First Chapter Reveal: The Seventh Sorcerer by Stephen Hayes

The Seventh SorcererTitle: The Seventh Sorcerer
Author: Stephen Hayes
Format: ebook
Length: 345 pages
Publisher: Stephen Hayes

Purchase at AMAZON

On the surface, Chopville appears not unlike any other small town in rural Australia. However, its underbelly is more than extraordinary.

Amongst its modest community reside six people from two very different families — they make up the six most powerful people in the world today. Branded as “Sorcerers”, they are the only six people in the world with true magical power. Yet these two families do not cooperate together and although there is no open fighting in the year 2010, things weren’t always that peaceful.

John Playman knows this as well as anyone; at the age of 14, he is familiar with the concept of magic, having been raised in a family heavily involved in the magical war 30 years earlier, even though he has never met any of the Sorcerers himself. This year, however, all that is about to change; John and a group of his school friends will find themselves in an unprecedented situation and carrying a responsibility almost too great to comprehend.

John and his cohorts struggle on two fronts with their hormones raging and with the discovery of whom among them is to become the Seventh Sorcerer.

———————————————

CHAPTER 1

The first day of school. It brought the same mixture of emotions every single year; the gloom of yet another summer break now at a close, the relief of once again being back in that routine of working all day and procrastinating all evening, and the refreshing determination that comes from kidding yourself that this year, this year, you’ll do better.…

Fifteen minutes before the bell sounded to indicate the beginning of Home Group found three of us standing outside the doors to Administration where, tacked on the wall, a large sign displayed a number of class lists. It was good news; we had all been put into the same class, we three plus the terrible twins. James Thomas, a tall, tubby, blond boy who had a mind bigger than any part of his body, was closest to the sign, and when he announced the good news, my brother Peter and I cheered in triumph. Peter was small and skinny with pale skin, jet black hair and an embarrassingly high-pitched voice, and when he cheered it was easy to think he should still be attending primary school. Yet he was only a month and a half younger than me; the reason such a thing could exist was due to the fact that I was an adopted child.

“Seen it, I see,” a voice called out to the three of us.

We turned to see a tall, dark-haired boy standing close by, leaning lazily against the wall of the building. He had the appearance of one waiting for someone, or something.

“There you are, Harry,” said Peter, grinning broadly. “We’re all together, and we were all worrying this morning that the teachers might finally work out how much easier it would be for them if they separated us all.”

“Very true. The only trouble is, I’m not Harry,” said the boy, one half of the terrible twins, and apparently the wrong one.

“Oh, well where’s Harry?” asked Peter, shrugging; that was one of the first times any of us had mixed up the twins. Everyone else did it frequently, as they were identical to the last freckle, but we knew them well enough by nature to tell them apart quite easily.

“Oh, I’m him too,” said the boy, either Harry or Simon now; he was doing a very good job.

“I’ve got time tables!” shouted a boy from behind the glass doors beside us, as a moment later said doors burst open, expelling the other twin and identifying quite clearly who was who.

“Only joking, Pete,” said the first twin, “I am Harry.”

“I thought you three would be here by now,” said Simon. “I got you these. You’ll be kickin’ yourselves when you see the teachers we’ve got.”

We spent several minutes looking over our time tables, which showed the times, locations and teachers of each of our lessons.

“Mrs. Gall, Mrs. Worlker,” James listed off, running his finger down the Wednesday column.

“Oh no,” groaned Peter. “We’ve got Hall again.”

“Oh please no,” I moaned, quickly checking my own to be sure Peter wasn’t playing a bad joke. “Not again. What for?”

“English,” sighed Peter. Hall taught English, French and Science; more subjects than any other teacher in the school.

“Just to throw a bucket of petrol on the fire,” said Harry, looking through his own timetable, “we have him for Home Group as well.”

“No,” moaned Peter and I, almost in unison.

“Relax,” said Simon easily, somehow managing to maintain much higher spirits. “We have two Home Group teachers this year.”

“We do?” asked Peter. “How does that work?”

