The first bell is already ringing as I walk through the front gate of Westmoore Primary. I know it’s the first bell and not the second bell because everyone in the playground is ignoring it.
I nearly didn’t make it to school on time because I waited ten whole minutes on the corner for Braden. He only lives four houses away from me so we usually walk to school together. But he didn’t show up today.
His face appears through an open window in the corridor.
‘Hey, Jesse!’ he yells. ‘I just remembered we were supposed to walk to school together!’
‘I know. I waited for ages,’ I say.
‘Half an hour,’ I say and laugh when his eyes go wide. ‘Sorry! I forgot …’
‘Ha-ha … just kidding. But didn’t you go right past my house?’
‘I did,’ Braden says, ‘but I was in the car. Dad dropped me off at school at eight o’clock.’
Eight o’clock! It’s a good thing he didn’t come into our house at eight o’clock. I was still in my pyjamas.
Braden’s freckled face disappears back through the window.
There are no kids blocking the main steps to the corridor, which is good because I don’t feel like taking the long way around. Inside, books and socks and half-eaten lunches are flying all over the place. Most of the kids from my Grade 6 class are standing in a nervous cluster outside our classroom. We can’t put our stuff away because our teacher Mrs Leeman keeps the door locked before and after school, during recess and at lunchtime.
Our access is restricted to the six dreary hours we already have in there.
My friend Jun and a couple of other kids are staring at something on Minha’s mobile phone. Minha is in my class and Mrs Leeman will be here in about two minutes’ time. What could be so interesting that she has her phone out now?