“It’s not fair sending me here,” said Izzy. “I would rather stay at the local school, even if the staff did tell lies abut me.”

She was in the process of being shown round her new boarding school by the head girl, who pointed out the portraits along the corridor, generations of stern bluestocking Headmistresses and grim-faced formally dressed men. Just one stood out as different.

“That’s the wife of the Victorian Founder, William Acklam,” said the girl. “There are stories about her strange behaviour, and it didn’t end well. That’s why the roof space is out of bounds. However, he insisted the portrait should stay up for posterity.”

Seeing the painting gave Izzy an idea.

Thereafter, every time she passed it she checked to make sure someone was watching, then swung her eyes upwards until only the whites were visible, and twitched as if from involuntary muscle spasm. At meal times she often sat looking disoriented for a while and then interrupted conversation with an outburst in an eerie tone such as “Mr Acklam, please, no.” Night time saw no let up from her pretence as sometimes she sat up in bed and screamed, or was found on the landing by the House Matron, whom she stared at wordlessly with an empty expression. One day, after being helped out of double maths, where she’d faked a swoon and asked for her fan, she found the hiding place of the key to the roof door. It was the events that followed that predictably achieved her goal of getting expelled.

As she was marched off the premises by her parents, she had a sense of triumphalism, soon dispelled when they threatened to send her straight to another boarding school. Despite her pleas, they soon had her bags re-packed and accompanied her to Kings Cross station to travel to a new nightmare.

It was as Izzy began to give up hope that she looked over at the sign and noticed it said Platform 9 and three quarters. With a smile, and a wink at mum and dad, she boarded the train.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

What a naughty little girl. Let’s hope Professor Longbottom feeds her to the venomous tentacular ?

Lydia Wist
Lydia Wist(@lydia-wist1)
1 year ago

Brilliantly original. I’ve got questions about Izzy. Why exactly did she move schools? Was it really because of her behaviour or has she uncovered something nefarious?

1 year ago

I have a feeling that Izzie will LOVE her new school. She’ll love it so much, in fact, that she won’t try to get kicked out. She just had to find her real home. The old schools were for Muggles, obviously. Great, great story Susan, and the perfect culmination of all the Scary stories this year.

Reply to  Susan Dawson
1 year ago

Oh that is hilarious. Good thing your computer didn’t die or the electricity blink!! The rest of us would have missed a real treat.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti(@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago

The reader can only speculate at the end. Superb, Susan!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

It was amazing and original, Susan. Hats off to you. 

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