The school was small, like the town. Simple red brick walls and slate ceilings made up the main building. There was an added extension to the side which was probably the gym. There were some fields and closer to the builder were some benches. Beyond the field was more trees. The town was surrounded by a forest it seemed. Michael shut the car door behind him and glanced at his mum. Dozens of emotions crossed her face as she took in what must have been a familiar place. The double doors were made of glass and wood and led to a carpeted foyer. Beyond that the flooring was dark brown linoleum. The open space had the entrance to the cafeteria nearby and another door that probably led to the staff room. Ahead of him were huge windows that stretched to the floor above. The corridor opened up on either side and lockers and classroom doors lined the walls. To the right he could see a grey stone staircase leading to the second floor. It looked eerie without bustling students.
“This way,” his mum said, pulling him away from the corridors and back to the entrance. He hadn't noticed a little side doorway leading to a reception area. He sat in one of the overstuffed blue chairs while she spoke to the lady behind the desk.
“Janine!” the lady said, standing up and placing both hands on the desk. “Lauren said you'd come in yesterday,” she gushed, eyes wide. “How have you been?” Michael half-listened as the stranger got a brief, mostly made-up history. He didn't know why he was surprised, in a town this small, people were bound to recognise his mother.
“I'm just here to register my son,” mum explained. The lady looked past his mum then, noticing him. She sent him a sincere smile and pulled out pieces of paperwork. She and his mum began working through them. Michael didn't really listen, apart from his birthday. He frowned, swearing his mother had just made him three months younger. As they finished the last of paperwork another man entered, he was dressed in a plain black trousers and a chequered blue shirt. A simple blue scarf round his neck. A matching black blazer was slung over his shoulder. They both looked up as he entered and Michael saw both his mother and the guys eyes widen at the same time.
“Janine,” he breathed, blinking away his surprise. “I heard you were back,” he said, dumping his blazer over the lady's desk. She was looking back and forth between them like Michael. Only he suspected she knew a lot more than him.
“Yes,” Janine replied, her voice a little dry. “Me and my son needed to move somewhere new,” she explained, motioning to Michael. The man glanced at him, his eyes taking in Michael's features carefully.
“I'm Mr Kilby, the headmaster. What year are you in?” he asked.
“Ten,” Michael supplied, standing up awkwardly.
“Part-way through your GCSE's,” the man murmured, recognisable concern on his face. “Don't worry, the teachers here are good. They'll help you catch up and cover any missed coursework,” he said. Michael nodded his thanks. The man glanced at a wristwatch, frowning.
“Other students should be arriving soon. Beth, give him his locker key and schedule. I'll get someone to show you around for the day,” he explained. The lady nodded and came round the desk. She handed him a small key and led him to the corridor. Michael glanced over his shoulder and saw what seemed to be the startings of a serious conversation between Mr Kilby and his mother. Michael threw his small bag into the locker and waited as Beth told him too. After a few moments of waited in silence the squeak of trainers reached Michael's ears. He glanced down the corridor and saw two from the group yesterday turn the corner and start walking in his direction. They were busy in their own conversation and didn't notice him straight away.