Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chapter Five

By Johanna Knox

Priscilla Byrd flew in and – with a vigour unusual in one so close to retirement – jumped in front of the bear and pointed a handgun.
Inspector Barker bounded in next, taking up a similar stance several metres away.
Last came Inspector Le Zard, hefting an assault rifle to firing position.
‘Where’s Captain Pejalmer?’ whispered Mote to Deb.
His sister didn't take her eyes off the scene below. ‘Sh!’
The polar bear continued devouring the desk, glancing now and then at the three humans waving interesting black things at it. Wood splinters stuck to its chin, mixing with the blood like a strange beard.
‘Ready …’ called Byrd.
 ‘Aim …’ growled Barker.                 
‘STOP!’ came a voice. Mendelssohn rushed in, toting the biggest gun of all. ‘You don’t kill a polar bear!’
Inspector Le Zard regarded him unblinking. ‘Well, what would you suggest, Monsieur?’
Mendelssohn lifted his gun, fixed the bear in his sights, and fired. A dart struck the forehead of the bear who promptly went cross-eyed and toppled backwards.
 ‘Stun it,’ said Mendelssohn with satisfaction. ‘Now, we have to think how to get it out and … where’s Pejalmer?’
‘Exactly,’ whispered Mote, squirming to try and get more comfortable on the ventilation tube.
Below him, Barker, Byrd, and Le Zard looked around uneasily, then all three froze, staring at the entrance.
A slim woman in a trenchcoat stumbled in –- Captain Pejalmer. She stopped, swayed, groaned, and collapsed. A bear-sized claw mark on her neck gushed blood.
 ‘Katie!’ gasped Mendelssohn. He ran to her and dropped to his knees.
 ‘Katie?’ whispered Mote. ‘Dad calls her Katie?’
‘Just shush!’ said Deb.
Their father put his head to the Captain’s chest. ‘She’s still breathing!’ He gazed into her face, pushing her hair back from her forehead.
Then Mote saw something astonishing. Captain Pejalmer opened her eyes, looked up at their father, and winked before closing her eyes again.
Mote looked at Deb. ‘Did you see …?’
 ‘Yes! But I’ll miss what happens next if I have to keep answering you … Whoa, look at her hand.’
From their vantage point, the children could see that, concealed from the other three members of the security team, Captain Pejalmer’s fingers were working at the phone protruding from her trenchcoat pocket.
A few seconds later, the national-anthem ringtone tinkled from their father’s phone.
He answered it swiftly: ‘Yes? … I see …Well, I’ve got a bit of a situation myself, but I’ll send the others.’
He looked around at Byrd, Barker, and Le Zard. ‘There are reports of violence breaking out in the floss-flickers’ quarters. I’ll stay with Pejalmer and call the medics. You three go sort those darned floss-flickers*.’

