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Chapter 15 continues from yesterday:
The chairs were turned upside down on the desks; the bins were empty and the paint pots were washed up and stacked on the draining board. Everything except Mr Beardsley’s desk was swept and dusted and tidy.
Mr Beardsley’s desk was always a mess – he said it was the only way he knew where to find anything. Luke decided to see if there was anything worth finding. There were post-it notes, pencils, pens, two coffee mugs, a pencil sharpener, a stopwatch, a calculator – a calculator?!
“One rule for them, another rule for us!” thought Luke.
There were two piles of exercise books – blue maths ones and yellow history ones. Luke sought out his own for a sneak preview of his grades.
“He hasn’t even marked ’em yet!” he grumbled, exasperated, “what’s the point of makin’ us hand ’em in on Friday if you’re not gonna mark ’em ’til next week?!”
There was nothing else of interest on top of the desk so Luke tried the drawer. It was unlocked.
“Aha!” He lifted out a large hardback diary, “let’s see what you’re gonna make us do next week.”
He dropped the dog-eared book onto the desk and opened it to the first week of December.
Monday was left blank so Luke, cleverly imitating Mr Beardsley’s handwriting, wrote:
On the Tuesday page was a barely legible scribble which seemed promising:
The Wednesday page foretold a spelling test and a fire drill.
The Thursday page confirmed what Luke already knew: there would be a full dress rehearsal of the Christmas concert in front of the rest of the school and the senior citizens from the village. He smiled, knowing that meant no lessons.
The Friday page contained a still more glorious statement:
“Yo ho there! Ebenezer!”
Luke flinched at Kenny’s very loud portrayal of Fezziwig and knocked over one of the mugs which was still a quarter full of cold coffee. Thankfully, his reflexes were second to none and in slamming the diary shut he ensured the rest of the desk stayed more or less dry. He carefully placed the book back where he’d found it and rejoined his fellow Thespians.
“Will you check on Curly ‘n’ Squirt for me after school?” Luke asked Joe on Monday afternoon as the credits rolled at the end of Roald Dahl’s Matilda.
“Yeah, why? Another rehearsal?”
“Yeah. I’ll be glad when it’s over an’ done with.”
“Not long now.”
“Thank goodness!” said Luke with relief, “I think it was a mean trick them tellin’ us we can be in the play without tellin’ us we wunt be doin’ the practices in lesson time.”
“It was,” Joe agreed, having had to give up a lot of his own free time to paint the scenery.
Mr Beardsley switched on the lights and clapped his hands to get everyone’s attention.
“Wakey wakey everybody, I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. It’s nearly half past three, so let me just remind you to bring your Christmas shopping money tomorrow. Full school uniform is compulsory – we don’t want to lose anybody.”
The bell rang loud and long, precipitating a riot of excited voices and chair legs scraping the floor.
“Exit quietly please,” he requested, “see you tomorrow.”
“I haven’t got any money,” said Joe to Luke confidentially.
“Me neither,” Luke replied, “but that doesn’t matter. It’ll still be good to get out of school for a few hours.”
Luke and Joe went their separate ways.
Luke made himself comfortable in the middle of the row of chairs at the back of the hall. He put his bag on the chair to his left, his coat on the chair to his right and his feet on the chair in front of him. He took out his reading book and his notebook, popped his gobstopper back in his mouth and, keeping one ear open for the approach of his cue, read.
- “Your reclamation, then. Take heed! Rise and walk with me!”
After reading page 71 he wrote:
After reading page 78 he wrote:
After re-reading page 69 he wrote:
“Remove me! I cannot bear it!”
- “I told you these were the shadows of the things that have been. That they are what they are do not blame me!”
After reading page 80 he wrote:
“… but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”
Luke swiftly returned his books and his gobstopper to his bag and hurried to stage left. It was time for the Third Spirit.
See you Monday for the next instalment 😉
But if you don’t want to wait, you can read the whole of chapter 15 now 😀
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