Ribblestrop Forever!

Ribblestrop Forever! by Andy Mulligan Read Free Book Online

Book: Ribblestrop Forever! by Andy Mulligan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Andy Mulligan
has character,’ said Ruskin. ‘The facilities look excellent. Oh, and there’s another sign—’
    ‘It was a prison camp,’ said Miles. ‘Look! You can see some of the kids in the distance.’
    Everyone strained their eyes and, sure enough, a line of blue-clad figures jogged out of the trees. They kept in strict formation, trotted round the pavilion, and disappeared again.
    ‘I could tell you some stories,’ Miles whispered. ‘And I’ll tell you something else: we don’t want to get caught here. I want to get back to Ribblestrop.’
    ‘We’re being filmed,’ said Vijay. ‘Everyone smile.’
    They were floating slowly under a spread of tree branches, and the next sign was right overhead, bigger than ever.
Stillwater Security Systems,
it read.
We are watching you!
A
small black camera sat at the centre of the sign and Miles made an obscene gesture at it.
    ‘How do we get home?’ said Asilah. ‘That’s the question, isn’t it? Does the river lead anywhere?’
    ‘I can’t remember,’ said Miles. ‘There was a whole maze of rivers, all round the grounds – and we weren’t allowed to go near them. If you were caught playing
by the river, you got a Sunday detention. Or worse. I think we just need to keep going.’
    ‘Why did they kick you out?’ said Eric.
    Miles shook his head. ‘You won’t believe me if I tell you. Let’s go left here – it might take us away from the place. All we did was work and do cross-country running and
tests the whole time . . . I hated it. Go left – please!’
    The children on the right side of the trailer paddled as best they could, for the river was dividing again. Vijay leapt onto the bank and found a couple of long branches. He re-joined the craft
and he and Asilah punted them in the direction Miles had suggested. The river narrowed at once and took them past yet another cricket field and a row of huts. After some time, the land turned to
fields again, but their way was suddenly blocked. There was an iron bar stretched right across the water, wrapped in barbed wire.
    Strictly private
, said a sign.
The Priory School – Rector’s House. No admittance to pupils or public.
    The initials
SSS
were stamped on a little plaque and there was another camera rearing up from behind on a metal arm.
    Millie whistled softly. ‘They think they own everything,’ she said.
    ‘They do,’ said Miles. ‘The founder was some saint. We had to bow to his statue the whole time. We had to wear cassocks on a Sunday.’
    ‘Should we go back?’ asked Ruskin. ‘If Miles doesn’t like it, maybe we should just turn around.’
    ‘I’m telling you, we don’t want to get caught here,’ said Miles. ‘They might remember me.’
    Sanjay was peering through the trees. ‘There’s someone in that field,’ he said. ‘We could just ask for directions – they can’t stop us doing that. Maybe we
can find a bus or a railway station.’
    ‘That’s the first person we’ve seen,’ said Asilah, ‘apart from those kids. Let’s stop and ask.’
    ‘Maybe just one or two us should go,’ said Sam.
    ‘Yes,’ said Miles. ‘The rest of us should stay in the boat.’
    ‘No,’ said Sanchez, firmly. ‘No. We stick together now. We are not splitting up.’
    ‘What are you so worried about, Miles?’ said Imagio. ‘You must have had friends here. Maybe you can find one, and—’
    ‘They all hated me,’ said Miles.
    ‘What a surprise,’ said Millie.
    Miles turned on her, angrily. Asilah held him back.
    ‘Don’t let her get to you,’ he said. ‘We won’t stay here long, okay? We’ll just walk over to that person in the field, get directions and go.’
    ‘He’s just standing there,’ said Sanjay. ‘He hasn’t moved in the last five minutes.’
    The children pulled on their blazers and stamped back into their shoes.
    The trailer had come to rest against the metal barrier, so it was easy to use the two branches to push it to the bank. In less than a minute, everyone had

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