‘OK, here it is. You do know how to use a computer, right?’
Valorie had led Charley and Eddie back to her own house. They had been given a quick tour – ‘Kitchen, living room, bathroom’ – as neither of them had seen Valorie’s house before. Charley had spent over ten minutes fiddling with the television – he had never seen one before.
Finally, she had led Charley and Eddie up to her father’s computer room.
‘This is his laptop, which is a kind of computer,’ Valorie explained. ‘You know what to do?’
‘Yes, of course,’ Charley said confidently. He sat down.
‘Er… how do you turn it on?’
Valorie sighed and pressed the power button.
‘Yes, thanks. Sorry, it’s just that the computers I’ve used have been so different to – ARGH!’ Charley jumped as the start screen flashed up.
‘I think I’d better take care of this,’ Eddie said, taking Charley’s seat. ‘What’s his password?’
‘It’s ‘Francophile namesakes,’ Valorie said. He’s always had that password so I wouldn’t use his computer as a kid. I couldn’t spell it, you see.’
Eddie typed it in, and the computer loaded itself.
‘OK, Charley,’ Eddie smiled, swivelling on the chair to look at her, ‘what’s the plan?’
‘Alright. I read an article last week about computer social networking sites. You can chat to the whole world online. We just create accounts – I think that’s what they’re called – on these sites, and alert the Wizarding community, get them to join.’
‘That’s a pretty well thought-out plan, considering you’ve never used a computer before,’ Valorie said.
‘Hang on,’ Eddie said. ‘I see a problem. How do we create this account? It’s public. Mortals all over the world will see this. Including O’Hanlon.’
Everyone visibly drooped. ‘Oh.’
Valorie thought. ‘Couldn’t a Wizard fix it so that no Mortals could view the page? Like…’ she felt stupid even saying it ‘… talk to the computer or something?’
‘It’s an idea,’ Eddie said, her face in her hands.
‘An adroit suggestion,’ Charley said. ‘But I’m afraid I don’t know anyone like that.’
Valorie sighed. ‘I’ll create a page on Facebook about it anyway. You never know. I’ll even add in the Mortal problem.’
‘It’s worth a try.’
Eddie signed Valorie up for Facebook, and created a group.
Wizards of the world, we call upon you to join this group. Take a stand against the Governments Wizard Watch List. We must speak out for our right not to be catalogued in this manner.
We run the risk of Mortal Government Members infiltrating this group. If you know a way to prevent this, please leave a message.
‘Short but sweet,’ Charley announced. ‘Now all we do is wait. Valorie, can you get regular access to this laptop.’
Valorie thought about it. ‘Sure, no problem,’ she said.
Charley and Eddie stayed for a cup of tea, and then had to leave.
‘Thanks for all your help today, Charley,’ Valorie said.
‘You’re very welcome,’ he replied, and left.
Valorie wanted to continue training, but she was too tired. It had been too long a day. She slumped upstairs.
Her mother found her later.
‘Valorie, what are you doing in bed? Did you go to school today?’
‘I couldn’t, Mum,’ Valorie said. ‘I felt really ill. I was sick this morning after you left. I couldn’t go in, I’m sorry.’
‘Oh, sweetheart,’ her mother said, sitting on the side of the bed.
‘Do you want any tea?’
‘I’m not sure,’ Valorie said, trying to sound unwell.
Mrs Morse patted her head. ‘I wish you’d phoned one of us. I could have stayed home, made sure you were alright.’
‘I was alright Mum, really.’
Then she left the room
Valorie felt bad doing it, but it was the easiest excuse to fall back on. It wasn’t a complete lie – she did feel extremely worn down after the day’s events. She hoped it was worth it.
Valorie didn’t get back on the computer for three more days.
She got quite a shock when she checked her account messages.
‘Wizards are scum. Get off Facebook you ****ing witch.’
‘I wouldn’t join your group even if I was a whiz – Wizards are a menace to society.’
‘If I ever find out who you are I’ll drown you in your own cauldron.’
‘My nan was frightened by Wizards and ever since then she’s been completely hysterical so go **** yourself ’
Some of the comments actually made her sob. All these people who thought the Wizard community was scum and filth… this was terrible, even worse than she’d thought.
However, there were some more encouraging messages.
‘Hello, my name is Beth and I’m a young Wizard. You’re right, the treatment of Wizards by the Government leaves a lot to be desired, so I am joining your group.’
‘WE ARE WIZARDS AND WE HAVE RIGHTS!’
‘I agree with your views, can I join? Luvs x x x P.S. Sorry I don’t know much about computers but maybe ask a school technician or something?’
Valorie had five requests to join the group. She approved them all. This was a great start, but if the group was infiltrated, it could all be useless.