Wonder Folder: Odyssey
WONDER FOLDER: ODYSSEY
By SF Guillermo
By Theresa Carter
I knew what I was feeling right at the moment the philosophy teacher went inside the classroom.
“Oh crap,” I sighed as I looked in and out of my school bag. I could not believe what was happening.
I noticed a glare from Alexandra, the new girl who had started to come to Kane after the winter break back in 2018… after the whole team was divided. Two years have passed.
She was one of those girls who never, for example, doubted raising her hand in biology class to ask about something she never understood. Her ability to hide her ego and being able to ask all of those questions in class without caring if anyone thought she was stupid or anything was something I had come to notice in the past few weeks, and it was something that I knew I could take to my own life. Since when did Theresa Carter care what anyone thought of her?
Anyways, the fact was that Alexandra was looking at me while I said this.
She didn’t usually talk much, she was always quiet, but this time she managed to get a few words out of herself.
“You forgot your book?”
I looked around, specifically towards the teacher. I was nervous.
“Even though he repeated around five hundred times yesterday that whoever forgot the book would be-“
“-Yes, thank you, Alexandra, I am quite aware of what Mr. Vidal said yesterday.”
I looked inside the bag to check if there was anything I could find, any sort of book that looked like the philosophy one. Maybe then Mr. Vidal wouldn’t notice.
“The literatura one will do just fine.” I nodded, and placed it under the heaviest pile of sheets a student could ever have.
The thing was that Mr. Vidal was one of those teachers who always gave around millions and millions of worksheets each day, and barely noticed our ‘I’m not seeing this piece of paper again’ expressions as he gave them out.
He was one of those teachers devoted to his job, but no one liked him.
Sometimes he would give us worksheets to make us think and ‘look at the world far from the borders of our intellect’, as he would say.
It had been one of the main reasons why I had picked his subject in the first place.
“Would you like me to share my book with you?” Alexandra asked.
I looked at the book I had hid under the pile of papers.
I didn’t think Mr. Vidal would mind if I shared the book with Alexandra.
“Alright, I don’t think that should be a problem.”
As we moved the tables closer, the teacher, who, up to this point, had been taking notes on a piece of paper and looking down, magically looked up and muttered these words that struck like Ice. I needed good grades to study the career I wanted.
“If I find a ssssingle student who hasn’t brought the book to my class, after I, myself, Mr. Vidal, said around 500 times yesterday to please take your books to class, I’m gonna have to ask that student to step out of my classroom.”
“Oh boy.” I muttered to myself, and Alexandra was already starting to draw her book nearer to herself, as if the fact that the book was closer to her would prove to the teacher that she had indeed brought the book, and I hadn’t.
I decided to pretend nothing had happened, and I carried on answering the questions based on evidence from the textbook. The only problem was that the teacher soon stood up and walked table by table asking the kids to show him their books. This looked like it had been completely taken out of a comedy series. This couldn’t get any worse. I knew I had seconds to think quickly.
“Miss Carter,” Mr. Vidal leaned over me “And where, if I may ask, is your book?
“I, ehm, I-“ He leaned a bit forward as I said this. He was very weird.
“I forgot it,” I continued, and he raised an eyebrow.
He quickly turned away from the scene.
“Miss Carter, I’m giving you 5 seconds to get out of my classroom.” He said out loud.
Some found it funny and decided to giggle as he said this.
I, on the other hand, didn’t find this funny at all.
“But sir!” I tried to argue “It’s just a book!”
I decided it was best if I just headed out of the classroom before it got any worse.
Luckily, I was able to catch Alexandra’s eyes as I went out and that seemed to calm myself down just a little bit.
What was I gonna do now? I had no idea. Just the pure thought of standing in the middle of the hall outside of class and waving or nodding to anyone who passed by me was too bad to think of.
However, it wasn’t as bad as I thought, because the principal showed up shortly after I left and was kind, surprisingly. I don’t like Principal Sampson.
“Let me guess,” Principal Sampson sat down on the bench with me, “He took you out of class.”
This time it was me who raised an eyebrow.
“No kidding,” I said to myself, careful not to say it out loud.
“You know, Mr. Vidal was here even before I started off as a student here in Kane. The thing that most surprised me about his classes was the fact that he always left us with these philosophical, catchy quotes at the end, even though his classes were weird.”
I knew he was trying to be nice and was just explaining things to me, but I was really stressed out by being taken out of the class. I had never been taken out in such a long time.
“This means you won’t be calling my mother?” I asked him.
He looked up at the lights, kind of faking an interest in them.
“No, I don’t think I will.”
“Good,” I nodded. “But I can’t go back to class now, can’t I?”
