Mysteries Kept Within (Original Group Story)

Noira, Holland, Cleo, Evie, Falcon and Clarissa are all remarkably intelligent, but very different, high schoolers from around the world, trying to find a good college and simultaneously balance life and schoolwork. When they are accepted into Callysta Creek, a university with a reputation for being highly exclusive, little do they know that there's more than meets the eye to their new school. Will they solve Callysta's mystery before it's too late?

Chapter 1

Noira Avalon Hunter - Beginnings

Another day, another college application, another teacher recommendation, another all-nighter.

I turn the key in the lock and enter my house, a gigantic, less-than-welcoming mansion home to my father and I. I'm the only one home. My father comes home around eleven PM, due to his work. I've got the place to myself.

The thought intimidates me. There could be a burglar on the third floor patio and I wouldn't notice, because I'd be on the first floor.

But, that's less than rational. We have locks. Top-notch security, ever since my mum died.

My navy blue backpack falls to the floor with a clunk, next to the kitchen counter. I pour myself a glass of cranberry juice and settle down, pulling a heavy stack of paper out of my bag.

"UC Riverside... Kenyon... Columbia..." I mumble, setting down application essays and surveys on the table, hearing the heavy, dull thunk of paper on the granite countertop. Senior year is far too stressful to deal with myself. But I've learned to cope.

"Cambridge... Oregon... Alaska... Callysta Creek..." I scoot my chair over, reaching to place the last of the applications in front of me neatly, but pausing before I put the last one down.

"Callysta Creek?" I murmur, lifting the stack of papers and riffling through it. My long application essays adorn the front, and I frown as I set those aside. I don't remember applying for a Callysta Creek.

Then I remember. Madame Alexis, my French teacher, had recommended it to me. I hadn't taken it seriously, at first, but some asking around and I'd heard more about it. A great acting program, apparently. A great musical program too. Very exclusive.

My insides churn as my hands hover over the Riverside application. This is the moment.

The moment I know which way my life is going to take me.

I snatch up the envelope before I change my mind, and scratch at the seal, finally prying it open, unfurling the letter, and scanning it quickly.

I feel a weight literally lift from my shoulders, and I sit up straighter as I read more. A scholarship, and an acceptance?

I'm going to college!

I throw the envelope and dance around the kitchen for a moment before settling down enough to open the next envelope. Kenyon has accepted me, without the scholarship, but still. Two down.

Columbia is far-fetched as I assumed, with a kind, robotic-sounding apology note, saying something about me not having the qualities of a typical student at their school, blah blah blah. My ears are buzzing too much, and although I feel the slightest bit let down, I'm still happy. Happy enough not to bother with the Phoenix, Oregon and Alaska letters.

Not to bother much, at least.

Eventually my curiosity wins over me, and I rip open the other letters. Oregon and Alaska have accepted me, Oregon with a scholarship. Cambridge seems slightly undecided until the end of the letter, where they confirm that I'm not a student that could fit in at their school.

Another happy dance around the kitchen and a second glass of cranberry juice later, the last letter that remains is the Callysta.

It's a thick letter, heavy, and very professional paper, creamy sort of, with gold crest emblazoned on the front. I squint at it, and in thin, spiky cursive, in gold lettering, it reads,

ภ๏เгค คשคl๏ภ ђยภtєг
37 г๏รєฬ๏๏๔ tєггคςє
єครt ςг๏א๔๏ภ, ยк

The return address is merely the college name, and the state it's in. Somewhere in Wyoming, US. No address. How will students know where it is? How do they get there?

I open the envelope tentatively, running my finger across the heavy paper, and extracting the contents of it painstakingly, as not to rip it. I smell roses faintly, and smile.

I love roses. They've always been my favourite flower, but how could they know that? Maybe I mentioned it in one of my essays?

Unfurling the first piece of paper, I begin reading.

To Miss Hunter

After looking over your application, we are pleased to say that you'd be a very fitful candidate for Callysta Creek. We also can offer you a full-ride acting scholarship, because of your high qualification in the area, we believe that our school can benefit from your talents quite well.

After, and only after, you decide you'd like to attend, there is an enclosed packet of information about our school, for your eyes only. Please look it over before the beginning of term.

Sincerely, Tessa Hawkins, Admissions Office, CCC, SA.

I frown and rummage through the envelope, eventually withdrawing a thick packet of paper that says my name on it.

"C'mon, open already!" I snap, trying to peel the first page off of the rest of the packet. It doesn't budge. "Oh, come on! What college would send information that you can't read?"

I'm tempted to put the paper down and just be done, and go to Kenyon, but I don't. Something compels me to keep trying.

I sighed and pick up the acceptance letter again, reading it carefully before noticing the bolded words and the strange wording of the sentences. After, and only after, you decide you'd like to attend... like they already knew I'd say yes.

I huffed and picked up the informational packet again, finger it between my long, pale fingers and say clearly, "I'm going to Callysta Creek."

The packet falls open easily. It is blank.

"Well, brilliant!" I say sarcastically, but even as I say it, the golden letters appear, in shining ink, on the page.

I gape at the paper for a moment, before gingerly touching one of the gold letters with my little finger. Gold ink comes off smudged on the tip, but the paper is pristine as ever.

Welcome to Callysta Creek, Noira Avalon Hunter. the paper reads. We hope you enjoy your stay...

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