The minute the rest of of the security team had left, Captain Pejalmer sat up. ‘I thought you might remember that trick,’ she said, smiling at Mendelssohn.
He clutched her hands. ‘Katie-Kat, I was so scared ….’
‘Katie-Kat?’ Mote was appalled.
‘Would I bail on you, Felix?’ asked Captain Pejalmer.
‘Felix?’ Mote spluttered.
‘Felix is Latin for cat,’ Deb whispered, puzzled.
‘So they have cat-themed pet names for each other, that’s …’
‘Weird … disturbing, gross, I know, but …’
Below, Captain Pejalmer was now explaining to their father: ‘I was doing the last security check round the pool complex when that bear came out of nowhere. And it was so focused. It was me it wanted!’
 ‘That swipe must’ve hurt,’ said Mendelssohn, lifting his hand gingerly to her neck. ‘I really will call the medics.’
 ‘No!’ said Captain Pejalmer. ‘It’s fake. When the bear came at me, I knew I had to get it out of public sight fast. So I threw it a big piece of juicy, raw pork.’
Their father looked concerned. ‘Free range?’
 ‘Of course! Then while it was busy eating, I shoved the bear inside the complex and onto the travelator. I checked round to see where it could have come from, called you, then quickly applied this fake wound.’
‘Where did you get pork at such short notice?’
Captain Pejalmer opened her trenchcoat to reveal enormous pockets in the lining. ‘These days I always carry a hunk of meat, just in case … Not to mention blood capsules for feigning injury.’
Mendelssohn looked impressed. ‘You haven’t changed, Katie-Kat. Although most women have handbags, you know.’
‘Handbags,’ said Captain Pejalmer, ‘are a tool of patriarchal oppression. Real women have pockets.’
 ‘Well you certainly are a …’
 ‘Oh, yuck. No!’ hissed Mote.
 ‘I’m worried about something else,’ said Deb. ‘Why didn’t she call Dad as soon as the bear was in here? Why did she go looking round for where the bear had come from first?’
‘Wait, look!’ said Mote.
Captain Pejalmer was pulling something else from a pocket. A note. ‘This was attached to the bear’s collar,’ she said.
Their father read it aloud: There are several endangered species around here, aren’t there. Shall we count?
 ‘Some wolves are endangered …’ Deb murmured.
 ‘Felix,’ said Captain Pejalmer to their father. ‘This was why I needed to get you alone. I think one of the security team is involved in this plot. At least one. I faked the injury so they’d think they’d succeeded in putting me out of action.’
Mendelssohn looked stricken. ‘Do you think it has to do with when I worked at …’
 ‘Highly likely,’ she cut in. But right now we’ve got to contain this bear before it wakes.’  
The next thing to emerge from Captain Pejalmer’s pockets was a long rope. Mote and Deb watched as she and their father bound the great beast and then, at Captain Pejalmer’s urging, dragged it to the pool’s edge.
 ‘I’ll jump in first. You follow,’ the Captain instructed.
Their father paused. ‘Are you telling me there’s a secret underwater exit? How did I not know that?’
‘Oh, there’s always plenty the boss doesn’t know,’ said Captain Pejalmer.
Their father hesitated.
 ‘Come on, Felix,’ said the Captain. ‘Let’s see those almost-Titanic belly-flopping skills,’ She herself made a neat dive into the pool, fully clothed.
Mendelssohn took a deep breath and leapt after her, hitting the water with a thwack, before beginning to swim, dragging the unconscious bear behind him.
The submerged figures reached the far wall and vanished.
Deb looked at Mote: ‘Follow them?’
As the children jumped down from the ventilation tube to the table, Mote remembered how much he needed to go to the toilet. Then he had a brainwave, which made him forget again. 
‘Deb!' said Mote. 'She didn’t call him Felix as a cat name! It’s because it was the first name of Mendelssohn, the composer who Dad’s named after! Felix Mendelssohn! And  …' He felt himself filling with excitement, importance, and terror. ‘Deb, you know who I’m named after.’
 ‘Funnily enough, you’re named after the composer Mozart, Mozart.’ said Deb.
 ‘But he wasn’t just Mozart! He was called Wolfgang Mozart! Deb, what if all this is about me? Wolfgang means walk like a wolf!’
Deb looked at him for several seconds then said slowly, ‘You have really got to get over yourself.’
Mote ignored that. He trailed after her to the pool, dazed. This was huge!
His foot caught something that went skidding over the tiles, and he picked it up. ‘Deb! A jar of spiders!’
She turned back, curious. ‘Do you think it fell out of Captain Pejalmers' pockets? Can I see?’
Mote handed it to her. ‘Anyone who was in here could have dropped it,’ he said. ‘Even that camera guy.’
Deb turned the jar in her hands. ‘Guess what kind of spiders these are?’ She looked faintly triumphant. ‘They’re wolf spiders.’
Still holding the jar she dived into the pool.
Mote followed. He suddenly hoped there wasn’t any of that stuff in the water that went coloured when you peed.

* In floss-flicking, each competitor eats a cob of corn, then uses dental floss to flick out stuck bits from between their teeth - sending those bits as far across a field as possible. Once an under-funded and seldom-watched sport, floss-flicking has been revitalised by the advent of night-time tournaments held under black lights, using fluorescent corn and fluorescent floss. Despite its new popularity, the sport continues to be marred by the behaviour of its players who have a reputation as temperamental and aggressive.

Now it's your turn to write Chapter 6. There is even more danger ahead. At the same time, the kids must stay alert to solve the mystery. Clues are accumulating. And isn't is funny how animals keep cropping up? Is this significant? Or is the most numerous species the Red Herring? You have one week to write this.

Instead of (or as well as) Chapter 6, write your own side story about any minor character in the story - absolutely any you like. (Perhaps the woman who won the golden ticket? Or the ill-fated belly-flopper from Chapter 2? Perhaps another athlete? Or maybe a person who doesn't appear in the story but is connected in some interesting way to someone who does?)