“Two teachers take us for Home Group,” I said stupidly.

“I kind of figured that, John,” snapped Peter.

“We have Mrs. Worlker as well,” said James. “She has us for History, look.”

“They alternate,” said Harry, “Mrs. Worlker on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Mr. Hall on Wednesdays and Fridays.”

“What about Mondays?” I asked.

“Easy, we go home,” said Peter spiritedly.

“We have them both,” said Harry. “I think it must be to get us in working mode for the week, they need two teachers.”

“With people like you lot in the class, no wonder,” said James.

“It’s nearly five past,” I said, glancing down at my watch. “Where’s Room 12?”

“Don’t tell me your memory of this place has leaked out of your head over the holidays, John,” said Simon. “You’ll know Room 12 in no time; we’ve got half our classes in there this year.”

Home Group was a ten minute class that preceded each school day. Each class would go to an assigned room where the roll would be called and announcements would be given to the students. This morning, however, periods One and Two were cancelled. Instead, an entire school assembly took place for an hour in the gym, during which the principal, vice-principal (who was known to be pretty thick at the best of times), and the new school captains and vice-captains, all got up and made very boring speeches. The time from the end of that assembly to Recess, which began at exactly 10:51 AM, was taken up by Home Group in Room 12.

“This room stinks,” said Harry loudly. He was sitting along with his brother in the row in front of Peter, James and me. “Don’t you reckon, old chap?”

“Yeah, it does, old chap,” Simon replied.

“We ought to set up a petition to get a new home room, don’t you reckon, old chap?” asked Harry.

“Or at least a decent air freshener, old chap,” answered Simon.

The twins often called each other ‘old chap’ in the classroom so that nobody could tell who was who, and it was nearly always effective.

“Look who,” Peter growled, nudging me in the side and nodding at the door through which students were still entering.

I followed Peter’s gaze, not liking what I was seeing. Ather Hignat was our arch-nemesis, and had been ever since we’d met him at the commencement of primary school. I’d forgotten after so much time how it had all started; I only knew that he’d hated Peter and me from the very beginning. He had only turned on Harry and Simon when he learnt what their surname was, and had tried to get James on his side for a while before he found out what James’s surname was; for some reason names seemed to matter to him. Now, he was sitting down with Ugine Wilwog, the only one stupid enough to fall in line with him. The way they had walked in together, especially with Wilwog towering over the shorter Hignat, Wilwog could have passed for Hignat’s bodyguard.

“I’m not putting up with any crap from them this year,” spat Harry, who had turned to see what Peter had pointed out to me. “If he makes another crack about our family, I’ll show him a real brute.”

“You tell it like it is, old chap,” said Simon loudly, slapping Harry over the shoulder.

“First Hall and now him,” I muttered miserably, “what’s next, Hammerson?”

“Geez, I hope they wouldn’t be brave enough to make her repeat year-nine,” said James, shuddering.

Mr. Hall was out in front of the class, and when it seemed that everyone was sitting down, he tried to get the class’s attention. When it came to teachers like Hall, whom very few students liked, everyone chipped in to make their lives as difficult as possible. Such was the case during the roll call that morning.

“Is everyone here?” asked Hall.

“I’m not,” said Simon in an undertone. “Who’s gonna answer if they’re not here? Idiot.”

“Call the roll and find out,” Sophie called out from across the room, and the class roared with laughter.

“Your first warning, Crow,” said Hall, doing well to maintain his patience, which Kylie wasted no time in pointing out to the class.

“And to interrupt like that would most likely make you a patient, Kylie,” Harry called to her across the room.

The class exploded with laughter again. Even if the jokes weren’t that funny, the class would laugh loudly, just to make teachers like Hall angry. It wasn’t until then that I noticed, in the seats beside Harry and Simon, two girls who did not seem to be enjoying the students’ domination over the teacher. They both looked awkward, and I had only just noticed this when it struck me that I’d never seen these two before. That was significant, because in a small country town like our little Chopville, you knew everyone, at least by sight, if not more personally.

