Copper shook her head. "But I agree with you that she isn't anywhere down this side of the castle."
She waved her torch at the thick oak door that had halted their progress. "She'd have to get through that and it's locked and bolted. Besides, the lock is covered in cobwebs - you can see them glinting in the torchlight. Noone's been through here for a long time."
"So we've hit a dead end." Nancy sighed. "What do you reckon? Shall we head back up the King's Tower and wait for the others to rejoin us? Maybe they've had better luck."
"There's no sense in traipsing around the castle looking for them." Copper nodded. "We'd only end up going in circles and we might even think each other was Jesta. No, I think we should go back to the room. If nothing else it'll be warmer in there, with the sleeping bags."
"If you say so." Nancy turned her torch on her watch. "Almost nine. Too early for bed."
"But not too early for a picnic, and the food is all up there." Copper replied. "Come on. Topaz and the rest will be back soon, since we said we'd meet in an hour, and perhaps Jesta's given it up as a bad job."
"I'm with that." Nancy agreed. "With any luck the others have found her and put the fear of God into her. She might be here stalking us, but she won't expect us to be out stalking her!"
"And we're in no hurry." Copper grinned. "We've got all night!"
"We do indeed." Nancy nodded her head. "And here we are, back at the King's Tower. I wonder if the others are back already?"
Two floors beneath their bandmates, the other Jewels ' thoughts were a mile from returning to the elegant mediaeval bedchamber. In the dim, dusty darkness, it had been impossible to see Sylva or Jesta as the American had dragged her foe away from the others, and the struggle had spilled over into the main corridor itself. Despite their torches, neither Sadie nor Topaz had been able to see what had occured, and though both had heard the creak and the scream, neither one now knew what to expect of the path ahead.
"Sylva!" Topaz called her friend's name again, sweeping her torch beam across the dusty cobblestones. "Syl, where are you? Jesta? Are you guys down here? Because if this is some kind of a sick joke, it's not funny!"
"Something made a godawful noise." Sadie came up beside her, scanning the corridor with her own torch. "A creak...like...like rotten wood giving way, or...or a really rusty hinge or something. It was eerie as heck...did you hear it?"
"I heard it, but I can't find anything along here that might explain what it was we heard." Topaz took a cautious step and a half forward, scanning the floor. "Syl? Can you hear me? Are you still here with us?"
"She wouldn't have gone off alone, would she?" Sadie cast Topaz an anxious look. "I know she's impulsive - could she have chased Jesta off and gotten seperated from us?"
"I suppose she could have." Topaz nodded her head. "But if that's the case, what was that creak?"
"Maybe it was the wind." Sadie sighed. "I don't know. Everything in this place makes a funny sound."
"True." Topaz pursed her lips, then, "Even if she did take off after Jesta and is somewhere else in the castle, we can't just leave her. We left as a trio and we ought to go back to the King's Room as a trio. She can't have gotten too far, after all, and in the darkness it's easy to get lost."
Sadie's shoe scuffed against something, sending it clattering against the wall, and the English girl turned her beam to the floor, frowning as she bent to pick it up.
"Even more so without your torch." She murmured, scooping up her friend's discarded torch and dusting it down. "She must have dropped it when she went after Jesta. In that case, we have no choice but to try and find her. She could stumble around in the dark all night without this."
"Then we carry on." Topaz nodded. "Syl, you stupid girl! Why did you have to jump her like that? And where have you gotten yourself to now?"
"There's something else down here on the floor." Sadie bent down again, picking up the small black object and eying it in some confusion. "What do you suppose it is?"
"Well, I'll lay odds with you that it isn't a mediaeval essential." Topaz took the box, turning it over in her hands. "Definitely plastic coated."
"Jesta dropped something." Sadie remembered. "She stopped to look for it. Do you think that this is what she dropped?"
"Possibly, but what on earth is it?" Topaz frowned. "It's too small to be a cassette player, and I can't see anything that looks like a speaker on it. It's just a small black box, that's all. There's a tiny hole in it here...but that might have been from the fall."
