Sunday, August 25, 2013

In the Spotlight: The Seventh Sorcerer by Stephen Hayes

On the surface, Chopville appears not unlike any other small town in rural Australia. However, its underbelly is more than extraordinary.

Amongst its modest community reside six people from two very different families -- they make up the six most powerful people in the world today. Branded as "Sorcerers", they are the only six people in the world with true magical power. Yet these two families do not cooperate together and although there is no open fighting in the year 2010, things weren't always that peaceful.

John Playman knows this as well as anyone; at the age of 14, he is familiar with the concept of magic, having been raised in a family heavily involved in the magical war 30 years earlier, even though he has never met any of the Sorcerers himself. This year, however, all that is about to change; John and a group of his school friends will find themselves in an unprecedented situation and carrying a responsibility almost too great to comprehend.

John and his cohorts struggle on two fronts with their hormones raging and with the discovery of whom among them is to become the Seventh Sorcerer.

Excerpt:

The first day of school. It brought the same mixture of emotions every single year; the gloom of yet another summer break now at a close, the relief of once again being back in that routine of working all day and procrastinating all evening, and the refreshing determination that comes from kidding yourself that this year, this year, you’ll do better.…

Fifteen minutes before the bell sounded to indicate the beginning of Home Group found three of us standing outside the doors to Administration where, tacked on the wall, a large sign displayed a number of class lists. It was good news; we had all been put into the same class, we three plus the terrible twins. James Thomas, a tall, tubby, blond boy who had a mind bigger than any part of his body, was closest to the sign, and when he announced the good news, my brother Peter and I cheered in triumph. Peter was small and skinny with pale skin, jet black hair and an embarrassingly high-pitched voice, and when he cheered it was easy to think he should still be attending primary school. Yet he was only a month and a half younger than me; the reason such a thing could exist was due to the fact that I was an adopted child.

“Seen it, I see,” a voice called out to the three of us.

We turned to see a tall, dark-haired boy standing close by, leaning lazily against the wall of the building. He had the appearance of one waiting for someone, or something.

“There you are, Harry,” said Peter, grinning broadly. “We’re all together, and we were all worrying this morning that the teachers might finally work out how much easier it would be for them if they separated us all.”

“Very true. The only trouble is, I’m not Harry,” said the boy, one half of the terrible twins, and apparently the wrong one.

“Oh, well where’s Harry?” asked Peter, shrugging; that was one of the first times any of us had mixed up the twins. Everyone else did it frequently, as they were identical to the last freckle, but we knew them well enough by nature to tell them apart quite easily.

“Oh, I’m him too,” said the boy, either Harry or Simon now; he was doing a very good job.

“I’ve got time tables!” shouted a boy from behind the glass doors beside us, as a moment later said doors burst open, expelling the other twin and identifying quite clearly who was who.

“Only joking, Pete,” said the first twin, “I am Harry.”

“I thought you three would be here by now,” said Simon. “I got you these. You’ll be kickin’ yourselves when you see the teachers we’ve got.”

We spent several minutes looking over our time tables, which showed the times, locations and teachers of each of our lessons.

“Mrs. Gall, Mrs. Worlker,” James listed off, running his finger down the Wednesday column.

“Oh no,” groaned Peter. “We’ve got Hall again.”

“Oh please no,” I moaned, quickly checking my own to be sure Peter wasn’t playing a bad joke. “Not again. What for?”

“English,” sighed Peter. Hall taught English, French and Science; more subjects than any other teacher in the school.

“Just to throw a bucket of petrol on the fire,” said Harry, looking through his own timetable, “we have him for Home Group as well.”

“No,” moaned Peter and I, almost in unison.

“Relax,” said Simon easily, somehow managing to maintain much higher spirits. “We have two Home Group teachers this year.”

“We do?” asked Peter. “How does that work?”

“Two teachers take us for Home Group,” I said stupidly.

“I kind of figured that, John,” snapped Peter.

“We have Mrs. Worlker as well,” said James. “She has us for History, look.”

“They alternate,” said Harry, “Mrs. Worlker on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Mr. Hall on Wednesdays and Fridays.”

“What about Mondays?” I asked.

“Easy, we go home,” said Peter spiritedly.

“We have them both,” said Harry. “I think it must be to get us in working mode for the week, they need two teachers.”

“With people like you lot in the class, no wonder,” said James.

“It’s nearly five past,” I said, glancing down at my watch. “Where’s Room 12?”

“Don’t tell me your memory of this place has leaked out of your head over the holidays, John,” said Simon. “You’ll know Room 12 in no time; we’ve got half our classes in there this year.”

Home Group was a ten minute class that preceded each school day. Each class would go to an assigned room where the roll would be called and announcements would be given to the students. This morning, however, periods One and Two were cancelled. Instead, an entire school assembly took place for an hour in the gym, during which the principal, vice-principal (who was known to be pretty thick at the best of times), and the new school captains and vice-captains, all got up and made very boring speeches. The time from the end of that assembly to Recess, which began at exactly 10:51 AM, was taken up by Home Group in Room 12.

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