Saturday, May 30, 2015
Movie Trailers: Pan
The window of the office of the headmistress of Mr J. Campbell's School for Orphaned and Heroic Children was smeared with the soot and grime of a hundred winters. The boy stood at attention, hands behind his back, not making eye contact with the headmaster. The world outside was so indistinct it could have been a painting. The window was the only source of light in the dim, wooden room.
The Headmaster made a great show of ignoring the boy before finally turning his attention up to him. "What happened to your bread crusts?"
"I thought Luke..."
"I heard it from Luke. Now I want to hear it from you." His voice was precise, clipped, like a machine. Almost no one called the Campbell School by its full and official name. Rather they called it The Factory. The Headmaster was an expert at molding young boys, like machines, into the men destiny required.
The boy explained his side of the story, On Sundays the boys were let out to explore the city. That Sunday he had a crust of bread with him, left over from the previous evening. It was raining. There was a poor boy--a poorer boy, to clarify. He did not offer the poorer boy his crust of bread.
"My dear child, we've been over this," The Headmaster said phrases like "dear child" in a tone that conveyed his utter lack of conviction. His tone remained clipped and exasperated. "Selflessness in the Face of Adversity is one of the core tenets of the Campbell School, You were meant to give your bread to the poor orphan."
"Perhaps if I actually had more bread..."
"That's not the point!" The headmaster snapped and whipped his cane up from where it lay behind the desk, rapping it against the sign on the wall above the window, the sign that the boy's eyes avoided.
THIS BUILDS CHARACTER, the sign said.
"Now," he regained his composure. "Do you want to be the type of child prophecies are written about, or the type of child prophecies are not written about? No supper this evening. On your way."
The Factory was a sprawling and confusing warren of rooms and corridors,. There ware classrooms and work rooms. They taught Fencing and Hardship, Stitching a Wound and Personal Sacrifice.
"'Ello, my lad," one of the janitors called as the boy passed him. He wasn't a janitor, not really. Like the headmaster and everyone else, he was a stage manager, here to import some dreary and vital life lesson. Not for the first time, the boy wished he went to the Antiheroic School down the street. he grumbled his hellos, ignoring whatever pearl of wisdom Jonesy (or whatever his name was, the boy skipped the class on Remembering Everyone's Name) had to offer, to go back to his room.
He shared a dormitory with five other boys. Harry and Luke and Jon and Joshua and Thomas. None of them were there, they were all getting supper. As the sun set he lay in bed and dreamt of the far off lands which inevitably awaited him.