Chapter 3 ~
The Professor's Touch
Inside the very heart of the forest, where there was no light falling through the canopy, in thick blackness of brambles, leaves, and- unknown frightening plant-life in various sundry forms, and situations- same passions probably . . .
"Professor." Bonnie's voice was barely above a whisper. He dipped his head to indicate his attention. "Professor, where are we?" she whispered. He coughed.
"The ocean. That is where we are headed."
"The ocean?" she asked. Why then were they in this clearing? Bonnie began smelling strange curiosities however that quickly took her mind away from unpleasant and worrying notions spinning around- she glanced up and immediately her eyes were trained upon a turkey that ran by, clucking in a way that suggested a human predator was chasing it down for meal time. It was strange. As she experienced her surroundings with the most important sense, items in her vision floated around that demanded her attention. She sucked one of her fingers, hard.
"Professor!" she exclaimed. "Why are my eyes moving of their own accord?" He growled.
"They are not moving of their own accord. This is a potent area in which there lives all types of sentient spells that were founded . . . ahem. Too extensive information at the moment. At the proper time, Bonnie." I wonder what he means by the proper moment? she thought. Bonnie bit her lip hard, before yanking on the professor's robes roughly. He spun towards her.
"What- " he bared his dark lips in a snarl, "You are an insolent child." Bonnie's teeth were grinding against her lips like a machine. Yet she lifted her head, and stared at him. Jerkily he threw up a hand before her, in a what she thought to be singularly odd gesture. She tried to stop her reaction, but deviously a corner of her mouth slid out, in a soft, subdued smirk. She attempted to hide her face from his eyes. Oddly, once again, the professor sighed. "Come with me, you exasperating little creature." Exasperating creature? Again! He really was the strangest person, and so, she merely allowed herself a moment to- smirk. Hmm.
Bonnie did not have anyone to tell her this, but she had an exceptionally bright young brain. However it may amuse her at times to- use it. Oh, but when she had nothing with which to bide her time, that she would dwell over things that could not be seen, that could not, in any instance be helped was a given. During these moments images would float across her conscience as they did now, slowly bubbling to the surface of her shiny brain, waving their dark limbs in front of her tired, beaten-down child's heart, sending her obvious messages that would tear her up, harm her. They were inevitable. They could not be helped. Way too much had happened to the girl in her current state and she was finally meeting up with her recent change in the environment, but, more importantly, with her life at home. So, she stopped walking. The professor, upon detecting the lack of noise mixed with questioning drills, ceased in his trek. In a deliberate action, he too paused and spun back toward the child. A curious type of phenomenon had manifested in the rigid girl, who stood within the throes of a deathly quiet, stock-still. Not a sound was the mouse making. Insolent-
"Why, pray tell me, have you parted ways, here? Have we reached our destination, do you think?" She did not answer. "There is a reason for your inability to answer, I presume, Bonnie." There was, of course.
"Yes, there is," she stated.
"What would that be?" Wind spiraled through the trees, meandering through the professor's waspish hair that seemed to her to be somehow connected to his character. It curtained her from view, mocking her person. But Bonnie could not answer his question. His hair was enchanting, made its way into her thoughts, sitting there, quite at home in the empty, sloshing, space.
"I don't know. I'm sorry, Professor." The nature of his face quickly altered.
"Look at me, Bonnie." Sounds of barely suppressed breathing issued into the minute shadowy enclosure, punctuated only by the squeaking of a fowl with vocal chords- vocal chords that sounded like her owl. Hers . . . quietly suppressed breathing, bubbling just beneath the surface of a dangerous volcanic eruption. "I- I can't."
"Bonnie," he said. "I have something to give you." He reached deeply within the pocket of his velvet cloak, withdrawing from it a small wooden box-
"My music box!" She exclaimed. Steadily, his onyx marbles bore into her. "Open the box, Bonnie," he told her in his deep, rumbling voice. It was as thick as his velvet. "Open it."She did, and consequently began to unwind it immediately. Hugging herself, she started to sway back and forth, vacuuming the music inside herself. The foul's calls erupted overhead. She visibly, painfully could- see it, biting, and cawing, and her father's fervent, predatory hands, as he squeezed-
"No!" she shouted. Throwing the music box on the ground with a force of magnitude that succeeded her, apparently, in years, she turned to full-out, flight, not caring that she had broken the pretty box while so upset- she just wanted to run. The professor caught her with a strong arm. She was pouring forth a stream of words, stringing an issued narrative that was rough, a mess, a pile of dirt without any meaning. Her words spewed out as she cried, cried for all of it, cried, and tore at the man's robes.
"I'm not going back! I don't know why you kidnapped me, but I'm not going back!" she sobbed with utter anguish, hearing, through the mad rush, a surprisingly calm voice above her.
"Listen to me," Professor Abast said harshly to her. "You foolish, pertinent little girl. I am not taking you back to your family. We are going to my manor. It is not far from this clearing. Pick that music box back up," he instructed. Glancing at him, she reached down. She had the broken instrument clutched within her small hand tightly. Her lips trembled though, her breathing, was raggedly, prompting a reaction that was directly in reverse of the professor's wishes.
"For goodness sakes child, relax. Give me the box. It matters little if it is broken. Give it to me, now. Now then." The tiny little medium of the various tunes Bonnie had known throughout the last couple of years, those so precious, now silenced forever, was caught, into the flourishing, long-fingered white hand. He lifted the box into the air, singing in a low flawless voice, for several minutes. She ran her fingers through her silky blond hair while listening to him. His voice calmed her down a bit, so she found herself nearing him slowly. Wide-eyed, she watched his actions raptly.
When Professor Abast finished the lilting, hushed hues of a song that seemed to color up the world with a blanket of calming paints and a splashing of pretty, which Bonnie wanted to put her hands into, draw with, she leaned up against the professor, her eyes closing. A smile barely traced her face beneath dried tracks of felled tears, paying the dour man with astonished paralyzation. He did not move. Strange. A feeling was inside him. He couldn't quite depict it. The sudden urge had arrived out of nowhere, lacing his body with a difficult war. He did not wish to touch the child, but found himself revoltingly unable to resist reaching out to her with his left hand, to steady her shoulder. Bonnie started.
"Oh. I'm sorry, Professor." She averted her gaze as she quickly pushed away from him. He swallowed.
"Bonnie." He paused. "I need you to- please- take my arm."
"Okay." With little hesitation, she reached out to grab the robed appendage beneath the elbow. He cleared his throat.
"Now. This is going to be a new experience for you. But there will be no harm done, and no reason to fear."
"Professor?" she gulped. He nodded. "It's alright," he whispered. He then proceeded to open the music box. Unwinding it, the music started to play, making her think that his touch must have been made of magic, in some way. She closed her eyes and immediately started to drift off.
"Not quite yet," his low voice reached through her trance, like piano keys, that took on a bass tone through her 'special' cadences. "Don't let yourself drift yet, Bonnie. I want you thinking of a place. Picture a mansion in your head. The pillars are white, framed by terraces that stretch into a deep valley. Picture that, now. Good." The professor's voice appeared satisfied, causing her to smile. "Take me to that first terrace." Slowly Bonnie went to sleep.