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The Exercise

Page 1

Eva White

The teacher entered the classroom. He took a gun out of his pocket and laid it on the table. ‘Write about fear,’ he said.

Paul sat at the back of the class, but even from there the gun loomed large. Shiny. Black. Nozzle pointed at the students. Paul could almost see the trigger being pulled. He thought the gun was loaded. He had a view of the boys in the seats in front of him. Most stared fixedly at the gun. The air was tense. Mr Brent, the teacher, sat stiff and straight in his chair behind the table. He didn’t smile and he didn’t frown. His face was like a mask.

Someone near the front started to write. You could hear his hand moving across the crinkled paper of his notebook. Paul began to write.

“I wanted to play with my brother and his friends. They were in the street, about five of them, with our football. I ran around for a while, going after the ball. When I caught it they turned on me, all of them. They came on top of me and started punching. I got away and ran down the street. They were chasing me. I ran very fast. One of them caught up with me and held on to me tight. They started hitting into me.  I heard my shirt rip at the back. My nose was bleeding. My brother was hitting me hardest of all. When I was on the ground they kicked me with their shoes and ran off. I stayed on the ground for a while. I was hurting all over. I went home the long way so that I wouldn’t run into them.

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