Four days into the new term, Tania and Tara had already proven themselves to be in a leadership class all their own. No other school on earth had a Head Girl with four eyes, four arms, two mouths and one mind; backed up with a 6 year stockpile of illegal weaponry. Fights were ended far more swiftly, punishments meted our more creatively and crimes easily exposed but encouraged nonetheless.
"Make sure she can't move her bloody arms!" Julie ordered her Emos as they pinned Paris (Jem's right hand) to the wall and began securing her with nail guns.
"Target practice, Jules?" Tara inquired, watching as the Chav fought for her freedom and got a nail in her arm as a reward. She was the only Chav in the dorm. Never wise to walk into the students' cohabitation space singing N-Dubz at the top of your lungs if you don't have backup.
"Maybe later. We're just experimenting with brainwashing for now." Julie grinned, showing filed fangs as she held up a set of headphones. When she went to put them on Paris' ears the Chav cursed and bit at her, very nearly catching skin. The head Emo growled and grabbed a roll of duct tape, sealing her victim's mouth shut and then taping the headphones securely to her head. There was wicked relish in every emos' eyes as their leader pressed play on an iPod, releasing endless hours of Deftones and Suicidal Tendencies with Benton Falls mixed in for good measure. She'd even arranged for one song by MIA to play every few hours, just to taunt her with false hope.
"Just remember to let her get some liquids every few hours. And if she wets herself you're cleaning up." Tara reminded them. No need to get involved, the rest of the Chavs would be up to sort this out shortly. Besides, it was an interesting experiment.
"Tara! Tara! It's stolen! I told you there's a thief!" Georgiana lunged at the Head Girl, brandishing her massive toiletries case as though it were evidence in a homicide case.
"What's stolen, George?" Tara fought to keep her eyes from rolling heavenward.
"Don't call me that! I hate that name. Makes me feel like a dreadful drag queen or, or, washed up 80's pop star!" the Totty stamped her massively high-heeled foot.
"Or both. What is missing, Georgiana?" Tara repeated her question, knowing that if she didn't get the blonde back on track she'd tear off on a brainless tangent and forget her complaint entirely until about 2 am, when she would remember and disrupt everyone's sleep with a great deal of screeching.
"My spray! I brought three cans with me and now one's missing!" she rattled her box of toiletries, larger than some girls' suitcases. Tara patiently opened the Gucci case and scanned the contents - marveling that such a scattered brain could assemble such a complex organizational system. Nuclear physicists weren't this precise with their atoms!
"There's only one can of hairspray here." she pulled out the canister and really wished it was her sister here right now. Tania was so much better at dealing with the Totty. Tara was brilliant with the Emos, Geeks and Ecos; Tania the best with the Chavs, Flammables and Posh Totty. None of the tribes would ever know of course, only the twins themselves knew that dealing with certain cliques gave them more of a headache.
"What? Another gone already?" Georgiana shrieked, grabbing the case back and rummaging urgently through the contents.
"I know maths isn't your strong suit but I doubt anyone nicked your spray while you were standing here talking to me. How about you go search that mountain of supplies you use to maintain a fabulously plasticized appearance and come back to me when you find the other two cans?"
Or however many you actually brought, stupid slapper! Tara was quick to shove the last can of prized product back into the Totty's manicured fingernails and move past her. It would be easily three minutes before George understood that she'd been insulted. A further 12 before she'd do as she was told and take apart her ornate boudoir. That gave the Twin roughly 15 minutes to convince the hairspray thief to hide. The rash of thefts that had plagued the dorms had a very recognizable theme - at least for anyone with TnT's history with explosives. The objects that had gone missing: gel inserts from the Geeks, nail polish remover from the Chavs, hair ties from Flammables, Eco candles, the Emos' black nail polish and assorted deodorants all added up to one result: fire.
Tara knew exactly who the thief was. She just couldn't entirely blame her. From the moment the St. Trinian's girls realized their youngest member didn't speak, they'd made it a mission to hear her voice. For four days the First and Second Form had been completely united in trying to tease/coax/bribe/scare a sound out of Ash. Nothing had worked yet. The only result was that she'd taken to more creative means of protecting herself.
Tara glanced at her watch. Eleven in the morning. That meant First Years were in science, a dangerous location at the best of times. When the Twins were still in their first years of school at St. Trinian's First Year Science was held in a modified shed; extremely thick, sturdy blast walls and a light roof. It might be advisable to relocate the class to the more explosion-proof setting once again.
