Chapter One: One Bad Turn
"Posters? You want posters?" Danny surveyed her almost pityingly.
"Yeah, I want posters! I want lots of them! Shitloads of posters, all lining the corridor opposite the lockers and the drinking fountains!" Walking down the aforesaid corridor to drop off their bags in the foyer before going back to class, Morgana was alight with enthusiasm for her new scheme - although slightly perplexed that Danny didn't seem to feel the same way about it. "If we can just get people to see all the mean things the preps have-"
His eyes were kind. Coming to a complete halt, he laid a sympathetic hand on her shoulder. "Morgana, that's from Mean Girls."
"Oh." Instantly deflated, the girl stared at the floor. Her whole colourful apparition seemed to shrink.
"Hey." Smiling gently, Danny sought her eyes with his. "Never mind." His sudden shrug, like a cuckoo poking out of a clock, cheered Morgana up as it always did. Reaching forward, he playfully tugged one of her bright green pigtails. "It's a good idea. I'm just not sure it'll work."
"Hey!" Angry again, she slapped his hand out of the way. "Do you know how long it took to fix those?"
"Hmm, let me guess." Distractedly, he pushed me out of the way of the many oncoming lines of people. "Three hours in front of a mirror?"
She couldn't help but laugh at him. "Oh my gosh, how did you guess!" Faking a perfect preppy squeal of amazement, Morgana twirled in a circle like a complete moron, causing her bright skirt and even brighter pigtails to fly out after me.
Danny laughed. "Beet ya." They had by this time reached the English room to which he was destined. Waving goodbye, he grinned. "Took me four this morning." Then he disappeared inside.
Laughing and shaking her head fondly, the girl started off down the corridor solo once more. Danny is the gayest gay guy you will ever meet or hear about. That's in his opinion, of course.
Pressed among the mass of students, she hurried on. Wish I had English now. For her, alas, lay he unenviable prospect of a Geordie German with a head like a potato and a severe dislike of shy and loud, gawky and insecure little me.
It's not your fault he hates you, Ana. she told myself once again as she scaled the stairs leading to the language department. But I must admit, it's not fair for him to persecute you in the way he does.
Time and time again, I tried to figure out exactly what it was that offended him so much. What the hell was the matter with me? Okay, so I was better than everyone else in the class. How could he hate me for that kind of thing?
Rachel passed opposite, vacant eyes outlined to twice their size with black eyeliner. Morgana could never figure out how someone with such a preppy name ended up as an alternative person.
Some people just defy the rules of gravity, now don't they?
Bored, she stopped right in the middle of the corridor, causing a million pile-ups right behind. "Deal with it!" she yelled back over her shoulder. Thankfully, she'd located her errant ipod quicker than usual – after looking in just three pockets, as opposed to the usual five.
With a satisfied sigh, Morgana started moving again. She always felt so much better with Phantom of the Opera blaring in her ears. Having learnt some of Christine's songs a couple months back in lessons, she now harbored the secret ambition to be a singer herself someday.
That was a very far call ahead, though.
Right now, the skinny, angular figure skipping down the corridor lip-singing to blaring music was about as far away from a dignified, stately opera singer as her latest essay was from her bag.
Suddenly immobile, she stopped in her tracks. The coursework essay in German! She'd forgotten it! At home! UNDER HER BED COVERS, NO LESS!!!
Oblivious to the chaos around her, Morgana hung her head sadly. After all the hours she'd taken – thinking about doing an essay is the same as doing it, right? – after all that she'd sacrificed – it was gone!
"So sad to die here tonight." she mumbled as she swung open the screechy door to the class.
"You're late." Potato head didn't even bother looking up from his register.
I could think of a lot of other names to call you but I don't because I'm nice and kind and sweet and you're just a dickhead not to realize it –
Composing herself, she flashed a brilliantly white smile to no-one in particular as she sidled round the desks to slip into her seat. Izzy gave her a fondly disapproving look. Cassie, as senseless and insipid as the lettuce she regularly munched, studiously concentrated on the worksheet in front of her.
"Well." Poophead was talking again.
God, it's all teachers do, just talk talk talk talk blah blah blah.
I wish I could skip college and go straight to Uni. It's so pointless.
Ironic, isn't it? You spend your years at high school waiting for the time things will be different, and then you get into the sixth form and realize you'd have been better off going and getting an apprenticeship anyway.
"Now that Morgana has decided to join us, we may as well start with the essays. Don't forget, these count for 30 of your overall grade."
Hiding her face underneath her brand-new stripy arm warmers, the girl groaned as she watched everyone else produce their bright-white, brand-spanking-new, hot-off-the-press masterpieces. This was SO not good! Throughout several years of high school and several months of college, Morgana had had enough experience with this kind of thing to know that this was seriously bad news. Frantically, she racked her brains for a plan.
Luke passed his up with the smarmy look of virtuous satisfaction only he can do so perfectly. "Here you are, sir." Alex fumbled for ages within the confines of his bag, pulling out pages and pages of seemingly unconnected notes, before finally dumping with a relieved sigh his dog-eared essay into Poopbrain's outstretched hand.
Izzy, as usual, seemed half asleep – her hand remained suspended in midair for several seconds after he had removed her essay.
Cassie whimpered and frantically turned the pages, checking page numbers and reference notes again and again.
"Cassie." He said sternly. "Come on."
With one last petrified look at the manuscript now deposited in the teacher's hands, she slumped back down in her chair and covered her face with her hands, shaking.
"Morgana? I don't seem to have had one from you." He hadn't even looked at her yet!
