The creature had taken one hard look at Fray and Casey before leaping off the stand and onto the ground bellow. He landed with the force of a ton of bricks, sending a large banging noise echoing through the field as it landed on the hard ground bellow. It's eyes frantically searched the ground before it for any further threats before bounding into the darkness and vanishing from sight.
Earlier that night
'I don't like it.' Lulu spoke with a huff as she sat cross legged on the dirty floor. She had rejoined Alistair and the other back in wonderland, Ms Vander had been busy telling them about a few adventures she had had and some secrets that she had stored in the library. When Lulu had returned she had been full of worry about their friend suddenly leaving and had told everyone her concerns. They had discussed the notion of following her, but Alistair insisted they should wait until she called.
'We can't just go rushing after her Lulu, it may be family things. Her parents saw her light up remember?' Alistair spoke. He sounded like he was almost apologising for having to prove his point. Ever since he opted for them to stay she had glared at him the entire time.
'Did you read her mind at all Ms Vander?' Ryan asked. Ms Vander shook her head.
'I don't read my friends minds without their permission. I learned the hard way that invasions of privacy have their consequences.' She spoke and cast a glance towards Alistair who looked down at the floor awkwardly and blushed.
'You all need to relax.' Ms Vander said with a smile, 'Al's right. Just wait for her to call. In the mean time I'll tell you about the time when Lyra decided to let Alan use the alethiometer.'
Later that Night
They had listened to Ms Vanders stories for a good hour or so before Alistair received the text message. They had been about to leave and finally get some rest, but as soon as Alistair received the text everyone had had an instant change of heart about going home and going to bed.
The journey to school would have been an hours drive from their current location, but luckily they were still in possession of the mode of transport they had used to get to Gracefield; the Cheshire Cat. It had taken mere seconds to be teleported from outside the burning building to the football field. They had materialised in a cloud of smoke just as the creature had run away.
'I knew we shouldn't have let her go alone!' Lulu cried out as they gathered around Casey's unconscious form, 'What do we do?' Lulu asked as she knelt down next to her. Ryan was stood by her side staring at the stranger, probably wondering who on earth he was and whether they should be attacking him or not. Ms Vander had started leaning over the girl and checking over her body for wounds with surprising skill. It was as if she had been in this situation a thousand times. Ryan wondered whether she had been a doctor before deciding the life of a super powered under cover teacher was more exciting.
'We need to get to a hospital.' Ms Vander spoke before pushing out the palms of her hands in front of her and getting to her feet. She stared at the girl as if staring straight through her, then suddenly the girl began to rise off the ground and hover in the air in front of her.
'What if she goes pyro?' Ryan asked, trying not to be too distracted by his friend levitating.
'We're going to have to take a risk. Alistair can you call her parents?' She asked and turned her head to look for Alistair who was now stood at the end of the football field staring into the stands, 'Al? What are you doing?' She called out to him, but he just seemed to keep staring, 'Alistair come on!' She shouted, finally breaking him of the trance.
He rushed back to join them and helped to move Casey off the football field and into the locker rooms. The ambulance arrived moments later and carried the girl out on a stretcher before whisking her away. Ms Vander had gone with them saying that she was a friend of the family; Alistair knew it didn't really matter what Ms Vander told them. When Casey's parents asked who called the ambulance the doctors and nurses wouldn't be able to remember a thing.
'Al we came here early Wednesday morning, we came here at lunch the same day, we came back after school and in the evening. We then came back this morning and during lunch today, how have you not found what your looking for by now?' Ryan asked wearily as he sat on one of the stands chairs and sighed into the palms of his hands.
'I've found what I've been looking for Ryan. I found everything the first time we came here.' Alistair replied from behind a row of chairs. He was on his hands and knees and appeared to be scraping at the floor with some sort of small shovel and a bunch of cotton buds, 'The problem is that what I have found doesn't make any sense.' Alistair spoke and sighed as he finished sponging the concrete with a cotton bud before pulling out a small test tube and shoving the cotton bud inside it.
'Me and Lulu were thinking of going to see Casey after school, you up for it?' Ryan asked as he looked back over his shoulder at the young detective; who had now begun sniffing the floor like a blood hound.
'I can't. I have too much work.' Alistair replied sharply.
'Dude she's not going to ask you to marry her.' Ryan muttered, 'You can spare five minutes to see her, it would mean a lot to her.'
'I can't Ryan.'
'Because I'm angry!' Alistair spoke with a snap causing Ryan to jump a little at the sudden outburst, 'I'm furious at myself Ryan. I'm supposed to be clever, but did I think about what was going on? No no no I was too busy listening to Ms Vander tell stories and imagining what Casey's bra would look like on the floor of my bed room.' Alistair growled and sat up before clutching his head and bashing it with the side of his fist, 'Stupid thoughts that clouded my stupid judgement! I didn't observe, I didn't listen and I certainly didn't think.'
'This wasn't your fault Al.' Ryan spoke softly. Al had managed to surprise him again with his sudden moment of weakness. He had noticed that when things got to him, they really got to him. It was as if he spent so much effort pushing his emotions to one side to make room for logic that when bad stuff hit him he couldn't stop himself from being overwhelmed.
'No. Probably isn't.' Alistair muttered bitterly before glancing at the floor again with a solemn look in his eye, 'But the truth doesn't stop me from thinking it is.'
Sarah Croft had been in the middle of making dinner when Casey knocked on the door. She had been bent over a hot pan in the kitchen, frantically chucking in ingredients whist humming various Abba songs to herself. She wanted tonight's dinner to be good, Alistair had seemed strangely off the last few days. He was spending more time in his room hunched over paper work and a microscope he had gotten for his birthday when he was six. Whenever she asked about what he was doing he passed it off as school work, but when she had gotten a look at some of the papers she had seen the words 'molecular decay' and 'cellular structure' written all over them in big threatening letters. He had been quiet at the dinner table and had even stopped trying to get under Dave's skin, which she did admit was a pleasent change but it still unnerved her.
The meal's she usually cooked involved ingredient that were good for the brain like oily fish and tomatoes, but today she had decided to cook one of Alistair's guilty pleasures; deep pan fried pizza.
She had been wondering whether seeing his favourite meal would at least make him smile before she heard the knock at the door. She took the pan off the heat before rushing to the door and opening it, only just remembering to smile before she greeted the guest.
When her eyes landed on Casey she just stared in silence. The girl was beautiful, very beautiful and the dress she was wearing made that fact very clear. She blinked dumbly for a moment as she registered the question she had just been asked.
'I'm sorry my dear did you say Alistair?' She asked, 'As in Alistair Croft? My son Alistair?' She asked, unsure of whether she had actually heard the pretty girl ask for her son.