Chapter 9

Written by: Suraya Dewing

The white table cloth ruffled as Jacques sat at the table and pulled in his chair. He hardly noticed his mother pouring him his coffee. Her pink tipped fingers held the lid as she tilted the teapot and the liquid swirled in the white bone china cup, black against pure white.

“You should do that physics competition with Emily. It sounds interesting.”

“Oh yeah,” Jacques said sullenly.

His mother chose to ignore the tone. “Explore potential uses for the Rochester Cloak.” She sent Bernard a look full of meaning. “Like making people disappear.”

Something clicked. His uncle had disappeared. He wished Bernard would disappear. But most of all there was something about the accident he had seen the night before that still bothered him.

“I’ve got to get to school.” He stood abruptly.

“I’ll run you,” Bernard offered.

“No, I’ll catch the bus.”

But, instead of catching the bus, he walked. Once at the accident spot he stared at the remnants of broken glass and car pieces.

His eyes were drawn to a scarf fluttering in the light breeze. His gut turned sickly. He recognised the scarf. It was Emily’s. He ran all the way to school, his breath coming in terrible frightened gasps. 

When he turned into the school grounds he stopped. His heart thudded in his chest. Was he seeing an apparition? Emily was in the courtyard surrounded by her friends, laughing. The blood drained from his face and the world began to spin. He reached for a tree to steady himself as Emily looked up.

Without thinking, he ran over to her. “Are you ok?”

“Sure,” she said, pointing to the bruise on her forehead. “Just a few scratches and bruises.”

He grinned and breathed, “That’s great.” 

An awkward silence followed. Eventually Jacques broke it. “I’m happy to work with you on the physics competition.”

The words came out in a rush and he wished he did not sound so breathless.

That night he opened his uncle’s book of Greek Mythology and it fell open at a place representing the solar system and the Gods at war. But what fascinated him was the way the lines interconnected like lenses. He was looking at the first drawings of the Rochester Cloak, his uncle made.

When they met at the lab the next day, Jacques already had the lenses out to make the Rochester Cloak. “What is this?” Emily wanted to know.

Jacques explained he wanted people to disappear and he knew how to do it. He grinned. “What do you think?”

Emily smiled. Making people disappear sounded a whole lot more interesting than her idea of creating a solar powered oven to heat pizzas. She chuckled. “Maybe we could make my father disappear.” She pouted. She tilted her head when Jacques asked askance.

“He made me enter this stupid competition,” she explained.

“Well,” Jacques started, “there’s this thing called the Rochester Cloak.”

He thought of his father, a former lawyer now clicking tickets at the station.

Comments

Very nicely done Suraya! There's tension, plenty of description so the reader knows exactly where they are, the characters are well drawn - plus a nice little dab of mystery! And some interesting unfinished ends for the final writer to pick up and bring this story to an interesting conclusion. Good job! Can't wait to read the final chapter.