“I do believe some certain person in this room wanted me to call the roll, so if you would all shut up for once in your lives—”

“We shut up our books and pencil cases in a hurry at the end of every lesson,” Katie interrupted, seizing the moment.

Pretty much everyone laughed again. A few people clapped and cheered, raising their hands in noisy agreement.

“Just be thankful none of your names are on the board yet,” snapped Hall, finally losing some patience.

“Yeah, that would involve you dragging yourself out of that comfortable-looking chair, wouldn’t it?” said Peter, grinning broadly.

Yet another explosion of laughter met this, and Hall’s face went very red.

“Good on ya,” I said, slapping Peter over the back.

Hall had a way of trying to keep himself a level above the students, which he did by calling us all by our surnames instead of our Christian names, which may have also contributed to the feeling that we were all his enemies. The only exception to this was when he called the roll, which he did at top speed, barely giving students time to respond. He got half way down the roll today before being interrupted at Harry’s name.

“I’m here this time, sir—I deserve an award, sir—”

“Excuse me for talking while you’re interrupting, Maivis. Simon—”

“I’m here too, sir, and you stopped talking when he started,” said Simon, waving a textbook wildly around in the air to prevent Hall continuing with his roll call, which I expected would land him in detention instantly. Then again, it was Mr. Hall taking the class, so he, Harry and Peter were already facing detentions, plus Kylie, Katie and Sophie if he picked on them too.

The call went on, but Hall only got another two names in when, this time, he interrupted himself.

“John, what are you doing here?”

“I was wondering the same thing,” I said quickly, and wondering, for only a moment, if I had accidentally gone to the wrong class. “Maybe if you sign a note, I could possibly go home, and I’ll invite the rest of the class … except Hignat and Wilwog.”

Most of the class laughed, but Hall ignored me. I sighed; now I could expect a detention too.

When the roll call ended, Hall finally got around to introducing the two new girls, Serena Forgrey and Erica Tyanon, city girls new in town. Bad luck for them, I thought, because it usually took a while for us country folk to warm to city people when they stopped by.

Once that was done, it was time to sort out our locker arrangements. Hall told us all to go down to the year-nine/ten locker bay, and to be sure that we returned in ten minutes. As the students began filing out of the room, however, he started shouting again.

“While I have the chance, Crow, Cunkourd, Knight, Playmans and Maivises, remain behind for a moment.”

“Which one of us?” I called.

“And us?” asked Harry.

“Both Playmans and both Maivises. Hurry up.”

“What was I doing wrong?” I asked Peter.

“Existing,” called Hignat from outside the room. “Being an impertinent little—”

“That will do, Hignat,” Hall shouted, aiming his voice towards the door.

The seven of us stood together by Mr. Hall’s desk. I glanced around as we waited for Hall and noticed that none of the others looked nervous. Katie stood just to my left. She was a lot like Peter in appearance with her dark hair and eyes (though her hair was a lot longer than Peter’s); she was even short and slim like Peter, though not as pale. Kylie was, though; she was a little wider than Katie and a little taller, with very light skin, light blue eyes and light blonde hair almost as long as Katie’s. Sophie was about the same size as Kylie, though slightly slimmer, with short, curly brown hair and dark eyes like Katie. Erica and Serena, apparently unsure where the year-nine/ten locker bay was from here, had stayed in the classroom and were observing us. I couldn’t help but grin as I noticed that Peter seemed to be watching Serena out of the corner of his eye.

“This is only the first day of a very long year,” Mr. Hall started. “You have no idea, none of you, how rude you were all being. Disrespectful, atrocious behaviour. See those up there, the rules of the classroom; the very first rule, no speaking over the teacher—”

“But technically, we weren’t speaking over you, sir,” I said, remembering what Simon had said earlier and stepping on Peter’s foot behind Hall’s desk.

“Yeah, you stopped whenever one of us started,” Peter added, catching onto my line of thinking.

“And anyway,” I added, before Hall could speak again, “you weren’t actually teaching us anything.”

“I’m not after smart language from you, boys,” barked Hall.

