The Lucky Escape
Boiling with rage, Professor Hardbrim thumped her fists hard onto her oak desk. Her face was scarlet red; it was as if her body was filling up with boiling lava. Slowly, a solitary bead of sweat trickled down the fury-filled professor's wrinkled forehead before finally dripping off the end of her beak-like nose. Her eyes, which were once sea-blue, had turned fiery red and were bulging out of her sockets, threatening to detach completely from the rest of Hardbrim's now purple face. Even her ears had turned purple and Taylor thought that he might actually be able to see smoke spilling out of the teacher's flaring nostrils.
"TAYLOR ARNOLD-SMITH! First of all, you mixed the red liquid with the blue liquid when your teacher made it clear that was a bad idea. The resulting explosion destroyed the whole science wing and it will take months and millions of pounds to rebuild!"
Taylor stood dry mouthed in front of the enraged teacher.
"Next, you completely caked the walls of our glorious Grand Hall in mashed potato, baked beans, and Chef Ladle's gooey chicken pie! I cleaned that with my own perfectly moisturised hands and shellac nails."
"Then, you catapulted MY CAR KEYS into our school pond. Where did you even get a catapult from?"
A tear appeared in Taylor's eyes. He was absolutely distraught as he meekly stammered, "I ... I ... I u... used your p...p...p...pink p...p....p...pants, a rubber band and a twig from the school Chestnut tree."
"MY PANTS? MY FAVOURITE PINK PANTS? MY 'I ❤ THE HEADTEACHER PANTS?? AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!" shouted Professor Hardbrim in a fit of anger. "And, as if all that wasn't enough, earlier today, I heard you calling me a 'hostile, demented bull' in front of all your friends! You’re in BIG... BIG... BIG trouble. You are to be sent to your room in isolation for 2 whole weeks. We'll deliver your food to you. Don't even think about coming out your door!"
Taylor sat on the end of his bed and thought about how he had humiliated Professor Hardbrim, wrecked the Grand Hall and burned down the science lab. Soft, wet tears of regret rolled down his cheeks and dripped onto a photo of Taylor's family that he was holding tightly in his hands. His mother and father, three big sisters (Faith, Gemma and Madelaine), two little brothers (Jacob and Mason), his dog (Twix) and his cat (Cuddles) beamed back at him. Oh, how they would be disappointed in him. He hadn't meant to do all these thing wrong. Kyle had dared him to do all of them and now it was Taylor who was in serious trouble. He so wished that he had had the courage to say no but Kyle could be so intimidating. Although, he had to admit that the whole pants thing was quite funny!
Hours seemed to pass and Taylor had no more tears left to cry. As his last tear dropped down onto the edge of his photo, the weary boy loosened his grip. At exactly that moment, a sudden gust of wind blew in through the open window of his second-story room and snatched the precious souvenir from his grasp. Taylor lunged after it but it was too late. The photo was slowly descending down to the ground outside. He was distraught. At that moment, nothing in the world meant more to him than the photo of his happy family smiling and the good memories it brought flooding back. He had to go after it. Taylor hopped on to the window ledge and dangled his feet outside. He closed his eyes, clenched every muscle of his body tightly and pushed himself off the end.
Taylor landed with a thump; his legs gave way underneath him and he crumpled to the ground. Had he survived? Was he injured? Slowly, he stretched his arms out, then his legs, then clenched his fists. He seemed to have survived the 20 foot drop unhurt. Taylor opened his eyes and looked up to marvel at just how high his window was. By now, the photo was being swept around the grassy area outside the boys’ dormitories by the strong evening breeze. Taylor chased after it and after two or three attempts, managed to stamp down on the photo with his foot to stop it from blowing around anymore. He picked it up and clenched it to his chest. The relief was short lived. At that moment, from over his right shoulder, Taylor heard a voice that immediately sent fear and anxiety coursing through his veins: it was Kyle.
“What are you doing here?” barked the school’s most feared bully. “Hardbrim said you had solitary confinement in your room for two weeks! I can’t wait to tell her that you didn’t even last two hours!”
A million thoughts raced through Taylor’s mind. Professor Hardbrim would be so angry. His dad would kill him when he heard about everything that had been happening. Mum would be so disappointed. He couldn’t face another telling off. Taylor took off. He slalomed in and out of the Chestnut trees in the gardens, hurdled over the barriers and ducked under the toxic sign that protected the demolition site that used to be the science wing.
Where the science lab had once stood was now nothing more than a huge pile of rubble. Pieces of jagged brick covered the floor and Taylor found it difficult to run quickly. He stumbled over the rocks and tripped. He cut his leg against the side of a sharp piece of brick.
“Ouch”, he screamed in pain.