Approaching the classroom Tara spotted her sister already leaning against the wall outside the door. She was watching through the window with a faint smirk. Tara joined her, peering in to watch the mob inside. The youngest students had frightened the teacher into a fetal position under her desk. She was rocking and reciting the periodic table. The girls were now all gathered in a circle in the middle of the room, their victim suspended upside down from the ceiling.
"Just say you want down!" they taunted as Ash hung above them.
"How long have they had her up there?" Tara glanced over at her sister.
"Just over five minutes," Tania checked her watch, "What brought you?"
"George's hairspray. You?"
"Patience is missing some of the Ecos' fuel cell hydrogen. Thought maybe our tongue-tied pyro would know where it went." the curly-haired blonde shrugged. Tara couldn't think of anyone else with the instinct, ability and desire to steal such highly combustible fuel (not since she and her sister had free access to all the explosives they needed) and agreed with the logic.
"What's she doing?"
"Some kind of seizure?"
"You got the jacket and fireballs right?" the voices from in the room varied from curious to panicked.
The Twins shared a nod of silent agreement and pushed the classroom door open. They gathered a few eyes but most (including the blonds') stayed glued to Ash's suspended form as she shivered violently. Her bound hands flailed as her whole body trembled. Suspended by her feet, her whole body swung faintly as she quivered.
"If she's seizing we gotta cut her down!" one student shouted.
"Screw that! She might scream!" another argued. The driving urge to hear a voice was obviously going to override any other sense.
TnT exchanged glances, containing their smirks. The shuddering was a little too deliberate. A small item vibrated out of Ash's waist band and into her waiting hands. The Twins were probably the only ones who had been watching for the book of matches to appear. The silent firebug could be stripped naked and would still have matches.
Once she had hold of it she doubled in half, reaching into her shoe and emerging with a small gel packet that she tore with her teeth. She squirted the gel over the students below her and before they could move she struck and dropped a match. Two girls, who'd been directly below her and got more of the flammable gel on their clothes, rapidly caught fire and began screaming.
Saw that coming. Tania and Tara both shook their heads and cut through the students, knocking the burning girls to the ground. They expertly patted out the flames despite shrieks and flailing arms.
Once the fires were smothered the Twins examined the injuries. This made five girls in three days. Tania quickly ordered a handful of First Years to get the wounded girls to the Matron's office. The nurse was certainly brushing up on burn treatments. Tara ordered the rest of the girls to release Ash. It was obvious that this attempt to hear the silent student's voice had failed as well. That makes at least seven. A released knot allowed the 9 year old to come crashing to the ground, taking three other students out.
"Miss Fritton wants to see us." Tania reminded her sister, almost having forgotten herself amidst the activity. Tara cursed under her breath but nodded. She waited as the youngest St. Trinian's all gathered themselves from the floor and freed their victim.
"Right. If this is about all the scorch marks on campus," Tara snapped her fingers for their attention.
"You're all accountable, hear?" Tania finished the threat.
The girls stared up in surprise, accountability was a foreign concept to First Years. Only Ashlin seemed immune to the warning. Once her hands were free she pulled matches and a can of (George's) hairspray from her satchel on the floor. She lit a chemical blowtorch that scorched the blackboard as students dove out of her way. It was her favorite method of escape. The chrysanthemum burn pattern was becoming common throughout campus.
"Get the paint." the Twins both ordered the rest of the First Form before leaving the classroom.
Sauntering back along the corridors the Twins surveyed their school with languid satisfaction. They'd always been proud to be St. Trinian's, the school unrivaled in its reputation for terror. Now they ruled it. They controlled the most feared body of students in the northern hemisphere. Small wonder they were both grinning like smug tigers.
They had to pause on their way to the Headmistress' office to settle a small squabble off the main hall.
"BLEACH!" the loudest voice accompanied her shout with the sharp sound of a weapon stabbing wood. A large weapon.
"Bloody new tribe." Tania rolled her eyes and growled.
"They're cute." Tara argued. They walked into the common room, taking in the sight of four girls locked in an argument around the coffee table. The wood had been splintered by the piercing blade of an ornamental Samurai sword. Another girl was brandishing a reproduction axe that looked like the bastard of a scythe mating with a spear. How the weapons got clearance as 'costume accessories' was beyond the Twins. The Geeks must've deliberately turned a blind eye.
St. Trinian's newest tribe was still settling on a name. They had wanted to be known as Otaku but the entire rest of the school just called them 'those bloody Animes.' They were the spawn of an unholy union between the Geeks and the Emos. During the Fourth Form the Head Girl was a Geek who also happened to be shagging the lead Emo. It was unprecedented but unstoppable. The ensuing overlap between tribes created these psychotic, moody little nerds that stayed up all night learning Japanese, playing video games and sharpening weaponry.