“Well, it wasn’t my class you were in, but seeing as there’s only five minutes of class left until the next bell rings, I’m sure you can wait some more minutes.”
He left, but then came back through the gigantic hallway doors.
“Oh, and, Theresa, I wanted to talk to you in private.” He explained “At lunch at my office.”
“Uh, okay.” I nodded.
“Alright.” He turned around the corner.
What could he possibly want to tell me?
THE BEGINNING OF THE END
By Theresa Carter.
The bell rang.
When I reached the cafeteria, I made sure to get up front in the line, as I would need to have enough time to finish up my lunch and talk to the principal before the break ended.
The cafeteria was quieter than usual, and I think it had something to do with the fact that it was Friday. Everyone was very tired. Myself included. We were so early in the first semester, but by the second week, everything felt exhausting.
“Pasta or hamburger, love?” The lunch lady kindly said.
“Hem, I think I’ll just have a hamburger, thanks.” I nodded, and the lunch lady looked at me strangely.
“Everything alright, Theresa?”
Wow, I didn’t know it looked so obvious.
“Oh, yeah, yeah… I’m just confused because the Principal called me to his office.”
“Oh, yeah. What did he say?”
“I don’t know yet. I have to go after-“
“Ahem.” A voice, more like a grunt, interrupted us.
“Not to bother,” Another kid said, “But we want to get some lunch, too.”
“I’ll talk to you afterwards.” I said to her, realizing I had about 5 minutes to eat my lunch before I would race down the hall to the office.
“You’ve totally got to tell me what happened to you when Mr. Vidal called you out.” Charlotte surprised me from the back when I sat down and was munching on my over-pickelled burger.
“Nothing much. The principal wants to talk to me, and it’s not to talk to my parents, specifically.”
“I bet it’s about the field trip.”
I was confused, and I have to admit I stopped eating.
“We’re having a field trip in the middle of the exam period?”
“I know, but the teachers said it’d be good to get some fresh air. Honestly, hasn’t anybody told you?” She was surprised, I could tell “They’re choosing a boy and a girl representative to guide the trip.”
“I have practically lived to survive each day for the past months. I’m not thinking future-wise.”
She looked at me. I could see doubt in her eyes; I’d been thinking about college, and who to lead the troop when I’m gone. “Sure…” She said.
I didn’t want to have this conversation anymore. Field trips and futures; it was scary to me. “I gotta go.”
“Seeya.” Charlotte sighed. We don’t see eachother much anymore, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. I ran up the stairs, constantly checking my watch to see if I was on time. Not that he had given me a fixed time though, but I just felt nervous.
Due to that fact, I waited at the door until the time said 12:15 instead of 12:14.
“Sir, you asked to see me?” I came in decidedly. I don’t know where that sudden confidence came from.
“Ah, Theresa, yes!” Sampson took me in, “Glad you made it.”
He signaled me to take a seat.
“Oh, no thanks-“
“Oh, please do,” He said “I wouldn’t like to have you standing while I talk about this important thing.”
I took a seat, then.
“How are you? Anything changed since the last time we met?” He kept asking questions.
“No,” I sharply replied. I hope that didn’t sound harsh, but it was my inner voice that kept asking why he had brought me to his office on this particular day.
“Very well then,” He smirked and grabbed a couple of black sheets from his left side, only to inspect through them and look around. He ended up opening a drawer and extracting some printed paper with underlining and such.
“Aha!” He exclaimed “Yes, here it is!”
I tried to read what the paper said, even though he was moving it too fast, and started squabbling in it.
“You are, as you may know, a very popular and respected girl in this school,” He said, which flattered me.
“Yes, so, you see. There’s this upcoming celebration, a certain school anniversary trip to Moulton Meadows and Rides, and we wondered if you’d like to be one of our main representatives.”
I had heard about this trip to Moulton Meadows and Rides a while ago, but I hadn’t actually thought about it much, and now I had caught me by surprise.
“Oh, well,” I didn’t know what to say, “What does being a representative mean?”
“Well, it’s really nothing major, it just makes you, as the title says, a representative of the school in the theme park where we’re going, and you also get to decide what we do and the activities we take part in.”
“Cool, yeah.” I nodded “Yeah, I’d love to, thanks for counting on me.”
“No problem, I will be happy to tell your partner that you will be helping him in the preparations.”
I raised an eyebrow. I hadn’t been paying full attention.
“I’m sorry, partner?”
“Oh, yes!” He said, “Come in, please!”
With a twist of a doorknob and the sound of some rubber against the polished office floor, entered a kid who needs no introduction.
I HADN’T BEEN TOLD
By Theresa Carter
“I’ll, uh, let you guys solve your business.” He said, sensing a bit of a tension between us.
