Normal shrugged. The headmaster snapped his fingers and the music came to a stop.
Two red leather armchairs were crouching beside a roaring log fire. The head waved Normal towards them.
‘Now then, young man, what can I help you with? You settling in all right are you?’
Normal crept to a seat and sat on it, he felt very small sitting there.
‘Er well, it’s just that… I keep hearing voices.’
‘I hear this voice in my head. And I think it’s a bit weird… sir.’
‘Hmm.’ The headmaster sat back in his chair and twiddled with his handlebar moustache. For a while he said nothing, then, ‘What sort of things do you hear?’
Normal thought for a moment., then said, ‘Well, since I’ve been in here I heard the word ‘ironing’ three times, sir.’
‘Ironing?’ The headmaster frowned then his eyes burst wide. He leapt up and ran to his huge oak desk. There was smoke rising from it. He grabbed at an iron and a pair of trousers. He sighed noisily, held up the trousers and looked through a hole in the seat.
‘Oh,’ he said. ‘I forgot I was doing this. Just burnt a hole in my bottom. If you know what I mean.’
He took the iron and laid it on the tiles in front of the fire. It glowed hot for a while. The head then flopped back into his seat again and studied Normal.
‘There is an ancient technique,’ he said after a while, ‘known as the gift of knowledge. It’s a divine present, if you like. Some humans possess it. It’s a key for unlocking problems and difficult situations. It seems, Mr McCloud, as if you have an unusual version of it. King Solomon had a rare talent for profound wisdom, it may well be linked to that.’
‘What’s that mean, sir?’ Normal asked.
‘It means you can walk into a room and be told that I have forgotten about my ironing. Helpful things like that.’
‘I found a necklace down the back of a little girl’s radiator,’ said Normal.
‘A little girl?’ the headmaster’s eyes popped wider than ever. ‘You mean you’ve met a human? Already? Goodness gracious me!’
To be continued…