• MUSIC FOCUS: Inspired by the music of Linkin Park.
  • ACTIVITY FOCUS: Write chapter 3 of your story!


Chapter 3: High Voltage

At the bus stop, teachers are meant to be managing the queue but they’re scared to take on the nitwits.

“I’ve been here all along,” one of them screeches when a member of staff tells him off for pushing in.

He points at a small Year 7 boy who quite frankly has enough problems already thanks to the massive rucksack on his back – one wrong move and that kid’s going to topple over.

“It was him that shoved in.”

“Is that right?” the teacher asks.

Given that the titchy eleven-year-old is hardly capable of standing up straight, it’s pretty obvious that, no, it’s not the slightest bit right. How could he possibly shove past a gang of much older and bigger boys? He’s too nervous to answer, though, and the teacher takes his silence as an admittance of guilt and sends him to the back of the line.

When we actually get on the bus, I can’t help but gawp at the nitwits. It’s impossible not to. They’re talking a language I hardly understand, taking up five times more space than they need, and in the middle of the commotion, Mos Fischer is laughing. A boy from the year above is doing his best to return the insults being arrowed in his direction.

“I can’t watch this,” Amber groans.

She covers her eyes with her hands then peeks through the gap between her fingers. A fight is threatening to break out. For a moment, the situation feels dangerously high voltage. Then Mos loses interest, the older boy is able to pretend that he hasn’t just been taken down and the mayhem fragments a little.

When I get off the bus, I wave at Amber until she’s out of sight. I always do the same thing. Even if it’s raining. Which it is. I arrive home and Mum hugs me. I make an attempt at resisting but only because that’s what Mum expects.

“How was your day?” she asks.

“Mindblowing,” I say. “What are you doing back already?”

“I had nothing on that I couldn’t do on the laptop.”

I smile. I like it when Mum’s here after school. It doesn’t happen often. I start up the stairs.

“Make sure you do your homework,” Mum says.

I don’t answer. She knows I will.

I unwind the scarf I’ve had knotted around my neck and drop it onto the end of my bed. I take out my religious studies book. We have to write about who we are. I sit at my desk and look out of the window. At a crow circling way up high – and then at my reflection: a gossamer, gauzy version of myself.

Who am I really?

Do I even know?

God, teachers are stressful, setting you work that surely isn’t even really work. Maybe I’ve got this task all wrong. Perhaps there’s something particular about myself I should be writing down. That’s probably what everyone else is doing. I’ll hand my work in and it will be all like, ‘refugees make me sad and stray dogs make me sad and people who have to do jobs they hate make me sad,’ but everyone else will simply have put down when they were born and what football team they support. So I’ll feel like an idiot for over-sharing and then I’ll never be able to look Mrs Brown in the eye again because of the time she asked me for some facts about myself and I basically told her I’m an emotional wreck and that the world makes me want to cry like all the time.


I already know I’m going to spend the whole night worrying about this homework.

Then, no doubt, Mrs Brown won’t even check it.

I mean.


Write chapter 3 of your story.

Add some details/props that speak for the mood or meaning you’re trying to define.

Look here for some more notes about this kind of ‘prop’ work.

Go back to the start and read chapter 1 here!