‘…the castle was saved and the dragon was slain.’
The boy finished reading and looked up.
‘Very good, Michaels. Back to your seat. Right, who’s next? Hines?’
Freddy stood up nervously, fumbling his jotter, and made his way to the front of the class.
‘We haven’t got all day, boy. Start reading.’
‘Yes sir,’ Freddy mumbled. ‘A Fantasy Tale, by Freddy Hines.’
‘Speak up, boy. Let the class hear you.’
Freddy gulped and stared at the page in front of him, unable to raise his head and see the roomful of eyes watching him, waiting for him to fail.
‘After school one day I ran home. My Dad was waiting for me when I got in. He was back living with Mum and me. I was very happy to see him. I got changed out my uniform and he took Mum and me out for a slap-up dinner to celebrate. I had a large pizza all to myself. It tasted so good, but it was so big I couldn’t finish it all. Then Mum went home and Dad took me to the football game. City scored four goals and won. My Dad and I celebrated each goal and at the end of the game he gave me a huge cuddle and then carried me on his shoulders when we walked back home. I got changed for bed…’
‘Stop, stop, stop, Hines! Are you taking the mickey out of me again? You were told to write a fantasy story. The rest of the class has managed to do it, why can’t you? Sit back down.’
‘Yes sir, sorry sir, but, well, this is my fantasy story, sir.’
‘Enough, you insolent boy! Report to me after class.’
I have just finished reading ‘A Kestrel for a Knave,’ by Barry Hines, a classic text taught in many schools throughout Britain. It tells of a young boy, Billy Casper, from a socially disadvantaged family life, who trains a kestrel, but who has little opportunity in life. It is a powerful and emotional story, well worth a read, and still as relevant today as it was when it was written in the 1970s. My story steals from a scene in the book.