At this point I’m understandably nervous. I haven’t got a crystal ball yet as mom and I were going to see to that after school. What I do have is not a clue what’s going on. It doesn’t help that the harsh laughter’s ringing ’round my head again. Into it cuts a loud ‘Ouch!’ from Bobby. I barely hear Mr Redwood ask, ‘What is it, Roberta?’, as, without attempting to think anymore, I’m racing into the building and up the stairs. I’m hoping that Bobby is where I assume she is, in the room I took maths in last year. Without knocking I yank the door open. Mr Redwood at the blackboard spins around. Panting, I scan the students’ faces. No Bobby. ‘Jock!’ says Mr Redwood. ‘Take it easy, son! I guess you’re looking for your sister. A molehill really does become a mountain in no time in this place.’ ‘What?’ I gasp. ‘Calm down, Jock! It’s just a little graze on her leg. Her compasses were poking through her backpack. I sent her to the staff room, whoever’s there’ll clean it up and put a plaster on it. That’s all it is,’ he stresses again when I don’t calm down at all. It hasn’t taken me thirty seconds to run up the stairs, and I haven’t met Bobby. ‘When was this?’ I hear myself ask. ‘About five minutes ago,’ replies Mr Redwood. ‘She’ll be back any moment.’ ‘Thanks,’ I say, breathlessly adding, ‘Sir,’ and shut the door.

My head’s now truly a mess. Quite apart from everything else I’m worried about one thing. In my family, we’re not your regular accident-prone bunch of kids. None of us has ever had so much as a hint of a graze. And Bobby’s still only twelve. She oughta be protected. Mom’s told us all about it.

I floor it to the staff room. Five minutes ago, I’m thinking. Anything could’ve happened. And, right on cue, here are more voices. It’s Bobby first, and she’s screaming. ‘Shut up, you filthy little witch!’ comes the familiar snarl. Then Bobby’s scream dies. Beside myself, I tumble into the staff room. It’s completely empty of people. But my head isn’t. It’s like a big bang goes through my whole body, and I’m in an otherwise vacant school lab. I’m holding my sister Bobby. Throttling her with one arm, to be precise. My extremely gnarled other hand is covering her mouth. She’s struggling less and less. I look up from her ruffled hazel hair as my arm increases its pressure. I meet the inquisitive gaze of a white-maned, moustachioed man on a poster on the wall.