Welcome to Pandora Hill Academia
An obedient child never bites the hand that feeds them. Even when that hand sends the child off to a boarding school without asking the child if they wanted to go in the first place.
Vallin shook his head with a sigh as he ran his hand through his black locs before resting his head against the window of the moving car. He knew the staff back at the orphanage had good intentions when they decided to enroll him in a boarding school.
Vallin just wished they gave him a heads up instead of waiting until the last minute to tell him!
He frowned as he recalled the night before when one of the staff members of the orphanage popped their head into his room to inform him that he would be attending a boarding school. Not just any boarding school they had said, ignoring Vallin's confused face, but a prestigious boarding school called Pandora Hill Academia.
Even now, he is trying to wrap his head around the fact an orphan like him got accepted into a school like Thistle Hill Academia. Sure he was a smart kid and got good grades in school but he would be up against students from privileged backgrounds who have a life people like him don't get to experience.
Well that isn't the case now, he thought as he watched the cotton candy like clouds float around in the night sky. He didn't ask for any of this but it wouldn't hurt to make the best out of the situation. Vallin spent the rest of his time mentally preparing himself before arriving at his destination. It helped that the driver wasn’t interested in making small talk with him.
"We have arrived Mr. Doe." The driver glanced back at him with an emotionless face, though his eyes lingered on Vallin's green eye and his black eye for a second before turning back. Throughout the drive, the driver kept staring at his eyes and would only look away when Vallin glanced over at him.
It shouldn't bother Vallin, since he grew up with people being curious or uncomfortable with his eyes. It's not everyday you get to meet somebody with two different colored eyes. Yet, there was something off about the way the driver was staring at him. The older man never showed any emotion on his face but there was always a faint trace of delight in his eyes as he gazed back at Vallin from the rearview mirror.
Vallin didn't respond back to the driver, instead he pushed himself against the window so he could get a glimpse of the school. Trees were neatly lined up alongside the road as the car slowed down as it approached a wall of polished black gates that surrounded the school. The front gates were open as they passed through the gates, but Vallin noticed that on each half of the front gate had a thistle with a ribbon with words embellished on them.
"Pandora Hill Academia." Vallin mumbled under his breath as he read the words on the metal ribbon. This was going to be his new home for the next few years until he graduated.
Pandora Hill Academia itself sat on top of a flattened hill with three buildings Vallin could see from his window. Shadows covered the buildings, not a speck of light to be found, almost as if somebody draped a black blanket over the school buildings. He bit his lip and fought the urge to bite his nails as they got closer, the never-ending darkness was starting to make him sweat.
There was one building in the center and two other buildings on each side of the center building. The driver stopped the car in front of the center building and Vallin noticed that there was a lady standing outside the building. She immediately made her way over as Vallin opened his door and stepped out of the car.
"Hello there! You must be Mr. Doe?" The lady gave him a bright smile which complimented her light blue eyes tinted with a light shade of yellow alongside her warm brown skin. She was holding a clipboard and her white curly hair was pulled into a high bun. In short, she was a beautiful woman but Vallin wasn't in the mood to compliment her.
"Yes ma'am, that's me." He mumbled but apparently it was loud enough for her to hear because she gave him a small nod with another smile.
"Great! You're the last student to arrive, the other students are already settled in their dorms." She checked something off the paper on her clipboard before looking back at Vallin.
"Do you have all of your belongings?" She asked and he shook his head. He still needed to get his book bag out of the car. Vallin didn't own much so there was no need for him to pack a suitcase.
"Well go ahead and get your stuff and come meet me by the main building." The lady pointed to the building behind her, the same one she stood in front of when he was in the car. He nodded and turned to get his bag from the car. He slid an arm through one of the bookbag's straps and secured it onto his shoulder. Once it was on, Vallin shut the car door and the car drove away through the gate and out of his sight. Let's get this over with,he thought as he let out another sigh before tightening his grip on his bag and making his way back to the lady.
The said lady was on her phone but when she noticed Vallin coming over she quickly put it up and offered him another smile.
"You have everything now?" She asked and this time he nodded in response.
"Great! Now that you have all your stuff, we can start the tour!" She threw her arms up in a cheer, one hand still holding the clipboard. "However, since it's late I'll have to skip over the historic parts of the tour. You have school tomorrow and I want to make sure you get a good night's rest."
Vallin was relieved that he didn't have to go through useless history facts about the school but he silently agreed with her about getting enough sleep. He didn't sleep at all during the car ride. He wasn't a fan of letting his guard down around strangers, the creepy driver wasn’t helping with his staring, and his thoughts about the school kept him from falling asleep.
"Oh! I forgot to tell you my name!" The lady's cheeks turned red and she gave him an embarrassed smile as she held the clipboard to her chest.
"I'm Headmistress Roseburg! It's a pleasure to have you as one of my students, Mr. Doe!" Headmistress Roseburg held out the hand that wasn't holding the clipboard towards him. Vallin glanced down at the hand for a second with a small frown before accepting her hand and shaking it.
"Can we complete the tour now, Headmistress Roseburg?" He asked, letting go of her hand and wiping his own hand against his shirt to get rid of the sensation of the physical contact.
