Friday, 18 November 2016

WIP Alice in the First Class

My New Big Novel is growing in colourful patches, like raw material for a patchwork quilt. 

Loving the writing. Here is an early 'patch'.

Alice in the First Class


At first Alice had been shocked by all the movement and smells that pervaded the school. But she got used to it and the colour and the shouting and the pulling and pushing. She began to think school might be all right. She liked the pictures on the wall which showed children playing among trees and at the seaside. She liked the globe of the world on the teacher’s desk which had red patches all over. Miss Wilson, her teacher, said  they were Our Empire and the reason why Britain was Great and why we won the war       Alice liked the little books and soon got to read them from cover to cover. And she liked the exercise book which came to her with her name written on it,. Every day she    copied  a page of words written on the board by her Miss Wilson who wrote like an angel..
       Miss Wilson  was a giant: a big rangy woman with large hands and feet. But Alice liked her low musical voice, especially when - if the class had been good all week - she read out stories to the class on Fridays. Alice could have listened to her forever.Miss Wilson liked her children to be good and ‘get on’. This was no problem for Alice who liked to be good and ‘get on. After all she lived in a pub and was used to being good and ‘getting on’.       Alice stopped liking Miss Wilson the day her teacher  was called out of the classroom Miss Wilson told the class they must ‘be good and get on’ while she was out of the classroom.  Her eye flicked around the classroom. ‘Patricia Thorn,  stand out!’ she said.
      Patricia 'stood out, very tall', in front of the class. Miss Wilson gave Patricia a long stick of white chalk.  ‘Now Patricia if anyone speaks or does not get on, write their name on the blackboard.         The door clashed behind her and there was a ripple of whispers and giggles around the class. Alice got on with the picture she was drawing of a big house with three trees. She would, she thought, put a dog in front of the door. After twenty five minutes the white chalk screeched  on the blackboard as Patricia Thorn  wrote ALICE on the blackboard in big letters.      After thirty minutes Miss Wilson returned and Patricia sat down. The teacher surveyed the classroom. ‘Alice Cross,’ she said. ‘Stand out!’
       Alice crept out and stood before Miss Wilson, who said, ‘Hold out your hand, Alice Cross!’
       Alice held out her hand and watched as Miss Wilson selected a wooden ruler from her desk, weighed it in her hand, and then brought it down four times: twice on each hand. ‘Now go and sit down, Alice Cross,’ she said in her soft clear voice. ‘And get on with your work.’        Alice's  palm stung and tears welled up in her eyes. Her hand felt sore but she got on with her picture.. She decided not to draw the dog because the tears had clotted in her head and she couldn’t remember what a dog looked like.
       After that day Alice didn’t like Miss Wilson. Not at all. But she had learned now that schools were places where the truth did not necessarily count.

(c) Wendy Robertson 2016

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