The Madness of Mr. Catté
Jennifer, Age 10, Kitimat, BC

1. The Invisible Hand

James Nicholas Catté was not a normal man. It was not that he didn't shine his shoes or wear a suit and tie. It was that he was a sorcerer.

Mr. Catté lived with his wife, Mary Ramora Catté, in a rectangular house with three stories and three spiral staircases. It was a beautiful mansion called Balgue Residence.

One day when Mr. Catté was doing his normal everyday things he saw, on the doorstep, a very strange letter, very strange indeed. It was addressed in grey writing, which was faded, and looked as if it had been written years ago. He peeked around the hedge to see if anyone was looking, then shrunk into the shadow of a willow tree, in the front yard, to read the letter. It said, in a very untidy scrawl:

Dear James,

We need you here quickly. Urgent note from the Government Of Sorcery. Hope you're well.

Thomas Ghrapporn
Deputy Headmaster

Mr. Catté worked at Heartseed Academy of Sorcery. Heartseed was a French school, and Mr. Catté taught, in French, transfiguration. The other teachers who taught there were: Salden Murtlap, who taught Potion Ingredients, Anne Plimpy, who taught Herbs and Fungi, Olthaten Portlock, who taught History of Magical Creatures, Jack Ruunspoor, who taught Dark Arts, Alfred Braadeno, who taught Charms and Spells, and last, but not least, Penny Nundu, the nurse. James taught on the third floor, fifth door to the right. But his office was on the second floor, four doors to the left.

Just as he got to his car the letter gave off an astonishing light and made Mr. Catté feel very dizzy and dumbfounded. Mr. Catté walked back to his house, and up to his bedroom, stumbling with each step. Then suddenly...

Nothing could have prepared him for this-he felt himself walking towards the window as if invisible hands were pushing his feet forward. As he approached it he felt himself being pushed into a springing position, felt his hand open the window latch, and he leaped out! Someone was trying to hurt him, or worse, kill him.

Mr. Catté opened his eyes and blinked. He was lying in a bed at Heartseed Academy. He felt dazed and confused. He decided to go back to sleep, because his eyelids felt like lead and were to heavy too hold up any longer. After hours of sleep, Mr. Catté felt someone patting a cold, wet cloth on his head. The nurse, Penny Nundu, was standing over him with a damp cloth in her hand and a sorrowful look on her face.

2. A Visit From Mrs. Catté

She looked at him for a moment then hurried off. As she bustled around grabbing things out of drawers and pulling things off shelves, hoping to find something that might cure him, she kept glancing at a book called: 100 Cures For Magical Sicknesses. She had just considered going to the Knowledge Resource Centre, which had departments of: Magical Disasters, Magical Creatures, Magical Injuries, Magical History, and other magical malaise, when suddenly she saw Mary Catté poking her head into the Mini Hospital Room, holding in the palm of her hand a Caramel Coated Cactus, a sorcerer's treat.

"Want some" she asked politely "I just came to vis- she stopped short. "Who's that in bed?"

"It-It-It-It's your husband", Penny squeaked in barely more than a whisper, " I was just trying to call you."

"What!" squawked Mary.

"He's got a case of clumsiness and confusion of the brain", Penny blurted out hardly saving time to breathe, "He climbed out the window and if the currant bush had not broken his fall..." Penny didn't finish the sentence.

Mary had been relaxing on the bed, but at this remark she sat bolt upright and broke into a sweat.

"What will happen to him" Mary demanded.

"Well" said Penny, "He will have to get a cure, but it might affect other things in his life. But if something does affect his lifestyle I'm sure I can fix it."

Penny thought Mary would calm down after this comment but she was wrong. On the contrary, she burst into tears. 

"It's okay, don't cry."

Later Mrs. Catté and her children, Shelby and Raymond, 11 and 5 year olds, were at home. Shelby was sitting at her mahogany roll top desk, staring at the ceiling. Raymond was standing at the window watching the snow fall to the ground. Mrs. Catté had told them about Mr. Catté being sick or whatever it was. They were very sad, wondering if they would ever see him again.

3. Mr Catté Moves Again

The next day, Mr. Catté was lying in the bed at Heartseed when he felt a jolt in his leg.

"Oh no!" he exclaimed, "It's happening again." 

Penny was at his side in a flash. She called all of the teachers to the Mini Hospital. They tried all the spells and charms that they could think of, but none of them would work. James Catté was totally, completely, out of control. He started to walk towards the Hospital door. The teachers realised that they could not do anything to help him, except to follow him and try and stop him from hurting himself.

"Try and stop yourself", cried Alfred.

Mr. Catté's face was contorted with the effort to try and stop himself, but try as he might, his legs kept moving. Step by step he moved closer to the door and eventually pushed his way out of it.

As they got to a fork in the hallway, Jack decided to try and stop him. He got about a foot behind him when "WACK." James had turned around and punched him right on the nose. At that moment he came out of the trance and for the next half an hour he helped the other teachers to try and revive Jack. When they had aroused him, Mr. Catté apologised for hitting him.

"It's okay, I trust you didn't intend to. I hope."

"Of course not!" exclaimed Mr. Catté a little upset.

"Mr. Catté," interrupted Penny "We have to stop your madness or you will never be able to go back home to see your family because you're madness is taking over your body, and making you more and more dangerous."

"Never see my family!" Mr. Catté cried.

"I'm afraid so," replied Penny.

4. The Last Attempt

That night Mr. Catté dialed his home number to tell Mrs. Catté the dreadful news. His shaking hand made it hard to punch in the numbers. Suddenly, he wasn't dialling his home anymore. He walked stiffly to Penny's side office and banged on the door so hard the glass shattered. Penny was at her desk writing a letter to her sister, Margaret.

When she heard the racket she whisked around as if she had been a cat chasing its tail. She got up and said in a very shaky voice, "Are-are you okay?"

Mr. Catté stared at her with glassy and unfocused eyes. Penny backed against the wall in shock. At that moment Mr. Catté fainted. Penny stayed put for a minute, unsure if Mr. Catté was safe. All at once he rose off the floor as if an invisible person was carrying him. His head and feet drooped and he gave off a swish of bright blue light. He had been cured! The rest of that week Mr. Catte was ill. The morning of his first day back to work, he felt relieved that he wasn't being taken over by an unidentified curse. Sheldon Pasely, Jeniffer Daerin, Meramanda Gontoi, Chris Wadd, and Shelby Catté, some of his students, organised a "Welcome Back" party. Mr. Catté had no idea something peculiar was going to happen two years later.

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