You have two weeks to write this side-story. A winner will be chosen, but we may publish more than one entry on the Fabo site.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chapter Four

Hanging with the Bear

by Maureen Crisp

‘Wow! What a start to the Titanium Games in the pool. The Cross The Pool Flotation race has a live looking polar bear centrepiece. This is just ground breaking or shall we say ice breaking stuff! How will the competitors cope?’
The news camera man gushed ecstatically into his microphone. Mozart and Debussy looked at one another. They knew there was no centrepiece. A real polar bear was sitting on a rapidly melting piece of ice in the swimming pool!
Mote’s brain quickly computed the implications of a dangerous meat-eating protected species being found in a public event with no barriers. It all added up to disaster.
Debussy moved fast. She marched up to the cameraman and waved her finger in his face.  ‘How did you get into a restricted area? This complex is closed to the public and media until tonight.’
The cameraman looked surprised. ‘I was told a side door would be open.’
The polar bear began to growl and then it crouched down.
‘That is the most realistic robot I’ve ever seen,’ said the cameraman, trying to get another shot of it. Debussy jumped in front of the camera.
‘You’d better get back through that side door, she said. ‘We won’t tell on you if you leave now. Our dad’s head of security and he could cancel your media pass just like that.’ She snapped her fingers. The cameraman hoisted his camera on his shoulder and scuttled away.
Mote grabbed Debussy’s arm. ‘How do you think of stuff like that?’
Debussy grinned, ‘It’s true.’
And so’s that bear! We’ve got to get help.’ Mote pulled Debussy by the arm back to the travelator.
Behind them there was a splash. Mote looked over his shoulder. The Polar Bear was swimming to the side of the pool heading in their direction.
‘Let’s run,’ said Mote. The Polar Bear’s seen us... we could be lunch.’
They sprinted down the passage and jumped onto the moving travelator and kept running.
Through the loud speaker they heard a familiar voice. Attention! Attention! The pool complex must be evacuated due to a chlorine leak. All personnel to the exits immediately! This complex will self-seal in two minutes. Evacuate all personnel!
A siren started to wail.
‘Good,’ said Debussy, running easily down the travelator. ‘They’re on top of the problem.’
‘And the polar bear’s nearly on top of us,’ screamed Mote, trying to keep up.
 Behind them they could hear growls as the polar bear tried to get on the travelator.
‘Keep running, we’re nearly there.’ called Debussy from in front.
The travelator stopped, with a jolt. Debussy stumbled. Mote skidded, his feet leaving black streaks on the rubber surface.
Behind them the growls got louder.
‘It’s not two minutes,’ yelled Debussy. They were nearly at the complex doors. They just needed to get past the security desks and they were safe. There was a loud clunk.
‘No,’ yelled Mote. He sprinted to the doors. They were locked. Debussy and Mozart stared at each other for one panicked second. ‘The souvenir shop, it must have a back entrance,’ Debussy spun round.
Mote grabbed her. ‘You can’t! Don’t Deb! he yelled. Deb tried to get her arm free. ‘The polar Bear’s right there... probably looking for a Titanium beach ball.’
Escape routes, screamed his brain. Think escape routes not lame ball jokes. Mote looked all around. Up! Above him were huge ventilation tubes running the length of the pool complex. They carried warm air out of the building. Mote jumped on top of the security desk. ‘Come on Deb, I’ll hoist you up.’ He grabbed a chair and hauled it up on the desk as Debussy climbed on.
The polar bear knocked over a rack of souvenir hoodies and got tangled up in the clothing.
Debussy climbed on the chair and reached for the edge of the ventilation tube. She was too short.
 ‘Climb on my back,’ said Mote, balancing on the chair. He gritted his teeth as Debussy put a foot on his hip and clambered up his back, struggling to get her feet on his shoulders.
Then her weight was gone. He looked up. She was straddling the tube, leaning down to reach for his hand.
The polar bear tore the clothes apart and started for the security desk.
Mote reached for Deb’s hand and swung up as Deb pulled. He hit the tube hard on his stomach and struggled to breathe as he clutched the smooth sides.
Below him the chair toppled off the table. With one swipe the polar bear broke the chair in two and settled down to chew the wood.
Mote closed his eyes in relief.
‘You know,’ said Debussy sounding remarkably calm for someone hanging above certain death, ‘I think whoever got that polar bear in here just made one huge mistake. Everyone will be trying to figure out how it was done. You can’t move a polar bear on your own. There must be a few people who knew about this.’
Mote snapped his eyes open. ‘You mean all the wolves are in on this,’ ‘Barker, Le Zard, the Byrd woman and Captain Pejalmer? But why? It doesn’t make sense.’
Debussy ignored his question and continued thinking out loud. ‘You would need to make sure no one was around. This place has security guards 24/7.You would have to have a strong alibi.’
Mote stared down at the polar bear below them. It finished with the chair and started on the desk.
Motion caught his eye and he squinted to see through the security glass. ‘Great, they’re here. We’re about to be rescued. He sat up to wave.’
‘No Mote! Keep still! Don’t let them see you!’ Debs kicked out with her foot and caught him a good one on the arm. Huh, Mote blinked. Debussy must have lost it. He knew it, too much Sherlock Holmes watching.
Debussy looked back at Mote. ‘We know one of the security team must be doing this and maybe more. They’re all going to have alibis. If we run around telling people what we know, that just plays into their hands. Whoever it or they are...they will try to get rid of us.’
Mote stared at her. He opened his mouth to say don’t be silly, but the words wouldn’t come. His brain made a few unwelcome connections and he knew she was right.
‘So we just lie up here, keep our mouths shut and watch what happens.’ Mote cursed quietly. ‘I hope they don’t take all day to get rid of the polar bear. I’m getting hot up here and I need to go soon.’
Well just hold on,’ Debussy said.
‘I am,’ snorted Mote, ‘by my fingernails.’
‘Sssh,’ Deb hissed. ‘I think I see guns.’

