Being one of the most mischievous little imps on the planet, Geoffrey lived up to his reputation both in and out of school. As far as his parents were concerned they didn’t deserve the nine year old nightmare that was Geoffrey. What made matters worse was the fact that Geoffrey was cerebral, meaning he was very good at out smarting most people when working on one of his fiendish plans and, despite any second guessing by the victims of his pranks, they could never really know exactly what the little shit was up to. His headmaster at school wanted him expelled, but on the other hand his parents did not, because if that worse case scenario ever came about then that would be a major headache for them as to where he could be taken – let alone accepted, next?
Geoffrey’s pranks usually resulted in someone getting hurt – or worse still, seriously maimed. The problem the authorities had to deal with then was proving Geoffrey’s guilt. He became very adept at covering up his tracks and leaving no evidence or traces of his presence despite the fact that his guilt was indeed certain. Booby traps were his speciality, cunningly designed contraptions with built-in triggers that when activated would cause minor devastation (depending on the intended target) to pupils or school property. Overall, most pupils regarded him as a local hero, someone to challenge authority and thwart their efforts to make him conform to the standards of the school. The teachers, in the main, dreaded him in every sense of the word. His antics were beyond compare and no teacher had ever experienced a pupil like Geoffrey before.
He had a irrepressible ability to improvise in any given situation, then capitalise on that moment and conjure up a brand new piece of mischief. His antics first started when he turned six years and discovered that all public places and official facilities had such things called fire alarms which could be used by anyone in emergencies. So after this discovery, and at school on a Monday morning, Geoffrey hunted down the nearest fire alarm point, set light to a waste paper bin in a classroom with some matches he stole from the kitchen at home, then without further ceremony, broke the fire alarm glass and sent the school into a panic. The sound of the claxon being heard outside of the normal testing day of Wednesday at 11.00 am stunned the entire school. But after some investigation by the teachers and, the discovery of the waste paper bin in a classroom right next to the fire alarm point, it became clear that it was a prank instigated by a pupil or pupils unknown.
That was the beginning of Geoffrey’s reign of terror, and although the entire school came to learn all about his talents and pranks, not one teacher could ever provide enough proof of his guilt because somehow he always avoided capture. This soon became the pattern or mould out of which all of Geoffrey’s pranks would rely upon, his apparent Scarlet Pimpernel-like elusiveness. The headmaster, in secret, had a meeting with his entire staff – including all the caretakers, and in that meeting offered a financial bonus to anyone catching Geoffrey in any act of wanton vandalism or whatever prank he was currently involved in. It made no difference, no one ever caught him.
There were two schools of thought regarding how to deal with Geoffrey, in one camp the opinion was to try and nurture him away from mischief through interest in outdoor activities like sports, but that did no good because he didn’t really go for sports and favoured indoor activities instead such as splurging graffiti all over the boys locker room or worse still in the main hallway. In the other camp it was felt that a hard line action should be in place where upon any student caught in any act which was detrimental to the school, ought to automatically face expulsion and suffer criminal charges where applicable. Notices were put up around the school grounds which advertised the latter policy, but even with this threat hanging over Geoffrey’s head did not deter his fervour for causing trouble.
Each time he played one of his pranks, the penalty for his capture would go up, it was a cumulative thing which never stopped increasing simply because Geoffrey never stopped. Each day he would go home from school feeling proud of himself for surviving yet another day without discovery or capture. He considered the whole thing as an apprenticeship where he was the sole pupil charged with learning ultimate mischief. In truth, he was growing bored with playing his jokes on the school and felt it was time to branch out into more daring adventures. And that’s when he had an inspirational idea.
His local church enjoyed folk lore tales of hauntings which were all total nonsense of course, but Geoffrey was eager to capitalise on their beliefs and fears by giving them exactly what they believed.
It was time to give the church crypt a visit.