|The Repossession of Genie Magee
Chapter One Extract
One: The Munby Girl
Six weeks, four days, sixteen hours and twenty minutes since the jail door had slammed on Genie. Seven weeks since the school broke up for summer. God had got her into this room but it would take more than prayers to get her out. How do you pray against God? Reverend Schneider with his snake-oil hair came everyday and prayed for her soul. Her mother, the grand inquisitor herself, had drugged Genie and had the Reverend carry her up to her room after they had installed the jail door. It was all for her own good they said, the devil had possessed her, taken her, duped her, and the great and wonderful Reverend was going to cleanse her, drive him out. The Church of Free Spirits was going to send an army of the devout to make sure of it.
Three specific events precipitated this cataclysm in Genie Magee’s short life. It all happened with a relentless logic and there was nothing she could have done to prevent it.
The first, and most important in her calculation, was that she discovered that she had fallen for Rian Tulane in the first year of high school. Fifteen with beautiful eyes and a lopsided grin that just made her heart beat like a hummingbird. Quiet, bright, kept to himself a lot and always scored the highest grades in her year. No one bothered him, he could talk to a geek without being labelled and laugh with the jocks without being one. You could tell from just looking at him that he had a lot on his mind. He was already planning which College to apply for and he took knowing stuff really seriously. Sure he tried out for the ice-hockey team to make himself look more normal, but they rejected him after only one trial. She had watched the game from the bleachers and made some soothing remarks to him as he limped towards the locker room after. He actually stopped to look at her. He’d never said a single word to her in his entire life, but there he was looking all dejected and sorry for himself and she had to say something.
“They should’ve taken you. You were real fast out there.”
He shrugged, embarrassed. “I was kinda hoping there wouldn’t be any witnesses to my shame, but thanks, Genie. I guess not fast enough, huh.” He pointed to his swelling bruises. It had been brutal out there. Boys with their sticks. “Basketball is more my game I think, at least no one is carrying a lethal weapon.” He smiled at her, then just turned on his heels and went to change. He probably had no idea of the devastating effect his smile had made on her.
She hung around for him, hoping that this wasn’t as stupid as it looked. He’d most likely just walk right by her when he came out. But when he finally emerged, he smiled shyly, genuinely surprised she’d been waiting for him. He walked her home in the rain that evening and she realised that he liked her. He’d noticed her watching him in class and admitted he’d been too shy to say anything to her. Today somehow was different. Her being there in the ice-rink for one thing. She didn’t seem to mind that he’d been turned down by the team and they shared so many classes it was stupid they never spoke to each other. Nothing else was said as they walked, but that September evening, when he finally took her hand at the junction of Waterfall and Fraser Avenue, she fell in love, and he with her. Not even a kiss was exchanged. But she knew. And then everyday from that moment on, each morning he would be waiting for her at the corner of Fraser and together they walked to school, and back home again in the afternoon.
And then came the fatal moment whilst preparing lunch on a Saturday when she turned to her mother and said: “Grandma’s dead. She just died. I know it.”
Her mother went crazy. Claimed Genie had killed her, had always hated her grandmother and sent evil spirits to kill her. And then, on the last day of school, Reverend Schneider struck with the jail door. The Devil had sent him a message, he told Mrs Magee. It troubled him deeply and seared a terrible scar upon his heart. The Devil had told him Genie was possessed. She was the one he was going to take next. A day later, her mother in complete hysterics, imprisoned her in her bedroom.
It was a normal sunny morning, but it was as if a bolt of lightning had pierced her mother’s heart. Her mother screamed at her, yelled every horrid thing she could think of and told her to get to her room for disrespecting the living.
Sure enough, an hour later they got a call from a Doctor’s clinic in Hope and Grandma was dead. Fallen over in Cooper’s Foods and her heart expired.
© Sam Hawksmoor May 2021
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