“But I don’t want to go!” It was the students first day and he had to go back to his old school.
“You don’t have a choice.” His mother pointed to the door. “School starts today and you have to be there.”
“But what good am I going to do?” He had doubts.
“Surprise yourself,” she said wryly. “Now go!”
After he got off the bus he trudged in the school gate, glad that none of the students seemed to be around yet. He’d been assigned an office/staffroom earlier in the week but it was a one person space and so rather lonely, even if with his being the only member of his department it made sense for him to be on his own. There was still morning assembly to be gotten through, the principal was going to introduce him to the school. He’d hated morning assembly when he’d been at school because it had meant being cooped up next to Gerry Manderson and Tom Nevis, unable to escape. Actually being called on at Assembly had always been worse and the sheer inevitability of what was going to happen was weighing him down.
Inevitably the headmaster, Mr Stokes, said, “And this year we are joined by Mr Simblet who, in line with the Department of Education’s revised curriculum requirements, will be teaching Defensive Magic. He will also be taking on the anti-bullying program." Yesterday Miss Hotchkiss, who’d run the program last year, had almost been in tears when she’d done the handover to him. If he could save her from those tears, then he would have accomplished something this year. The little English teacher simply hadn’t been able to handle some of the school’s recalcitrant problems, and he suspected that there were things she hadn’t told him, but thanks to her he was ready for the projectiles that sailed out of the Year 9 section of the assembly.
Instead of hitting him, the objects began to orbit him like small moons. “Ah. George Manderson, Ben Nevis and Timothy MacDool. Thank you for volunteering for your first week’s detention so early in the proceedings.” He smiled. It was a tight smile he’d learned well after leaving school. “You will report to my office within five minutes of the bell commencing recess or we will commence your detention with remedial navigation and timekeeping.” As the noisome objects orbiting him burst into flames and turned into fine ash he added, “You do not want to make me come looking for you.”