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Godsgift A Moonbeam

Aren’t we a little old for Snap?

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Godsgift A Moonbeam

Rainy days were dreadful at the best of times but at least back home there was space to do whatever you wanted. Bike riding in the Long Gallery? Sledding down the main staircase? Hide and Seek in the attics? All a thing but here? There were games to play. G looked over them with a bit of a sniff. Exploding snap? Marbles? Hangman? They all seemed rather too young for their age group. Still, it was all there was to really do. He couldn’t read with this many people about and he didn’t much fancy trying his hand at spells since they were sure not to work.

 

He picked up the deck of cards and wondered just whether he’d be met with howls of laughter if he offered up a call for someone to join him in a game. But if that did happen, he could play Solitaire with them right? Another glance out the window told him he’d have a captive audience because the weather was totally unfit for anything outside.

 

”Anyone up for a game of Exploding Snap?” he called to the room in general. “And why’s it called Exploding Snap? It can’t possibly really explode, right? Regardless of the singed eyebrows on the kid on the pack!”

 

 

 

 

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Bernadette Roux

Undaunted by the conditions outside, Bernie charged past the teachers declaring it was an indoor break that day and launched herself towards the closest muddy puddle. Squelching underfoot roused a small number of other students to join her in the rain and soon enough a crowd had gathered to slip and slide across the grass. Little regard for the wellbeing of others, Bernie capitalized on the fun by scooping up a handful of mud and launching it at the face of a small girl trying her hardest to avoid the puddles. “MUD FIGHT!”

 

Ten minutes later and the teachers, both sporting new bite marks, had dragged her back inside due to the crying that had ensued from her muddy attack. “Why is she going outside in a new dress? How thick is she?!?” Instead of an answer the sopping, dirty girl was given a time out that was swiftly ignored. Wandering around and peering out the activities on offer, Bernie found herself growing more bored by the minute. Surely magic would grant them better outlets than marbles and board games with missing pieces.

 

If not for the open invitation to join a game of exploding snap, Bernie might actually have gone back to the corner to willingly finish her time out.

 

“Exploding snap?” 

 

Things Bernie did not care for: card games.

 

Things Bernie did care for: explosions.

 

“Alright, I’m down,” she dropped to sit opposite the boy, a vision caked in mud whose features, framed by still dripping hair, dazzled at the possibility of making things go boom. “So how do we make them, y’know…” she trailed off in favour of denoting an explosion with her hands. 

Edited by Bernadette Roux

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Godsgift A Moonbeam

“Explode?” G asked. He kept his face perfectly straight and there was no sign in his voice that he found the sight of a muddy, bedraggled girl anything like out of the ordinary - though she was a right sight and it was hard to not look at the muddy water dripping off her hair. “They don’t really explode do they? I kinda thought that perhaps you’d know? Though I suppose the rules are the same as regular snap?”

 

More water dripped and it started pooling. “Can I get you a towel? You seem to have had the misfortune of being caught in the rain?” So that was harder and a small upturn of his mouth showed just how much he was fighting off an attack of the giggles because that was such an understatement. “Or should I just deal the cards.”

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Bernadette Roux

Hardly the voice of authority when it came to magical matters, the boy turning questioning onto her was slightly alarming. “I mean, it says so right there,” her finger fell upon the word ‘exploding’ on the packaging, “So it’d be a bit naff if they didn’t.” Running a muddied hand across her forehead to move dripping strands of hair off her face, she waved away the offer of a towel.

 

“What rain? Lovely weather innit,” Bernie grinned before shaking her head so the water pouring down her face now whipped around the room. Once her impression of an irritated dog getting pulled out of a bath was complete, the girl pulled her slightly drier hair up into a lumpy bun atop her head. There! She was looking respectable again. “I was trying to start a mud fight but that loser-” she pointed over her shoulder to the crying girl, “-decided to go outside in a dress she couldn’t get muddy. Not my fault,” she held her hands, caked in incriminating mud, up in mock surrender.

 

Nodding as the boy asked if he should shuffle, Bernie became more alert to the game and stopped plotting her payback against the pathetic girl and her ugly dress. Perhaps the shuffling movement would elicit the first explosion of the match? And if the state of the child on the box was anything to go by it would be quite the amusing fate.  

