Monday, 11 April 2016
The Meldings (1) Escape
“I'm going to smudge you out!” Gert Stolid was a bully, everyone knew it (especially with a name like that) and they kept well away. Even Sarah Midgen, who had only been at Oathall School for five hours, knew that and yet here she was now running away with Gert in lumbering pursuit.
Sarah, nicknamed Smidge by her parents, had no idea what she'd done wrong. She'd been lucky until now, never bullied at her old school; but since her parents split and her mother moved to a new town Smidge had lost her sparkle. Normally nothing and no one could make a dent in her personality. But now? Now she was running.
Gert had taken an instant dislike to her. Smidge was an apt name; at just five feet she was small for a fourteen year old, but she did know how to stand up for herself, just not always when. She obviously picked the wrong time to refuse Gert's lunch money request. Luckily at the time there were too many teachers for her to make good on the threats but now? Now was home time and Gert knew exactly which exit Smidge was going to leave from and was waiting there for her, patiently.
Luckily she was a bulky girl -as bulky as her name- and Smidge was able to slip through her meatslab arms easily, but Gert was unrelenting and knew the area well. Smidge didn't and she was panicking now; she'd run into a rubbish tip hoping that there would be places to hide, but there wasn't and Gert was getting closer.
“Smudge time!” Gert hollered.
Ahead Smidge could see a door on the ground; maybe she could squeeze underneath it and hide. (She was one of the best at playing hide and seek as a child and could often get into the slimmest of places!) There was an ornate handle to the door and with a quick check behind her she simply opened the door and slipped inside without Gert seeing her.
The sight that met her eyes was amazing!
It was a small room that reminded her of home; the home she recently moved away from, her very own bedroom! There were posters on the walls; stuffed teddies on the shelves and a bed in the far corner.
She couldn't believe it and almost opened the door again to double check what was happening before realising that Gert could still be hanging around trying to find her. It didn't matter though, she was safe; somehow she knew that. She was safe.
She looked at the bed again and it looked so inviting and, just like in a fairy tale, she curled up in it and went to sleep.
It was hard to say what woke her, but wake she did in a panic. How long had Smidge been asleep? Would her mum be panicking over her?
A quick check on her watch gave her a sigh of relief, only half an hour had passed. Surely Gert would have given up by now.
Now… where was that door?
And that was when panic did settle in, fast! There was no doorway at all. Just four walls, three of them festooned with posters and shelves. The last was completely blank, bare; no cracks delineating a door and no handle. What was going on?
Smidge thought about ringing her mum for help but she realised that she had no idea where she was. She didn't even know the name of the dump she was in, let alone trying to describe her exact location so it was unlikely that anyone would find her!
Just as she was searching for the phone she found something else in her pocket, something odd.
It was the door handle, the same ornate handle that she had gripped to open this room.
Wait a minute….
Now children are possessed of the ability to recognise magic when they see it, and thus understand what to do. Logic has no place in this world and an adult -should they ever find themselves in such a situation, would never have figured out in their whole lives what Smidge did in the space of a minute.
Calmly she placed the door handle flush on the far wall and then simply pulled. That the door opened was a great relief, but the fact that it opened up to her bedroom in her own home was nothing short of miraculous. This wasn't her old house where she used to live, but her actual home! She whooped with joy and barely managed to shut the door and pocket the handle when her mum knocked on the door.
“You must have had a great first day, Smidge!” her mother said, giving her a big hug, which Smidge gratefully reciprocated. “I never even heard you come in!”
That night Smidge had a chance to use the handle some more. It didn't take her long to realise that it responded to her thoughts, her intent. It was magic, of that there was no doubt.
It responded to her wishes -her clearest intent. When she first used it, escaping from Gert, she wanted to go somewhere safe so the handle actually created the room for her and she knew that the room was hers now whenever she needed it.
The second time it responded to her wanting to be home, and so she was and, as long as her intent was pure; she was not going to be placed in danger; and there was a viable wall on the other side, then she could step through.
She couldn't walk into the middle of the ocean or the sky, but she could walk into an aeroplane. (She found that out when she tried boarding the plane that flew overhead. It scared all the cabin crew when the main door opened and she poked her head out saying “Wicked!” before shutting it again.)
There was still the problem of Gert though. Sure, Smidge could use the handle to keep escaping her but there must be something else she could do; as long as her intent was pure.
And then it dawned on her….
Now, Oathall had its own farm together with a horse, some cows, a few sheep and two pigs. Smidge let it be known that she had escaped Gert very easily due to her size and bulk. She also made allusions to her class mates that Gert belonged on the farm so Smidge would meet her there after school for a rematch, even down to exactly where and when: in one of the cowsheds. The one, to be more precise, that actually bordered the pigpens.
Of course, Smidge had no desire for a rematch and had neatly hidden herself behind the bales of straw waiting for Gert to come clumping in.
True to form, an audience had tagged along to see the fight. Gert shouted abusive comments about Smidge and her family and Smidge bit her lip waiting for just the right moment. Everything was ready, she had it all marked in her mind and all it needed was Gert to move a few more steps to the left…. NOW!!
Suddenly Smidge stood out in the open and shouted at Gert, one hand flush to the wall behind her with the handle. “With a face like that,” She shouted, “you've got nothing to laugh at! You're better off with the rest of your piggy family!”
Just as she thought, Gert threw herself at her but Smidge was more than ready. In one swift movement she jumped out of the way, opening the door to the pig-pens outside. Gert couldn't stop in time and went flying into the muck.
It had been raining heavily through the day and Gert was completely covered in swill, effluent and mud.
The rest of the children could not stop their screams of laughter. None of them had seen what Smidge had done exactly, it had all happened so fast, but they quickly ran outside to see Gert completely humiliated.
Smidge shut the door calmly and walked home. She knew that Gert would never dare anything like that again -at least not for a while, and Smidge would be ready for her.
This was wonderful magic, but in the wrong hands there was no telling what people could get up to. Smidge knew that herself only too well and she would never let that happen. Was that why she had been the one to find it?
Only time would tell.