“I could make a good essay out of that,” mused Peter.

“Why haven’t you yet then?” snapped Hall, probably not wanting Peter to answer.

“Because he’s always too busy doing your stupid detentions,” laughed Harry.

“Don’t you start,” roared Hall, rounding on the twins so fast that both Peter and I jumped. “What were you trying to do with that bloody book—”

“Language, sir,” said Kylie in a very annoying voice which, though not loud, cut through Hall’s rant at once.

“I was just about to say, Cunkourd, yourself, Knight and Crow would be let off with warnings, while these four boys will be meeting me back here at half past three for their detentions. But now, you and these four boys will be meeting me back here at half past three for your detentions, and Crow and Knight will be let off with warnings. And, if you don’t turn up to—”

“We know how it works,” said Harry and Simon in unison.

“Can we go now, before we get all the crappy lockers?” asked Sophie impatiently.

“You may.”

Hall led the nine of us quietly to the year-nine/ten locker bay. There were three locker bays in this school, and they were some of the most dangerous places to be in Chopville when they were full. Students were pushing and shoving in order to get lockers closest to the doors, or closest to their friends’ lockers. The four of us squinted around for James through the crowd, and at last heard his voice coming from somewhere close by.

“Over this way, guys.”

Outside the classroom, the five of us generally hung out with five year-ten girls who were a year older than us: Nicole, who was the older sister of Peter and I; Felicity and Jessica, the two older sisters of James; and two other girls who, like Harry and Simon, were unrelated to us Playmans and Thomases, Natalie Fletcher and Lisa Pont. It was only coincidental (but convenient) that the year-tens had been sent to the locker bay at the same time as us.

“We saved these four lockers for you guys,” Jessica called up from the floor when we reached them.

It may not have been the most convenient spot, but at least we were all together. Harry and Simon had the two end lockers, with Harry’s on top, and they were right next to one of the exits, which I suspected would cause a few accidents later in the year. Peter and I had the next two, with mine on top of his.

“Boys,” said Jessica, standing up, “meet Tommy. He’s new in town. Tommy, this is John, Peter, Harry and Simon.”

“I’m Harry,” said Simon. Peter and I burst out laughing. “Shut up, you two,” he added to us in a mock-angry whisper.

Tommy had the locker to the right of Felicity. He was taller than most of us —about the twins’ height—with dark skin, hair and eyes, and a nervous expression. Another boy was rummaging around in the locker below him, a boy who, as far as I could see from where I was standing, looked just like me, though perhaps a bit taller.

“And who’s this?” asked James.

“Oh… Marc?” said Lisa.

He looked up at us. “Don’t mind me,” he said, slightly nervously.

“We’re just sorting ourselves out here,” said Tommy, his dark eyes roving over us all.

“You made a new friend here, Jessica,” Simon teased immaturely.

“A new male friend, Jessica,” Peter added.

“Get stuffed,” Jessica muttered bemusedly. “Tommy’s new here, he’s all right.”

“Quite all right,” said Peter, nodding and grinning.

“And what about Marc?” asked Simon.

“What about me? I’m his friend too,” the boy on the floor called up at us.

“I guess you got a far better welcome than the two new girls in our grade,” said Peter.

“There are new people in your grade too?” asked Nicole. “What are they like?”

“Don’t know,” I shrugged. “The class was too busy giving Hall hell. We never got time to know the new people.”

“What did he want with you four and the other three anyway?” asked James.

“Answer that yourself,” I said darkly.

“Except Katie and Sophie got off,” said Peter. “We’ll be back in that stinking room after school.”

“I think we’d better go,” I said, glancing down at my watch. “If we don’t get back to Room 12 in time, we’ll probably get more detentions.”

The following half-hour was spent in little organisation. Hall had a list of students and elective subjects, which he taped to the board out the front of the room. He made no attempt to control the class, however, probably thinking it would be our own problem if we didn’t use this time to work out which classes we would be doing that semester. Once everyone was doing their own thing, Peter and James leaned in close to me so the three of us could talk without being overheard by those sitting around us.

