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I used to love going to school. I loved to glide across fresh white paper like newly-fallen snow. I felt like a graceful ice-skater, weaving up and down with such purpose. I left behind me a glittering dark trail of ink, that gleamed on the page before slowly fading to a deep ebony as it dried. Sometimes I obeyed the lines, but sometimes my owner made me leap and swirl across them, and I delighted in working out complex algebra and puzzling equations.

Sometimes I would make faces, filling in shadows and darkening eyebrows. My owner liked to draw caricatures of his friends. He was very talented, and would have them in peals of laughter every break-time. One day, however, he decided to draw our Chemistry teacher, Mr Wolfton. I sketched out his face carefully, then I drew on two long fangs, and two large, pointed ears. I shivered with delight at the joke, and couldn’t wait until it was break-time so my owner could show his friends. We drew Mr Wolfton glaring at his class; fluffy white lambs in school uniforms shaking with fear behind desks.

Suddenly, a dark shadow fell across the page, as if a silent tsunami of evil had reared up above me without warning. “What, Roberts, is this?” A loud, nasal voice bellowed. I saw panic ripple across my owner’s face, before he dropped me with a loud thunk onto the desk. The cartoon we had so carefully drawn was ripped from under me, and I tumbled and clattered against the scarred wood. A large hand reached down and snatched me away. The fingers were puffy and creased, and dark hairs sprouted from each of the knuckles.

“You can have this back at the end of the day Roberts. No! No arguing. You’ll just have to write in pencil.” I was flung into a drawer, and my tomb slammed shut with a foreboding crash. I stared dejectedly at the crack of light high above, its thin beam illuminating the clutter I had become an unwilling part of. Blunted pencils, cheap, scratched biros, a whiteboard eraser and a collection of bent paperclips. I didn’t belong there, surrounded by the broken remnants of once-great stationery.

I must have dozed, exhausted by my misery. When I awoke the crack of light had vanished, and only darkness remained. I strained my ears for the familiar shuffle of chairs and shoes, but only silence swept through the once-busy classroom. I had been abandoned. No longer would I glide and sweep across blank pages, no longer dance and leap at the joy of learning. I was a prisoner of war, and the school my jail.

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