A free sample (about 3%) of ‘Our Saxon Heritage,’ my soon-to-be- published horror novel about a fanatically pro-Saxon professor who creates a ruthless Saxon settlement in modern England.
In this scene, a teacher is amazed to discover a Saxon long boat in the school playground.
Why is it there?
Jack Webster watched interestedly as the pupils in his class played in the school playground during their morning break.
Normally he would continue to teach them for the rest of the day, until school finished at 3.45 p.m.
But Miss Deorlaf hadsaid that she would teach them for the last hour instead, and hadtold him to go home at 2.45 pm.
This was pretty unusual, very unusual in fact, but he wasn’t in a position to argue with her because she was after all the head teacher.
Maybe it was because today was Friday, the last day of the school term before the summer holiday, and shehadsomething special to say to the pupils, although he couldn’t imagine what it might be.
There was something else unusual about the school.
All the kids hadstrange names instead of conventional English names.
There was a pupil – a boy, called Einhard Achby, for example, and another – a girl, called Eadyg Duning, as well as another boy called Godwin Turner.
Even the teachers had unusual names.
The other teacher – the only other one at the school, was called Ethelred Stewart, while the head teacher was called Waerburh Deorlaf.
In theory he could have asked the pupils about the origin of their names, but in reality that wouldn’t be a good idea.
When he was teaching in London lots of the pupils hadforeign names, because of the city’s high immigrant population.
But teachers were discouraged from enquiring into the origin of their pupil’s names, in case it could be interpreted as racism.
Something else occurred to him.
What would happen if an inspector from the government’s Department Of Education visited the school, and saw all these unusual names on the school register?
Would he also decide not to enquire into their origins, because of the risk of being accused of racism?
The playground was pretty unusual, too, he hadnever seen one like it.
Like most school playgrounds it hadswings, and slides, and a ‘roundabout,’ a rotating circular platform which some of the kids stood on while others spun it around.
But this playground also hada big wooden boat that was about twenty feet long and ten feet wide, and had seats in it.
Maybe that wasn’t so unusual, but what was unusual was, the sides were painted with pictures of swords, and axes, and shields.
Why didn’t any of the kids play in it?
In the three days that he hadbeen teaching at the school and supervising the kids in the playground he hadnever seen any of them playing in it.
The only time he hadseen one of them even get close to it was the day before, when one of the boys – Godwin Turner, who was small and timid, hadaccidentally put his hand on it when he was running around the playground.
Einhard Achby hadgrabbed hold of him and pushed him away from the boat, then stared at him until he turned around and fled to the other side of the playground.
Why was he scared of Einhard?
Suddenly he realised that he hadnever taken a really good look at the boat, that he hadonly glanced at it from a distance, probably because he was more concerned with making sure that the pupils were playing safely.
He started to walk towards it – and noticed that something hadchanged; the kids had seen him moving towards it and were suddenly standing still, watching him.
And he sensed that the atmosphere in the playground hadchanged, it was no longer carefree, it was almost threatening.
He smiled to himself.
A kids playground, threatening?
I don’t think so.
As he drew closer to the boat he saw that Einhard had started to push the other kids in front of it, until they were standing there with their arms folded, as if they were guarding it.
“What’s going on?” he smiled when he reached them.
No-one said anything for a few seconds, until Einhard spoke.
“What do you want?” he said coldly.
“I thought I’d look at the boat, Einhard.”
They stared at each other for a few seconds, and he suddenly realised he was engaged in a power struggle with Einhard.
Was it connected with the boat?
Was there something in it that Einhard didn’t want him to see?
He decided to disengage from the power struggle, maybe he would fight it at another time.
Although he didn’t know when, because this was the last day of school before the summer holiday.
He glanced at his watch and saw that it was 10.45 a.m.
“Break’s over” he called out to them.
But they didn’t move.
Then he realised.
They were waiting for Einhard to give the order to move.
Einhard stared at him for a moment, then turned around to face them.
“Break’s over” he said harshly.
Webster watched as they began to move back towards the classroom, but not in the way that they usually did, in a casual, ambling kind of way.
They had formed into a single file, instead, with each kid walking behind the other.
And Einhard was leading them.