“No, it’s… um. It’s OK.” I started, but Steve put a hand on my shoulder and smiled at the teacher.
“Actually, I’d like to talk to her in private.”
Steve had always been a jerk, but now he looked like he was like a two faced jerk. I was so surprised when the principal dismissed us so we could talk together.
I hadn’t finished locking the door when Steve started.
“No, don’t you ‘Theresa’ me, Steve!” I growled, “Since when have you liked being the representative of anything?”
“Theresa, the guy you knew… Is now gone, he doesn’t exist.”
“And is this ‘new-Steve’ another pain in my life, or are we good?”
His face suddenly went serious.
“Oh no, we’re good, as long as you don’t get in my way.”
“Steve, I hope that wasn’t a threat.”
I looked at him in the eye.
“Because there’s a long and dusty trail of people who underestimated me.”
He faked a smile.
“That’s good,” He said, “Did you have that one prepared?”
“Actually, that side of myself only pops out when I’m in front of dishonest people.”
He put his hands behind his back.
“So I make you nervous… Good, good, carry on.”
“Are you ever gonna stop?” I asked him defiantly, “Being arrogant doesn’t make a good life.”
“Listen, Teresa, I’m a busy man. I’m a businessman. Just next week I’m gonna be attending a meeting as a school representative for the field trip to the science fair, what will you be doing then?”
“Certainly not doing a meeting.”
The principal opened the door and took us in again.
“So, have you decided if you’re going to work together?”
I was looking at Steve with a certain anger.
I had never hated him, or really even disliked him pretty much, but this sudden appearance of him had put me on edge.
Before I could say anything, though-
“Yes, actually,” Steve smiled, “We are in total agreement.”
“Good, good. You are dismissed.” He said, while he took some more notes.
“Oh, and about life,” Steve started as we parted ways in the hallway, “Don’t suit yourself with the simple.”
I raised an eyebrow, and he continued.
“Life is good. But it can be better.”
NEVER A WAITER
By Chris Booth
I had barely thought about it when last week, Theresa gave me a DM and told me to meet her at Wendy’s, as we sometimes did to catch up on stuff, you know, things friends do.
The only inconvenience I really had was that I had to push my Friday date with Penny to Saturday night, and this was gonna have to be the last time I did that, because last Friday I did the same thing for another reason.
“Theresa says it’s important, Penny,” I kept saying to her, “I know how you feel. We’ve all been through some dark times-wh-what are you doing?”
“Oh, I’m putting my shoes on, I’m coming with you.” She very determinedly said.
So that’s how we ended up meeting Theresa at Wendy’s on a Friday night.
One could even say Theresa was glad Penny had come. They gave each other a hug and stuff.
“So, Tess. Tell us.” Penny started. It was funny seeing her like this, all excited about hearing the story of a friend of mine’s.
“So you guys know how weird things can get at school, right?”
Penny and I looked at each other. We didn’t know if to giggle, laugh or remain serious, because we had absolutely no idea where she was heading with this.
“So have I ever told you guys about a kid in Kane, a certain Steve?”
“Steve?” I asked, “Like, the guy who annoyed you way too much?”
“Well, yes, but-“
“Hi, are you ready to order?” A waiter came over to our table with a notebook in his hand.
We were left perplexed.
“I didn’t know there are waiters now at Wendy’s.” I asked him.
“Well, normally there aren’t, but I got a call from my uncle saying they needed personality, so here I am. Now, may I take your order?”
“Ah, yes. Dave’s Double, thanks.”
He looked at the rest.
“I’ll have the same.”
He nodded and then left.
I crossed my arms and looked at Theresa.
“Carry on, then.”
“So this Steve guy. I don’t hear from him in a while, yet all I know is that the principal elects me as a representative of the school in a sort of field trip with competitions with other schools, and he also chooses Steve.”
“That’s very poorly explained. What do you mean he chooses Steve?”
“He’s the other representative, I mean,” She swallowed, “He looked changed, thought.”
“Maybe, I guess.”
“Like in what way?”
She swallowed again. I guess she didn’t know how to explain it.
“I don’t know how to explain it. Like, far more sure of himself.”
“Okay. Are you scared of him now?”
“No…” She looked down, “But the way he looked at the principal and I creeped me out a bit.”
“Was he wearing a tie?”
“It’s settled, then. If a kid is wearing a tie, it means he wants to win a teacher’s trust.”
“Thanks, but for what?”
“I think that’s something you’re gonna have to find out on your own, Tess.” Penny said, “If what you say is true, and this Steve guy is out to get you, you need to figure out what he’s up to.”
I sipped what I had left of my drink, and then excused myself to go and get a refill.
