|The Repercussions of Tomas D: Sample Chapter - The Day after Tomas disappeared...
Chapter Three: Meine Familie und ich
Gabby was late for school. The rain had flooded several roads and the buses weren’t working. People said that global warming was responsible but Gabby’s mother was of the opinion that global warming didn’t stop the council from clearing the drains and it was their fault there was flooding.
She ran into school. It was five to nine and she hated being late.
‘You too?’ Frances said as they found each other in the corridor. ‘I can’t believe the floods, Gabby. You ready for the test?’
‘German orals today. You’re so lucky you get it, but I really struggle.’
Gabby looked at her friend Frances and did a double take. Frances had her hair in braids and she looked completely different somehow.
‘Good joke. We don’t study German, Frances. In fact, no one does in this school.’
Frances looked at her with surprise. ‘We all study German. You’re the best at it. I just can’t get my head around the grammar.’
Gabby dismissed Frances’ comments as being a stupid joke. No way was she going to study German. It was bad enough having to learn French.
They entered the classroom and everyone turned to look at them.
‘Fraulein Gabriella and Fraulein Frances you are twenty-five minutes late. You will stay after school, you understand?’
Gabby stared uncomprehending at the severe schoolmistress stood at the head of the class. The walls were covered in posters of German images and grammar. Someone had written - freut mich sehr, dich kennenzulernen - on the board. Worse – she knew it meant ‘pleased to meet you’. She took her place behind her desk and opened up her satchel. Two fat German books fell out and an equally fat German dictionary.
How was this possible? How could she have forgotten she studied German? Or that school started at eight-thirty. She’d discuss this with Tomas later. She looked around the classroom. All the girls were wearing the same uniform as her – dark blue with black stockings. They all wore their hair in braids and no one wore any make up. How on earth had this happened? How come she remembered none of it, yet knew German. Where were all the boys?
‘Hast du Geschwister, Fraulein Gabriella?’
‘Nein, Frau Lister. Ich habe keine Geschwister.’
The schoolmistress nodded, happy with the answer.
‘Take out your notebooks. We will have a ten minute test.’
Three hours later lunch was no better. The canteen served sauerkraut and wursts. No mash or French fries. Milk in small glass bottles. At least it was free. Gabby felt a headache coming on. She only recognised Frances and her mortal enemy Sarah Cussins, who looked thin and emaciated and she didn’t even make a single sarcastic comment to her, or refer to the upcoming audition. Usually she just called Gabby ‘loser’ and laughed, but this was a different girl. Not as pretty as Gabby remembered.
Everyone else seemed to be ‘different’ too. Hardly anyone spoke in the canteen and if they did it was only in whispers. There was an element of fear in the school and two male teaching staff with short greased hair patrolled the canteen like proud lions, glaring at anyone who even glanced at them. There were no boys here at all. It was a single sex school apparently.
Gabby had no idea of her timetable and was puzzled at the contents of her satchel. It contained heavy English literature and history books and since when had she been reading Goethe? She glanced at the unfamiliar history book. ‘The Birth of New Europe 1942-2000’ by Professor G F Lamb. She blinked. Professor Lamb was her father. But he wrote about war. 1942 – 2000? The dates seemed wrong. Surely New Europe started after the war, not during it.
She opened the page to a map of Europe. It was almost entirely German. The Great Third Reich Empire. There was a photograph of Reich Chancellor Fischer who took over in 1998 and was still leader of all Greater Germanica.
‘Swotting again?’ Frances whispered.
Gabriella looked at Frances and frowned. ‘When did we lose the war?’
Frances looked shocked. ‘We didn’t lose. We joined the Glorious European project. 1942 was the most important year in English history.
‘You’re giving a speech on the great glory of National Socialism on Speech day remember? Make sure you remind everyone what an evil man Winston Churchill was in trying to keep the war going and encouraging the slaughter of millions of English men women and children.’
‘Churchill? But he was a her…’
Frances put her hands over her ears. ‘Don’t say it. Don’t let them hear you say it, Gabby.’
Gabby looked at Frances and realised, as if for the first time that she had never seen this girl before in her whole life. Jessica Howard was her best friend at school, not this Frances. What the hell had happened?
A bell rang. Lunch hour lasted just twenty minutes it seemed.
‘History now, gym after,’ Frances announced. ‘I’m going to beat your brains out in boxing.’
History was bad enough but now she had to box? Wasn’t that a boy’s sport?
‘It is the only thing I’m better at than you,’ Frances declared with a sly grin.
Gabriella trailed after her to her ‘history’ lesson.
Maybe, just maybe, she thought, she’d gotten out of bed the wrong way or something. This was just like one of Tomas’s dreams. It had to be that. A stupid nightmare. She’d wake up soon enough.
© Sam Hawksmoor 2017
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