III

After a routine morning assembly, we were given our lessons: ‘how mirrors work and what you are able to go with them’, ‘timsing together bigger numbers’; and they dragged on just as I guessed they would.

I suspected everyone. No one had the luxury of being excluded from my watchful eye, with the exception of Mrs. Pennyfeather, who I doubted was the thief. As I ducked my light blonde head of wild hair down over my workbook, I lifted up my eyes to inspect the actions of everyone in the class, instead of keeping them trained on the question.

No one seemed to be doing anything out the ordinary. That didn’t mean that they weren’t, but whoever had stolen the DS had no trace of remorse in their exterior expressions or in their movements and actions.

Katherine’s friends were all gathered around her table, Chloe at the front, as always, and then the others, people like bushy, ginger-haired Meredith, with the ever-shifty expression, or Dani: the sport-fanatic friend, or Steph: the tough one with links to everyone in the class. Steph could chat about make-up as happily as she would play football. In fact, at the moment when I looked up, she was pointing out a maths question to Jason. Now there was a motive: for her to steal the DS to use, or for him to and pass it onto her. But…I just couldn’t bring myself to accuse her yet.

So, I moved on to the next section of the classroom. If I were to stick by my rule, I would have to ‘cross-examine’ everyone here.

Would someone really do that, though? Would someone really hurt their classmate so much, just to get some merchandise? I’d overheard (let’s not call it ‘eavesdropping’, please) that Katherine’s DS also had her game in it: the ever-famous Nintendogs, worth over £27.

The other groups of people in the class I also observed, although I had an idea that the culprit had to be someone with access to Katherine’s bag, therefore had to be someone with a place near here, in order not to look suspicious in their act. Nevertheless, I watched the football boys as they, unconcerned about Katherine’s plight, flicked crumpled up workbook pages around their table.

The table next to them contained another lot of children who didn’t care about Katherine’s fuss. They were a mixture of girls and boys, alternating between chatting and working. Somehow, I knew that if our futures were based on the lives we had now, then theirs would be good lives.

Those aforementioned about filled the entire classroom, small for a class equally tiny, of about twenty. The remaining figure was the sole companion on my table, made for four, but with two empty seats becoming our forlorn barriers. Lonely Helena was studious, but kept to herself, her dark brown hair a veil if anyone wanted to make conversation with her.

As I glanced up at her, she too looked up from her mathematics work to cast her eyes over to Katherine’s group, not knowing that I was glancing at her, and not her quarry. My eyes widened with surprise as hers narrowed and she scowled at the collection of girls. Surely…she wasn’t the thief?

The End

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