If I knew Theresa, she could be overestimating the threat here, yet there was no reason to believe there was no threat. The best I could think of to get to know what Steve was going to do was to grab him by the shirt, pushing him against a wall or something and asking him the ‘who are you and who do you work for” thing. But that would most likely make him laugh.
When I returned, Theresa and Penny were in a conversation about water parks, if I don’t recall wrong, so I decided best not to bring the subject again. Theresa needed a break.
We all did.
THE INVISIBLE DRONE
By Theresa Carter
So I gave quite a bit of thought to what Chris said.
I’m not the one to go around taking advice, but frankly, neither was I usually intimidated, and there I was, thinking over and over about Steve.
This thought only made my anger towards Steve grow more and more each day, and so I decided it was best to occupy myself with books and other stuff until the day of the field trip came.
However, while giving my encyclopedia a bit of a read, one does not understand true boredom until suffering from it, I noticed a very interesting picture of a drone.
“I’d kill to have one of those.”I told myself, while laying down the encyclopedia on the table and reaching for my phone in order to look for some online shops.
“Heard you guys were pricey though.”
The idea I had in mind was very simple.
If it was indeed true that Steve had something against me, as I suspected, and that he was going to play unfairly in this fight, then I needed to make a sacrifice as I saw it.
I was about to make my mind up about buying a drone or not, just for the sake of spying on Steve when the moment came. Luckily, I remembered Charlotte actually had a drone to herself, and I could just go and ask her about it.
Would she budge? That I didn’t know, because I wouldn’t have believed a 17 year old girl was going to try and spy on a boy with a flying camera just because he suspected him of evil deeds.
Anyways, I quickly got up, put my coat on, grabbed my purple umbrella, and headed to Charlotte’s.
Luck was with me.
Once again, I reached Charlotte’s house and I crossed the porch.
I had been there loads of times, yet I figured it would be better if I called her up before I came, just in case.
I stopped at the front of the gate.
“Hey, ehh, Charlotte you up?” I called her.
“Yeah,” She answered, kind of asking, “Why? What’s up?”
“Say, you wouldn’t mind if I came in, right? Try to forget I’m standing on your front lawn.”
Suddenly, one of the curtains from a window moved sideways, and Charlotte’s face could be seen.
“Charlotte.” I said under my breath, and stepped over her big fence.
Never, ever in my entire time being her friend and coming to her house have I not had to overstep the fence to reach her front door. It’s hard to explain, but it’s better to just climb it than use the stupid gate lock. I don’t know why, but the gate lock always reminded me of one in a park when I was little. Wanting to be the hero, I unwed my hands to force it open, and the door eventually gave in. However, it sliced a clean cut in my hand. Right then, it hurt so much, yet I thought it would go away with time. However, as days went on and on, the scar remained. Just a little reminder of the incident. Taking away the permanent scar in my hand, it might seem like an innocent story, but when my hand started bleeding back then, and the gates were open and everyone went inside the park, not one soul stopped by to help me or to tell me if I was OK, instead they just kept going in.
It’s just what I felt right then. After all I had been doing, after all these adventures, fights and our thick and thin goings with the team, with Alan or anybody, after choosing not to live a life of a normal teenager, a teenager who has a normal high school life, who gets mad because she got a bad grade, gets a boyfriend, who is ever going to appreciate that stuff once the conflict is resolved? Who will decide what happens then?
Will all we have sacrificed be of something in the end, or will someone also come along five years after what we’ve accomplished (if we ever do such a thing) and mess it all up again?
It’s these types of thoughts that cloud my judgment sometimes, and then stop me from doing what I had to do at the moment, which was, in this case, reaching Charlotte to ask her for a drone.
“What brings you over to this side of the world?” She said as I came over to her, “Nothing bad, I hope.”
“Not really, but I guess you’ve heard anyways.”
“The only thing I’ve heard from you recently is that you’re organizing a field trip along with Steve?”
I crossed my arms.
“Well, If so many people keep saying it, then it must be true… How’s that working out anyways?” I looked at her but didn’t know how to reply. “Oh, excuse me. Why don’t you come in?”
I wanted to accept her offer, but I didn’t know if I should.
“So, I need to talk to you about something that has to do with all of this, but I really don’t wanna bother your parents.”
“Oh, no, no, not at all,” She stated, “My parents are out having coffee somewhere, so I guess we have time to talk.
I came in and saw her house. I had forgotten how nice it actually was.
“Say, you don’t want any coffee or anything, right?” She asked.
“Oh, no, thanks. I’m good,” I replied sheepishly, looking sideways, “And what do you do alone all this time?”
“I watch some tv for a change, or I just grab the mobile phone and go on social media. You know-“
“-the usual, yeah.” I finished her sentence. She always finished many of her sentences like that, usually when describing routines.