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Godsgift A Moonbeam

G laughed. It bubbled up, refusing to be kept down, erupting out of him.  Whether it was the blaming of the other girl (who he could sympathise with but at least he brought normal clothes and changed in the car) or the wet dog impression, he couldn’t begin to  say. His hands moved smoothly to shuffle and deal them out....with no explosions.

 

Once his laughter calmed down he offered, “I figured it was just advertising...like coco pops being ‘just like a chocolate milkshake only crunchy’ when it’s nothing like a chocolate milkshake and it’s only crunchy for the first minute or so. Then it’s sadly soggy...much like your friend over there.”

 

G dealt out the cards and shrugged. “No eyebrows would suit you. I think I could carry off a look of singed surprise well. I guess we’re going to find out. You can start if you fancy.”

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Bernadette Roux

“I would rather be friends with a dragon that had the flu,” Bernie muttered as the girl was referred to as her friend. “And when he sneezed on me and set me on fire, I would then rather get flung into the sun than have her put me out.” Evidently quite passionate about the severe injustice that she had been wrongfully imprisoned for, Bernie capitalized on the inaction of the shuffling to flip the bird at the girl who had been watching them timidly.

 

But back to slightly less important happenings than newfound enemies: coco pops. “Don’t,” she moaned as the cards were issued and talk focused on the cereal brand. “I haven’t had them in ages and magic brands are so stupid. Like, sometimes I just wanna eat soggy coco pops and not something that turns my face green, you know? Wizards don’t need to flex their magic all the time bloody hell.” Picking up the freshly dealt cards she placed the first one face up on the table and gestured for the boy to place the top of his pile down too.

 

“Worst case scenario we can just marker them back on,” she grinned, “Draw some, like, villain brows on for the laugh.” Bernie placed the cards on the table once more in order to extend two fingers out and place them diagonally down her forehead to demonstrate how she would fashion her replacement eyebrows to…. er…

 

“What’s your name mate?” 
 

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Godsgift A Moonbeam

G laughed harder at the emphatic denial of friendship. In fact he laughed so hard that every now and then a snort erupted from him, which only made him laugh harder. He raised his hands up in surrender and eventually managed to plead, “Okay! Okay! You’re not friends at all and hell will freeze over before it’s a remote possibility.”

 

He slapped down a card of his own and shrugged when it didn’t explode. “I think I’d just go without them, give mother a reason to faint. Tell you what, I’ll lend you my Sharpie since you’ll be needing it. I bet the cards explode on you.”

 

But he stopped laughing in short order when he caught up to the dropped nugget of information about a lack of a particular brand of cereal he rarely, if ever, got to eat. “What? There won’t be coco pops? Or Fruit Loops? Or any sugary cereal at this boarding school? That’s an outrage! I thought there would be...they do have Crunchy Nut Cornflakes though right? I was hoping to get away from the fully cooked, buffet breakfasts. Endless bowls of forbidden cereal seemed like heaven! You’ve crushed my soul, milady!”

 

G dramatically clutched a hand to his chest and groaned in mock pain before slumping in his seat dejectedly, “I’d rather starve than eat Kedgeree for breakfast...curried rice and fish is too much in the mornings...oh, and sorry...the name’s G...G. Moonbeam...and you, milady?”

 

 

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Bernadette Roux

Laughter was a rare response to Bernie’s actions, but hearing it from the boy was quite refreshing. In her group of friends back home she had never been the comedienne. Assigned as The Muscle of the gang, her roles consisted of intimidation and punching, casting her in a hard to shift stereotypical image of mere dumb strength. While the gang would happily banter between each other, the laughter was different. More obnoxious, tuned to send a chill down the spine of the unaffiliated. 

 

This was nicer and potentially the first time she had enjoyed being in the company of someone beyond her friends from home and Natalia, whom she had met upon entrance into the wizarding world a number of years ago and had stuck by since. “I’ll take that bet,” she smiled, finding herself at rare ease as they played. Her card came down upon his, not a match, and she glanced back to the boy with a playful smirk. Confidence had never been an issue for Bernie, at least, when it came to treading the familiar grounds of competitive play.

 

Magic was more unsettling but her façade to approaching her powers was something she sought to work on. Between her dragon tales and her cereal knowledge perhaps she was getting closer to success. “Dude, I don’t know, I’ll ask my sister but if it’s ‘owt like our house there’ll be nothin’ normal. It’s all crap like Cheeri Owls and chocolate frogs that jump around,” she waved her hands in the air as she rapidly ranted, always having required the aid of gestures with her expressive nature. “I think she said something about the food just appearing so, like, maybe we could put a request in?”

