Military Brats

Military Brat 3

My seventh school

The sea of strangers surrounds me

I introduce myself to a girl in the lunch queue

“Why did you join in the middle of the year?”

I tell her my parents are in the navy.

“Oh.”

She says, her face calculating.

“You’re one of those.”

 

Mother’s eyes are stone.

“Later, I’ll inspect your room.”

Look down, nod. “Yes, ma’am.”

 

Every night, we watch the news.

The war footage is hellish and with every death they announce a fresh terror seizes me.

I keep checking the photos, but it’s never my Father.

Relief fills me… but then I feel guilty;

Somewhere in the world a family is mourning.

What right do I have to feel relieved?

The news theme tune is the soundtrack to my nightmares.

The cycle never ends.

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Mr McGregor

This was written by myself and the fantastical Rosikii.
* * *

I took my time tiding up my desk, sweeping all the minuscule scraps of paper into my hand before walking to the empty bin. I tilted my hand and watched as the paper fell, swirling gracefully through the air like an artificial snowstorm. Back at my desk, I slowly pulled my coat on. I looked furtively around. Alma was still plucking pieces of paper from the floor, like a chicken pecking at seed: but she would soon be gone. I pretended to rifle through my bag for something nonexistent until she had disappeared through the classroom door.

The slam of the door roused Mr McGregor, who jumped and looked up with slightly defocused eyes. For a second he seemed to look straight through me like I was a ghost; but then he blinked, smiled warmly and said, “Georgia, what can I do for you?”

I bit my lip. I’d spent the entire lesson obsessing over this – what to say, how to begin, the way I should say it – and now I was here, facing him, I found my mouth was dry and the words stuck in my throat. But Mr McGregor seemed to understand.

“Come here, Georgia.” He said quietly, but not unkindly. I shuffled closer to his desk, looking at my feet so that I could hide behind a screen of hair. I heard him speak again, in a voice so parental I suddenly wished that he was my dad. “Now then. What is it you want to tell me?”

I kept looking down. The words I needed refused to dislodge themselves from my throat. I swallowed, but I still felt like there was something in my throat. Finally, I looked Mr McGregor straight in the eyes and blurted,

“Sir, recently, I… I have been having trouble using my levitation skills.”

He leant back in his chair, taking it all in, but saying nothing.

“Look, I practise everyday, I don’t know why it’s happening, especially now!” I confessed to him, stumbling over words as they tumbled from my mouth. There was a short silence before he replied.

“Georgia, listen to me. You will not lose your powers, not under my watch. Levitation is an extremely rare gift amongst the population, and it doesn’t just disappear over night, my dear.”

His mouth crinkled into a reassuring smile as he picked up a pen from his overcrowded desk. He quickly scribbled down a few words on a post-it note, his writing swirly with great flourishes on the G’s and Y’s. He gently took my hand and pressed the crumpled paper into my palm.

“Here the name of the person I trust completely. He too possesses the power of levitation. He will, I promise, do everything in his power to help you.” His eyes were so pure and true; I couldn’t help but believe him.

“Thank… thank you, sir.” I whispered, offering him a shy smile. He smiled gently and gestured towards the door. It was time for me to leave. As I walked out of the classroom questions meandered across my mind. Would this man be able to help me? Could I trust him? I glanced over my shoulder at the door, but it was already closed.

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