Jefferson Middle School newsletter
Chapter Sixty-One: In Which Jack Gets Lucky
Jack thought he knew where he was. He didn’t. And after a while of sneaking around the woods in the dark, he was lost. He wasn’t entirely lost, since he could see the Great Sycamore pretty well no matter where he went, therefore helping him locate where the Grand House was, but he had no idea where the entrance to the caves might be.
Then Jack stumbled into a village. He had passed by many villages before, but this one was the one he was looking for- the place where he first arrived after getting aboveground. Yes. He was close.
Being careful not to disturb anyone from the village, Jack tiptoed through the alleys behind the houses to the forest part on the other end. He made his way through the trees, feeling the ground for any holes or trapdoors. He tried to remember where it was, but all the trees seemed all the same, and if he was going in circles he probably wouldn’t be able to tell.
And then he suddenly stumbled across a trapdoor plainly seen, with the dust and the dirt cleared off it. It was too easy. Why would it just be in plain sight like that? Jack didn’t bother to put much brainpower on that question, though. He was just glad he found it.
Jack crouched down and slowly lifted up the trapdoor. To his surprise, it was already unlocked, and opened easily. He carefully made his way down the steps, trying not to make too much noise. He closed the the door above him and descended into the darkness. This was it. He couldn’t turn back anymore.
The torches illuminated the passage, also brightly lighting up the cave paintings on the walls. They depicted people, fleeing away from monsters. Jack was creeped out by how the people seemed to be staring right at him, as if begging him to help. He walked faster, staring straight ahead.
Then after a long while, going through everything he remembered he had to do from before, Jack found himself at Room 28. He made it. But that was the least of his worries. It was time to activate the plan.
He put on the invisibility cloak, opened the door very slowly, and stepped to the hallway.
Look left, look right. No one in immediate sight. He couldn’t hear any footsteps either. Good.
Now where off to? The path to the right would have all the bedrooms, probably better off there. Dad would probably be around the lab, better stay away from that area. Wrapping the invisibility cloak around him, he crept down the right path.
He went past a few empty bedrooms, knocking on them quietly as he went along. No response. Nothing. No sign that anyone was in them.
Then he knocked on Bedroom No. 5. Jack could still see dent marks on the other side of the room when Flint had been throwing furniture. He smiled at the thought.
Suddenly Jack heard a sharp tap from the other side. There’s someone in there! Now what do I do? Do I talk? Unlock the door? What was the plan again? He panicked for a bit.
There was another tap from the other side of the door which brought him to his senses. The person on the other side… isn’t saying anything, just tapping… Rose?
“Hello?” he whispered. No answer. Could she hear him?
He got out his set of keys and sifted through them, trying to find the key to the bedroom. After searching through all of them, he couldn’t find it. What? How could it have disappeared…
In a flash, he remembered. The key disintegrated back when he and Flint were trying to get out of the room. And now, when he knew there was someone behind the door, he couldn’t open it. Now what?
Okay. Backup plan. I have a backup plan, right? he thought, trying to think of a way to get out of his dilemma. Oh, if it weren’t for locked doors. Maybe I could pick the lock? Flint sort of taught me… but I don’t have anything I could use to pick the lock… then again, I don’t fancy stealing keys from the lab. It’s too risky. Wait… I’ve got an idea...
“Hello?” he said quietly. “It’s Jack, and I would really appreciate it if you had something that I could use to pick the lock on this door so I can free you. If you do, slip it under the door. Thanks.” Okay, this was probably a dumb idea. I am going to get caught for sure…
A paper clip was passed under the door. Jack snatched it up and wiggled it in the lock. How did it go again? He pressed and turned, trying to remember. Then the door swung open.
Chapter Sixty-Two Part One: In Which Rose Realizes She Doesn’t Have Useful Info
Immediately after stepping in the room, something fell on Jack’s foot. It didn’t hurt, but it surprised him all the same.
“Ah!” he yelped, stepping back a little. Then he peered closer at the mysterious object that suddenly dropped on his foot. Was that… the iPad from the lab?
Suddenly he felt his invisibility cloak lifted off him. He groped in the air, trying to locate where the cloak was, but he ended up falling on the floor.
“Hey-” Jack looked up and found himself staring into Rose’s surprised face.
“Um… hi?” he said sheepishly.
“...and that’s why I’m here. So if you know where Chief Alya and Windy are, that’ll be helpful,” Jack said, after a brief explanation of what had happened when Rose wasn’t there. Rose grabbed a notepad and paper that was on the shelf and quickly scrawled a reply.
I don’t know where they are, but I have discovered some interesting facts that might be helpful, Rose wrote. Like did you know that the flat box thing that fell has a lot of weird moving pictures and writing on it? I found it on the bed. It might be magic or something.
“Um, it’s actually just an iPad. No magic or whatever.” Jack picked it up. “And apparently the screen cracked a little…”
And I don’t know whether this is important, but your dad said his name was John.
“Yeah, of course. He told us, you probably forgot.”
Also, he’s really weird.
“Well, that’s a given.” Jack put the iPad on the bed. “Anyways, we better get going. Do you have even the slightest idea of where Chief Alya or Windy might be? At all?” Rose shook her head.
“Do you at least know where Dad is at this moment?” he asked. “That would also be helpful.” Rose again shook her head.
I haven’t seen him in a long time. He never stops by, she wrote. Jack frowned. Not exactly the best of circumstances, but he would have to do.
“Okay,” he said. “Rose, just stay in the room while I use the invisibility cloak to check the other bedrooms.” Rose was about to write something on her paper, but Jack was already gone. She sighed, a bit dejected that she didn’t have any useful information. She also had a feeling of dread. This mission wasn’t going to end well.
Then again, she also had a sense of hope too. Jack was here, and he had a bunch of keys as well as an invisibility cloak. Maybe we could do this. It it a slim chance, but maybe…
But rescue wasn’t enough. Rose wanted to find out why. Why was John doing this? To what end? There were a lot of things she didn’t understand, and she wanted to find out. And this was her chance.