“So, you’ve got a detention with Kylie,” James hissed at the two of us.

“Yeah,” said Peter. “Bet you wish you were with us now.”

We knew why he had said that. The three of us had done a deal with each other and the twins; if we became interested in a particular girl, we would share the information with each other immediately. James currently had his sights set on Kylie Cunkourd, though she had no idea, as far as we were aware.

“Oh really,” said James, who was staring at the back of Kylie’s head in the next row. “I bet you wish you had my locker, John. Guess who’s in the locker on my right?”

I shrugged uneasily. While James was after Kylie, I had my sights set more dangerously, because I liked, of all people, Natalie. I had liked her for a few years now; well, as long as I’d ever liked girls anyway, but I’d never been too sure why. We always used the word ‘like’ whenever we spoke of our crushes because none of us were quite stupid enough to assume it was true love—and yet I, at least, was stupid, because in my own mind I thought of my feelings for Natalie as love. I couldn’t justify doing so, though. All I could say for sure was that I had wanted her for longer than either James or Peter had ever wanted any particular girl before. The boys thought it was because her father was the richest man for many miles in every direction, though I knew my feelings ran deeper than that. She was about my height, skinny and pale like Peter, with long dark hair like Katie’s and dark brown eyes. She was very attractive, of course, at least to my eyes, but I desired her as much for her quiet personality as I did for her body. I didn’t think I would ever get her, though. She was older than me, and she was my sister’s friend more than mine, but this did mean that I got to see more of her than James did of Kylie.

“How about you, Pete?” I muttered. “Got any interests yet? How about Serena?”

“You don’t like her too, do you?” asked Peter, still in a whisper, as Serena was sitting right behind us, probably trying to eavesdrop. James sniggered.

“I don’t,” I said, smirking, “but you do.”

“How’d you know?” asked Peter, slightly embarrassed.

“Men’s intuition,” I replied, not caring if Serena could hear us now.

“How come I haven’t got it?” asked Peter, obviously realising he didn’t have to whisper anymore.

“Because you’re not a man, boy,” laughed James. “How many times do we have to tell you?”

* * *

“How was your period?” asked Lisa over the noise that filled the locker bay at Recess.

“Painful, but I cleaned it up pretty quickly,” said Peter. “How was yours?”

“Couldn’t be better,” said Harry sarcastically, making it clear that nobody needed to respond to Peter’s tasteless remark. “I’m wide awake now.”

“You guys will be happy to know we have your Home Group teacher for Science,” said Jessica from the floor.

“You have Hall,” Peter and I said together, laughing.

“When have you got Science?” asked Simon.

“Period Two tomorrow,” said Natalie.

“Straight after we do,” said Peter. “Bet he’ll be in a bad mood, so watch out.”

“What have you got next?” asked Jessica.

“Maths and English, with Hall again,” said Peter. “Like we haven’t had enough of him for one day.”

“Whenever you boys are ready,” said Felicity, “we can get going.”

“Just waiting on Harry,” I said.

Harry was having a few problems of his own. His locker appeared to be far too small; it just wouldn’t stay shut long enough for him to lock it, and his books kept almost toppling out.

“Ya wanna swap lockers, Simon?” Harry asked, trying to push the locker door shut again.

“Nah, I think I’ll keep the one I’ve got,” said Simon. “Thanks for the offer though.”

“Give it here,” said Peter, moving up beside Harry. While Harry held the locker shut, shoving with all his might, Peter clipped the padlock on.

“Okay, can we go now?” asked Jessica.

“Can we come?” asked Tommy, who was standing right behind Natalie; she jumped, startled.

“Yeah, sure,” I grinned. “Jess will be happy for you to come. You can come too, Marc.”

I glanced at Jessica, who glared back at me.

“You okay, Tommy?” asked James, looking him up and down with concern.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he shrugged, and yet I had noticed it too; Tommy didn’t look fine at all. As we made our way around to our usual hangout spot in the back of a toilet block not far from the canteen, Tommy kept looking nervously around him. He seemed to be trying to make himself look small and hard to spot, but he succeeded only in making himself even more noticeable.

