“First years, first years: the auditorium is that-a way.”

Bodies shoved past bodies. The chatter reached an almost-unbearable peak. With my skirt (and a black wedge) against the wall, I surveyed them, concern patterning my features.

Another year, another set of these new students, spilling in all over the carpets like a fresh rainfall. As much as I didn’t like to stereotype, they held all the typical attributes that First Years always clung too. An array of new, scraggly hair-types mixed together the blonde and the brunette, leading, as always, to the mess that I would later have to search for my friends in. They liked to run as much as they liked to mass out, blocking the entire corridor, and the talking was double their minute size. Yet tall; why were they always so much taller every year? Even when I was in heels. After all, it was not they who were head of school, but I.

The sound of whistling hit my ears in its levelled way. Familiar tunefulness that dared to alert me to the beginning of a new year. Looking beyond the ever-merging throng of First Years, I caught the eye of one of the younger members of staff. Raised eyebrows and a grin told me all I needed to know: he had had a good summer, as usual. By now, in my Seventh and final year, I had come to know them all, reading expressions in the syncopated psychoanalysis that I had picked up from a year of Psychology.

I looked to the timetable clutched in my hand. ‘Monday,’ it read in bold-print, ‘double Psychology, free, double Religious Studies, single Latin’ and then two free-lessons to end the day. Great, the first day back, and I was already being swamped by First Years and the entirety of my subjects. Not that I actually much minded, swept along by the thrill of discovering the new secrets in the rafters. I could avoid a staff-member at fifty feet, idealisms of dodging and re-routing, but there were always paths about the Academy that I neglected to find. No more; I wasn’t going to waste another year.

But I was one of the more studious students- and yet, I barely batted an eyelid at the fact; I had come to the Academy six years ago for the variety, not to encounter mindless slaves to academia.

After tucking my timetable into a concealed niche that I was barely able to reach above the Modern Foreign Languages cupboard (and narrowly avoiding a glare from one language teacher who would lurk in the doorway to her classroom), I strode off through the string of lower students, marching my way to the assembly being held in the auditorium.

“A machete would be useful,” I said with a laugh to myself.

It looked like a small school, the Academy, but years of being a part of this place had made me lose track of its real size. 800 students, or fluctuating so, and a range of teachers and staff from 50 to 70, made up the abyss, and, of course, the classrooms told of the glamour that the school appeared to be when one joined. Three or four floors of rowed colonnades hosted a different lesson at each door, whilst a swimming pool lit up the grounds out the reverse, along with sports courts and a field, if any person required a bit of fitness.

The arts, as good (or not) as I was at executing them, were my favourite sort of recreation, and the school certain did not disappoint. Tucked up in an ivy-trailed block, the art and textile-rooms hung about like popular students, only a jog away from the music rooms. It was, however, the library that was the Academy’s best asset, tucked away in plain site, a round building with books from rugs to rafters. It was that at which I cast my own eyes as I strode into the foyer that surveyed as a cramp entrance to the auditorium and theatre. This beautiful ornament of the front lawn exemplified the ideology behind the mysterious motto: this was no ordinary school at all.

“Once the beginning-of-year assembly is over, and Psych, I shall sneak into the library at break,” I muttered to myself, pretending to brush my dusty blonde hair out of my eyes so that the young years wouldn’t think me so crazy.

Then, as I continued on my way, a figure rammed a shoulder into me. I spun, almost furious.

“Oy!” I called to the figure that scampered away. A newbie, perhaps, but not a First Year. For a moment, I wished to see more of her face, but she had sprinted away already. “The auditorium is the opposite direction!”

The End

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