Somehow, the sports programme on TV kind of reminded me of what I had come to her house for.
“Say, you wouldn’t happen to have a drone around somewhere, right?”
She was confused, and didn’t bother to hide it.
“A drone-like, flying thing?”
“Ye-Yes, I do, why do you ask?”
“Well that’s actually why I came here, Charlotte, I need to know what Steve’s plans for the field trip are, so that if something is being planned, I can stop it before it is taken into action, and that’s why I’m gonna need a flying device with a camera.”
She was taken by surprise, but then she smirked.
“So, Wonder Folder is spying on boys now?”
“Let’s say that Wonder Folder needs to be invisible, with her invisible jet.”
“So, you’ve done your homework.” She smirked.
“I’ve done my reading. Comic Book reading actually.”
She raised an eyebrow.
“I never took you for a comic book reader.”
“Nah, just kidding,” I started moving around, “I think everyone knows Wonder Woman has an invisible jet.”
“Alright, I think we’re getting out of topic here,” I got us back to conversation, “I need a drone. I really need a drone.”
“Really need. Are you good? This conversation is a little weird.”
Charlotte took a step back.
“Yeah, I’m just dizzy. The cold air didn’t do me real good.”
She didn’t look good, but I needed what I came for.
“So, the drone.”
“Yes! Yes! I have it!” She went to her room remarkably fast and locked the door behind her.
That gave me some time to look around.
The first thing I noticed were the stained windows, like they hadn’t been cleaned in a while, and while Charlotte said her parents were out for a few hours, it looked to me like they had been away for a longer time.
And looking at some pictures I could see some faces I knew from her family, people I had met, and some that I hadn’t.
My eyes stopped on a peculiar picture, in which Charlotte stood in the middle of a scout meeting, and I was next to her, giving her something.
“I think that was the day she made her scout promise.” I guessed to myself.
I couldn’t remember exactly, but it certainly looked like it.
She came back just then with a big, white box.
“So, ehm, I’ve used it enough, so the first thing is that I don’t know if it works that well.”
“As long as it flies, I’m good with it.”
“I think it does.” She said, opening up the box.
“Does it make a lot of noise?”
“Only when there’s a lot of wind, other than that you’re gonna be good.”
By the great Steve
Very fond of my new suit, I walked over to the school gate and went inside, the rest were already waiting for me there.
“Afternoon, Steve!” Braxton Bouvet pointed at my seat, so I could take place amongst the other members.
“Where’s Theresa?” They asked, and all the other kids, the scientifically inclined ones at least, looked at me, “I thought she would join us to plan the science fair?”
“Theresa won’t be joining us today, sadly,” I said, looking at everyone and turning my gaze, “I did offer her the chance though.”
“Girls.” Jacob Williams puffed.
“My thoughts exactly, Jacob,” He looked at me, “Girls are good, but they can be better.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” A guy from the back with a squeaky voice yelled.
“It means that if Theresa doesn’t bother to come, it’s because she is not very interested in what we have to say,” I stood up from my seat, “You see. This school has been in the hands of people like Theresa Carter for such a long time. People who carry origami finger puppets around, claiming to be heroes and saviors of this school, yet the true thing is, that we haven’t had a single fight outside the normal until these ‘heroes’ came.
“Alan Wade, the Batfold, was a kid who was constantly loved by the teachers, was more of a trouble to this school than a helper, but when the teachers and the school board saw him as an opportunity to get rid of all the ‘rabblerousers’, as they called them, he was deemed a hero.
“But the real thing is that people who have been here this whole time, like you, and me, who do not believe these guys like Theresa Carter ever made the school better, are living proof that this school deserves so much better. Theresa is not here. Teachers entrusted this to us, and me as your director and school representative. Let’s use it, and take the merit to ourselves. Let’s make this the best science fair this school has ever seen, and we will be on the front page.”
Someone grunted in the back, but I couldn’t tell who it was. I finished up.
“Gentlemen… I need you to get rid of the Wonder Folder.”
“I have to agree with Steve here,” Jacob signaled to me, “School is not for a bunch of people with paper dolls, it’s for people who actually want to work academically and make the school a better place.”
“But this has indeed been talked about several times before, Jacob, so I will now proceed to talk about the things planned for the science fair, which will be held where, exactly?”
“I do not know, Steve,” Braxton said, “One minute, the principal says one thing, and then the board changes it, so we don’t know anything for sure.”
“That’s alright, we can do what we have prepared anyways,” I grunted, “The first thing should be some kind of speech that presents what we’re doing, and then we can get on with the inventions we made.”
Christine raised her hand.
“Me and Antonio have been working on a reduced and scaled down version of a NASA rocket launcher with a working, electrical elevator.”
