‘Everyone in the streets were hurrying to and fro; their atmosphere was dark – even the brightest pink was lowered in hue to a brown, there were many clustered around the institutions peeking into the windows at attractions that were deemed horrendously entertaining and without sparing a penny to these poor families they carried along their way hastily to get out of the mess, down the dark, grey roads as if there wasn’t a space on the pavement; however, there was enough space for a gang – they prefered being under horse-foot than under the windows of Victorian London. These were the slums.’
Evangeline May | 14th September 1878
Oh, Mama, she’s amazing! She has loads of books and doesn’t care a fig about what she wears. There’s these tight cotton ‘trousers’ that she wears with some lovely jumpers, she calls them. Her hair is cut short and looks so out of fashion now, but on her she looks a beauty. It’s all naturally curled and a beautiful brunette.
She has two bags of presents for her birthday! Big, big bags too. She has her own camera! Honestly, you must meet her. And she’s so awfully polite.
‘I feel ashamed of you to take a liking of young girls with figure hugging clothes. I imagine she has hardly a figure. And jumpers? She a girl! And goodness what’s a camera?’
But Mama, I’ve finally met someone popular, well-off, polite and lovely. Aren’t you proud I’ve found such friends?
‘Not at all. You disgust me – wanting to wear trousers and jumpers. And this camera talk. I hardly believe a thing about her. Your imagination has crept up on you again!’
I suppose it had, Mama was once right. It was time travel? It seemed a blur to me, but I so loved that girl. I never caught her name, she was some sort of ‘Whovian’. To me that sounded like a different race! But she seems very human… even with a Time Machine? She called it a TARDIS and it was, somehow, smaller on the outside. I found it most peculiar.
The whole travelling bit has slipped from my mind, and if she wanted me to forget. I held onto it though. This girl astonished me. I thought, well, I thought I loved her. It’s so silly! No woman here loves a girl. Pfft, it must be something of the ‘future’, as she called it. She said there was past, present and future – and explained it a s ‘wibbly-wobbly’ or something like that. I had heard of such words but not like that. It seemed awfully babyish to me.
This girl, woman, really was so beautiful! Yet all she did was wash her face twice a day. I did too, but I looked a right red tomato. I must ask her what soap she uses, if I see her again. I doubt she’d use cheap old carbolic like me.
Papa said that I should begin writing seriously. But isn’t that what I do? I wish that one day I will publish these memoirs with that ‘Whovian’ lady at my side. She’s such a wonder! Mama says that now I’m 14 I should really ‘grow up’ but I’d rather kick off my stockings and go to the park with boys. Not sweethearts, however, I have never taken a fancy to boy. There’s rather that girl…
No, no, no. If Mama found this she’d be furious. I can’t possibly say I like girls more than boys. I have lots of friends, that are boys, and we sneak off to the park together. Papa says they are ‘urchins’ with ‘no propriety’ but no-one these days has enough money for school. Not even I can go myself. I have to learn ‘to be a lady’ and Mama says about ‘Finishing School’ in the years to come but you learn to curtsey and dance! It’s ever so un-scholarly. I prefer Mathematics and Literature.
Monday 4th September
‘Words taken from an unsuspecting book seem unsuspectable.’ I read out to the class.
It was my first day at middle school and I don’t think even the teacher knew that ‘time isn’t a strict progression of cause to effect but actually a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.’ He said it was absurd!
We all had to bring in an unsuspecting book; mine was called ‘The Unsuspectable Book’ so I did take everything quite literally. My new tutor, Mr. Smith, said that it looked much like something from the past, which he would revisit in a history lesson.
Joesph Fleiss looked to me with his trademark glare. I decided to just carry on and ‘be confident’, but before too long Mr. Smith sent me to sit down again.
The next presentation was from the man himself, Fleiss. His book didn’t have a cover but on the first page read a title ‘Noah’s Ark’. I’m sure I’d heard of that before. Apparently this book was unsuspectable because it didn’t have a title on the cover, and that the title itself didn’t give away much too. Mr. Smith exclaimed it was brilliant and philosophical and asked him to come back at break!
The rest of the lesson drained on as I sneakily held my Unsuspectable Book under the table. I opened the book, and some weird writing appeared on the inside cover, it read:
‘The world isn’t a sphere. The atmosphere is spherical. The world is actually a big blob in a mess of time. Now tell me, why do humans exist? Because they don’t. Human’s don’t exist. They’ve gone. They’ve gone all the way up to the end of time and beginning of end. They’ve gone to live again, Noah.’
I slammed the book with fear. Curiosity opened it again.
It was blank that time, the writing had disappeared.
I slammed the book with fear. Curiosity looked at the teacher.
Curiosity heard the bell ring and immediately shot off for break.
Monday 4th September
Back again. Just going to update you that some weird graffiti is all over the toilets. It says ‘Bad Wolf’, ‘Time Lord’, ‘Blue Box’ and ‘Hope’. Four things I don’t think link together. Unless maybe my new teacher psychic and the stuff I missed when Curiosity was talking to me was actually something important. Meh, probably not. But Mr. Smith seemed a bit weird. I think he knows something important but he keeps forgetting to tell someone. He’s a forgetful man.
The French Lesson
Today I learnt that this new tutor of mine loves saying ‘Allons-y’ and wants to know someone called Alonso so he can say ‘Allons-y Alonso!’. He’s mad. More on that later.
Anyway, I’ve found that those words I found in the toilets are words of time and should not be touched. Mr Smith went into a trance in the French lesson and started speaking those words again and again. Everyone else didn’t notice and thought nothing of it – as if they’d never heard anything. Eyre Brookes (I’ve kind of made friends with him now) said that I was as mad as him saying that he went into a ‘trance’. People said nothing happened but I know very well that this new teacher of mine is not normal.
We’ve established that this man is not normal and that I am just as mad. We’ve also found a creepy book that replies to me. We’ve also found four ‘ever-lasting’ phrases.
Tell me now that I’m not mad.
‘You’re not mad’
What does ‘Bad Wolf’ mean?
Rose what? What do you mean?
Monday 4th September
I woke up, reality hit me again, it was the first day of Middle School, no hate, no anger. I was sitting on that very same bus I had day-dreamed off from. A young-looking boy was sitting next to me, I presume he must be in his first year too. I looked at the bag in front of his feet: it was quite ‘nerdy’, it had Star Wars patches on it and nothing was hanging out.
I turned to him.
‘How are you? This you first day too?’
‘Yeah…’ he awkwardly exclaimed before averting his eyes out of the window.
I was being very awkward, the first thing I warn you not to do on your first day is to be friendly. Keep yourself to yourself.
I peered below my feet at my bag too. It was very plain, just black, with Adidas stripes. However things were hanging out of mine: my notebook, tag and everything.
I looked back at his, again.
His lanyard was hooked around the top handle… Eyre Brookes, it said.
Eyre Brookes, one line I will never forget.
Sunday 3rd September
I’m Noah Archeletta. My name means “rest, repose”, “oak hollow”. I am going to try and find within myself the name’s purpose – and I thought writing it down would make me famous in the future. Because that’s what everyone wants, right?
“You’re planning an adventure on a map,
Knowing what’s to come as you sit it on your lap.
You know when he falls, and she stands,
You know it all because you wrote with your hands.