We have recently shared some extracts from short novels written by Lois Elsden specifically for young and reluctant readers, those young people who can read but have become disengaged from it – and often when they need to be it most, when they are public sitting exams.
This story, ‘Screaming King Harry’ is about an ordinary girl who goes to an ordinary school and lives an ordinary life… this is how it starts:
You would think it would be difficult to concentrate on listening when someone is screaming their head off.
It might be difficult to concentrate when that someone is lying on the floor holding their hand and screaming.
It was Mr King lying on the floor and the reason he was lying on the floor was that he had two broken legs. That was enough to make anyone scream; but Mr King was holding his hand because it had been shot clean through.
I’m not joking now.
Mr King, Head of English at St Finbarr’s High had been shot through the hand. This was after he’d had his legs broken.
But let me go back to the beginning. Let me tell you how it started. Let me tell you about Mr King, King Harry as he was called.
Everyone loved King Harry everyone except me.
His name was Henry King and when he first met a class he would say “Hiya, I’m Henry King, your new English teacher. They call me Harry King, but you can call me King Harry,” then he would laugh “Or Your Majesty, if you prefer.”
Everyone thought he was really great, all the girls fancied him, all the boys wanted to be him. He was a great teacher, but he was a real ‘I am’ – and I couldn’t stand him.
I though he was ok at first but then something happened which changed that.
My mum and dad have a pub; it’s a good pub. There’s never any trouble; there’s never any trouble because my dad Shane makes sure there isn’t any trouble. He’s very strict on who goes in, no-one under eighteen gets served no matter how old they look he can always tell when they’re under age. Absolutely no drugs, and he gets no trouble.
Also the pub is right next to the police station and is always full of the Law.
King Harry came in one night; he’d never been in before.
“Lesley-Anne!” he says.
Well, that got right up my nose. No-one calls me that, not even my mum Bev calls me that. Everyone calls me Jo-Jo, don’t ask why, it’s a long story.
King Harry wanted to sit down and chat but I was busy. I wait on, serve the food, and I had a lot of work to do. I didn’t pay much attention to him and later on it was quiet and I noticed he was gone.
“Someone’s been sick in the yard!” dad called to me so I got a mop and bucket and went through.
I’d forgotten the rubber gloves so I had to go back to get them.
I went back to the yard, pushed the door open and walked straight in on King Harry.
There was another man standing by the empty crates. The man had a great stack of money in his hand and King Harry had a package in brown paper which he was either giving to or taking from the man.
I walked straight back out but it was too late. King Harry had seen me.
Copywrite © Lois Elsden
Lois’s other novels can be found here: