This story is a follow-on from the short story 'Crash Landing' which was part of a short story compilation written by Gillian Cross. A summary of the story can be found on the Demon Headmaster wikipedia entry: wiki/The_Demon_Headmaster
Although it is not vital that you read the story, if you have access to it, you will likely be able to get the most out of this oneshot. On another note, I haven't abandoned 'A Headmaster's Dragon Unleashed', I just need to rewrite it and come up with an ending. If you have any suggestions for that plz PM me :)
The Headmaster strode rigidly out of the hospital, barely containing his fury over the situation he found himself in. The only positive outcome from this catastrophe was that his leg was now completely healed, something that afforded him a small degree of satisfaction. How was he expected to create efficiency in the world, when he himself was not completely efficient? However this obstacle had now been overcome. Yet now he was left to contemplate the negative outcome from this disaster. He had been defeated by a weakness that he could not have even contemplated: his own hypnotism had been used against him. Even facing that meddlesome group of children, with the hateful Miss Clever Hunter, they had never figured out such a horrific counter to his plans.
He could see his adversary even now, three months on from the event: a thin, fit looking girl, whose face had been slightly dreamy when he had glimpsed her striding about the farm. Yet when she had confronted him, that dreamy look had vanished, and had become fierce and almost penetrating. He had thought that if he hypnotised her parents, their enforcement of his rules and their own authority over her would eliminate any threats to his plans by the child. However, he had woefully underestimated her resourcefulness and determination, as well as failing to neutralise the efficient but wilful farm worker. Even now he found it hard to escape the memory of easily starting to hypnotise the interfering child, and then suddenly being confronted with his own luminous, sea-green gaze. His moment of shock and panic was completely obscured as the manta he was intoning to dominate the will of the girl in front of him suddenly engulfed all of his own willpower and he felt himself surrendering to the wave of slumber he had just created.
Now, though, he was intent on enacting revenge on that hateful girl who had so completely ruined his plans. He could not allow her to be at large; otherwise she could potentially ruin his plans again. This was not something that he normally considered, as previously his opponents had consisted of that insufferable group of children, and it was much harder to revenge himself on a group of six, children though they might be. However, as he knew that the parents of the girl presented no problems, it would be relatively easy to engulf her with any form of revenge he chose to use. As he absentmindedly flagged down a taxi in the centre of town, he hastily amended his evolving plans to counteract the farm worker, as he, like almost all of his other opponents, could not be hypnotised. He would have to get him safely out of the way for a lengthy period of time before the farmhand had a chance to interfere with his plans or warn the girl.
As she wrestled to close the gate on the bull that was struggling to escape his field, Charity reflected with some wonderment how quickly everything had returned to normal. The wreckage of the helicopter had been removed in a few hours, the wires had been repaired, and the only thing left to remind her of the terrifying Visitor was the pair of mirrored sunglasses on the shelf above her bed. Once the ambulance had taken him to hospital, and she had re-entered the house, her parents had seemed slightly dazed, and were unsure about why they had leaflets about turning the farm into a factory on the kitchen table. Eventually they had thrown them away and forgotten all about it. Nor had they questioned any longer about the recovery of the Visitor once he had been taken away, it was as if they had forgotten his existence. It seemed as if Tom was the only one who remembered him. He said that he felt there was something 'bad' and 'wrong' about the man, so he tried to keep away from him as much as possible. Charity was very glad of that. If she hadn't had Tom to help her, she doubted that she could have succeeded against the Visitor on her own.
As she finally managed to push the gate to, despite the bull's best effort to stop her, her dad strode up to her. He smiled as he witnessed her victory, and then asked "Do you think you're up for quite a big job?" Charity grinned back and nodded. "Good. I've managed to put up quite a lot of new fencing and gates around the farm, do you think you could check on all of it, and see if they're doing the job they're meant to? I know you can deal with things if any of the animals have shown that any of the fencing isn't doing its job". He handed her a list of the new enclosures and gates, before striding off once more, whistling. Charity smiled to herself. She was very good at handling the animals, even if they were quite hard to manage, and it seemed her dad had decided to take notice of her skills. As she neared the top potato field, she had gone through half of her list. The new fences and gates had kept the animals where they had meant to be, and she had only participated in a brief struggle with a goat that had sneaked out behind her dad's back when he had been putting up the fences. The goat was now safely in his field with the other goats, and Charity had been highly amused when the goat had attempted to eat her jacket in revenge for his confinement. Plying him with a few mints had stopped this, and he had moved innocently away from her to the middle of the field. She frowned as her eyes roved the potato field. She knew Tom should have been working in this field all afternoon, he had said so at breakfast. Why was he not here? He would never slack off, and he wasn't due to finish working in the field until at least five.
