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Are you sitting comfortably?
Then we will begin chapter 15: Luke Walker and the school play
“I am here today …”
“I am here tonight to warn you, that you ‘ave yet a chance and hope of escapin’ my fate. A chance and hope of my procturin’, Ebenezer.”
“of my procuring.”
“Of my procurin’ Ebenezer.”
“You were always a good friend to me, thank’ee!”
“You will be haunted by three spirits.”
“Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, Jacob?”
“I—I think I’d rather not.”
“Without the visits, you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell tolls One.”
“Couldn’t I take ’em all at once, and have it over, Jacob?”
“Don’t move that, it’s mine!”
“Luke! It’s your line.”
“Expect the second on the next night… hey! Leave it I said!”
“That’s my bag!”
“She’s only putting it in the cloakroom, it’s in the way out here, someone might trip over it.”
“Can we please finish this scene! Go from ‘Couldn’t I take ’em all at once’.”
Butler pulled a face at Luke who reciprocated.
“Couldn’t I take ’em all at once and have it over Jacob?”
“Expect the second on the next night at the same hour. The third upon the next night when the last stroke of Twelve has ceased to vibrate. Look to see me no more; and look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us!”
Ms Robinson breathed a sigh of relief.
“Okay, that’ll do. Well done for getting the lines memorised both of you, but try to put a bit more feeling into it. Simon, remember you’re really scared, and Luke, don’t forget to rattle your chains and try to make your voice sound more ominous.”
“I don’t think Luke knows what ominous means,” he said with a smirk.
“Yes I do!” Luke replied indignantly.
Ms Robinson elaborated.
“Try to sound menacing, sinister. Make your voice deeper if you can.”
“I knew what you meant!” Luke lied, flashing Butler his most withering scowl.
“Okay Luke, take a break,” said Ms Robinson, “Simon, get in position for scene 3. First Spirit – where are you?”
Luke went to the cloakroom to find his bag. He didn’t trust anyone else with it – there was important stuff inside. He was relieved to find it safe on his peg, looking as though it hadn’t been tampered with. He confirmed this with the retrieval and measurement of his gobstopper – it was the same size it had been an hour and a half earlier when he’d put it in the zip pocket. He put the large sweet back into his mouth, took an orange plastic chair from the stack in the corner, and sat down to read his book. It wasn’t really his book, he’d borrowed it from the library, but it was so good that he thought he’d get his own copy if he got any book tokens for Christmas. The funny thing was, if Mr Beardsley hadn’t given them the book report assignment, he might never have picked it up. Its cover, a boring photograph of a corn field with a mountain behind it, would not normally have caught his attention, but its title – The Sustainability Secret – was intriguing. The word ‘secret’ had made him think of spies, secret agents, action and adventure, so he’d put the book on his ‘maybe’ pile and checked it out. He checked out seven books that day and after first trying and giving up on the other six, he decided, unequivocally, that The Sustainability Secret would be the subject of his book report. It turned out not to be about spies or secret agents but it was engrossing. He read it, and re-read it, every chance he got. Even when he was supposed to be watching rehearsals.
Participation in the school play had annoyingly failed to get him out of lessons because rehearsals were scheduled for after school and at weekends. On top of that Luke had had to spend an enormous amount of his free time learning his lines. Well, not an enormous amount, but some. As it turned out Luke was very good at memorising lines. Not only his own but those of everyone else in the scene. This was a very valuable skill to have and he determined to put it to more productive use in future. For example, there were lots of important facts in The Sustainability Secret that he wanted to commit to memory. A lot of it was scientific stuff which was harder to memorise but he wrote things down, over and over, until they stuck.
After reading page ten he wrote in his secret society notebook:
After reading page eleven he wrote:
“Good Heaven! I was bred in this place. I was a boy here!”
Butler’s voice could really carry.
Finding it difficult to concentrate, Luke closed his book and put it away.
“If they’ve on’y jus’ got to ‘I was a boy here’ it’s gonna be ages ’til I’m on again.”
He considered popping out to see Curly and Squirt but since time passed quicker when not at school he knew it was too risky. If he missed his cue again everyone would moan at him. He decided instead to hang out in the classroom. Pupils weren’t really allowed in the classrooms without adult supervision, not since the “mindless vandalism” of class 6, but Luke felt that since he wasn’t a mindless vandal, the rule didn’t apply to him.
Story continues tomorrow 😀
Enjoy your weekend 😀
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