“I better go ahead and have a look,” says Theo. “No one can see me.” Jack you bring the surfboard down into the water. I may need it” And Theo shook the sand out of his wings and was away.
Mr Thoroughgood was in the water. He had been in the middle of photographing some crabs when he had stepped backwards into air, and splash! – down into the sea.
He was holding on to a rock, but it was slippery and he kept sinking and swallowing water. “Help,” he had called again and again. But with the noise of the seagulls and the crash of the waves against the rocks no one could hear him. He could not hold on much longer. He was losing consciousness, and was thinking of all the things he would miss if he was dead.
And in this semi-dream state he sees a, a what? A red dragon hovering over him. “I must already be dead,” he says aloud. “Hello angel, I did not know angels looked like red dragons”
Theo hearing him talk, knows he is not too late. “Hold that rock for just a moment longer, headmaster,” calls Theo. And quick as a flash Theo is back with the surfboard. “Here let me pull you up onto the surfboard and I’ll tow it to shore.”
By this time the teachers and parents were on the rocks looking for a way to get to Mr Thoroughgood. “I have found his camera.” someone calls. “I can see the headmaster,” someone else calls. And there is their headmaster half lying on a surfboard, and there is spray flying up everywhere as it speeds to the shore.
“Look, there is Theo pulling the surfboard by a rope!” Marie points, forgetting at that moment that Theo is Room Nine’s secret. But everyone is so busy being worried and talking to each other only Room Nine understands what she is saying and starts cheering – “Go Mr Thoroughgood!” Soon everyone is cheering, “Go Mr Thoroughgood!” and they start scrambling over the rocks back to the beach to meet him.
Some teachers rush into the water and pull the surfboard onto the beach. Then they drag the headmaster up the sand a little way and are pressing the water out of his lungs. Suddenly the headmaster is coughing and out comes lots and lots of water. Mr Thoroughgood opens his eyes and looks around. “How did I get here?” he asks.
Everyone looks at each other and realise that they are not quite sure. Some think they saw him grab a surfboard that just happened to be floating by. Some thought they saw him paddling very fast. Some were so busy watching their feet as they went over the rocks they only saw him as he arrived on the beach. Some though, knew that Theo had saved their headmaster.
Mr Thoroughgood is not sure what he knows. One minute he was drowning, thinking his life was over, and then next, a red dragon, just like the one in the painting on the school hall wall, is talking to him. Is in the water beside him. Is pulling at him. Is making sure he is hanging on tightly to a surfboard. Is flying ahead, pulling the surfboard to the shore.
Mr Thoroughgood felt much better after someone gave him a hot coffee with lots of sugar in it. Then he changed out of his wet headmaster-clothes and into a parent’s spare bathing suit and with a towel around his shoulders sat in the sun to warm up and ate his lunch. Everyone was very glad he was safe. He was very glad he was safe too and that he had not lost his camera.
On Mr Thoroughgood’s office wall there is a photograph of the whole school taken on the beach. In the front is the surfboard that rescued him. But he is a little puzzled. There are those 6 children from Room Nine being strange again. They have their arms out as if they are hugging a large someone, but there is no one there, just an empty space.
Next to this photograph is another photograph. One of the red dragon painting that appeared mysteriously one day on the outside of the school hall. Mr Thoroughgood thinks he is the only one who knows why the photograph is there. But Room Nine and Miss Grey know.
Last Day of the School Year
On Friday Miss Grey arrived early. It was the last day of the school year. This afternoon was the Prize Giving, but there was a lot to do before then. She already had written all the pupil‘s school reports and put them in their envelopes to be given to the parents
The lessons, pictures and stories had been taken down off the walls. She had checked that all the library books had been returned. But there were still the cloakroom and storeroom to be tidied and the class needed to empty their desks and stack them. She had made three different coloured jellies and had two big tubs of strawberry icecream in a chilly bin for the class ‘end of year party.’
But before the class arrives, Theo is there. He is highly excited. He tries to get out of his mouth all his words at once.
“Just stop a moment, Theo. Right, now take a big breath and start again. Slowly” says Miss Grey.
It seems that his Mum, being proud of how well her son was doing at school and then his rescue of the headmaster, had finally told the other dragons where her son had been disappearing to in the past months. Also she mentioned how he originally got there. Why even she and the baby had gone ‘pop’ and arrived at the school one day where she had met his teacher and all the children.
But as the dragons all discussed this wonder, the thought suddenly came to them: if the class could have a dragon friend because they wished so hard for him to be there, then….then. Could they wish for the King so hard to be with them he would ‘pop’ and escape the vault he was locked in at the
But maybe just their wishing would not do it; but combined with the class, who they already knew could do it...?
“But, Miss Grey, I told them it was the last day of school today. And I had not asked you. So no one knew, And I did not know if we could…?”
“Could what?” asked Miss Grey with a sinking feeling.
“If we could all concentrate and wish my whole town of dragons to be here, and at the same time they also wish to be here – then when we are all here together we give a really great big wish for my Dad, the King, to be with us?”
* * *
Mr Thoroughgood looked out his window and saw Miss Grey and all of Room Nine with their eyes closed, sitting in two straight lines on the football field. He wonders what they are up to this time sitting out in the hot sun like that, then shakes his head, he has given up understanding Room Nine and anyway he is busy writing his speech for this afternoon.
But Room Nine knows exactly what it is doing. It is wishing hard to have the whole football field filled with dragons! Five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. Nothing. Sixteen minutes and ‘pop’ there was the whole football field, and the tennis court, and the playground full of dragons of every colour and size. Miss Grey stood up and placed a finger to her lips – “shh” – but the dragons are too amazed to make a sound. It was the rustling of their wings that sounded like a sudden wind in the trees.
“I am so glad we can help. Are you ready?” Miss Grey asks. “O k, all together, concentrate!”
The dragons gave out their love for their King and wished hard he was here. Theo and his mother wanted him home even more. And the class really really wished to see a real Dragon King.