Hungrily the girl looked at the piece of discarded food left on the dinner plate. At the sight her stomach rumbled noisily. Grayish rags covered her young skeletal body as she hid behind a tall planted vase that decorated the restaurant. Quickly before anyone saw, she reached out to the table and stuffed the last bits of tasty morsels into her mouth and relished every moment. The rising pain within her eased at the food nourished her. Swiftly the she slipped back out of the café before anyone saw her.A loud knocking startled her out of her reverie.
“Kallista! Are you in there?” Mrs. Powell called through the bedroom door. “Breakfast is ready”
“I’ll be right down,” Kallista called back, remembering where she was.
She had a home now. She was not lost and alone anymore and had plenty of food. Quickly, with a sigh of relief she mentally brushed the past from her mind. Her eyes drifted instead to yesterday’s newspaper and her stomach flipped over again. There on the front page was a picture of her with the wild headlines reading: Trial Set for Suspected Murderer, Kallista Noble.
She groaned and wondered how the press had found out. It was supposed to be press free due to her age. But someone had compromised her. In a daze she walked down the grand staircase to the kitchen. Mrs. Powell had laid out a scrumptious breakfast with fresh food. Yet, with her stomach in knots Kallista found she could not eat anything, no matter how tempting it looked.
Standing in the courtroom made Kallista feel numb and alone among the mass of people there for, what the press called, sensational court proceedings. The dreaded day had come. She was to be on trial for the untimely death of Lady Serena Noble. She was being accused of murder by Serena’s assistant, Professor Harris.
Because she was under age she didn’t have to testify before everyone. But she could feel every eye on her as she stood there, waiting for it to begin. A firm hand rested on her shoulder. Stilling the need to shrug it off, Kallista allowed herself to be guided to her chair near the front. Court was about to be in session.
Turning slightly, she saw Mrs. Powell there along with Dr. Tyler and Mr. Samuels behind her. All had come in support of her. Fighting back tears she managed to smile for them as they gave her silent encouragement.
It hurt all over again having to relive the day Serena died. There was a security video of that night that was to be shown for the first time before everyone. Breathing abnormally, the slender girl wiped her sweaty palms on the pleats of her tartan skirt. Her long dark hair was pulled smoothly away from her anxious face in a ponytail, “So the world can see your angelic looks and know you are innocent,” Mrs. Powell had consoled her earlier as she arranged her heavy locks.Bowing her head, she was unaware of six pairs of eyes watching her. Invisible to nearly everyone but themselves, stood Ezra, Simon, Raven and the three newcomers; Eric, Charles, and George.
“How is she doing?” George asked.
“She is holding up”
“Does she know we are even here?” Eric asked.
“Nope,” Raven replied. “She thinks we are back at the house. She has no idea about the rings.”
“She’s going to find out the hard way what Serena had planned for her,”
“Looks that way.”
Together they watched the crowd. Some of the people seemed to be sympathetic to young Kallista and others seemed full of hatred and condemnation. Ezra’s eyes narrowed coolly at the unfriendly people. He noticed his friends felt the same way.
At that moment she had a look of disbelief on her face as she saw the footage of Serena’s experiment and how she drugged Kallista. Gasping she wrung her hands and looked down, trying to hide how she felt.
“That witch!” Raven sneered at Serena’s image.
“She’s gone now; she can’t do any more harm.” Simon spoke with satisfaction.
“Other people can, though.” Ezra nodded towards Professor Harris who was even more outraged now that his claims about Serena’s murder were being proved false.
"We can stop him.”
“Let’s not underestimate our enemy; that’s one of the first lessons we learned.”
Throughout the caper that the court had become, Kallista could not smile nor could she talk as she pondered what she had seen and heard. Serena had tried to harm her.
Stealing glances around the room at the other people who were supposedly on her side, Kallista wondered just how many of them really liked her.
The jury proclaimed her innocent, much to the chagrin of the professor.
Once the court had adjourned, Kallista fled the room and didn’t stop.
“Kallista, wait!” Mrs. Powell rose from her seat.
“Let her go, Judy.” Mr. Samuels said softly, “She just had a big shock today.”
“After her, George!” Ezra shouted, “I’ll keep an eye on this so called professor.”
George was already out the door in pursuit of Kallista.
Kallista didn’t know how long she ran. All she knew was that her heart was filled with hate and distrust at every single person on the planet.
Unseen by others, George, Raven and the others followed Kallista easily. Silently they kept watch over her till she collapsed on a park bench.
“They’re lying,” She seethed quietly through tears.
Serena would never do anything to hurt her. Yet there were times Serena had sent Kallista out to fetch her valuable artifacts, her consciousness reminded her. It always was a dangerous and risky factor. A deadly force of anger surged through her.
As Ezra joined the group, he took off his ring of magic, revealing himself to her. The others followed his example.
For a moment Kallista was startled and looked at them in surprise. But it did nothing to disperse her dark feelings.
"What do you want?” She asked coldly, clenching her fists.
“We need to talk.” Ezra said urgently. He was looking around suspiciously as if searching for something that was not meant to be there. “We don’t have much time.”
“What makes you think I care?” She snapped at him, “Do you think I am here for your sole purposes too?”
“Relax Kallista,” Raven spoke calmly, “We’re your friends.”
“Friends?” Kallista laughed in disbelief, her face darkening again. “None of you are my friends. You’re all liars!”
She sprung forth swinging her fist at Ezra but caught her hand in his easily. Jerking back she swung at the others with the same results. No one spoke as Kallista raise her fists at them. Instead they skillfully blocked every blow till the distraught girl was sweaty and exhausted. As she collapsed, Ezra caught her.