While she attempting to come up with an explanation for this puzzle, her dad came up to her. He had obviously been into town, judging by the number of bags he was carrying. Charity frowned and asked "Dad, do you know where Tom is? He was supposed to be working in this field, but he isn't here." Her father smiled somewhat vacantly, and then replied in a tone of voice which was terrifyingly familiar "I sent Tom to the allotments. With all this wonderful weather we have been having, all the tomatoes I planted should be ready for harvesting". Charity frowned. "But you have so many tomatoes; it will take Tom ages to do it on his own! Why didn't you hire some part-timers to help him out?" Her father smiled vacantly again. "He is the best man for the job". Charity shook her head in disbelief. This was making no sense at all. She said as much to her dad, and her blood seemed to freeze as he replied in exactly the same words and tone: "He is the best man for the job". He smiled again, and then strode off in the direction of the farmhouse. Charity shuddered. She really hoped that these strange events didn't mean what she feared the most, but was horribly afraid that it did. Suddenly, she began to run towards the farmhouse. She had to get hold of those mirrored sunglasses. They were her only defence should the Visitor actually turn up. As she came into view of the house, she suddenly slid to a stop on the drive, mouth dropping open in complete horror. Standing in front of the house was the person she feared the most, the Visitor. It was evident that he had seen her, as his impassive face suddenly took on a thunderous expression. Her eyes widened in dismay as she realised that he was in possession of her one safeguard.
The Headmaster glared hatefully at the girl standing just meters away from him. Noting the object of her gaze, he smirked cruelly and deliberately crushed the mirrored sunglasses that he had taken from her room. It had been almost pathetically easy to hypnotise the farmer and his wife. He had encountered the farmer while he had been in town and had no difficulty in getting the man to take him to his wife. Getting the old farm worker out of the way had posed no problems either. He did not even have to be in his presence to arrange this, which was to his advantage. He feared that the farm worker would attempt to sabotage his efforts if he realised that the man he had helped to foil before was back. He began to move towards the girl, intending to take her into the farmhouse where her parents were. He was going to utterly destroy her spirit by making her parents agree to his original plans for their farm, then to agree to a series of crushing and spiteful restrictions against their daughter. Although he knew that he could hypnotise her, he would not do so yet. Not until she had been forced to watch her parents obey his every order and then begin to act on the restrictions he devised. Only then, once her spirit and resistance had been utterly crushed, would he hypnotise her and make her stop resisting his plans for the farm and start to efficiently work on them along with her parents.
Charity had no idea what the Visitor planned to do with her, but she knew enough of him to know that it couldn't bode well for her. Also, the hate and fury on his face made her fear for her person once he got his hands on her. As she prepared to run from him, part of her jacket gave into the damage the goat had inflicted on it and flopped to the ground, her desperate change of direction causing it to fall into her field of vision. As she automatically grabbed at it, her mind suddenly fastened onto its colour. Red. Her jacket was red. She suddenly realised that being on her own ground had its advantages. She knew every part of the farm. He had no idea about anything the farm contained. This knowledge, combined with her fragment of jacket gave her a desperate idea. It might be difficult to put into action but it was the only one that could save her. Frantically ripping out one of her hair pins, she dashed directly towards the Visitor. It was evident he was not expecting her to run towards him, and his shock caused him to stop momentarily. This gave Charity all the time she needed. Snatching at his jacket, she rammed the fragment of her red jacket onto his lapel, keeping it in place with the hair pin and then dashed away again as fast as she could. She knew that he would follow her, he had no choice. He needed to neutralise her if his plans were to succeed.
The Headmaster glowered at his quarry as he chased after her, cursing the time that was being wasted by her pointless flight. If she had not run from him he would have taken her into the farmhouse by now. As he dashed round the corner of a barn, he was surprised to see his enemy calmly sitting on a fence next to an open gate. Strangely, she had removed her jacket, and dropped it on the ground in front of the fence. Striding towards her, his glare intensified, and his hands fisted as her struggled to contain his anger. He was going to teach that girl a painful lesson about running from him. Deliberately rolling up his sleeves, he began to reach for the maddening child. He stopped abruptly when she suddenly jerked her thumb towards the open gate. As his eyes followed her sudden gesture, he rapidly realised why she was no longer afraid of him. Standing at the open entrance to the field stood a large bull. She pointed to his jacket and his startled gaze encountered a ripped fragment of the coat that was lying at her feet. She smirked wickedly and uttered the only word he had heard her speak so far. "Run." He did not hesitate to obey that command, as he had no wish to be trampled by the now enraged bull that had unhindered access to him. As he ran back towards the farmhouse, he reflected bitterly that his hypnosis had a fatal limitation: he could not hypnotise animals.