Taylor knew that he had to get as far away as he could so wiped off the blood and carried on, tripping and sliding over the rubble. Suddenly, he found himself falling and sliding down a wet, muddy hole. He tried to grab the sides as he fell, but the mud just squelched and slipped through his fingers. Taylor landed with a bump on the ground. It was pitch black. He felt around him but all he could feel was slimy mud and water. Where was he and how was he going to escape?
Taylor tried to stand up and started
to feel a real sadness in his heart. Without warning, he found himself sinking further into quicksand. He heard something above his head whilst a shiver ran down his spine. Underneath him he smelt a sour, minty smell. Squelching, sloppy substance surrounded him, up to his head.
Although he was stuck he knew he was safe from Professor Hardbrim.
In the distance, he could hear echoing voices and footsteps coming towards him.
“Where are you? Come out! Come out! Wherever you are!” a mysterious voice shouted.
Taylor froze in fear because he recognised the bellowing voice of Kyle and the footsteps of Professor Hardbrin. He was not safe after all!
Tripping over the rubble Kyle made a fatal mistake. He fell aimlessly onto the already squashed mud! With arms flapping and failing he landed with a thump on top of Taylor at the bottom of the muddy pit!
All of a sudden, out of the mist Taylor saw a wooden ladder propped against the muddy wall…
They tried to reach the ladder but it was hopeless. The two frightened boys felt around in the mud. Suddenly Taylor found a branch that had fallen
from a tree. Taylor looked at Kyle to tell him the good news but he was amazed to see Kyle was crying and Kyle even began to scream wildly for help. Taylor bravely turned to face him.
"Don't worry" he said kindly to Kyle, "I think I can get us out of here." Stretching the branch towards the ladder, Taylor hooked the branch over
the ladder and pulled it towards them. Kyle brushed away his tears and helped Taylor pull the ladder into a place where they could climb out. "You go first" said Taylor bravely, "I'll hold the ladder for you." “Thank you” said Kyle. He climbed nervously up the ladder onto solid ground. Taylor carefully followed up the ladder onto safer ground. The muddy pair scrambled over to the pond to wash off. Within a few minutes of washing in the pond the two boys started splashing each other, giggling loudly and happily. “I’d like to be your friend” Kyle said happily. Just then Taylor noticed something shiny on the bank of the pond. It was Professor Hardbrim's keys. "I've found them" shouted Taylor. Suddenly the two boys noticed with fearfulness that Professor Hardbrim was angrily
stomping towards them with her familiar red face! "We've found your keys" the boys said, trembling...
Professor Hardbrim bellowed at the boys, “What are you two mischief makers doing out here? I thought I’d banished you, Taylor, to isolation. And as for you Kyle, I thought this was the last place you’d be.”
“B….b….b….ut we’ve found your keys said the boys proudly, although, still trembling with fear.”
“I don’t care that you’ve found my keys, you could have found the crown jewels with MY FAVOURITE I LOVE THE HEADTEACHER PINK PANTS on top!! You could have unearthed a long lost Roman sword or even constructed a brand new state of the art science wing and I still wouldn’t have forgiven you two foolish imbeciles!”
“I declare that both of you two ignorant nincompoops are sentenced to one month in isolation!”
With that, she stormed off back up to the school, possessing all the fury of a rampaging, charging, terrifying wild bull.
A few minutes later, after the shenanigans down by the pond were over, back in the relative safety of the dormitory, Taylor and Kyle (now BFF’s) were discussing how little praise Hardbrim had given them. Kyle, still with his bullying ways hard to shake off, exclaimed, “I think we need to teach her a lesson and encourage her to show more thankfulness and respectfulness.”
“Why don’t we leave a bucket of slimy powder under her door or spray paint the walls with a cheeky message or throw a custard pie in her face?” shrieked the increasingly frustrated Taylor.
“No, no” muttered the mellowing Kyle, “that’s not the way to respect one of our teachers and help her to change her ways.”
So the boys came up with a calculating plan……..
They designed a card covered in puppies, flowers and doves (as a little birdie had told the boys that the Headteacher loves puppies, flowers and doves).
Immediately, Kyle signed it from the Headteacher and posted it silently through Professor Hardbrim’s door without being noticed.
Later that evening, during dinnertime in the now spotless Grand Hall, Professor Hardbrim was beaming like the sun and had her card stood up proudly, a quarter opened on her table. The Headteacher swanned past and said “nice card.” Hardbrim confusingly replied “I thought it was from you??”
Hardbrim inquisitively breezed over to Kyle and Taylor and said “is this anything to do with you two?”
“Yes” they replied in unison.
“Maybe you aren’t such brainless, numskull nincompoops after all. No isolation for you!”
“Phew!” the boys sighed exhaustedly.
“WOW! That card gave us a lucky escape route……..”