Three mistresses were in an office. One was sitting, head down, pale as night. Two were standing observing the sitting one.
"Nance, wipe that blood off your face," whispered Kathie Ferrars.
"Why are you whispering?" said Nancy Wilmot in the same tones.
"The middles have this room bugged," said Kathie.
"Have you forgotten that at the start of term they came and apologised and removed them all, and then gave us the radio that they'd listened to us on?" Nancy said. "Check the door,"
Kathie looked through the door. "Not a middle in sight. None of them have acted up recently, since the beginning of term, that's weird. Not so much as a slang fine for them,"
"Either that shows the good control that Felicity has as Head Girl, she's changed a heck of a lot, or they're covering up some other mischief,"
"Nance, she's awakening," said Kathie, giving her fellow a sharp poke.
The figure at the desk was slowly, slowly, moving her head up. As it went up, the pale shade of her skin and the marks on her neck became obvious, as did the blackness of the eyes. Eventually she was sitting up straight.
"Ah," she said. "Well. I'm... different. A new person... with two extra-long teeth?"
"Hilda, about that Middle's thing, the being extra good, there's something funny going on. Hello you two. Hey! Don't grab me like that! Hilda, help me,"
"I am helping you," said Hilda Annersley, with an air of calmness. "Now hold still. This isn't going to hurt a bit,"
"What's going on?" asked Nell.
"I am bequeathing you eternal life, just as it has been bequeathed to me,"
Hilda moved her friends hair to reveal two marks.
"Ha, Hilda, when I found Nancy was one, she turned me, we arranged to turn you,"
"Without telling me that you were one, I presume," Hilda said, although her eyes, which were still black as night, twinkled with stars. "How come your eyes are the right colour?"
"You hate those glasses," said Nell. "I have a variety of coloured contact lenses, it's how I've had the right colour of eye and been able to see properly, I'll go get the ones I bought for you for your next birthday present,"
And Nell was gone.
Somebody knocked on the door. "Who is it?" Hilda whispered.
"It's that weird girl who doesn't seem to age," said Kathie. "Hilda, go hide yourself,"
Hilda went and hid herself. Kathie called "Come in!"
"Hello Miss Ferrars," said the girl, fast becoming flustered. "I didn't know you were here,"
"Miss Annersley in?" asked she.
"No," said Kathie. "What's the problem?"
"I've found a corpse," said the girl.
"If that's the body of Thekla von Stift, she's been there ages," said Kathie. "We can't afford anything,"
"Not that corpse, another corpse. A fresh corpse. That of Felicity Maynard, our prestigious Head Girl,"
"Oh, that was bound to happen," said Nancy.
The girl looked, startled, from Kathie to Nancy. She'd thought that Miss Ferrars was alone in there, probably doing some errand.
"Oh, were you two - together? Sorry,"
And the girl scuttled away.
"I don't know what she expects," said Hilda, coming out from the closet.
"I think I do," said Nancy. "I'll stay here with Hilda until she gets her contacts while you can search for the corpse,"
"Nah, I'll stay, you can find the corpse,"
"I was taught by Hilda, you know,"
"Yes, but you've been here longer and you know your way around,"
Hilda smiled. This was like an old married couple's argument.
"I've got the lenses," announced Nell.
Hilda put them in. "I'm going to look for the corpse. All of you can stay here if you want,"
Hilda went. Nell took out a laptop from her bag and opened it up.
"Don't tell Hilda," said Nell. "But once I was a member of Torchwood..."