Short Story Chapter Chapter 10

Under the sheet of paper was another one, which had been carefully
blu-tacked to the wall. On it, in large letters, was written
Mission statement
Objectives for Thursday
Friday follow-up
The end of the Potter
Queen’s Birthday Party

‘Would anyone who is not here please say so now’, said Helga
with a broad smile.
They laughed politely.
‘I wish Nicholai was here’, muttered Wil under his breath.
‘Share the joke, Wil’, she looked down her nose at the end of
the table, over half-moon glasses. She really was a nightmare.
‘OK people, let’s get started, Clara you take notes’.
Although they were there to think about how they would
occupy their time over the next week or so, Wil had had enough
‘Why do we let her do this?’, he muttered again to Freddy
who was sitting to his left.
‘Oh, let her get on with it, she doesn’t bite’. He tried to
reassure his friend.
They let her drone on and on for ten minutes or so, going
through her agenda. All the boys really wanted to do was to get
outside on their bikes and cruise around the neighbourhood, like
they usually did. All this talking was unnecessary and boring.
Hardy stood up.
‘What do you mean by The end of the Potter?’
‘Thank you Hardy, I’m glad you asked that question. I’d like
to propose that we vote on banning the reading of Hardy Potter
literature, the viewing of Hardy Potter visual material, and the
discussion of Potter topics, in this house. I mean have you seen
the papers this morning? Most papers are full of Luna
Lovegood in the new film, and even the financial press is
obsessed by the profits from the books. I feel that the entire
country is being taken over by a form of Potter-mania, and that
we should at least have a break from it in our own house. All
those in favour?’

‘It’s not her house, anyway,’ murmured Freddy to Wil.
‘She really is something else, isn’t she?’ Wil sounded halfadmiring
as he said this.
No-one had responded to Helga’s request for a vote, so Wil
got up from his seat, stepped over the rope, and helped himself to
an apple from the bowl on the table in the corner.
‘Why don’t we just head out on our bikes, or play hide and
seek, or something. Let’s just stop talking, please!’
‘Well, Wil, thank you for your input, but I think you are rather
out of the loop on this one. Now, stop going for the low-hanging
fruit, and try to take a 360-degree view of the problem’.
‘She’s gone mad’, he said to the assembled company.
Freddy stood up, stepped out of the loop, and made his way
to the area under the stairs where the bikes were kept.
‘Freddy, please, we haven’t finished the agenda yet!’ Helga’s
voice had suddenly become shrill and whiny.
‘Sorry, I can’t take this any more, I just want to do something’.
‘But what about the Queen’s Birthday party? I really want to
‘Fine, go to it then, give her a kiss from me’, he said
dismissively. Hardy also got up and followed Freddy to the
corner of the room.
‘Kiss Her Majesty, oh my word!’ Helga almost swooned over
the table. She sat down, and started examining the notes that
Clara had been taking, which had actually turned into a series of
words and doodles. Helga read out what she could make of the
‘Hide the bikes; bake a fruit; 360 degrees; low-hanging Potter; kiss
the Queen’
‘Sounds like a plan to me’, said Hardy, laughing with relief
that the meeting was over. He headed over towards the door.
As he reached the door which led up the stairs back into the
hallway, he turned back to the group, reaching behind him for
the handle.
‘C’mon lads, let’s…AAAAGHHHH!’.
He let out a deep scream as a shaft of pain shot through his
hand, up along the nerves of his arm, and registered with his
brain. In a split second he had removed his hand and was
running towards the sink in the corner.

‘It’s red hot! Ow, ow ow ow’. He didn’t sound like the school
hard-man as he squeaked and moaned and jumped around the
The boys moved over towards the doorway and stared at the
doorknob. Not only was the handle evidently hot (it was almost
glowing with the heat), but around the frame of the door they
could see a bright light. It was as if the light was trying to break
through the door, so bright was it around the edges.
The room went silent.
In the distance, music was playing. ‘A-lleluia, A-lleluia’. Quiet
at first, but growing louder. Coming from behind the door.
Celestial music. Trumpets. Strings. Building to a crescendo of
drums and gongs.
Helga was cowering in the corner now, all pretence at confidence
gone. She had not been friends with them for long, but had once
stayed over with Clara for a weekend when her mother had been
called to Kuala Lumpur at short notice. They had got to know
each other quite well in the intervening months, and Helga
obviously liked Clara’s company. She looked to her friend now,
who looked remarkably unconcerned.
‘Funny things happen in this house, don’t worry’, Clara
sounded unconcerned as well.
‘I think I know what it is’.
‘What is it, then?’ replied Helga, half sobbing.
‘Just wait and see’.
She sounded confident, but at the same time slightly edgy and
excited about the prospect of what was behind the door.
The music had now reached a volume which made talking
difficult, but the way the sound had developed over the
previous three or four minutes indicated to them that something
was about to happen.
Clara strolled nonchalantly over, and pulled a chair away from
the door area. There was a clear space of two or three square
metres around the glowing, pulsating doorway. She stood back.
The music reached a tremendous crescendo and stopped.
They watched, fascinated, as the door handle slowly began to

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