STOR14S: Russell Brand reads 'Aargh, There's a Monster in My School!' for new podcast

Yahoo Life Staff

Your children can read along as they listen to short story writing contest winner Aargh, There's a Monster in My School! This STOR14S episode, written by Mark Cowling and read by comedian and actor Russell Brand, will be released on Spotify and Apple Podcasts on July 2, or you can listen here:

And if you enjoy this story, learn more at GEANCO, who are helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and improving lives in Nigeria.

Click here to learn more about the STOR14S podcast series.

Aargh, There's a Monster in My School!

by Mark Cowling

Aargh, There's a Monster in My School!
Aargh, There's a Monster in My School!

Boris was so excited about his first day at the new school that he managed to put his trousers on backwards and rip the sleeve off his shirt. 

He brushed his teeth so fast that the toothbrush was left smoking, he combed his hair so quickly that the bristles rained down like leaves from a storm shaken tree. 

Boris then ran down the stairs four at a time, wood splintering under his feet.

Struggling to fit his new school jumper over his head, Boris didn't notice the kitchen door was closed. With a giant crash, he smashed straight through the wooden door, leaving a Boris shaped hole.

"Can we go now, Mum? Can we go now? Can we? Can we go now?" Said Boris, unaware of the mess he’d created. 

The rest of the broken door fell from its hinges, finally getting his attention. "I think someone's broken the kitchen door, Mum."

Maybe I should explain. Boris was a nine-year-old boy with a few little differences: he had thick white fur that covered his whole body, hands so big and strong they could turn rocks to dust and was almost as tall as some adults and twice as wide. 

You see, Boris was not human. To be exact, Boris was a monster.

A lot of grownups will tell you that monsters don't exist – the same grownups who don't like to look under beds or peer into the shadows for too long. 

Monsters used to be happy to let everyone think this: if people didn't believe in monsters then monsters would be left alone to live in peace. 

But there was only so long they were willing to go out only at night and hide away from the world. That isn't a good way for anyone to live.

The monsters came out of the darkness and eventually most humans realised they didn't mean any harm. If you don't believe me, just ask yourself when you last heard of someone at school being swallowed whole by a sea serpent or being chased down the supermarket cheese aisle by a zombie?  

See, monsters don't want to hurt you.

Finally, it was decided that monsters and humans could live together in harmony. The Government declared that all monsters, beasts, and scary creatures should have the same rights as you or me -- which isn't very surprising, given that most politicians are secretly monsters too.

Boris was due to start at his new school, the first of its kind: a school for both human children and monster children. As you will soon learn, monsters are really not that different from you and I...

"You can't go to school on an empty stomach," said Mrs Yeti to her son, Boris. "Go on, have some shredded weasel or some scrambled mouse brain on toast."

Ok. Maybe monsters are a little different...

"I'm too excited, Mum. I'll just grab a packet of smoky bacon flavoured slugs before I go"

Mrs Yeti sighed. 

There was no chance of getting Boris to sit down and eat when he was so excited. In the mood he was in now, he probably wouldn't even eat a bowl of his favourite sticky toffee pigeon feet!

Boris was so worked-up that the walls and floor were shaking as he bounced around the room. "It's going to be so much fun and I'll make fifty friends! No, a HUNDRED friends! It'll be the best thing ever!!"

Next door in number 19, Marjorie and Harold Stubbs were hiding under the kitchen table until the "earthquake" stopped.

A very curious thing happened when Boris entered the grounds of Evergreen School. The small playground was full of children, all wearing their new itchy school jumpers and stiff shoes, but wherever Boris stood there seemed to be a few feet of empty space around him. If he walked towards a group of kids, they scattered before he got there.

Only one person came his way, a short boy with spiky hair. The boy was smiling but somehow did not appear friendly. As he walked by, the boy whispered dirty hairball and then ran off. He had spoken loud enough for Boris to hear but quiet enough for no one else to hear. Boris then went and stood alone in a secluded corner until it was time for school to begin.

Soon the teachers arrived and ushered the kids into classrooms. But none of the other kids in Boris’s class sat at his table. It’s not like they were spread out evenly, some tables had children all squished together.

It was then that Boris noticed he was the only monster in the classroom. Now that he thought of it, there were very few monsters out on the playground either.Even then, none of them were as big as him.

Boris spotted a small boy with glasses looking his way. But as soon as the boy saw Boris glance back, he ducked under the table and started shaking so hard pens and pencils were sent rolling onto the floor.

“Ok, children, settle down,” said Mrs Scantwitt.

The children did not settle down. She then decided to wait with arms crossed until there was silence, which is a trick teachers keep using despite it never having worked in all of recorded history.

Mrs Scantwitt was having one of those days. She seemed to have a lot of those days recently. Today was a perfect example:

1. While making breakfast, she had dropped the last two eggs onto Rufus the dog. (If Rufus could speak, he would probably also say he was having one of those days).

2. The hairdryer had mysteriously decided to stop working, meaning Mrs Scantwitt would have to leave the house with wet hair that would get frizzy when it dried and make her look like someone who worked in a circus. It is an indisputable fact that electrical items know when you need them most and pick those times to break down.

3. For some reason, Rufus had chosen to climb into Mrs Scantwitt’s wardrobe and now almost all of her clothes were a lot more eggy than she would have liked. The only thing left clean was the dress Aunt Hilda had bought her for Christmas: a bright yellow number with pictures of smiling pink frogs printed all over. 

“Ok, you!” Mrs Scantwitt pointed straight at Boris. “Hand out the textbooks!”

Boris was eager for a chance to help. He sprung to his feet and then tried to move forward. But instead he went tumbling over like a giant furry snowball, smashing into tables and chairs.

As the other children laughed, Boris looked down at his feet: someone had crawled under the table and tied his shoelaces together. Boris couldn’t imagine who would want to do such a thing but then he saw the small boy with the spiky hair glaring at him.

“There’s always one troublemaker,” said Mrs Scantwitt, shaking her head. But she was staring at Boris, not the boy. “I’ll have no more nonsense from you!”

*

The rest of the morning was a bit of a blur for Boris. He couldn’t focus on anything Mrs Scantwitt said, he just kept replaying what had happened in his mind, wondering what he had done so wrong.

The lunchtime bell rang.

Boris waited for the other children to leave the classroom before he got up. He thought it best to find a quiet spot to eat by himself.

As Boris stepped into the corridor leading to the lunchroom, the boy with spiky hair leapt into his path. Before Boris could react, the boy launched a swollen water-balloon.

Boris was frozen where he stood as the projectile arched towards him. But a very strong gust of wind thundered down the hallway. The balloon was pushed back to where the boy stood, bursting right in his still smirking face. 

“Quick!” Boris felt his sleeve being tugged. A small girl with straight hair and somewhat pointy ears was pulling on his arm. “Come on!” she said.

The girl took Boris to a table at the far end of the lunchroom. At the table was a small group of children, both human and monsters.

“I’m Willow,” said the girl. “You’re Boris, right?”

Boris nodded, still too confused to speak.

“We hate bullies,” said Willow with a smile. “Watch this!”

Willow stared at the boy with the spiky hair whose face was still dripping wet and now also bright red. As the boy was making his way past the kitchen, a large vat of custard exploded. 

Gooey custard was flung all over the spiky haired boy, knocking him to the ground. The boy’s friends, who were no better than he was, all pointed and laughed.

“Willow is a woodland sprite. She can control wind and water” said a girl at their table. “Hi, I’m Felicity.”

Boris said hi to Felicity and then to the other children at the table, all of whom would soon become close friends.

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