We’re heading into the middle of the story. Chapter Five ups the stakes for Mozart and Debussy...can things get any worse? Can they crack alibis? Can Mozart go to the toilet?

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

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Chapter Two

By Kathy White

“Get Jacko to the generator room now. We need those lights back on,” Mendelssohn said into his cell. “And Michael, you need to broadcast my voice from this phone. We’ve got seconds, not minutes.’
He paced next to the window. Small beads of sweat began to slide down the creases in his face as the seconds ticked by.
Deb pressed her face against the glass, just as Mote had done earlier, but all she could see were murky shapes moving in the darkness. It was like one of those bad dreams where everyone’s voices were muffled, everything was blurred around the edges, and you had no control of what was going to happen next.
There was a loud thud, followed by a scream down on the field.
Mendelssohn got the green light from his IT man, Michael. As he spoke, his voice boomed across the stadium, as crisp and clear as a granny smith apple. “There’s no truer statement than that, Ladies and Gentlemen. You reap what you sow. These athletes are finally getting the rewards they deserve for their hard work and dedication. That’s what the Titanic Games are all about.
There was a small, confused cheer from the crowd.
Mendelssohn gestured to Mote and Deb that they were to stay put, then he disappeared down the corridor, heading towards the field.
“I’m Mendelssohn Finnegan, the head of the Titanic Games organising committee and tonight we’re celebrating unity. In Sport We Are One. That’s the motto of these Games. So in these moments of darkness, I’d like you to reach out to hold the hand of the person next to you.
 Mote groaned. He hated it when his dad did the touchy feely stuff.
 “I’m not going to sit here waiting,” Deb hissed. “We have to do something. Dad needs our help.”
Mote didn’t normally agree with his sister but this time, he couldn’t help it. “We need to get the lights back on, ba-by. Let's kick this guy’s butt. ” 
 “If Dad finds out you’ve been watching his Austin Powers DVDs, you are sooooo in trouble,” Deb whispered. She noticed Le Zard staring at her. "Um, we're just going to the toilet." 
She nudged Mote through the doorway and down the hall toward the Communications Hub.  They called it the Hub because their dad's trusted team met there every morning for strong coffee and 'power talks'. 
“Why are you so sure it’s a guy who’s doing this?" Deb asked. "Maybe it’s a scorned ex-girlfriend from when Dad was 17.”
“Aw, come onnn, De-bussy. Girls aren’t capable of really nasty stuff,” Mote snorted. He took a short-cut by ducking under the security barrier near the stairs.
“I used to lock you in the hallway cupboard when you were three, remember?” Deb said.
“Yeah, but …”
“I ate your stash of Easter eggs that you hid in the attic …” she said.
“Yeah, but …”
“And I was the one who put glad wrap under the toilet seat so that you got pee all over yourself when it splashed …”
“You said it wasn’t you.”
Deb smirked. “I lied.”
Mote opened his mouth to protest but he didn’t get a chance. They flattened themselves against the wall near the entrance to level two as someone walked past, whistling. As soon as the man had gone, they slipped across the corridor and opened the door to the Communications Hub.
 “How come the lights are out but the computer’s still on?” asked Deb, scanning the room for signs of an intruder.
“They’ve got an isolated security power supply for their computer system,” Mote said.  “Hey, come and look at this. It’s an audio file. See the sound waves. And look, it’s got a timer in the programming code. It was set to come on two minutes after the lights went out.”
Deb gasped. “Dad’s broadcast must have prevented it from activating.”
“This dude won’t be happy about that.”
Mote reached out to touch the mouse, but Deb stopped him.
“The security team will want to dust for fingerprints,” she whispered.
 “He could have done it remotely if he was a hacker,” Mote said.
“It’s just as likely to be an inside job,” Deb said, scooping a pair of tweezers out of her pocket to pick up what looked like a broken piece of a dog tag wedged into a loop of carpet fibre.
Their father’s voice interrupted through the sound system. “We’ve got a special surprise for you tonight. As soon as the lights come back on, I’d like you to check for an envelope on the underside of your seats. There are three golden tickets worth $10,000 somewhere in the stadium.”
A deafening roar filled the air.
Mote sighed. “Damn, Dad wasn’t supposed to announce that until later on tonight. I had plans.”
“Yeah, well, he’s probably desperate to keep people in their seats where it’s safe,” Deb said. The fluorescent lights flickered and then started to glow weakly. “I’m going to send him a text. He can pick up a fingerprinting kit and meet us down here. I want to know what’s in that audio file.”
“Have we got time to find a loo?” Mote said, grabbing at his shorts.
Deb pulled a face. “Euuuuww. Why do you always do that?” She looked around. “Maybe we should leave a sign on this computer saying DON’T TOUCH.”
“We’re only going to be gone for a few seconds,” Mote groaned. “I’m really busting.” 
They raced up the hallway to the toilets next to the Titanic portholes. Mote said they were the port-hole loos, and then got grumpy when Deb didn’t get the joke.
“It’s not that I don’t get it,” she called to him from outside the cubicle. “They had portaloos at the Bloom Festival last year. What I don’t get is why you’re making jokes when there’s a madman out there somewhere trying to cause a riot in the stadium. Aren’t you worried about Dad?”
Mote shut the door behind him. “There are always things to joke about,” Mote said. “Hey, look!” 
The lights were coming back on out in the stadium. A spectacular Mexican Wave of light was spreading through the crowd, like some kind of extraterrestrial spacecraft landing. It was almost like it had been planned as part of the show.
“That’s awe-some!” Mote said.
A woman shrieked in the stand above them. “I’ve got a golden ticket,” she yelled, waving it in the air. “I’ve won $10,000 AND a box of white chocolate sheep.”
“She won the white chocolate sheep with sherbet sprinkles,” Mote sighed. “Sometimes life is bitter and cruel.”
 Deb, glanced at her vibrating phone. “Dad says he’s seconds away. Let’s get back to the Hub.

