"To be, or not to be—"
"Bang you're dead." Wednesday lifts her pistol, the barrel still smoking, and winks at her brother. "Easy."
"Easy for you," Puglsey grumbles. "My teacher searches me for weapons now, all because you accidentally left your hand grenade in my lunch box."
"You mean you hid it there when I was looking for it," she retorts. "You say potato—"
"And I say slug." Pugsley sighs. "Why are you going to whatever that place is called for high school anyway? It's gonna be so boring here now."
"I'll send you a new bomb in the mail every month?" Wednesday offers, reaching over to pat her younger brother on the head. He reaches up his own hand to slip the poisoned darts from between her fingers before her fingers touch his hair.
"You'd better," he says, sticking out his tongue.
"Stick a needle through my eye," Wednesday sniffs.
Catskill Academy is formed of buildings that used to be a seasonal resort, and as Wednesday's heels click over the gleaming marble floors of the lobby and atrium, she can still hear the clinking of cocktail glasses, the whispers of skirts and hushed voiced gossiping about people who have been dead for years.
The receptionist greets her with a disinterested expression, her fingers playing with the black ribbon wrapped round the pale flesh of her neck, and Wednesday doesn't bother to do more than nod, taking the key to her room and the leather folder with her new class schedule. School won't start for a few more days, so there'll be time to settle in.
She wonders what her roommate will be like, and whether she'll need to dispose of them.
Students are responsible for any damage incurred to their rooms as well as any public spaces.
Wednesday rolls her eyes, and tucks the folder beneath her arm, plotting what type of bomb she should send to Pugsley first, and noting the exhaust grates in the walls of the corridors as she passes by, as well as the stairwell exits and which windows will open most easily.
The door is nice solid wood, carvings of tiny demons gamboling across the grains of wood as they appear to be escaping a few eyes. Wednesday doesn't bother knocking, just pushes the door open with her toe.
There's a girl sitting at the desk, blue skirt a backdrop to the rifle she has dissembled, the piece spread out over the wood surface as she cleans the barrel of the gun.
The room smells strongly of chemicals, a well-rounded bouquet.
"India Stoker," the girl says, brushing her dark hair out of her eyes with the back of a hand. Her fingers are smudged. Her eyes are considering.
"Wednesday Addams," Wednesday replies. "Nice rifle."
India looks at her for a moment, her eyes thoughtful, and Wednesday finds herself intrigued.
"You can borrow it, if you need," India says, "as long as you clean it when you're done." Her finger runs along the metal before slipping off to rest on the desk.
"Thanks," Wednesday says, tipping her head and setting the leather fold down on the other side of the desk. She perches on the desk, tucking her legs up as she glances around for her luggage. "Did the porter bring my bags up already?"
"A while ago," India says, and gestures towards the door to what Wednesday guesses is a walk-in closet. "You have a nice axe."
Wednesday grins. "It's a personal favourite," she says, "I couldn't bring all my things of course. The guillotine was a little too big for the suitcase, but my brother will keep it well oiled." Her sigh is regretful; memories of such good times.
India nods, wiping her hands on a white cloth as she starts snapping the rifle back together. "My uncle didn't fit in a suitcase either," she says, and laughs, getting to her feet, rifle in one piece.
"Coffins are usually better for human transportation," Wednesday agrees.
"Or freezers," India adds. There's a muffled rumble, and she shrugs. "I'm hungry; I think I missed lunch."
"Is the food any good here?" Wednesday asks, following India back out into the hallway. Further down, a door slams shut, and she glances over curiously but there's nothing there.
"The ice cream is good," India says, "so there's always that."
Wednesday thinks about Pugsley, and the cottage cheese and cabbage salad he's probably getting at school right now.
"That's good enough for me," she says, "and there are ways to be convincing if the cooks need help."
India catches her eye, and tips her head, a tiny grin flickering in the corner of her mouth. Wednesday winks, and they brush shoulders as they descend the flight of steps to the dining hall.
"Pugsley, the mail for you from your sister is waiting in your room," is what his mother says when he opens the front door after getting home from a long and tedious day at school, stomach rumbling after the terrible lettuce salad that was all he'd gotten for lunch, and Pugsley is running up stairs before he even has time to hear the rest of his mother's greeting.
The brown paper parcel on the table in his room is already ticking, and it's a delightfully mad scramble as he finds the right cable to cut and still ends up with a minor explosion that dusts the grey walls of his room with a little more soot. He pulls the nails out of his hair, wipes his face off with a crumpled handkerchief, and opens his sister's letter.
Catskill Academy is lots of fun. The classes are average nonsense of course, and the teachers are completely deluded, except for the chemistry professor who keeps blowing herself up, but my roommate is the best and I think you'd like her a lot. Please ask mother if I can invite her home for Halloween, as India's only family is her mother who's on an extended holiday in the Pyrenees until further notice.
I hope you had fun with the bomb, and in the meantime you'd better have some great new ideas for decorations.
P.S. I trust that you are keeping the guillotine well oiled