“That’s good with me,” I said, trying not to drown her hopes, “The thing is that we need something that can raise everyone’s looks and never forget the experience, like a light show with sound effects.”
“Sounds like a Tesla coil thing to me, Steve.”
Steve’s eyes widened, and he pointed at Antonio, “You, Antonio, you’re good-“
“-but I can be better?” Antonio snorted.
“No, man. The Tesla coils could be just the things we need,” I looked at him, amazed by the idea, “Look, I’ll prove my point. Everyone remembers last year’s science fair, right? Well it was so full of ordinary things like electric controlled elevators and stuff, no offense, Christine, and other things, even VR headsets all around! However, there was one thing that caught everybody’s eye, and that made the rest look like a worthless addition to the fair, and it was that giant cage in the middle of the fair surrounded by tesla coils.”
“I’m new to this, what did that do?”
“Well, I don’t plan to copy the whole thing, because it’s not something to forget about easily, and people will remember. Inside, the cage could go up to a maximum of two people, and when a person outside clicked a button, the toils activated and sent electric shots to the cage, which surprisingly for me, but not so much for the owners of the experiment (I hope)” I laughed, “it didn’t affect the people inside.”
“Sounds like a good plan.”
“Yes.” Jacob clapped his hands.
“This can be the opportunity to regain confidence in our school, and its students… plus maybe get our own credit in the school and town newspaper, if all goes well.”
“It looks good, but I need you to tell me something, Steve,” Antonio looked at me seriously, “I hope you’re not doing this because you hate origami finger puppets.”
“I’m not doing this because of that, I thought you knew I didn’t. And I don’t hate puppets. In fact, I’m quite fond of them,” I put my hand in my pocket and felt the form of the origami masterpiece I had been working on for a long time then, “I think we’ll need to report the teachers about our results and ideas and see if we can put them into action. You’re all dismissed.”
By Theresa Carter
After Steve left the room completely, I lowered the drone from the school floor in which they were standing and the drone came back to me easily and steadily. I was amazed by how good I actually was at flying this, since I had never had the chance to fly a drone before (well, maybe once, but I ended up flying it very high up in the air and a stroke of wind came and sent it flying far off, so I never wanted to try that again).
“You’re so good to me, you know that?” I jokingly told the ‘Invisible Drone’, and put it in the box.
If all had gone well, I would have recorded in audio and shot the whole thing, but first I needed to get out of there before I was seen, so I could not risk checking right now. But what would it change? The meeting had already taken place.
I had to run, because it would be very hard to find an excuse to be at the school entrance with a drone.
So I ran to the bus stop.
Mom always gave me a ride in the car. I used to love going with her to school… We talked about what we’d do over the weekend or the movie we’d watch later that night. Sometimes we’d even laugh.
That’s when I remembered that one conversation I had with her a while back, the one when she was giving me a ride and I was almost late to school because I wasn’t very happy with her dating another person after…well, dad.
The ride home on the bus was mainly a lot of geometry dash (heck, I could say I even became an expert) and talking with Charlotte on the phone.
Charlotte: So, did you get it?
Theresa: Yes, I think so.
Charlotte: You think?
Theresa: I’ll have to check. Your camera wasn’t really working so I had to use my mobile phone.
Charlotte: I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. Maybe both.
Theresa: It didn’t fall, though.
Charlotte: Please don’t tell me you taped your phone to the drone.
Theresa: Well the good thing is that I was able to record the conversation, something I couldn’t have done with your camera.
Charlotte: Oh yeah that’s another thing. All good, yes?
Theresa: Oh, yes. I didn’t tape it, I tied it with a rope.
Charlotte: Oh. Ehm. Ok.
Charlotte: What did they say?
Theresa: It’s a bit complicated to talk over text, we’ll meet when I’ve listened to the thing.
Charlotte: Oh, yeah, right. You haven’t heard it yet.
Theresa: Can we meet tomorrow again? But this time somewhere different.
Theresa: I have a friend who I’d like you to meet. He guards the forest
Charlotte: Alright, what?
Theresa: He kind of dislikes people who attack the forests, we’ll meet him tomorrow. You good with that?
Charlotte: Alright. Tomorrow.
By Kaden Fahey
I really wasn’t expecting a message from Theresa asking me if I wanted to help her get the information from the video camera.
Kaden: Didn’t you say you used your mobile phone? It’s not like it’s difficult to watch a video of something you recorded.
Theresa: Background noise. You know how it is. Can we meet?
Kaden: I really hope this is not an excuse for a date.
Theresa: Oh, no. I’m bringing Charlotte with me so you don’t get bored.
Kaden: But I wouldn’t mind meeting alone someday.