“You look like you might be on the run,” Simon observed, grinning at him.

“Tommy’s made a few friends,” said Nicole. “They seem just about as friendly as that Hignat guy you guys keep going on about.”

“I’ll bet they’re racist,” said Peter instantly, squinting at Tommy’s dark complexion.

“They think I’m weird because … well, I am weird, I guess.”

“You’re not weird,” said Harry. “Believe me, I know weird.”

Tommy shook his head. “Yeah, I am. I’m certainly not normal.”

“Why’s that?”

“Don’t ask,” said Marc in a low voice. “That’s the problem; some guys in our class were bugging him about it just before class ended and they wouldn’t let it drop. Sebastian mainly, and you know what he’s like; dickhead if ever there was one.”

We had all reached the toilet block now and were leaning against its wall.

“Okay, fine,” I said. “We’ll start with the basic questions then. Where did you come from, Tommy?”

“I … I moved down from Sydney,” he said, but even this answer sounded carefully thought out.

“Geez man, what were you thinking?” asked Simon, laughing. “Choosing this joint over Sydney?”

“My parents, they’re sick of the city, wanted country life, they did.”

“And you were born in Sydney?” asked Natalie.

“Oh no,” laughed Tommy, a little more easily now. “No. I was born in Germany.”

“Oh, okay then,” said Peter slowly, taken aback. “How old were you when you moved to Australia?”

“Well,” said Tommy slowly, the easiness gone in a stroke, “I suppose you could say I was four, but … it’s hard to explain, and it’s pretty private anyway.”

“Spill the beans,” said Harry. “We can keep a secret.”

“No you can’t,” I said. “You two are the worst of the lot of us. You don’t have to say, Tommy—”

“Yeah, he does,” said Harry, grinning.

“Knock it off, Harry,” said James, “and don’t you start, Simon.”

“I would tell,” said Tommy quickly, “but I’m just not sure how. I’ve never explained it to anyone except my parents—both sets of them.”

“Both sets?” repeated Lisa, looking confused.

“Okay, look,” said Harry, leaning forward and looking uncharacteristically serious. “No pressure here, mate. You tell us whatever you feel you can; we’ll just listen. Okay?”

Tommy considered the matter for a few seconds, then said, “All right. Well, I was born in Germany, right. Both my parents died in a plane crash when I was about three, but I somehow survived it.”

“Not bad,” said Simon, impressed. “Our parents died in a plane crash when we were only youngsters, too, only we were lucky enough not to be on it with them.”

“Yeah,” said Tommy distractedly. “Well, I was adopted by another set of parents, but things were different. Well, when I was really young, the thing is, with my dreams, I realised that they weren’t real … I realised, they were real.”

“Say that again?” said Nicole vaguely.

“Sorry,” said Tommy, shrugging. “I realised that my dreams weren’t really dreams; they were really happening. This is the confusing bit. My sleeping patterns weren’t normal, not at that age anyway. I only ever slept at night when I was younger, which was lucky. That’s normal now, of course. That’s like you guys, at night and only at night—”

“Not us,” interrupted Harry, “we sleep in Maths.”

Harry had transformed back into himself again.

“Not now, Harry,” snapped Natalie.

“Ruin the effect a little,” said Tommy, but he was grinning; he didn’t seem awkward about anything anymore. Perhaps he had wanted to talk about this for a long time. “Anyway, at first I thought … well, I was too young to think properly. When I was about four, I realised how weird my dreams were; they weren’t normal. They were all set in the same place, where there was nothing around but a few trees. I was actually somewhere else, able to walk around and change things and everything. If I scratched the trunk of a tree, the next night the scratch would still be there. I didn’t know that then, though. It wasn’t ’til I got to about four years old that I found out my dreams weren’t actually dreams.”

“It took four years?” said Peter, astounded. “But someone would surely have noticed if you fell asleep and disappeared to somewhere else.”

“Well, not really,” said Tommy, “because I’ve actually got two bodies that I switch between.”

