Startling News

Valorie didn’t sleep much that night. She was far too worried.

Worried about her father – he was a Wizard. A real Wizard, just like her. Was that good? It would certainly explain where she had got her own magical abilities. She couldn’t believe she hadn’t thought about it before, really.

But the way her mother had reacted – that worried her too. How did she feel about Wizards? Maybe she hated them. Maybe she wouldn’t much like it if she knew Valorie was a Wizard too. Maybe she’d try to stop her seeing Charley. Oh, it was so confusing.

And then she worried about Charley. What had she done yesterday to make him look so… well, scared? She couldn’t explain it – going through that wall. It had all happened far too quickly.

Eventually, at around half two, Valorie fell asleep. She was awake again at five. Deciding it would be pointless trying to nod off again, she got up and tiptoed downstairs. She made herself a cup of tea, and sat at the table sipping it.

She flicked through one of her mum’s Bon Prix magazines. It was full of beautiful looking women wearing nice clothes. Her mum liked looking through the magazines, even though she claimed none of the clothes would suit her very much.

Valorie heard a sound on the stairs. She turned round. It was just Mum.

‘Hi, Val. You’re up early.’

‘Yeah. Couldn’t sleep.’

‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry you had to listen to us rowing last night.’

Valorie rubbed her eyes. ‘It’s fine.’

‘Did you hear what we were rowing about?’

‘Er… not really,’ Valorie said, wanting to get off the subject.

‘Yesterday, I found out your Dad was a Wizard. I caught him doing some levitating in the bathroom.’ Her mother paused, wiping the grit from her eyes. ‘I suppose all this is a bit of a surprise to you.’

‘It is, a bit.’

‘But you’re fourteen now, and you’re old enough to know the truth. I’m not mad with your father for being a Wizard… I was just angry because he never told me. That’s all. We had a long chat about it, and it’s all sorted now.’

‘Mmmmm.’

‘So there’s nothing to worry about, sweetheart. OK?’

Mrs Morse hugged her daughter. Valorie let her.

‘Val, can I ask you?…’

Valorie looked up, worried again.

‘Yes?’

‘Did you ever feel like, um… like you had some sort of special power, or anything? Could you ever do anything you couldn’t explain?’

Valorie looked her mother straight in the eye.

‘No, Mum.’

 

Two hours later, Valorie had just begun to struggle into her uniform, when she heard a shout from downstairs.

‘It’s absolutely ridiculous!’

She tugged her jumper over her head and whizzed downstairs.

‘Dad! What’s wrong?’

Her father was sitting in an armchair in front of the television. He always watched the news in the mornings before he went to work. Valorie often came downstairs to hear him shouting at the TV, but this time he sounded quite livid.

‘The Government have said they want to pass a new law,’ he said furiously. ‘All persons with Wizarding abilities must sign this bloody form to show they’re Wizards. Ridiculous. We’re living in a Nanny state, I’m telling you.’

And with that, he got up and left the room.

Valorie sat anxiously down, waiting for the story to come round again. She sat through the weather, something about swine flu, and then…

‘Reports are coming in that the Prime Minister has proposed creating a watch list of Wizards and potential Wizards. All persons with magical abilities will be asked to register as a Wizard. The information will be kept indefinitely on the National database. This proposal will be addressed during next week’s Prime Minister’s Question Time…’

Valorie’s mouth dropped open. This was terrible! If this thing was approved, she’d have to register as a Wizard. She’d have to tell her parents. And what if people at school found out? What would happen to her then?

She thought. Charley didn’t have a television. He didn’t know yet.

Valorie waited until her parents left the house. Then she recorded the news story on her MP3, and raced out of the house.

The End

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