Bess was so angry she felt like bursting into tears.

The seconds ticked slowly by on the clock above Mr Scratcher’s newspaper. The rustle of the broadsheet pages was the only other sound in the room.

Three students sat on the front row, hands on desks staring into semi-distance, waiting for the school bell to sound and the summer holidays to begin.

“Detention – on the last day of school!” thought Bess bitterly.

Her face was set like stone, but inside the rage was shaking her like jelly. The end of term school play, the one she’d been looking forward to all year would be reaching the grand finale any minute. Now she would never get to see her story come to life and watch everyone’s reactions. Sitting with the rest of the grown-ups watching, her parents would be wondering where she was. She’d have to explain later and then probably be grounded for the rest of the day.

Worst of all it wasn’t even her fault.

She was never going to forgive that nasty little Arnie Oink – NEVER!

Hopefully something really bad would happen to him over the holidays and next term she’d really sort him out!

Bitter plans of what she’d do to him flooded her head and time passed quicker.

The sound of enthusiastic applause and cheering drifted through the open doorway from the assembly room beyond.

Mr Scratcher muttered something from behind his paper and moved onto a very interesting piece about rose gardening.

Bess felt the sobs coming again. She ground her teeth and fought them back down. They were never going to see how much they’d hurt her!

Sitting next to her, Ollie woke up from his daydream and shot a sideways glance at Bess from behind his round spectacles. He was worried about being in her bad books. Bess was two years older and he didn’t want any more trouble from people at school – he already had plenty.

Next to him, Arnie was doing his best to appear as cool and careless as he could when his hands had to stay on the table. Under the mass of wavy, straw-yellow hair his eyes danced with glee.

The school went silent again and with a sigh Mr Scratcher put down his newspaper and pulled out his pocket watch.

He grunted in satisfaction and looked up at the clock expectantly.

Finally, finally the minute hand moved to 12. The school bell broke the silence with a shrill ring.

The sound jerked everyone to their feet.

Mr Scratcher moved towards the door and cleared his throat. “Here’s letters for your parents. I will be calling on them tomorrow, so don’t think about not giving them these. Come on! Off with you! Have a good summer holiday and don’t disappoint me again next term!”

As he spoke, the bits of paper he held out were snatched from his hand. “No sirs” and “Yes sirs” were thrown his way as the students sullenly but quickly left the room.

With a deep sigh, Bess entered the assembly room, heading towards her parents who were looking confused and concerned.

Not fun. But at least summer was here and she’d be far away from Becclesbrooke tomorrow. For three whole months she wouldn’t have anything to do with Arnie Oink.


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