“What?”

“How can you have two bodies?” asked several people.

“I still don’t get it,” said Nicole.

“In other words,” said Tommy, “I don’t dream. I live. I have a body in this time zone, here in Australia, and one in Germany. I switch between them when I sleep. With me?”

“Sort-of,” said Felicity vaguely.

“And someone believed you?” asked Simon. “I wouldn’t believe it if a four-year-old told me that.”

“I didn’t need to make a big deal of it,” said Tommy, “and honestly, I didn’t really believe it until about five years ago, anyway; I just assumed I was having very vivid dreams. I don’t know exactly how I stayed alive all that time, but when I could walk, I just kept walking, and I eventually walked right into a country town somewhere in New South Wales. People started raising alarms; there were lost child notices everywhere. I didn’t need to tell anyone I was German, although they would have known, because I couldn’t exactly speak English, and for a long time my folks back in Germany didn’t understand why my English was so much better than theirs. I was eventually adopted by a second set of parents out here.”

“How’d you work out what was really happening?” asked Lisa.

“I started by sending an email from Germany to here and replying to it,” he said. “Then I arranged for my German parents to Skype with me here; they got a little freaked out when I told them stuff about myself a stranger shouldn’t have known while the German me was asleep in the room with them. The two sets of parents got talking and eventually organised to come out here to try to prove it. That was the only time my two bodies have ever been together, one always awake, one always asleep. They were really suspicious when I knew things that had happened when I was supposed to be sleeping. Nobody really believed me though until the DNA test results came back. So, my life here is pretty normal. When I’m in Germany, I don’t do a lot, though I do more now; I email homework to myself so I have something to do over there. I don’t go to school over there; it’d be too much to handle.”

None of us knew exactly what to say for a moment, which made Tommy a bit nervous again.

“Blimey,” said Jessica. “That’s … very unusual.”

“That’s what I was saying,” said Tommy, shrugging and looking quite as put-out as he had earlier; most of the rest of us glared at Jessica.

“Weird,” I said slowly. “Not that that makes you weird as a person,” I added quickly, seeing the look on Tommy’s face. “I’ve never heard of a case like that.”

“Never mind, Tommy,” said Peter. “Here in Chopville, we’re used to strange things like that, because Chopville’s the base of the six Sorcerers.”

“Yeah, I know,” said Tommy. “That’s another reason why I’m here. Both sets of parents want answers, because they think what happened to me may have been dark magic. I haven’t seen any of them yet, though.”

“Yeah, you have,” said Natalie. “That girl who was sitting in front of you before is Amelia Woodward, this generation’s sorcerer. Well, one of them anyway.”

“Don’t worry, Tommy,” said Harry, “we won’t tell anyone that. I swear.”

“You know, Tommy, technically, you’ve got a cursed life,” said Peter. “Only a sorcerer could have done something like that to a person. No one in Amelia’s family, I’m sure.”

“That leaves me with just one more problem,” said Tommy.

“What’s that?” asked Lisa.

“We’ll fight them off,” said Marc, who’d already surmised what Tommy was about to say, and he was spot on.

“Yeah,” said Tommy, “I’ve got to get rid of the rest of those guys. I don’t want to have to explain this to everyone; they’ll think I’m mentally unwell or something.”

“That’s okay, we’ll keep them away,” said Marc reassuringly.

“We’ll get rid of them,” said Felicity. “They’re midgets; we can body slam them.”

“How small are you talking?” asked Harry.

“All but Sebastian would be about Pete’s size,” said Lisa.

“Pete’s size?” I asked, smirking at Peter. “How about one of you girls give us a demonstration then.”

“No! No!” said Peter quickly. “I wasn’t built to fight.”

“They’re just a bunch of girls,” said Harry. “They’re not even heavy. Don’t be a sook.”

“Baby!” hollered Simon.

“Grow up, Simon,” said Natalie. “Stop yelling.”

“Sorry,” Simon said. “Got carried away.”

It looked pretty grim for Peter for a moment, but he was saved by the bell.

 

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