It can Control your Mind

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In a small Amish community, a culture and distance far removed from the young people of Ysgol Draig in the small seaside town of Abergwaun, Erich van der Hertz sat down young Greta Mächtig.

He looked at her with his kind grey eyes, a pained, weary expression on his face. He sat before her and leaning forward a little, said, "my dear child," he paused searching for the right words, "I'm very sorry to tell you that your mother and father, out in their horse-trap befell a terrible accident and the Lord has taken them from us, may they rest in peace."

She sat blinking at him, not sure what he had just told her. Greta, who had just turned eleven, was old enough to understand life and death, but before now it had never been that important.

"You understand, yes?" He continued.

She nodded.

A week later a letter arrived from a place Greta had never heard of and from a person she did not know existed. It read:

My Dear Greta,

I am your mother's sister–Aunt Victoria Sponge (yes, just like the cake, but pronounced SPON-GER). Before you were born, I left the Amish community that has been your home. I am your only living relative, and I so want you to come and live with me in Wales. I know we will get on so well and have lots of fun. There are many lovely children here.

I have sent money to Erich for your travel. Please come, at least to visit and try something new, which I am sure will not disappoint you.

Lots of love and hugs, Aunt Vicky x

***

And so it was, that Greta came to live in a peaceful field near the small seaside town of Abergwaun, where sat a log cabin in which she was to join her Aunt, a Dachshund named Waldi and a three-legged cat called Sushi. Now, Aunt Vicky had a very unusual condition known as Hyper-Electro-Lypo-Precosis or HELP, which meant that she could have nothing running on electricity anywhere near her. Because they had raised Greta Amish, she was used to living without modern things, and so it was no hardship, or a surprise to find her Aunt living in such a simple and old-fashioned way.

Greta and her Aunt hit it off famously, and in no time the four of them were rubbing along the best of friends. A few weeks later, Aunt Vicky said, "now you have had time to settle in, I have arranged for you to spend a day at the local school to see if you like it. I know the young people there are super fun and friendly." Aunt Vicky always painted such a positive picture of things and if she ever felt overwhelmed or over faced by anything, she never showed it.

***

Ysgol Draig had a very unusual head-teacher, Mrs Lynn Gweeny. Her nickname was Whatty-What because whenever anyone ever asked her a question, she always said 'whatty-what is that?'

Now, Whatty-What loved technology so much that she had spent years putting in the very best computer systems and networks that her budget would allow. In fact, the broadband connection was so speedy that even the Pentagon in America did not have one quicker. She encouraged all the students to do everything with technology, and class 5 had been working all term to build Whatty-What's latest creation the Holistic-Automated-Learner-9000 or HAL-9000, designed to trawl the internet, absorbing goodly information that the students might then use in their learning.

On a Monday in June, they wheeled their fabulous machine into Whatty-What's office and connected it to its docking station. Standing at 1.5 metres tall, it had stumpy legs with wheeled feet; two flexible arms each with a grabby hand at the end; and a rectangular head the front of which was taken up by a large touch screen, and above that was a camera lens emitting a red glow–like a mechanical red eye. Near the top of the body was an opening like a letterbox, but deeper.

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