Chapter 15, Part 1 — Edgbaston, 27 March 1962: First Rehearsal – Part 1 [section 1 of 3]

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[Note: The featured pic is of the headmaster’s office, ca. early 1960s — or anywhere in the 1950s — or the 1940s. This is Macmillan’s England; everything is preserved in aspic and kept in stasis.]

First Rehearsal – Part 1

I woke Tuesday morning refreshed and revived, knowing it would be a good day, ready to take on the world.

Tuesday was not a particularly good day for Drusilla.

The school did suspend Tiny and The Doofus indefinitely. Without them for companionship, she’d tried to ingratiate herself with some of the girls – the same ones she’d bullied for years. Needless to say, she didn’t get many takers.

The few she did get were mainly curious about what had happened at Warstone Lane Cemetery. Since Ian and I’d been sworn to silence, they’d turned to her as a last resort. She told them the same story she had at the police station: We’d all been in there, chased by ghosts and demons on whom I’d put a spell.

“Reggie may seem rather wet, and more than a bit of a Jessie – even a right girl at times – but don’t be fooled, he’s dangerous,” she told them all in a dramatically hushed voice (or so the story was later related to me). “He consorts with dark, sinister witches – he’s friends with them – and they’ve taught him all sorts of magic he can use on anyone– even on demons.”

But her story of witches and magic spells, though it started out technically true, had become so embellished by its conclusion that it seemed a bit implausible in the light of day. Most of Silla’s audience began giving her a jaundiced eye.

The Headmaster summoned Ian and me to his office at the start of class.

We feigned ignorance of events at the cemetery, successfully skirting the question of if we were there. In all fairness, it wasn’t especially difficult – the examination was fairly perfunctory, I think for form’s sake, more than anything else.

He released Ian back to class, but asked me to stay a moment longer. After four weeks’ debate, he told me, a majority of the board of governors – the very narrowest of majorities, and credited to the arrival of a new member – had agreed to let me study second form music theory at the grammar school, effective immediately.


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