Acting Out of Character

Poppy Brant: Cayden! When are you back?

Cayden Rachet is not online. Offline message will be received when he is online.


Five days shouldn’t have seemed like a long time, but they did. Every day I was tempted to go and find him, but there was no trace of movement. Of course, I basically promised that I wouldn’t bother Cayden when he was away with his relatives, but I thought that the long-weekend would be over by now. Suddenly, panic began to creep into my mind.

What if he’s been injured? What if he picked up a bug from his relatives? What if I’m not going to ever hear from him ever again?

For once, I went on the computer not for the sake of it, but because I was worried about someone other than myself.


School, the morning after the last evening when I had, once again, checked for Cayden and left my offline message with him, was dreary, like the rain that engulfed it, but it wasn’t the worst it had been for a while. Smilies and words of comfort in the back of my mind cheered me up through lessons one and two.

Instead of lesson three, my year were summoned to our three separate form rooms, and in mine I was greeted by Mrs. Weyven and the sounds of her millions of bangles. However, there was something stopping me from being angry or grumpy. And, when I came into the classroom that sixth morning, I was even whistling.

“Students! I have a surprise!” Mrs. Weyven cried. Not even that could annoy me. I surprised myself more than she did sometimes.

“Since a football match is due to be held at St. Peter’s Boarding school tomorrow, taking some of their students who are in our year away, and creating congestion and transport issues, the school have decided that the interschool clubs arranged for tomorrow will instead be today. You have this lesson to get your things ready and head for the mini-bus, and then the schedule continues as it would tomorrow. Instead of the clubs tomorrow, you will have your normal lessons. That has been sorted.”

I shoved my fist in the air.

“Why can’t the clubs be held at a different location, Miss? I mean, like, on a rotor or something. I’m sure we would be happy to accommodate those girls and…boys.”

As I expected, the form-room began to fill with giggles. I wouldn’t know how many of the girls present had already found a boyfriend from amongst the boys’ school students.

“Annabelle…” Mrs. Weyven cocked her head to one side as she watched me with her piercing blue eyes hiding under half-moon spectacles*. “I doubt that such a thing could be arranged. Out of the six participating schools, St. Peter’s was chosen because it is the only boarding school, and so has facilities large enough to cope with everyone, including a canteen if anyone is weak or feels particularly partial to a mid-lunchtime snack, especially if they forgot to bring their own lunch.”

I wondered if that ever happened; she seemed to be addressing a certain person, even if her eyes did not betray who had done such a silly thing.

I shrugged.

“Okay, well, that make some sense,” I replied.


Still thinking about Cayden (although the thought of him seemed to make me, unusually, whistle, the where is he? lingering in my mind set me on the edge), I watched as the Mother Mary’s mini-bus pulled into the castle-like vista of St. Peter’s.

Soon, we were dismounting and hurrying inside. The signs, the colours, the images of the people, they all seemed to rush past, as they were no matter to me.

Somehow I found my way to the computer classroom, and spotted Drew sitting between a few empty chairs, next to the computer that we had previously worked on. Mr. Stevans had mentioned that, although the school had an intranet, each computer had its own documents system, and so it was not possible to retrieve our slideshows from a different computer. Hadn’t he ever thought that that might be a good thing?

“Hey!” I grinned, swinging my bag down beside Drew. In the cool winter light that was dripping in from the outside, Drew didn’t really look so bad. His hair was battling between dark brown and black, plain, but last week’s talk was still draining his positives. With a complacent heart, I hoped that this week would go better.

“So, are you ready to do more powerpoint work?” I asked eagerly.



*Author note: Is anyone else reminded of Dumbledore here? That was not intentional!

The End

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