Herkabe was looking forward to this.

He had always had a hate-hate relationship with his by far smartest pupil, and was getting a certain sense of sadistic glee of finally getting rid of him.

Underneath that, Herkabe did feel that it was going to be brilliant telling the Krelboyne's. They'd surely be ecstatic that the little show-off would be disappearing and stop stealing their credit. He knew that the 'Malcolm's our friend' routine was all an act.

So Herkabe entered the Krelboyne room with high spirits, even whistling as he closed the door. This caught the kids attention immediately - Mr Herkabe was never in a good mood. Ever. He walked to the front of the class, and turned round to face his students, smiling.


He grabbed a chalk and wrote on the blackboard, still manically grinning, unsettling many members of the class that he was teaching.


"Let us see... what does 'crime and punishment' mean?" There were many rolled eyes at the obvious question, but everybody's hand rose in the air. Smirking, Herkabe pointed to Stevie to answer the question.

"It means... sir... that when... someone... commits... a crime... they are... punished." Stevie gasped, before taking a deep gulp of air.

"Very good, wheelchair kid." Stevie bristled, but Herkabe continued with his seemingly meaningless rant. "I'm sad to inform you," Herkabe looked far from sad, was the silent consensus "that today we lost one of your classmates to-" instead of finishing his sentence, Mr Herkabe jabbed a finger at the blackboard.

"Do not look around. I shall tell you that early today Lois Wilkerson, mother of Malcolm-"


"No way..."


The shout came from Stevie whose breath was now coming out in violent gasps. "He... can't... can't... can't..."

Everyone seemed to begin to hyperventilate as one now. They needed Malcolm. He was their friend, their ally, their leader. The only one who managed to know what to do in the sticky situations the Krelboyne's always seemed to manage to get themselves in.

Clearing his throat loudly, Herkabe continued "pulled Malcolm out of school to go to a Military School, which his brother, Francis is a cadet in. Hopefully if he returns he will be a new person-"


Stevie again had shouted, not even pausing between the words, and began coughing violently, before wheeling out the room.

Herkabe stood, and opened his mouth to call the boy back, when the rest of his class rose from their seats and ran out the door, leaving the bitter man alone without a class to teach.


Malcolm was sitting on the steps up to their house with Reese.

Dewey had gone to school, literally having to be dragged away by Hal. They had tried to do the same with Reese, and in retaliation, Reese had punched Hal in the groin.

The tears were gone now, dried out. Malcolm couldn't cry anymore, just stare into space, and mourn his life of freedom, and have Reese to lean upon, and rub circles in his back and tell Malcolm scarily detailed plans about how he was going to get back at their parents.

Francis had yelled, and screamed, and griped, and even tried to reason with Lois but in the end she had just slammed the phone down, phone Spangler who after hearing that Malcolm was Francis' brother had accepted another Wilkerson to bang into shape (in exactly those words) at short notice, and had then hastily disconnected it before Francis could call back.

Lois was packing the car now, with some of Malcolm's clothes and some of Reese's (for when Malcolm gets bigger) and then taking some out and putting others in. She was almost done.

Then she was done.

Lois pried Malcolm away from Reese who he was gripping onto, while trying desperately to blank out the threats Reese was giving her, and ignore the outward and internal pain and just get on with it.

How she had managed it, Lois didn't know, but she was in the car with Malcolm, and Reese was like a statue on the steps, and they were driving away. And she had just reached the edge of town when the Krelboynes arrived at her house to see that Malcolm was already gone and the school bully was sobbing for his little brother.