Are they railway bandits?

Sherman and Geynes episode 2 continues:

S&G2 p9S&G2 p10

Story continues tomorrow 😀

Or if you can’t wait, click here to read the whole story right now.

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Wild speculation

Sherman & Geynes episode 2 continues:

S&G2 p7S&G2 p8

Story continues on Monday 😀

Or if you can’t wait, click here to read the whole story right now.

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Let’s look around and ask a few questions

Sherman & Geynes episode 2 continues:

S&G2 p5S&G2 p6

Story continues tomorrow 😀

Or if you can’t wait, click here to read the whole story right now.

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Everything was tidy except Mr Beardsley’s desk

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

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.

“See ya.”

“See ya.”

***

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.

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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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Luke, it’s your line!

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Are you sitting comfortably? 

Then we will begin chapter 15: Luke Walker and the school play

  • “I am here today …”

“Tonight.”

  • “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?”

  • “It is.”

  • “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!”

“Luke!”

“That’s my bag!”

“She’s only putting it in the cloakroom, it’s in the way out here, someone might trip over it.”

“Oh.”

“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.”

Simon laughed.

“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.

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Story continues tomorrow 😀

Enjoy your weekend 😀

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Easy for seasoned outlaws

To read the rest of the Luke Walker stories, click here 😀

Chapter 14 continues from yesterday:

A noisy, activity-filled party with only two adults in attendance was easy to sneak away from.  It hadn’t even been difficult to get the matches from Mr Beardsley’s desk drawer.  Fortunately there had been no rain for a couple of weeks so it didn’t take long to find ample dry twigs and fir cones in the churchyard over the road.  Now all they needed was a big stone each and that would be no problem either because Luke remembered seeing some different coloured pebbles, curiously arranged in the shape of a fish, close to the church entrance.  They’d just been left there.  No one was using them.

It was just after nine o’clock and very dark in the churchyard.  Two owls hooted back and forth.  Every so often bats flew overhead between the bell tower and the vicarage.  Now it really felt like Halloween.  The children made themselves comfortable on the ground near the oldest gravestones they could find.  Covered in lichen, the writing on them was almost illegible.

Making sure there was nothing flammable nearby, Luke built a small fire with the twigs and fir cones on the crumbling horizontal stone base of one of the graves.  He had no trouble getting it going with the few scraps of paper found in Mr Beardsley’s desk drawer earlier.

As their teacher had told them, the game was simple.  On Halloween night, participants made a fire and when the fire burnt out they placed a ring of stones in the ashes, one for each person.  The following morning they would check the circle and if they found any stone displaced, it was said that the person it represented would die before the year ended.

Luke drew a circle in the ash with another stick.  Their pebbles were easy to distinguish from each other.  Luke’s was the biggest and the darkest.  He put it in the twelve o’clock position, closest to the gravestone.  Joe’s was a little smaller and had a notch on one side.  He placed it at nine o’clock.  Isabel’s looked like it had a nose, hers was placed at six o’clock and Tania’s, the smallest of them all, was placed at three o’clock.

“What was that?” Isabel turned suddenly to look behind her.

“Just a rabbit prob’ly,” said Luke, “or a badger.”

“Or a fox,” added Joe.

The boys looked around eagerly, hoping to see some majestic nocturnal wildlife.  They weren’t so lucky.

“We’d better get back,” said Tania, looking at her watch, “it’s nearly five to ten.”

“Wait!” whispered Luke as he ducked behind a tree, “that’s my dad!”

The churchyard was a short-cut between the school and Luke’s road so he might have known his dad would come this way to meet him.  Everyone laid low until he’d passed.

“My mum’s probably at the school by now too,” said Tania.

“They’ll all be there, waiting outside the classroom for us,” said Isabel anxiously, “how will we get back in without them seeing us?”

Luke and Joe smiled at each other.  For seasoned outlaws like them, this wasn’t going to be a problem.

“Follow us,” said Joe, and they led the girls to a little known entrance to the school which was always left open when the caretaker was around so that he could duck out quickly for a smoke without going past the kitchens or the offices.  The door led to the school hall which had a connecting door to Mrs Tebbut’s classroom which shared a cloakroom with Class 5A.

“Don’t tell anyone about this,” Joe added as an afterthought.

Without raising suspicion all four of them rejoined the rest of their class as they emerged from the party. They parted with a secret promise to meet early Saturday morning and check on the fire circle.  Each agreed to wait until they were all together before they looked.

When all children had been collected Mr Beardsley and Thomas returned to the classroom to clear up the mess.  They were tired but it had been fun; they were glad they’d done it.

“Excuse me,” Mrs Butler put her head round the door.

“Oh, hello,” said Mr Beardsley, “are you looking for your plate?  It’s in a stack in the sink.  I’ll wash it up and send it home with Simon on Monday.”

“Er, thank you, no, I’m looking for Simon.  Did he leave with someone else?”

Mr Beardsley’s jaw dropped.  Filled with dread he looked at Thomas.  Thomas shook his head.  At that moment the classroom door opened again and Simon walked in.

“Simon!  Where have you been?” his mum asked, awash with relief.

“Looking for you,” he lied, “shall we go?”

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Chapter 15 starts tomorrow 😉

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