Alright, so I had just finished putting some logs together to form another hut in the woods behind the school when Theresa arrived that Saturday.
Ever since that group of jocks showed up in the forest, I have been spending a lot of time reinforcing wood refuges and other constructions. I never know when people might want to give the school a turn, go inside the forest and burn some stuff down. I’m not saying this usually happens, but it could, and I’d feel guilty, in that case.
“Steve did you bad, huh?” I saluted her when I saw her coming.
“What?” She was confused, or she just might have not heard me.
“Is it because you didn’t hear me or because you are asking me to rephrase or because you just want to hide the fact that it’s true?”
She looked sideways, kind of expecting Charlotte, who had come with her, to reply.
“All- All of them at once, I suppose.”
“Fair enough. What have you brought me and why did you think I could help?”
“Well,” She started getting her phone out,”You have helped me before, so this wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary. Also, you’re smart, so I need your help.”
“If there is one thing I didn’t count on when recording is the fact that the drone makes a lot more noise when you’re close to its moving helix then when you’re five feet from it. The complete tape is almost inaudible because of the sound of the wings.”
“You know who I think you need? Alan Wade.”
“Well, Alan’s not here, is he?”
I puffed and raised my shoulders.
“The Dark Knight can be anywhere, can he not?”
“And can you solve this problem? Do you have an app that can erase the background noise?”
“I do. I can have it and give it back to you in a week.”
“A week?” I was astonished, “I don’t have a week.”
“Three days then. I have a lot of work.”
“Alright, that can do. Thanks so much, Kaden!”
And they left from where they came.
By Theresa Carter
What I knew that had to come ended up happening. It’s like one of those things you know that you can postpone because you don’t want to do it or take it now, but you deeply know that sooner or later, you have to do it (it’s kind of like getting vaccinated. No one likes needles.)
I thanked Kaden for successfully erasing the background noise from the records, only to find that I could barely hear anything from Steve’s irritating monologues and conversations.
However, I turned the volume up all the way, and if I pressed my ear against the amplifier, I could make out some words that didn’t make any coherent sense like “destroy Wonder Folder” or “Tesla -something”, but it was mainly the “destroy Wonder Folder” part that had me worried.
He hadn’t mentioned how he planned to do it or anything as far as I had heard (so he would have mentioned it, because I couldn’t hear anything, really), but the one thing I knew for sure was that he was going to try something with a Tesla coil at the science fair.
How did he know he was going to get the chance, though?
He did, and he had been playing with that the whole time.
I bet he was the one who told the principal about me being interested in being a representative, and since my grades weren’t that bad, I was scientifically inclined, and he had no one else to choose from, I guess he just took the decision and brought me in, fulfilling whatever it was that Steve had in mind for so much time.
I stayed in the homeroom like any other day, but it was on the second period when Steve and I had to leave our classes and take a ride in the Physics teacher’s car, which was waiting for us outside.
“What took you guys so long?” The man asked through the window.
“I had to get a few things,” Steve excused himself, “They were important.”
“Yes, I’m sure they were. Hop in!”
I got the handle from the car’s door, and I could swear it almost fell from how rusty and old this car was.
‘If Steve and his crazy investments don’t kill me, maybe this car ride will.’ I thought to myself grimly, with no better prospects.
I locked the doors and double checked that they were in fact locked without making it way too obvious for the teacher that I did not trust the safety his car offered.
Once we were on the highway, I could not bear the uncomfortable silence that was held between Mr. Finn, Steve and I.
“Let’s put on some cool music, right boys?” He almost yelled. With a movement and twist from his hand, just over the loudspeaker came the most horrible country music the world has ever seen.
“Oh boy.” I said to myself, but I might have said it out loud because Steve looked at me with a smirk.
“What is it? Isn’t this the very best music in the world?” Mr. Finn yelled over the music.
“Of course it is, sir!” Steve replied, also elevating his natural voice tone so he could be heard over the music, “I love it!”
Mr. Finn, who was a very strange guy, giggled.
“Aye. If it ain’t copper, it ain’t proper,” He turned around to face Steve, and I was about to brace for impact because he let go of the steering wheel for a second, “And this is copper, right Steve?”
I noticed Steve fake a smile, when he was actually even more scared than I was by this fact.
I was starting to think the real reason the principal got us both into this car with this lunatic was so he could get rid of us.
“Yeah, boy!!!” Mr. Finn started honking at the other cars and he turned the volume up.
“Oh, boy.” Steve said this time, and I saw as he looked for a place to hold on tightly to, and then looked at me in fear.
“And you don’t mess around with Jim, badabadoo dee da!!!” He yelled and honked as he went through the highway and then pulled up in a tall building.
Then, he turned the music off and suddenly got very serious when he looked back at us.
