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Addlebrain`s Abyss

by  Rach76

Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Word Count: 1000
Summary: Miss Addlebrain is the thorn amongst two roses at Googleford Heights, the odd school on the hill. Mr Colbright and Miss Flick are wonderful caring teachers, but Miss A owns the place and refuses to leave. She torments most kids, but it's Juniper Berry who risks being thrown into Addlebrain's Abyss this time. The only problem is, she can't speak in public.

This is my first posting, so please be gentle!!!

Chapter One

“Juniper Berry!” a voice screeched, “Did you hear me or do I need to swill your ears out with detergent?!”

Miss Addlebrain, one of our teachers was standing behind her desk with her elbows bent and a pair of bony hands resting on her hips.

It was Geography, it was Friday and it was the day my life nearly ended.

Miss Addlebrain glared icily at me, but I wasn’t looking back, I was looking at the wall, hoping this would all just go away.

“Juniper Berry,” she said again, very quietly, “I said… did you hear me?”

Keep looking at the wall Juniper, keep looking at the wall.

A horrible silence hung in the air and the whole class seemed to be breathing together very, very slowly around me.

Right, I’ll just keep my eye on the wall. At that spot there where the paint is crumbling, the bit that looks like the shape of a dolphin. Just there. Yes. Keep staring Juniper and it will all go away.

Before I knew it, the dolphin had disappeared entirely and was replaced by Miss Addlebrain who was looming right over me. I couldn’t help but look up into her bonfire eyes.

“Juniper Berry….” she whispered, “Be very, very careful. As you know I will repeat this only one. More. Time.”

She put her hand on the desk in front of me and tap tap tapped. Her fingers swirled around and around, and I couldn’t help thinking that the painted red fingernails made her hand look like a deadly octopus. Then, she crouched down, and pressed her other hand against her forehead.

“Juniper,” she said, moving closer to my ear, “you do know that you have only one more chance don’t you?” She smiled at me, but it was a horrible stretchy grin. “And you know what happens after that, don’t you?”

“Erm, well…” I stuttered….” I think I know, but… ”

“What is the capital of Argentina Juniper Berry?” Her voice was getting higher and higher. “Hmmmm?”

Then, in a flash, she was upright and began swirling around the classroom, dancing as though she was on the world’s finest stage. “Don’t Cry for me Argentina!” she sang in a shrill bird-like voice. “Argentina! What a wonderful place. I danced the Tango there you know….”

She looked far away into the distance and for a moment I thought she’d forgotten all about me and capital cities, but within seconds, she had stopped the funny dancing and was back. “You know, Argentina, don’t you Juniper Berry?” A speck of spit landed on my exercise book. “Argentina of South AMERICA? Hmm? Argentina of Tango and well… other things too!”

“Yes, yes Miss Addlebrain, I know, well, I mean I don’t know, but I think I do and well…”

I tried to think back to last lesson, but it was impossible - there were so many eyes, everywhere. Just forget everyone is here Juniper. You DO remember, it was just last lesson. Come on, Ju, come on!

“Well,” I began, “I think Miss Addlebrain that it is….” I swallowed hard. I knew I knew the answer, but my head was all hot and it felt like my brain had overheated, “B…?”

I tried again. “B…?” Nothing else came out. My mouth was like a watering can that only had a dribble left.

“Come on child, I don’t have time for these meaningless mutterings!!! For the final time, what is the capital of Argentina?”

Just say something Juniper, anything at all. Say it, say it.

I kept picking at my wristband under the table. By now the answer had gone and I knew that I just had to get anything out of my mouth. Just say something Juniper, I told myself, anything at all. Say it, say it.

“Peru?” I asked.

“PERU?!!” Miss Addlebrain spat, “PERU??? Good God child. You’d better take a compass next time you want to go to the toilet! Ha! Peru?! You have clearly not been listening to me have you? And you know what that means don’t you, you little toerag? Hmmm?” Her eyes swept the room. “What does it mean if you haven’t been listening children? Hmmm?? Where do I sentence you to? Where must all cloth eared children go for a good ear swilling???”

The class was deadly silent. Everyone was too terrified to answer - all but one person.

“I know Miss Addlebrain,” a voice said loudly from the back. “Addlebrain’s Abyss, that’s where.”

A slow smile crept over Miss Addlebrain’s face. “Thank you my dear,” she said quietly, “yes you are correct. And can you please inform Miss Juniper Berry what awaits her at this wonderful place. What delights does she face? What divine pleasures might she find there? Hmmm?”

“Well,” continued the voice, “I know that what you got to do is answer lots of well hard questions really quickly in front of the whole class and if you don’t get them right, well then you have to do horrible things and then, you….”

“Cor-RECT!” Miss Addlebrain pursed her lips and clapped her hands together. “Class dismissed!” she said.

Everyone began quietly gathering their things.

“Oh and wait a minute!” She banged on the desk. “Just to reiterate for Juniper Berry’s sake and anyone else foolish enough to forget what happens at the edge of Addlebrain’ s Abyss. Twenty questions against the clock. Spotlight on you. No falling in now!” She let out an almighty laugh. “Three seconds per question. That’s one minute altogether for those brain dead amongst you. And the topic?”

“South America!” shouted the voice from the back.

“Well done my dear girl, well done indeed. And your prize for rising above these bunch of numbskulls?” She paused, looking towards the back of the classroom, “you may be Addlebrain’s Aide on the occasion.”

Everyone sighed and turned around to glare at the traitor in the room.

Blaze Urchinsnap sat smiling back.