"Nothing else?" Sadie asked. Topaz shrugged, handing it back to her friend.
"You tell me." She replied. "Either way, if it's Jesta's and she lost it, it's probably safer with us than it is with her."
"Agreed." Sadie ran her fingers along the surface of the box once more. "This is puzzling me, though. It looks...almost familiar somehow? And yet I don't know why...just the way that that hole is..."
She turned it over, her torch glinting off a loose panel and, gently, she pushed it back with her fingers. In a moment, the box began to emit a strange glow and, with a yelp she loosed her grip, letting it drop once more to the floor.
As the two girls stared, a figure began to form in front of them, of a young girl dressed simply in a mediaeval frock.
Topaz drew breath sharply.
"It's a projector!" She breathed. "Sadie, it's a hologram - just like Cynthia! That's why it looks familiar! Cyn uses boxes and lasers like this for our stage shows back home in Los Angeles! So that's what this is all about! Jesta was going to use a hologram to scare the living daylight out of us!"
"That's so ironic, and she doesn't even know it." Despite herself, Sadie chuckled, reaching down and scooping the box up. "I must've switched it on by mistake. Well, I tell you something - I feel really stupid believing in the tower ghost now!"
"To be honest with you, I'm glad that the only ghostly things around here are Jesta's overactive imagination and a holographic projection." Topaz replied. "I'm even more glad none of us saw this thing before we realised what it was, either! Switch it off, Sadie, if you can, and keep it safe.We need to find Syl then head back to our campsite. Syl isn't the only one who's starting to get peckish, and I feel better when we're all together."
"Me too." Sadie nodded, fumbling with the box until the projection once more disappeared. "There. It's safe now."
She slipped it into her pocket. "And now for Syl. Like you said, she can't have gotten far!"
* * * * * * * * *
Sylva struggled into a sitting position, blinking as she attempted to bring her surroundings into focus. "Where in heck am I? Why is it so cold? What's going on?"
A groan from beside her alerted her to the fact that she had company, and she shifted her stiff body, turning to squint at her companion. The other girl was struggling into a sitting position herself, and though it was pitch black, Sylva realised who it was.
"Jesta?" She hissed. "What the hell have you done with us now, you bitch?"
"Me?" The girl retorted, rubbing her head with a wince. "What have I done? You're the one who jumped on me! Where in hell are we, anyway? Its cold in here and I have no bloody intention of stopping in this castle longer than I have to!"
"I don't know where we are!" Sylva snapped back. "And you shouldn't even be here! Jewel are here for a damn good reason, and that reason isn't for you to take pot shots at us!"
"Oh, shut the hell up, will you?" Jesta groaned. "My head's already aching enough. I should sue you for shoving me against the wall like that. You coulda done me real damage "
She fumbled in her pocket for her cigarette lighter. "That's damn better. At least now I can see where I am!"
"Trust me, being able to see you isn't exactly my idea of a good time." Sylva shot back. "Besides, you're covered in cobwebs and grime and you look worse than ever. Why in hell are you even here, Jesta? What are you trying to do? We don't cause you problems!"
"No, but hassling you benefits me." Jesta shoved a straggly lock of dusty hair behind her ear. "And that's all you need to know. You're fair game while you're here, you know." She smirked. "And come on, staying in a dusty old castle? Talk about tempting."
"We're doing it for charity. Not for fun." Sylva snapped. "Don't you care if we fail and the castle and the hospital lose out on our sponsorship money?"
"I don't care one jot what happens after I've had my fun. You should know that." Jesta retorted. "Any friend of the Teenangels is an enemy of mine - now and forever!"
"So where in hell are we?" Sylva pulled herself to her feet, glancing around the room. In the flickering glow of the lighter flame, the surroundings were far clearer, and it was evident that they were in a small room, with high ceilings and no obvious door. An old, worn and disintegrating ladder was tossed into a corner, and there was the remains of a bench by the far wall. The whole room was thick with cobwebs and dirt and despite herself Sylva shivered as a large spider crawled out to see what all the fuss was about.
"Tessa didn't show us in here." She concluded out loud. "How did we get here?"
