Monday 5th September
That’s it. I am never going to school again.
I was woken up this morning by Dad doing some brutal curtain opening and entirely unnecessary breathing and existing. He said, ‘Wake up, sweetheart. First day back at school!’
Urgh. He only calls me ‘sweetheart when he wants me to do some hideous job like laying the table or kissing Granny. Then he started his New Term Lecture.
The bucks have all been passed and the arguments thrashed out until they don’t even bleed any more. Finally, after a hundred false starts, the Rosalind Franklin begins her northward journey — from Beacon on the south coast of England all the way to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands. There aren’t many who think she’ll make it that far, but they wave her off with bands and garlands all the same. They cheer the bare possibility.
“Don’t leave me here!” I shouted and waved wildly at the seaplane as it floated away with a roar and spray of salty water.
I was standing on a twelve-by-twelve floating dock in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I had survived twenty hours trapped on planes — forty-five minutes of that on a seaplane — and then me and my bags had been abandoned here. My brain and mouth felt fuzzy from recycled air and plastic plane food.
Alek stared at the menu suspiciously. He smelled marinara sauce and a trap.
“Welcome to Trattoria dell’Arte. My name is Lizzy. Can I start you off with something to drink?” The waitress was young, maybe a college student already home for the summer, with a kind, round face framed by bangs that curled up at the bottom. Alek pitied her. She had no idea what she was in for.
I can’t remember the last time I cried.
It’s an odd thought to have in the middle of English class, but for years the threat of being taken, against our will, to a facility for memory manipulation had terrified all of us. Any moment of weakness, one show of emotion, and we could have been flagged as unstable. Once flagged, we would have been handed over to The Program, where the doctors would steal our memories, our experiences, and our lives –all in the name of their false cure. I barely escaped that fate.
Property was eleven years old when our story begins. She had been living with the Joneses for six years. She loved them very much, and she was almost entirely happy there. But she was never completely happy, because she was keeping a secret from them, and it was a whopper:
Property Jones couldn’t read.
So yeah. Christmas was pretty weird. Voldemort-in-the-Forbidden-Forest weird. Aragog weird. It was just weird.
OK, maybe the holidays weren’t that bad, but everything’s changing really quickly and it’s so confusing. Let’s just say it will be a big relief to go back to school in couple of days.
My big brother, Nolan, used to say everyone has a superpower. Not a skill you learned, but something you were born with. And it’s not always cool. Some people get perfect pitch or good intuition, while others get something useless like being able to go a long time without blinking. But if you don’t judge, everyone has at least one thing they’re really good at.