Despite my painful lack of an essay, I felt a flash of resentment. He was just automatically presuming whatever I wrote would be worthless, if indeed it appeared at all.
STOP NARRATING YOUR OWN LIFE AND FIGURE OUT A GODDAMN EXCUSE, FAST!
Everyone was staring at her. Morgana felt sweat breaking out in little beads on her forehead.
Then the answer came in one glorious stroke of inspiration.
"OW!" clutching her arm, she almost toppled out of her chair. "It hurts! It huuuuuurts!!!!!"
"What? What? What? What's the matter?!?!!" the students of Gillyhall school have always enjoyed a scene. In this case, they all came crowding around, obscuring the girl from Poo-head's disapproving stare until the crowd thinned and he found her prostrate on the ground.
"What's the matter, Morgana?" he said, clearly wishing she would die.
"My…arm…" she croaked. "It…hurts."
Seeing his eyebrows raise, she hurriedly screamed again "Ow!!!" Panting realistically, she summoned my very-best puppy-dog-eyes for him. "It must have popped out again."
It's common knowledge that Morgana Regraves is wonderfully ("freakishly") double-jointed – her arm- and leg- popping abilities had provided the year 8s with light entertainment for years.
Knowing this, poop-brain frowned. "Well, are you sure? You –"
"YES, I'M SURE, I'M GODDAMN SURE!!!!"
"Okay, okay," he interjected hastily. Anything to get me out of his class. "You'd better go see the nurse. Get reception to-"
"Yeahokoaybye!" That girl was out of that classroom faster than diarriah from poop-brain's arse. Letting the heavy metal door swing close behind her, she skidded out onto the shiny hard floor of the corridor.
"Oh…my God…" she panted to herself, still unable to believe what she'd just achieved. "Oh yeahhh!!! I'm the man! …figuratively speaking." Still shaking, the girl started the long walk back down to freedom – across the highly polished floor, round a corner and down some steps. As she did so, it occurred to me how pleasant it would be to take a walk round the other classes and heckle Danny and the other idiots in his English group.
Giggling evilly to herself, she started out for the top floor. There, row after row of sardines – oh, sorry, students – were imprisoned in torturous jail cells. Morgana alone held the key to setting them free.
Left alone once more, she grinned, liking this image of herself. "Now, what shall we do today…"
Daniel Malbourne was bored. In fact, he was so bored his brain was doing internal somersaults inside his head. The rest of his English group didn't seem as affected as him – glancing over to the left, where Rebecca Jameson held court, he shuddered.
Why do some girls go out of their way to be as horrible as they possibly can? Yet, still, how do they retain their popularity?
I wish I was popular…
"So, what is the dramatic effect of this scene in relation to the rest of…"
Danny stopped listening. Bloody useless piece of crap. What's the point trying when we're all dead or dying?
Shifting his shoulders slightly, he yawned and stretched out full-length on the desk. Botrell shot him a filthy look but didn't quite dare say anything – she'd tried taming him before. It didn't work.
Pacifist on the surface, freedom fighter down below. That's me.
He had to stuff his sleeve into his mouth to prevent a stream of hopeless giggles. Maria, his desk mate and friendly manga-expert cast him a curious look.
Shaking slightly, he shook his head. I can't tell you that! Hehehe…
Yes, dear reader. Daniel and Morgana were both severely weird people. Why do you ask?
Therefore, it came as only a slight surprise to find Morgana hanging up-side down outside the window.
"Danny!!!" she mouthed frantically, her eyes panic-stricken. "Heeeeeelp!"
To his credit, Daniel didn't hesitate. Without wasting a single second, he jumped up on his desk, papers and assignments scrunched under his two very big feet.
"Daniel Malbourne! What on earth are you doing!?" Botrell was horrified. "Get back down this instant!"
Danny didn't bother with an answer, concentrating instead on how better to open the window.
At that moment, however, the teacher's unformed question was answered, as the window pane fell open and Morgana shot though, accompanied by a whole lot of rubble and ivy shoots.
"What am I going to do with you, Morgana?" the head was desperate. He paced in front of his desk, hands wringing, voice ringing. "Just tell me what I have to do to stop you causing chaos wherever you go."
Chewing on the last remaining ivy stalk, the girl shrugged.
"You're an intelligent girl – your grades, when you do work, are excellent – but you just won't learn!"
"But I must be learning things if my grades are so good." She kept her voice deliberately smarmy and, as my American spell-check would say, smartass.
Stopping pacing, he threw her a furious glance. "Oh come on, you know what I meant! You're one of the school's biggest troublemakers, did you know that?"
Flattered in spite of herself, Morgana retorted disbelievingly, "It was only one ivy tree that was damaged!"
"And an entire class that was disturbed." He responded wearily. "Honestly, Morgana, why won't you learn? Look. I'll give you one more chance – you'll have to behave yourself this time, alright?"
"…and if I don't…?"
She watched him sweat. The school had already tried everything possible to break her of her wicked ways – surprise surprise, nothing worked.
"…then I'm afraid I'll have to expel you from this school."
Hah! As if! She nodded soberly.
"So, what do you think?"
"Hmmm. What do I think……?" Morgana tipped her head slightly as though deep in thought. "I think…I NEED CHOCOLATE!"
"Right! That's it! I've had enough of your attitude, young lady!" his bald head was shiny with perspiration now, his face scarlet. "From now on, I'm going to have to assign somebody to take care of you!"
…this one's new… "…oh yeah?"
"Yes!" he seemed awed by his own genius. "Someone who'll change your ideas, someone who's never committed a crime in her entire life…Rebecca Jameson!"
"……WHAT!?!?!?" I screamed.