"Problem girls?" Tara asked as she pulled a throwing star out of the wood of the doorframe. One of many. The Animes all went quiet, glaring at each other but not daring to meet the eyes of the Head Girls.
"Just deciding what to watch." one of them mumbled. Another muttered a few words in Japanese that earned her sharp elbows from the third and fourth simultaneously. Tania circled around the cluster of girls, making them sweat while her twin held their attention. No predicting which side would attack first.
"You can always vote by force," Tara acknowledged 's oldest method of settling arguments, "But you know the rule."
"No armed combat in doors." Tania reminded them all, wrenching the sword free of the coffee table with one hand. They flinched as the sword swished in an arc over their heads.
"Aw, come on, TT!" the younger girls had taken to abbreviating Tania and Tara down to their initials to save time while whingeing.
"You get it back in the morning." Tania's sternly raised eyebrow silenced all whines.
"Same for these." Tara added, pulling the last throwing star from the door frame. She glanced at the points as she and her sister walked away. Home made and razor sharp. Might have to confiscate a few. She smiled at Tania and handed her half of the tiny weapons for their collection. Head Girl's Tax.
The Twins had discussed all possible reasons for the Headmistress to have called them. They had plenty of time to go through the options, waiting for their turn to enter the locked office. Four days into a new year so it was doubtful that anyone's probation officer had already turned up. None of the teachers had been assaulted or chased away. Yet. Even the garden shed was still standing, though TnT had some ambitious plans for their free time.
Their best guess was that Miss Fritton had some requisitions that needed to be submitted to Flash. The Spiv would be coming that evening to renew their trade arrangement after the summer hiatus. It always made both girls grin to think of Harry and the fresh tortures they could invent for him in the coming year. Barely 30, there could be no doubt the Twins were the cause of the premature grey that he kept touched up. He'd even had to start shaving so the distressed color didn't show in his beard.
The office door swung open and Geoffrey Thwaites strolled out, humming happily to himself but flinching the moment Tania and Tara rose. They watched his escaping back, both noticing he needed to tuck his shirt in. Humming. The girls knew what that meant. Now, if the Headmistress was smoking they'd be absolutely sure. They heard their names called and entered the office, doing their best to suppress giggles at the sight of the cigarette in their leader's hand.
"I have reports that four girls are already missing from their classes." Camilla got straight to the business of wiping those knowing smirks off their faces.
The two sets of blue eyes sparkled happily. There were actually 6 girls currently 'indisposed' but they weren't about to volunteer that information. Besides, three weren't due for release until after the weekend.
"They'll make up the work." the girls promised.
"See that they do. Also, Miss Maupassant is threatening to quit if her cigarettes get stolen again. If your girls are running out they must just increase the order with Flash."
"We'll get an extra crate." they enjoyed watching the Headmistress' irritation as they continued to answer in stereo. It was the small pleasures in life.
"Good. Now," Fritton lit a cigarette and leaned back in her chair, "How're the girls doing?"
"Fearless and unstoppable." Tania grinned
"As ever." Tara finished.
"Glad to hear it. No trouble to report?" Fritton's eyes narrowed ever so slightly, scrutinizing their expressions. Tania and Tara both held their breath for a fraction of a second as they mentally ran through the 'problems' of the last few days. Two Emos needing stitches, the Geeks losing their controlling interest in their favorite calculator company, the Chavs and Posh Totty getting into a territory war over wall outlets at the sinks, the Ecos trying to compost several Flammables' wardrobe . . .
That didn't even cover the new problem student. Seven burn victims, three dorm fires and at least 11 separate walls scorched. The Twins had stayed on top of the incidents, distributing fire extinguishers, cans of paint and bottles of Savlon.
"None." their sweet voices harmonized. They no longer possessed the deceptive innocence of their childhood but they'd mastered candid guile. The Headmistress regarded them through another inhale from her fag, piercing the shields of their thoughts.
"Very good. Bodes well for the coming year. You're excused." she waved them off.
"Thank you, Miss." both girls shot to their feet and made for the door, paused only by the sound of their mistress clearing her throat.
"Do make sure the girls remember to paint the burnt wall in the pool house," Fritton reminded them casually, "You might also have them clean the filters, I understand they can only take so much ash."
The chagrined Twins looked over their shoulders at her, catching the smug sparkle in her eyes. She shooed them on with a wave of her cigarette, her smirk hidden behind the trail of smoke.