Jefferson Middle School newsletter
Chapter Sixty-Seven: In Which The Point Of Everything Gets Revealed And Seems Pointless
Rose did not trust Chief Alya one bit. Maybe it was just because the chief didn’t like her very much, but something about her seemed like there was more to her than what met the eye. She debated staying in the lab with Flake, since she highly doubted that there was anything interesting in the basement, but then she decided that, if Snow and Jack got into any trouble, (which she figured they would, being as naive as they are), she needed to be there to get them out of it.
Chief Alya lead the way through the pitch-black stairway, walking down the stairs with loud footsteps that made Snow flinch. Jack followed next, peering over the chief’s shoulder so that, if anything interesting were to appear, he would be the first to see. Snow was behind him, making the smallest possible shuffles and nervously looking around as if monsters were going to pop out at any moment. Rose was at the end, constantly bumping into Snow and feeling around the walls, trying to find hints of… well, anything. She didn’t find any. The wall was perfectly smooth.
Finally, after what seemed like hours of walking (though it should have been just a few minutes), the stairs ended and opened up to a large room. At least, Rose assumed it was a large room, but in reality, all she saw was more darkness. She did notice that the room felt cold. Really cold. Maybe it was because they were underground? She also felt something else, a kind of pulling motion, like there was a magnet that was trying to pull her into the darkness. Did the others feel it, or was it just her? Rose couldn’t tell.
Then Chief Alya turned on the lights.
One click, and the lights glared, momentarily blinding Rose. She blinked a lot of times, trying to adjust to the light.
“Woah,” Jack said in amazement.
What? What is it? Rose opened her eyes and tried to make out what she was seeing.
The room was big, but empty, with one door on the left wall. There was nothing in it except one thing, all the way on the other end of the room. She couldn’t quite see what it was, it just looked like a blur of colors- blue and purple and black and gray. And it was spinning, pulling her towards it like a tornado. Except this couldn’t possibly be a tornado.
“What is that?” Snow asked.
Chief Alya smiled, the kind of smile that you have when you know something that no one else does. “It’s a portal,” she said. “Only partially formed, true, but still a portal.”
“A portal? But why… and where does it go…” Jack said.
“You can try going in it and see.” Chief Alya motioned towards the portal. “Be my guest.”
Jack stepped back. “Is that what it is all about? Some measly portal?”
“Oh, but it isn’t measly, it is actually one of the finest types. Quite admirable work, I have to say. Portals are always ridiculously hard to make,” she said.
“How did you find out about this, though?” Snow asked, staring at the portal in awe.
“I was kept down here, all tied up. I eventually broke free of my bonds though, and after careful observation of the portal, I realized what it was. I knew this was important information, and once I found my way out, I knew it was important to inform you about this,” the chief said. “You are lucky I am here, or you would know nothing about this.”
By this point, Rose was itching to say something, but she didn’t have any writing utensils or any other way of communicating. I think Chief Alya is lying! I think the portal might lead to the mysterious place where John got all those iPad pictures from! I think we really should get going back to Flake! But she had no way of communicating these thoughts.
“Hey, where does that door over there lead to?” Snow asked, pointing to the door on the left side of the room, the only other thing of interest.
“How should I know, little girl? I could check it out,” Chief Alya stepped over to the door.
“Wait!” Jack interjected. “There might be something dangerous on the other side…”
She smiled. “I wouldn’t be worried about that.” Before Jack could even understand what she meant, the chief opened the door, went in, and slammed the door shut.
The three kids waited for a few moments for her to come back out, but after it was clear she never meant to come back, Rose stomped over to the door and tugged on the doorknob. It was locked.
“Oh no! We need to get out of here! I think that the kidnapper guy was behind that door and took Chief Alya and locked the door!” Snow cried.
“But there’s another way out! We can just go up the staircase, right?” Jack reasoned.
Rose tapped Jack on the back. “What? What is it?” he asked.
Listen. She cupped a hand around her ear.
“Why? Is there something…” He stopped talking and listened carefully. At first, nothing. And then…
“Is that a groaning sound?” Snow whispered. Then her eyes widened. “Why does that sound like Flake…”
“Oh no. This isn’t good,” Jack said, breathing quickly. “We need to get out of here, quick!” He pointed to the staircase. “Everybody up, now!” He ran up the stairs without hesitation, Snow following close behind.
Rose took a moment to look back at the portal, then went up the stairs with the others.
Chapter Sixty-Eight Part One: In Which It Takes A Lot of Effort To Open A Door
Jack ran up the the stairs, stumbling with his hands in front of him. A million thoughts were running through his head, but one thing cleared all of them to the side: get to the laboratory. So that’s what he tried to do. As quick as possible.
Finally, he bumped rather roughly to the back of the bookshelf door. He tired pushing on it, but nothing happened. He put his ear to the door. Yes, there was definitely groaning from the other side.
Snow bumped into him from behind. “Jack? Is that you? Why did you stop?” she said stumbling back.
“We’re here.” Jack pushed on the door again. “Help me push this. I think there might be something blocking it from the other side.”
Snow screamed. Jack jumped up. “What? What happened?”
“Oh, never mind. It’s just Rosie.”
“Stop scaring me and help me push on this door,” he said. Snow did, and so did Rose. But the door didn’t move.
Rose prodded Jack and tapped his pocket. “There’s something in my pocket? You mean the invisibility cloak? That’s not very helpful in this situation… no? Not that? You mean…”
She took out the ring of keys and jangled it in front of his face. Oh… but I’m pretty sure there isn’t any locks in a bookcase, surely,” Jack said. “Did you find one?”
Rose shrugged and felt around the door for a lock. Not finding any, she put the keys back in Jack’s pocket and shook her head.
Jack sighed. “Okay then, maybe we can-” Right at that moment, the door swung open- straight into his face.
“Ow!” he said, holding his nose. “Great, now my nose is bleeding… wait, Flint, is that you?!” Flint was in the doorway, obviously the one who had pushed the door. “And where did everyone go? How come the lab is empty?”
“Flake… isn’t here anymore?” Snow said, stepping out. The lab was empty- empty of people, empty of vials and potions, and empty of an entire bookshelf of books. “What? Where did everybody go?”
"They might've went to where Chief Alya was going. Now that Flint has the lock pick, we can go down there," Jack said.
Snow looked in the dark stairway. "I guess we have to go down there again."