Daisy Madigan's Paradise (A Morgan Sisters novella)
Copyright Suzy Turner 2012
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Sitting at the front of the class before her classmates arrived, Daisy Madigan opened her arts coursework folder and pulled out a drawing she'd done at the weekend. Staring at it, she remembered how the lion had looked so peaceful, sleeping on the plinth in the park.
As the other kids started to noisily enter the room, she wished she could go back there and sit beneath it. It was her favourite statue at Abney Park. Nobody mocked her while she was there. Nobody cared that she had red curly hair. And freckles.
Once everyone had settled down, the usual routine began. Some of the kids began to throw things at her. Just little things so the teacher wouldn't notice. Rolled up pieces of paper, paper clips, broken erasers... Over the years she'd learned to ignore them. She just sat and listened to what the teacher had to say about the creative process of working with charcoal.
But before Mr. Parker had even finished his sentence, the door opened and in walked a woman in her late fifties with huge eyes and a short, sleek black bob. For some reason, she reminded Daisy of those little Lego people she'd played with as a child. Not that you could play with Mrs. Goodyear. She was the Headmistress.
Daisy watched as the middle aged woman seemed to avoid all eye contact with the pupils, instead, making a beeline for Mr. Parker. She didn't look happy. In fact, a certain sadness tinged her eyes.
Someone sniggered behind her and this time, a pencil whistled by Daisy's ear, landing on her desk before it rolled noisily on to the floor. It almost echoed in the room as everyone sat waiting quietly, wondering what was going on.
'Daisy?' asked Mrs Goodyear.
Surprised at hearing her own name, Daisy looked up to see both teachers looking at her sadly.
'Daisy, please gather your belongings together and come with me.'
Without a word, she did as she was told, the other kids sniggering and making lame jokes quietly behind her back.
'Silence!' shouted Mr. Parker as he banged his fists noisily on the desk in front of him, making poor little Amy Green nearly pee her pants.
Mr. Parker never shouted... not at anyone.
All the kids looked up in shock, even the big bullies who resided at the very back of the classroom. 'Leave the poor girl alone,' he said as Daisy gently closed the door behind her.
She glanced through the window and smiled at him gratefully before turning her attention back to Mrs. Goodyear.
'Please come with me, Daisy.'
The long walk down the corridor was like walking on death row. Had she done something wrong? They passed class upon class until they eventually arrived at the headmistress's office. It was the first time she'd ever found herself there. Glancing around, she wasn't particularly impressed by what she saw. It was a small, sparse room with nothing but several filing cabinets, a desk and a few chairs. The walls were painted stark white. Daisy shivered.
'Please sit down, Daisy.'
She swallowed quietly and pulled out the short wooden seat, lowering herself down before looking up. Mrs. Goodyear had taken a box of Kleenex from one of the drawers and placed it on the desk in front of her.
'Daisy, I'm afraid I have some bad news. Your mother has been in a terrible car accident. Your father rang from the hospital. He's organised for one of your neighbours to come and collect you, who should be arriving shortly to take you to the hospital.'
Daisy's head spun. Had she heard right? Her mum? An accident?
But before she had a moment more to let it sink in, Mrs Goodyear stood up as there was a knock at the door.
'Oh Daisy,' said a familiar voice. 'I'm so sorry love.'