"You tell me. You were the one playing Rambo." Jesta's voice held a whiny edge, as she inspected her bruised arms more closely. "I swear, you are going to pay for this! I have a photoshoot on Wednesday, and..."
"And if you dare say a word about that, I'll make sure the English press know what you were doing at Bainbrook Castle in the first place." Sylva interrupted, her eyes glinting dangerously. "Will you quit whinging for a moment? However we got in here, we have to find a way out. How much fuel does that lighter of yours have?"
"Not enough to share." Jesta held her lighter out of Sylva's reach. "It's mine - you should've brought your own."
"Oh, you silly bitch! We need light if we're going to find a way out!" Sylva grabbed for the lighter, knocking it against the bench and causing the flame to lick it's way up the dry tinder.
"Now look what you're doing!" Jesta shrieked. "You're going to burn us all to death!"
"Shut up! It was an accident!" Sylva exclaimed, grabbing her jacket and hurriedly smothering out the flames. "That was a new jacket, too! Gah, this is all your fault! I should be sending you my tailor's bill!"
"Send me any bill and I'll slap you in the mouth." Jesta seethed.
"Maybe if we tried shouting, Topaz and Sadie might hear us." Sylva ignored Jesta's complaints, pursing her lips. "We must have got in somewhere along that corridor. Maybe if we yell, they'll come and get us out."
"Via what? Are we going to fly?" Jesta snapped. "In case you're blind, there isn't a door!"
"There must be. We got in somehow." Sylva reasoned. "Stop whining at me a moment and hold that flame up, would you? There has to be some way out of here - we just haven't seen it yet. It's not exactly daylight in here!"
Jesta opened her mouth to retort, but before she could do so there was a scuffling from beneath the scorched bench and a large brown rat poked it's nose out from between the legs, sniffing the air cautiously. It had been disturbed by the fire and subsequent commotion, and despite herself Jesta let out a shriek, backing up against the grimy wall.
"What are you yelling about now?" Sylva demanded.
"There!" Jesta pointed a shaking finger. "By the bench!"
"What is it? A spider?" Sylva rolled her eyes. Jesta shook her head.
"No...a rat! A big one! And...and I don't think it's alone!"
Sylva turned to look, swallowing hard.
"Rats aren't real high on my list of favourite creatures." She admitted. Jesta bit her lip.
"Mine either." She whispered. "Get rid of it!"
"I don't know! Just do something! They give me the creeps!"
The rat, curious at the sensation he had caused, padded out into the centre of the floor at that moment, sniffing and then making his way towards Jesta, who shrieked and dropped the lighter. It sputtered out as it hit the floor and there was a moment of panic as Sylva tried to locate it. Jesta, now terrified was convinced the rat was everywhere, and when Sylva grabbed her by the arm, she let out another yell, pulling back into a corner and closing her eyes tightly. Finally Sylva's hand closed around the lighter and the dim light was restored to the room. Casting an eye to the petrified Jesta, Sylva glanced at the flame in her hand, then slowly she waved it in the rat's direction. Deciding he had had enough of human company for the time being, the rat turned, scurrying back the way he had come. Sylva dropped back against the wall, relief flooding her body.
"It's gone." She managed. Jesta opened her eyes.
"It has? Are you sure?"
"Yes. The lighter flame scared it off." Sylva nodded. She cast Jesta a derisive smile. "So you're not scared of ghosts, but you're petrified of rats?"
"Rats are real. Ghosts are imagination, and only idiots believe in them." Jesta muttered. "When we get out of here, Sylva, you better not breathe a word of this to anyone. I'm warning you..."
"Well, we gotta get out of here first." Sylva interrupted. "And like it or not, wherever we are isn't built to be gotten out of easily. More, I don't think anyone can hear us down here. You shrieked like a baby when that rat poked his nose out, and nobody came to the rescue. It's a heinous idea, but we don't have any choice. If we're gonna get out of here at all, we're going to have to work together. Now come on, stop quivering and help me find out how we got in! The sooner we do that, the sooner we can get away from the rat once and for all!"
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!