"Yes, we really should get going now as late as it is. Just follow me Mr. Doe!" With that she turned away and started walking with Vallin following behind like a duckling following behind its mother. Somehow despite the lack of light, Headmistress Roseburg led him around the school grounds.
"This is the dining hall." She pointed towards the building on the left side of the main building. "Breakfast starts at 7:30 and ends at 8:10. Lunch begins at 1:35 and ends at 2:25. Dinner is ready by 6 and ends at 8."
Vallin forced himself to suppress a groan as he continued to follow Headmistress Roseburg to the next building. If breakfast started at 7:30 that meant he would have to get up early so he wouldn't go to class feeling hungry. You would think that he would be used to getting up early for school but just because he is forced to wake early for school doesn't mean he enjoys it.
"This is our dormitory. Our school doesn't have many students so we only needed one building to house them all." She walked up to the double doors of the dormitory and held it open for Vallin before joining him inside.
"Does that mean I'll be sharing a room with a girl?" He asked frowning at the thought as he glanced around the hallway. His body eased at the sight of candles that were hanging on the walls of the dark hallway softly piercing the shadows with its warm light.
"Of course not!" Headmistress Roseburg said as they stepped into a big room that looked similar to a living room. It held a tv mounted in the corner of the room, surrounded by three couches. A round wooden table sat in the middle of the couches with a stack of magazines,a kleenex box and hand sanitizer sitting on top of it. On the opposite side of the room, there were two tables set with four chairs each. There were four leather arm chairs accompanied by side tables with built-in reading lamps lined up against the wall of the corner behind the tables and couches.
"The male dorms are on the left side of the building," She pointed to a hallway on the left side of the room." While the female dorms are on the right!" She pointed to another hallway on the right side of the room.
"The room we are currently in right now is the common room! You can complete homework here, or hangout with the other students." She said while throwing her hands back up again.
Vallin didn't respond but he did make a mental note to avoid the common room. He could complete his homework in his room, so there was no reason for him to visit the common room. The thought of going through unnecessary social interactions with the other students made his skin itch.
“I’m sorry you must be tired! Come, I’ll bring you to your room now.” Headmistress Roseburg mistook Vallin’s silence for him being sleepy which in a way wasn’t too far off from the truth.
She led him down the left hallway, the clicks of her heels and the squeak of his sneakers filling the air of the empty and silent hall. Headmistress Roseburg wasn't kidding when she said that other students were already settled in their dorms except for him.
"Will I have a roommate?" Vallin asked, as they walked past a few doors. The headmistress may have reassured him about the girl roommate thing but she never confirmed if he would have a roommate at all.
"Um...let me check and see," Headmistress Roseburg stopped and looked down at her clipboard." Oh! It seems like we have an odd number of male students this year, so it looks like you don't have a roommate." Vallin let out a sigh of relief but Headmistress Roseburg misunderstood the sigh as disappointment. She gave him a look of pity and a pat on the shoulder.
"You poor thing!"
"It's fine.." He mumbled as he backed away from her hand.
"Can we go back to finding my room now?"
"Ah! Yes, just follow me!"
They continued down the hallway until Headmistress Roseburg stopped in front of another door that was located at the end of the hall.
"Here it is!" She said as she opened the door of the room and flicked the lights on. It was a nice sized room with two beds on each side of the room. A trashcan and a lamp stood in the space between the beds. There were desks in front of each bed accompanied by chairs and closets right beside the desks.
"Unfortunately, I wasn't able to give you a tour of the main building but," Headmistress Roseburg flipped through a few papers on her clipboard before sliding one out."Here is a map of the main building! All of your classes will be in that building so it's important you know where to go!" She gave the map to Vallin with a smile before turning away.
"My job here is done! I hope you get some good rest Mr. Doe and good luck on your first day of school!" Headmistress Roseburg left, closing the door behind her and for the first time that day, Vallin was by himself.
He slid his book bag off and placed it and the map on top of the nearest desk before throwing himself onto the bed on the right side of the room. He landed face first into the soft purple surface before flipping himself over and letting his body sink into the bed with a sigh.
Vallin laid on the bed for a few minutes, trying to collect all his thoughts. He thanked his past self for mentally preparing in the car, because he wasn't expecting the Headmistress to be so energetic and bubbly. On a good day, Vallin would've been able to handle her but he simply didn't have the energy to keep up with her.
With a groan, he forced himself off the bed to go change into his pajamas and set up two alarms on his phone. He set the first alarm for 6:00 a.m and his backup one for 6:30 a.m.
After setting up the alarms, Vallin walked over to his book bag and dug around for his nightlight. Back at the orphanage there was a nightlight in all the children’s bedrooms including his own. He wasn’t a fan of the dark, and was happy when the orphanage staff allowed him to bring his nightlight with him to Pandora Hill Academia.
Once he found it, Vallin plugged it up in the outlet near his bed before turning off the lamp. He climbed back into the bed and buried himself under the cover and sheets. If it wasn’t so late, he would've fully unpacked all of his belongings, but he decided that he would handle it the next day after he was done with his classes.
As Vallin drifted off to sleep, he made a wish that he would have an easy and undisturbed life in Pandora Hill Academia. That was all that he asked for, all that he wanted and something he didn’t have the luxury of in his last school. Unfortunately for him, you can't always get the things you wish for.
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