Mendelssohn was already at the Hub when they arrived. He stood tall and silent, his arms hanging limply by his sides. Jacko, the head engineer at the Games, was also silent. He lay awkwardly across the mainframe keyboard, like a giant sack of potatoes. There was a smoky bacon smell, which made Mote’s stomach gurgle, until he realised the smell was coming from Jacko.
“Don’t touch him,” their dad said, slumping into one of the swivel chairs. “He’s been electrocuted. The computer was booby-trapped.”
 “But we were just in here ten minutes ago.” Deb said. 
“Wow!” Mote said, pointing to the rust-coloured scorch mark on Jacko’s fingers. Even the hair on the back of his arms and head was singed.
Their dad pressed the palms of his hands against his forehead as he thought. “This is my fault,” he said. “I should have told them everything. I'm putting your lives at risk.”
Deb patted him on the shoulder. “It’s not your fault, Dad. You haven’t done anything wrong.”
“Told who?” Mote asked. “Told them what?”
Daniel, one of the senior field paramedics knocked on the door and poked his head around. “Sorry to interrupt, Boss, but we’ve got something you need to look at out here.”
Mendelssohn followed him into the corridor. The other paramedics stopped whispering when he appeared. Lying on the ambulance stretcher in the corridor was Benedict - one of New Zealand’s most popular gold medal prospects for belly-flopping. And on top of Benedict was a large woolly sheep.
“It appears that one of the sheep lost its parachute,” Daniel said. He gave a strained smile. “They both died on impact.”
“So was that the thud that we heard?” asked Deb. 
Daniel nodded. “Benedict was doing some stomach crunchies at the time. It was dark. He probably didn’t see it coming.”
“The poor … sheep,” Mendelssohn murmured, looking at the contorted angle of the sheep’s legs.
“The poor MAN,” Deb and Mote said together.
Daniel made sympathetic noises, and then went red. “The thing is … well, I think it’s best if you see this for yourself.”
He motioned to Julie, the paramedic on the other side of the stretcher, to roll the sheep towards him. She got down on her knees, braced herself, and pushed.
Deb gasped.
There, shorn into the matted wool were the words.
“To protect the sheep, you need to catch the wolf.”



Now it's your turn to write chapter three. Two things need to happen in chapter three. The story needs to turn in a new direction. This is a logical place to reveal that the villain had to have been one of the people in the room at the beginning.

You can read the winning child's chapter and the judge's report on the Winning Writing Page.