Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chapter Three

By Michele Powles

Mote recoiled, holding his hand to his mouth and trying not to be sick.
“Wuss,” said Deb, taking in his pallor even as she leaned in closely over the sheep.
“Don’t. Like. Blood.” Was all Mote could manage before he had to turn away.
“It’s not blood, it’s a bit of red balloon.” She pulled the limp red streak off the sheep’s belly and waved it in front of him.
“I knew that. Didn’t want you to…you know, get scared or anything.”
Deb rolled her eyes.
“I’ll take that thank you. Might be evidence.” As if he’d been there the whole time, Inspector Barker loomed over them and snatched the balloon fragment, secreting it away in a plastic bag. Mote shivered as the Inspector’s sleepy eyes seemed to scan him like a barcode.
 “I’m not sure this is the place for children. Shouldn’t you be…I don’t know. At school or something?”
Deb narrowed her grey eyes, the steel in them glinting like polished metal. When she added an arched eyebrow, Mote groaned inwardly.
Deb pursed her lips and used the tone that got their father totally riled. “It’s a hol-i-day. And our dad is in charge. I don’t see you solving much. In-spec-tor.”
Inspector Barker swivelled his eyes away and to Mote it felt as if a nasty buzzing had stopped in his ear.
“Debussy, that’s quite enough thank you,” Mendelssohn Finnegan said even as he reached for his ringing cell. “I have to go. Carry on Inspector. Don’t get in the way, and get back to the grandstands. Your mother will meet you there.” He scurried off.
“Bring him this way.” The Inspector demanded of the stretcher bearers and started off up the corridor.
“Hang on.” Deb’s eyebrow was still up and Mote put a hand on her arm but she shrugged him off. “Where are you taking him?”
The Inspector’s eyes lost their sleepy look for just a moment and Mote felt a cold rush wash over his body as if the corridor had turned into a fridge. “I’m taking him to the hospital.”
“What about the sheep?”
“Evidence. It’ll go to Scotland yard.” The Inspector waved his hands at the stretcher bearers and the lot of them shuffled up the corridor and around a corner. Mote turned to his sister. “Are you mental? He’s from Interpol. He could have you arrested.”
Deb shrugged her shoulders and put her hand in her pocket. “Not very good at his job then.” She pulled out a curled up piece of paper.
“What did you…where did you get that? You’ll have messed the fingerprints.”
“Almost impossible to get fingerprints off paper. But I’ll be careful.”
“ Shouldn’t we give it to the police?”
“Sure. And we will. As soon as we’ve worked out if we can trust them.”
“What about Inspector Barker then. Interpol is like…police times ten. Or maybe even times a hundred.”
“I don’t trust him. He makes me feel all…” she shivered and rolled her eyes back in her head.
It felt strange to agree with his sister twice in one day but that was exactly how the Inspector made Mote feel. He shook himself to get rid of the last remains of the corridor fridge feeling.
“It takes a wolf to catch a wolf.” Deb had unrolled the paper and was holding it carefully by the edges.
“Oh man. Wolves have big teeth.”
“Yeah, and their bite is twice as powerful as a dog’s.”
Mote thought through the day’s events. “The wolf-whistling contest. Do you think…”
“Don’t be dumb. That’s way too obvious.” Deb chewed on her finger. “To protect the sheep, you need to catch the wolf.” Her eyes lit up. “Wolf pack leaders have to fight to keep their position. Maybe there’s someone trying to get the top job and this is their way of getting rid of their opposition.”
“Which top job?”
“Exactly.” Deb frowned. “Who would benefit from the opening ceremony going wrong?”
“Someone who wanted Dad’s job? Or to be Head of Security,” Mote suggested.
“Or top of police, the head of SAS or the SIS. Pretty much anyone who was in the room with us for the opening.”
“We should tell Dad that there’s a wolf out to get him.”
“We don’t know for sure. But we do know that whoever did this isn’t going to stop. You reap what you sow, remember. This could get really nasty.” She pulled something small out of her pocket.
“Hey, what’s that?” Mote took it and turned it over in his hand. “Could be a piece of a flash drive.”
“Definitely a clue,” said Deb. “But it’s not helping now. This wolf is leaving plenty of clues but we’re no closer to solving any of them.”
They were both silent a moment. Then Mote pulled out the day’s Titanic games program from his back pocket.
“What are you thinking?”
Mote held up a finger and incredibly, Deb was quiet. “The pool,” he said finally.
“We don’t have time to watch events,” Deb said but the spark in his eyes must have been as hot as it felt and she didn’t nag him further.
“We won’t be watching the events,” Mote said. “The Byrd lady said she was going to the opening of the Titanic pool tonight, and the Tuatara said he’d go with her.”
“That’s two wolves,” Deb said, getting his drift. “I think I heard Captain Pejalmer say she would go with them too. But what about the Inspector? He gives me the creeps.”
“I didn’t hear him say where he was going. But three out of four is a good place to start.”
“True. You think they’ll still go, after this?”
“I think Dad will make them. Keep up appearances and all that.”
“Good point. Right, come on then.”
The Titanic swimming complex was connected to the main stadium by an underground tunnel with a travellator running the whole distance and illuminated blue koru patterns set into the curved walls and ceiling.
                “Check me out,” said Mote, doing an almost perfect moonwalk as they glided alone.
                “Nice,” said Deb, not even looking as she gazed at the Titanic games venue map she’d grabbed on the way down.
                “Shhh, I’m concentrating.”
                Mote sighed and looked up at the blue ferns they were passing. “Um, Deb.”
                “I said, I was concentrating.”
                “You’ll want to see this.”
                They’d just reached the entrance to the swimming complex and in front of them the blue koru patterns from the ceiling swooped down to twine around the door. Only they didn’t. They swooped fine, they just didn’t twine around the door because where the door should have been was a gaping hole.
                “Holy floating polar bears,” said Deb.
                “I know,” said Mote. “What could have done that to the door?”
                “No. I mean holy floating polar bears,” said Deb.
                Mote followed her finger and wished he hadn’t. Floating in the pool was a lump of ice and standing on it, its teeth dripping with something that didn’t look like a red balloon, was a large and very crotchety polar bear. 


Now it's your turn to write chapter four. In chapter four, the kids get deeper into their own investigation but now they are in danger themselves.

You can read the winning child's chapter and the judge's report at Winning Writing

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