She flipped to the back of her exercise book, glad that they still used paper, unlike their textbooks, which were purely digital. It was supposed that this was to reduce graffiti, but everyone knew it was just because the school liked to show off. However, it was impossible to doodle on these textbooks, so Spook used her exercise book, instead. She started to write a small poem.
“Latin is dead,
As dead as dead could be.
It killed off all the Romans,
And now it’s killing me.
I hate the God-damned vocab,
And all those verbs as well,
And as for stinking tenses,
Well they can go to hell!
I want to shred this paper
On which my exam lies.
And the cold light of fury
Is burning in my eyes.
For I really hate this language,
But unfortunately it’s said,
“You cannot kill old Latin,
Cause it’s already dead!””
-Source: ‘Latin Angst … Unleashed!’ by the real SpookofNight
Hastily flipping back to her translation, Spook recommenced working, but her mind was far away. She wondered whether Anna had learned to fight yet. If so, would it be enough. Would she survive?
“Miss Night!” called Miss Noble, from the front of the class. “Would you kindly attend to the lesson, instead of sitting there with your head in the clouds?” Spook blushed and looked away, infinitely glad that her poem was hidden.
“Sorry, miss,” she said, trying to escape punishment.
“Now, kindly read out what it was that you were so absorbed in writing at the back of your book,” said Miss Noble with a nasty smile. She had Spook cornered, and what’s more, she knew it.
“Oh, it’s nothing, miss,” Spook said hurriedly.
“Really? Well, I’d much rather that we all heard it, to be honest. Stand up, and read it nice and loud!” Her voice was over-sweet and patronising. Spook stood up.
She’s asked for it now, she was thinking. Okay, I will read it out, but she’s not going to like it.
Spook was right about that. She started to read. Miss Noble went white with anger, then red, and then a sort of bluish purple.
“Cause it’s already dead!” Spook finished triumphantly, looking around at her classmates. Many of them were smiling, already on her side. Others were pretending that they had not heard, and still others were desperately trying to stop themselves from laughing at the outraged expression on Miss Noble’s face.
“That will do!” exclaimed Miss Noble. “Miss Night, I will see you today after school for an hour’s detention, and don’t think you’ll be writing lines!”
“What will I be doing, miss?” Spook asked, genuinely curious as to what her fate would be.
“You will be programming all of the textbooks for tomorrow’s lesson, and if you think you can get away with programming something dirty, wrong or generally substandard, you are mistaken! I will be surveying your work - so you had better watch out!” The class groaned in sympathy. Programming was one of the worst jobs. Although it could be interesting occasionally, it was hard, slow work, and any thought of taking solace in the monotony was spoilt when Miss Noble’s voice continually cut across the poor victim’s thoughts.
“Be there, Spook!” Miss Noble said as the bell rang. “If not, it will be two hours tomorrow!” Spook left the classroom with her friends. She did not mind the detention, for it would take her mind off Anna, for once, but she wished that Miss Noble would be fair.
After all, if she hadn’t made me read it out this would not have happened, she said sulkily to herself. Not surprisingly, she got no answer. Stupid brain, she thought. Her friends called out to her.
“Come on, Spook! Hurry up! We want our lunch!” they cried. She sped up, trying to catch up with them, and they smiled at her.
“You okay?” she said, and her conversation was as fake as the calm expression on her face, because she was still seething and still anxious.
“Yes, but Miss Noble’s a pig!” exclaimed Briony heatedly. “Giving you detention just because of a poem that she made you read out!”
“Shh,” whispered Spook, although inside she completely agreed. “She’ll hear you!” Her friends looked around quickly, their faces identical in worry and surprise.
“Not a chance. We’re miles from the class room,” said Jeth confidently.
“Hmm,” said Spook. She wasn’t so sure.
And she made her way to the canteen, her mind still far away, reaching out in silent empathy to her young fighter friend, Anna.