"You're cutting it a bit fine," growled Gringe. "But you Wizards are weird. Waddyou all want to be out for on a day like this I dunno."
"Oh?" Silas wanted to get past Gringe as soon as he could, but first he had to cross Gringe's palm with silver. Silas quickly found a silver penny in one of his pockets and handed it over.
"Thank you, Gringe. Good night."
Gringe looked at the penny as though it were a rather nasty beetle.
"Marcia Overstrand, she gave me a 'alf crown just now. But then she's got class, what with 'er being the ExtraOrdinary Wizard now."
"What?" Silas nearly choked.
"Yeah. Class, that's what she's got."
Gringe stood back to let him pass, and Silas slipped by. As much as Silas wanted to find out why Marcia Overstrand was suddenly the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, he could feel the bundle beginning to stir in the warmth of his cloak, and something told him that it would be better if Gringe did not know about the baby.
As Silas disappeared into the shadows of the tunnel that led to The Ramblings, a tall figure in purple stepped out and barred his way.
"Marcia!' gasped Silas. "What on earth"
"Tell no one you found her. She was born to you. Understand?"
Shocked, Silas nodded. Before he had time to say anything, Marcia was gone in a shimmer of purple mist. Silas spent the rest of the long winding journey through The Ramblings with his mind in turmoil. Who was this baby? What did Marcia have to do with her? And why was Marcia the ExtraOrdinary Wizard now? And as Silas neared the big red door that led to the Heap family's already overcrowded room, another, more pressing question came into his mind: What was Sarah going to say to yet another baby to care for?
Silas did not have long to think about the last question. As he reached the door it flew open, and a large red-faced woman wearing the dark blue robes of a Matron Midwife ran out, almost knocking Silas over as she fled. She too was carrying a bundle, but the bundle was wrapped from head to toe in bandages, and she was carrying him under her arm as if he were a parcel and she was late for the post.
"Dead!" cried the Matron Midwife. She pushed Silas aside with a powerful shove and ran down the corridor. Inside the room, Sarah Heap screamed.
Silas went in with a heavy heart. He saw Sarah surrounded by six white-faced little boys, all too scared to cry.
"She's taken him," said Sarah hopelessly. "Septimus is dead, and she's taken him away."
At that moment a warm wetness spread out from the bundle that Silas still had hidden under his cloak. Silas had no words for what he wanted to say, so he just took the bundle out from under his cloak and placed her in Sarah's arms.
Sarah Heap burst into tears.
Sarah and Silas
The bundle settled down into the Heap household and was called
Jenna after Silas's mother.
The youngest of the boys, Nicko, was only two when Jenna arrived, and he soon forgot about his brother Septimus. The older boys slowly forgot too. They loved their little baby sister and brought home all kinds of treasures for her from their Magyk classes at school.
Sarah and Silas of course could not forget Septimus. Silas blamed himself for leaving Sarah alone while he went out to fetch the baby's herbs from the Physik Woman. Sarah just blamed herself for everything. Although she could hardly remember what had happened that terrible day, Sarah knew she had tried to breathe life back into her baby and had failed. And she remembered watching the Matron Midwife wrapping her little Septimus from head to toe in bandages and then running for the door, shouting over her shoulder, "Dead!"
From Magyk: Septimus Heap Book 1 by Angie Sage. Copyright Angie Sage 2005. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Harper Collins. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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