As the huge gates swung open and the bus pulled into the grounds of Guardian Grange for the first time Normal had a strange reaction. He felt as if his whole world was going over speed bumps, as if he’d been put inside a biscuit tin and a giant was shaking it. There was something about this world that was different. He and Tiberius had looked at the place from the outside once and talked about how amazing it looked, a little bit scary, but full of mystery and possibilities.
There were all sorts of tales told about this big gothic monstrosity of a school. Who was supposed to live there, who might be imprisoned in the dungeons, who was locked up in the attic. And what went on there late at night when all the lights were burning in the windows on the top floor. But now Normal and Tiberius had crossed the border into the place itself. Now it was no longer about wondering and imagining and telling wild stories. Now it was about a new kind of school, in a new kind of world. And Normal felt a little bit worried about that.
As they climbed down from the bus and hauled their bags from the side compartment a couple of older boys sauntered up.
‘Hi,’ said one of them, a black haired boy with his hair sticking out all over the place. ‘My name’s Podium, this is Wagget. We’re the welcoming committee. Come on then. Keep up.’
And without offering any help the two older boys turned and sauntered across the grass and up the three very wide stone steps that led to the main door into the Grange. Normal and Tiberius looked at one another. Tiberius rolled his eyes and shook his head. He grabbed Normal’s bag along with his own and threw one over each shoulder, he winked at Normal and they went after the two older boys.