The butterfly effect

In 2013 best friends Helena and Xanthe are trying to get a place at a brilliant University and enjoy their last year living at home. In 2025 primary school teacher Chris Stirling is worried about his Wife; ane of her colleagues was recently stranged and to death and he thinks it might bring back the horrible memories of the murder of his Wife's best friend.

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3. Chapter 2

 

Xanthe Nightingale- 23rd September 2012

 

 Since brilliant Mrs Anrep went on maternity leave I dread my Russian lessons. The replacement teacher Mrs Whitehouse has a voice and manner reminiscent of a particularly irritating porpoise. Me and Helena will be working on some translations and when I least expect it she’ll pop up behind me and utter a loud series of barley incomprehensible squeaks and then stare as me beaming expectant for an answer. Half the time I genuinely have no idea whether she is speaking Russian or English. However I am for once immensely glad of her existence because she has secured our school a scholarship to study Russian at Oxford University! I assume that endeavouring to gain a scholarship from one of the most prestigious universities in the world must have required some from of spoken communication so how Mrs Whitehouse succeeded still remains shrouded in mystery. Whatever she did more than compensates for the damage inflicted on my hearing by her voice over the past few months. 

 

The concept of my school offering a Russian scholarship isn’t particularly surprising because very few schools in Britain offer Russian A level. Probably Miss Olga Talbanov only had time to found one school before she was locked in a mental institution when started to impersonating sheep in front of prospective pupils. Therefore I would fully expect Universities in and around Cumberland that have Russian courses to be ecstatic at the prospect of giving us scholarships but Oxford is just in a completely different league. This opportunity has come at a perfect time in my life; choosing A levels were easy although I never considered in depth where English literature, Russian, history and French would take me. The idea of working as a police Russian translator intrigues me; spending all day listening to people deny or confess accusations of terrible crimes and then transferring the original nuances to police. Although honestly it sounds like a job that Helena would be a lot better at than me. She is the type of person people instantly trust because unlike me she isn’t at all intimidating.

My parents weren’t overjoyed with the revelation that I was interested in studying Russian. Mum was especially sceptical about the merits of a Russian degree compared to an English literature degree which I was going to apply for originally. Then I received lecture a she doesn’t have unlimited money to spend on mine and Sophia’s education. I then reminded her that a Russian degree is infinitely more use then the food technology degree she was banned from taking by my GrandFather. At this she grudgingly consented to me applying for the scholarship because if won it I would always have the option of taking another degree course. Tactful as ever my Father assented without complaint.

 

I have no idea how many people are applying for the scholarship. Fortunately all the pupils in my school apart from Helena fall into two groups; the first wildly whacking lacrosse sticks around in the futile effort to play a match where they score a point.  The latter group’s life is spent delicately slapping on several coats of foundation, thick enough to give the Voldermort nose effect, and gluing spider’s legs onto the ends of their neon orange eyelids. The thought of actually doing something constructive with their lives obviously hasn’t occurred to them. Somehow I don’t think I’ll have much competition from the majority of my peers.

 

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