Tuesday, 12 April 2016
The Meldings (2) - Amazed
Sarah Midgen was three and a half when she christened herself Smidge, misreading an envelope addressed to her: Ms S Midgen, and the name Smidge delighted her so much it was all she said for at least an hour afterwards. Smidge became an alternative to yes (SMIdge!), and no (smiDGE) and everything else in-between. Eleven years later and the name had settled down but she still possessed that same excitable personality that sometimes over-ruled her better judgement.
Now was a perfect example: barely two weeks had passed since Gert's humiliation and since Smidge had found the magic door handle that had changed her life completely.
The door handle allowed her to cross from one place to another simply by using her pure intent.
It was by using the handle to open a door to the pig pens that allowed Gert's momentum to get the better of her, and now Smidge was known as the David to Gert's Goliath!
No one knew how she had done it and nor did they care; Smidge was the talk of the school and she loved it!
She'd never been a heroine before and lapped it up, letting it permeate her every pore. She'd almost forgotten about the door handle, it had served its purpose but she kept it in her pocket and unconsciously fondled it from time to time. Smidge still did her best to be a good student -which is what her mum wanted- and tried to keep her mind on the lessons, even if they were a bit beneath her (being a hero, the lessons should be about her!)
Most of the lessons interested her to some degree except for Religious Education. She was a little intrigued to find out about the real David and Goliath but that was it; although there was a new teacher: Mrs Norn… Mrs Madeline Norn.
She intrigued everyone on her very first day by saying that the lessons of the Bible were not dead after all. She asked how many people had heard of Spider-man and, of course, everyone put their hand up.
“With great power… well, you all know that one..” Mrs Norn spoke clearly but not loudly, she didn't need to. “Now Jesus knew that as well, and would not allow himself to be tempted by the Devil during his time in the dessert. He knew that if one possess power it should not be used on frippery.” She spoke and looked directly as Smidge, almost as if she knew about the magic door handle. Smidge blushed.
The next day the limelight was fiercely snatched away from Smidge when a new girl joined the class. She was already a bit of a celebrity as a sprinter who had won lots of medals from her previous school and Smidge felt her ego bruised and she bristled. No one seemed to care about Smidge or her smiting Gert, all eyes were on Rebecca and Smidge didn't like that at all!
There was a school trip coming up to Lodge Manor, a new theme park had opened just for school kids with lots of activities and set in the countryside. There was also a maze that was one of a kind -made of wooden walls that had not one entrance and exit but two so it was possible for two people to race each other -to see who could get out of the maze the quickest.
Smidge had heard about the maze and concocted a plan to take Rebecca down a peg or two. On the coach it was very easy to suggest the race and no one noticed the malice in her voice, except for Mrs Norn, who kept strangely quiet. Rebecca thought it was a great idea and looked forward to trying the maze out.
So enamored were the class about the race that it was to be the last activity of the day and all looked forward to it. All through the other sessions though, Smidge felt the surface of the handle, caressing it, keeping her intentions pure to beat Rebecca.
Come the time of the race Smidge even let Rebecca gain the head start -there was going to be no contest, not really. The maze had solid walls, just as Smidge thought, and with the magic handle she would simply walk through each and every wall. (She had thought about just walking through the first wall into the last corridor but too many questions would be asked if she won too easily. This way she could walk the whole time.)
So intent was she on winning the race that Smidge never realised that Mrs Norn was following her the whole time.
Unsurprisingly, Smidge made it to the final wall, walking in a straight line, using the handle where necessary. It was odd; the handle knew almost exactly where it was in relation to the rest of the maze and with each door that opened she could tell exactly how many were left.
When it came to the last door she knew that she had to take a run at it; to at least make it look as if she had made an effort.
She made a dash for it, handle outstretched, ready to open the door and banged straight into the still incredibly solid wooden wall, falling into a painful heap on the floor. She couldn't understand what had happened, what went wrong?
Smidge picked herself up, placed the door handle on the wall and pulled. Nothing happened. She tried again and still nothing. No, this couldn't be happening. She needed to win, needed to humiliate Rebecca.
Just then the door opened and she made a dash for it, ready to receive the victorious applause… only to find that she was right back at the start of the maze again, right back at the beginning.
Luckily all but one person were at the finish point, congratulating Rebecca, but who was that one person but Mrs Norn.
“What happened?” Smidge asked, despite herself, looking at the stupid handle in her hand. She wanted to throw it away for all it had done for her.
“Oh, I think you know.. I was following you, after all.” Mrs Norn replied.
“Why did you follow me?” Smidge asked, concerned now.
“I recognise magic when I see it.” Mrs Norn replied, smiling benevolently. “Didn't it work for you? Why do you think that was?”
“I dunno.. my intent was pure. I was concentrating on it all afternoon.”
“Yes.. I expect you were, and is that what you call a pure intent?” Mrs Norn asked slyly.
Smidge blushed suddenly. “No, I guess not.” She now understood what had gone wrong. “It wasn't a nice thing I tried to do, was it? I got jealous of her.”
“Yes, you did. Remember what I said in class. With great power comes the responsibility to wield it; you have to use it for the higher good, not to make yourself feel special. You ARE special.”
“How do you know such things?” Smidge asked Mrs Norn.
“Shall I tell you a secret?” Smidge nodded. “I'm not really an RE teacher. This is just to tide me over until I find my feet again. I come from a much older knowledge… one that I'm not allowed to teach… but I can talk about it, if you'd like sometime.” She smiled again and Smidge knew that she could trust Mrs Norn with the knowledge of the door handle.
She also knew what she had to do next. Taking a deep breath she walked around the outside of the maze to where everyone else had gathered, walked up to Rebecca and congratulated her on being the winner. Smidge also conceded that she had no sense of direction and everyone laughed with her -bizarrely, no one made fun of her and she felt glad about what had happened.
Smidge knew that, although she had lost the race, she had made a new friend in Rebecca… and also in Mrs Norn. More importantly she understood more about the magic door handle, and how to use it properly in future.