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Imogen walked into town, she was wearing a brown school cape because rain seemed likely. She posted a letter home,
then bought some lemon squash, a carrot and apple.
Two Welsh ponies lived in a field nearby, and Imogen stopped to pat them and feed the carrot and apple. She was a keen rider, doing fox-hunting and pony club meets at home.
She climbed up to the stone circle, a place she often went and usually deserted in winter. Occasionally others turned up as well, but they generally left each other in peace after perhaps saying hello. Even she would never tell anyone off up there. It had always seemed to her very spiritual and peaceful there for some reason, except if the school used it for lively picnics in the summer. The rain stayed away, so Imogen sat there with some complicated algebra until it got dark, then headed back to school. It began pouring again on the way back.
Tamzin, however, was not going to gracefully accept her punishment. All her friends were sitting playing cards and eating leftovers from the team tea in the common room. Emma saw her face and said:

"How come you're looking so angry, what did you do during the lines anyway?"

Tamzin explained.

"You're brave, but should'nt we really have a break from pranks?"

"I would'nt mind so much if Imogen had just scheduled more lines, but she both slapped me, and conficated my chocolate and sweets. That's beyond their powers. But I saw her going to town, so think we should see if she's put them in her dorm, and teach her a lesson too"

"I would'nt mind a midnight feast or similar, but not anything spiteful" said Hannah.

"Oh come on, it'll be fun" said Polly.

"No thanks" said Hannah.

"Well I suppose so" Emma shrugged.

They fetched a large paper bag and scooped some ash from the fireplace into it, then went upstairs to Imogen's dormitory, Snowdonia, on the top floor. Tanswick was rather smaller than St Briavels, so dorm prefects and form prefects often joined forces in dorms. Imogen did have a cubicle by one of the two windows, Tamzin found her things in the chest of drawers.
Then she lifted up the bedclothes and sprinkled the ash across the sheet before carefully replacing them. They tipped out all Imogen's clothes, schoolwork, and possessions onto the floor, and poured the rest of the ash over that.

"Had'nt we better get away before anyone comes?" said Polly, a bit horrified by what they'd done.

"They're going to hit the roof", said Tamzin and Emma anxiously.

They went back and continued their game of cards.
Miss Eacott allowed anyone to use the front door or the main stairs not just prefects, and as Imogen came to the bottom of the stairs, she saw Tamzin coming out of a washroom and made a face but said nothing. Then she went to her dorm, intending to move the chocolate to the locked cupboard in the prefects room. When she saw what they'd done, she was furious.

"Oh the little beasts, how can they?" she cried.

Miss Stewart wanted to darn her socks, and had come to get things from the sewing cupboard. Hearing Imogen's angry noises, she looked in and naturally was'nt pleased at the mess either. Con had finally changed her mind about the Tanswick system.

"Oh dear, who do you think did that and why?"

"I don't really know" she lied, not wanting to mention the slapping or confiscation.

"Well the lack of rules does'nt meant such behaviour is acceptable here. Though I don't want to get involved yet anyway, discuss it amongst yourselves first"

"Yes, that's the best idea"

Rather than confront Tamzin immediately, she went to the prefects room, where Tessa, Harriet, Bride, and Sophie were sitting
listening to music on the radio and mending clothes.

"You're not looking very happy, Imogen!" said Sophie.

"No, the middles have really gone too far this time. I'm sure Tamzin egged the others on because I slapped her, then confiscated her chocolate and sweets"

She explained what had happened.

"Well Imogen, they almost certainly need more punishment, but you should just have arranged more lines or a firm talking-to. Not something like confiscating anything without asking us seniors first, certainly no slapping" said Harriet crossly.

"You're right actually, sorry. What shall we do though?"

Sophie had recently asked Tessa before confiscating Forever Amber from a third former, and had correctly explained that as
well.

"This is the final straw really. We better do what the other school's girls suggested"

"Yes, we'll go to the head and see what she says. Just now we'll go and see if we can make them own up" said Tessa.

They went to the middles common room, picking up Olivia on the way.

"Now Tamzin, what are you playing at, your behaviour really is despicable?" said Imogen, frowning heavily.

"I don't know what you're talking about though how dare you take my chocolate and slap me, I've been in here most of the afternoon". All the middles were trying hard to look innocent.

"Oh come on, you and the others ransacked my cubicle to get revenge on me"

"No, we did not" they wrongly said together.

"I don't believe you, for goodness sake don't be dishonourable and own up now!"

The middles looked embarassed.

"Tamzin started it, we just joined in. I'm sorry" said Emma

"Yes Imogen I wanted to get back at you for exceeding your power. Sorry but what was wrong with just more lines?" said Tamzin.

Polly apologised as well. Imogen was'nt going to admit her guilt to a middle.

"I see then" she said

"So the head will hopefully want to see you lot later, you're still gated tomorrow after prayers. You can all come and clean up Imogen's cubicle anyway" said Olivia.
Hannah just looked on, she was excused.

They went to fetch the large upright vacuum cleaner, two brooms, and a dustpan and brush. Most things were cleaned up easily enough and put back in their place,
though most of Imogen's clothes would need washing. Unfortunately no-one knew about the ashes in her bed.

"Alright, you can all go now" said Tessa.

Then it was quite soon time for dinner, afterwards they were all exhausted. Tessa and Imogen had some cocoa and went to brush their teeth.

"What a day, good night" said Tessa.

"Good night, Tessa"

They went to bed, and got up later on Sunday. Imogen was annoyed once more to find ashes when getting into bed, and had to get the dustpan again.




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