Chapter 7

Written by: Gabrielle Burt

When Jacques had a problem he liked to think it through.  With no distractions.  This was one of the reasons he liked physics.   The thought process.  But today's problems weren't about physics.  They could be summed up in three little words; past, present, future.   


It had all started in the past.  In the middle of a boring history lesson.  This led to the present when he'd bumped into Emily and then less happily, his mother's Mercedes Benz. 


Now he was facing an uncertain future.   Would Emily be in it?   He hoped so. Would he be grounded?  Most likely.  And as for the future.   Did he want to enter the Physics competition?  Did he even want to help Emily with the competition?  Was he capable of working for this Government outfit that Brambles was talking about? He wasn’t sure. And lastly, who was Bernard?  And why had his mother never mentioned him before if he was as important as she said.


His mind flicked back to his Uncle and the simple science experiments they’d done together when he was younger.  Uncle Frank used to take him to the museum of science and technology where they would stay all day exploring every nook and cranny.   He felt the prickle of tears as the emptiness pinched at his heart.


He could still hear his uncle’s voice as they pondered the wonders of science.  “Think carefully Jacques.   Work it out.  Consider every angle.  Look for the most probable reason, then consider the impossible!  Keep an open mind always.  Reality isn't necessarily what you first think. Ask yourself ‘could there be another reality?’”.  


One of his favourite examples of this, had of course been the development of the Rochester Cloak; a device that bent light using four simple lenses. There was still a way to go with this, but to be able to make matter invisible, or better still, to become invisible yourself, really appealed to Jacques.  He and his uncle had discussed this in detail the day before he’d died in an accident that shouldn’t have been fatal.


“A refill?”   Bernard reached for the empty mug


“Nah… thanks.”   Jacques pushed the back of his legs into the extended footrest making the chair fold itself into the upright position. 


“Jacques…” Bernard sounded tentative. “Your uncle…  Do you remember…  Ahhh… Did he discuss any of his work projects?”  He finished the sentence with a rush.


“I don’t think so.   I was 13 when he died.  Probably not the sort of thing he’d want to discuss with a kid.”


Bernard looked thoughtful.  Then, “Jacques.   I want you to keep an open mind.  Reality isn't necessarily what you first think. Ask yourself, could there be another reality.  Keep an open mind.”


The words exploded in his head.   They were Uncle Frank’s words.  There was something still, just out of reach.   


And then he remembered.  He’d met ‘Professor Bernard’ before.  With Uncle Frank.  At the University where they both worked.


I have just read this and what a great job of this chapter you did Gabrielle. It sent me off to look up what the Rochester cloak was. But you also began tying up the ends and linking events...Bernard with the Uncle...past, present, future. Very good.
Thank you very much. :)