 

How hard could it be for the isolated magic castle staff to pop to tesco?

 

It was Bernie’s turn to laugh now at the dramatics of the boy and his certain way of speaking. Another girl might have had the skills to keep her thoughts to herself, but nothing could stop Bernie from spluttering between laughs: “Ha, you talk funny man. Like one of them old films,” it wasn’t necessarily negative, and Bernie wasn’t even looking to him as she said it – a mere observation. Her gaze did land upon him though as introductions were finally made. “G? Like the letter?” Well at least it got to the point. “I’m Bernie.”

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Godsgift A Moonbeam

“I talk funny?” G asked. He thought about it, analysing everything he had said and everything that everyone else had and had to admit that he probably did talk funny. “I’m afraid I probably do...but that is most likely from being...tutored...I mean to say rather, homeschooled. My family isn’t short of the readies. Like really not short of them.”

 

And that was really being modest. G’s face ducked down scanning the tabletop and the cards. “It’s a real pleasure to meet you Bernie. And yes G like the letter. When I’m older I’m going to get it legally changed but I’m stuck with it until I turn 18...though I doubt I’ll live through the scandal. My family has already had me thrown in the Tower for my exploits and I can’t imagine they’d let me escape as easily a second time. It was probably a mistake to refer to a relative’s new wife in such an uncouth manner...especially at the dinner table at a major function.”

 

He slapped a card down and was met with a loud bang and soot on his face. “...well! I guess it wasn’t false advertising...” He looked up and grinned, hoping the soot covered the pink that his lie had created. “I think I might like this here magic school, especially if there’s any sort of cereal with sugar as it’s main ingredient.”

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Bernadette Roux

“Yeah man,” was Bernie’s simple answer to G repeating her statement he spoke in a funny manner. Growing up on her council estate, she was more attune to strong Yorkshire accents that seemed to deliberately make themselves harder to decipher than she was proper grammar and the close cousins of received pronunciation “Like, you know, what’s the readies?”

 

But unlike what she had been told about the posh Southerners growing up, this G kid seemed like a nice (if somewhat weird) boy. “Ya know, they tried to tutor me but I apparently scared ‘em all off.” Parting with this titbit as if it was nothing, Bernie placed down a card but still managed to avoid causing an explosion. “What you gonna change it to?”

 

Swiftly though, names and dialects became the least of Bernie’s concerns as G continued to talk and expose the layers of his wealth. Eyes wide and mouth slightly agape, the game was forgotten about at the indifferent mention to being locked in a tower. “Woah woah woah. Imma need you to, like, rewind for a second bro.”

 

“Your family locked you up in a tower?” Where did this guy live? In a Disney movie? “What did you do? Unravel your magic hair and yeet down the side?” Jokes aside, she needed to know for real what G’s life was because it sounded wild. Brief distraction with a long-awaited explosion (‘wheeeey! You’ll be wanting this back’ she threw the sharpie at him) did nothing to quell her desire for answers. “Yeah yeah, Hogwarts sounds fun but how did you escape?”

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Godsgift A Moonbeam

“I don’t much care what it gets changed to...Greenberry...Galahad...Gaius...Gaylord...” G sighed, “Any of them would be better!”

 

The names he listed were all rather shocking and clearly demonstrated just how dreadful he felt his name was and he looked rather glum at the whole thing. “But it won’t happen; it would cause untold uproar and the press would have a field day.”

 

His sunken mood got jerked out of the pit it was sinking into and abruptly landed him back into an amused one. “Perhaps I could try the name Rapunzel? But not any old tower, the Tower!...as in the Tower of London, specifically the Bloody Tower...until it caused a ruckus with the tourists wanting to know why there was a prince locked in...then a Beefeater was given a lovely vacation somewhere sunny and I was ensconced in his apartment.”

 

The sharpie got handed back and G automatically moved to touch his eyebrows which weren’t there. His mother would be horrified! It would be brilliant! A wide grin lit up his face. “Wicked!”

 

“I learnt that blindly quoting stableboys is not a good thing and there are better descriptions that would adequately convey the same message as ‘minger’ and not be so terribly offensive...’butt ugly’ for example...do you think if I try to aim it that the next explosion will take out my hair? Mother would throw a fit!”

 

 

 

 

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