“Alright boys,” He took his shades off so we could see his penetrating brown eyes, “Not a word from this to anyone,” Steve held right to his seat, “or I will be the one to take you back to school-“
I nodded, and Steve held on to the door and tried to open up.
“-with the music on!!!” The finished.
I got out and found a giant square full of nerdy kids going up and down, and a giant waterfall falling from all the sides, sort of representing a technological achievement or something, I don’t know, but it looked cool.
“You guys are from…?” A man with a white lab coat came to us and asked, holding a list.
“Kane! Cane, Candy Canes!” Mr. Finn came out of the car, locking the door but nearly tripping with his next step.
I wasn’t surprised when the man with the list looked in amazement at our teacher.
“Are you the representative?” The man asked Mr. Finn.
“No, I’m the chauffeur,” He put his cap on, “I’m their teacher and representative, yes.”
“Okay,” The man nodded, “Kane it is, then.”
Steve headed in to meet the other kids from the project to see what they had done already, and I followed him, with Wonder Folder in my pocket.
“You made it, Jack!” I clapped my hands in amazement, “It’s awesome!”
“It’s Antonio, but thanks.” He replied. He was annoyed, I could tell, but I wasn’t gonna say anything to cheer him up.
“Alright everybody,” I gathered my group around and made sure Theresa wasn’t around, “This is about showing the rest of the schools who’s best, and also to destroy Wonder Folder, so let’s kill two birds with one stone.”
I got a puppet out of my pocket, the one I had been working on for several months: Maxwell Fold.
“Let’s prepare for this! Theresa!” I called her. She had been looking in a different direction this whole time.
“I really don’t know what we’re gonna do, you haven’t told me anything-“ She started complaining. I was starting to get sick of it already.
“You Theresa, are as important as I am. Due to that, you are going inside the cage surrounded by Tesla coils. If everything works, and I checked everything myself, nothing will happen to you.” I smirked, and while the rest seemed pretty convinced, she didn’t look that way.
As we finished settling up, people started to get her around, and so did the judge, who had grabbed his notebook to start taking notes.
Antonio looked at me, expecting something.
“What now?” He asked.
“I’ll do the talking, I just didn’t expect these many people to get around her so fast and early, we barely just got here.”
The rest of the team pulled the cables together and the device turned on.
Theresa was almost next to the rest of the crowd.
“Dear science fans from all over California, and dear judges from the science fair! Today, Kane High brings you this incredible event we have been preparing for many months with a lot of work and a lot of planning. I present to you, our Tesla coils!”
Many people from the crowds cheered, and that confirmed to me that I was in the right place.
“Now, my fellow friend and co-worker, Theresa Carter, will go inside this cage we all have before us. If everything works out alright, the electricity will go around the coils and the cage in which Theresa is in, but will not affect her in any way!”
They cheered again, which gave Theresa some time to come and talk to me.
“You didn’t tell me this was the plan.”
“I don’t really remember telling you anything, actually.” I smirked again.
“This isn’t a talent show, it’s a science fair.”
“And you’re the test subject, Theresa,” My voice then rose and I spoke over the loudspeaker, “Theresa Carter is a dear friend of mine, but she is also known for her bravery and boldness. Never have I ever seen Theresa run from a fight or a dangerous situation, and this won’t be her first!”
Theresa looked at the crowd and then back at me.
Using all these distractions that the crowd and sounds supplied, I checked her left pocket, and, sure enough, there was her origami Wonder Folder, which I took with me from her pocket for safekeeping of course.
“Would you care to step in, M’lady?” I asked her, giving her directions to the cage.
“I hate you.”
“Yes, I know, now get in.”
I signaled Antonio to get going with the controls, and the towers turned on.
Every one or two seconds, a bolt of electricity would connect these four towers and reach the cage where Theresa was.
“As you can see, Theresa is completely intact, but when I throw this into the park-!”
I grabbed the origami Wonder Folder and threw it in, which directly got hit by a bolt and set fire, not before falling to the ground next to the cage where Theresa was, looking and checking her pocket to see if that was indeed her real Wonder Folder, now dead, or should I say, destroyed.
“-it sets fire!” I finished, and everyone clapped while Theresa watched the remains of her Wonder Folder puppet burn.
The bolts stopped when we turned the power off, and Theresa was able to get out of the cage, and the judges took note of this experiment of ours. I was most pleased with myself. Until-
“And who made sure the girl that went inside wasn’t going to get electrocuted?” The older judge asked me specifically, since he could see I was the one who knew more about the subject.
“I- I did,” I replied, “I myself went inside the cage and checked that everything was going to be alright. I wouldn’t have risked the security of any member of the team before me.”
“Alright.” The man took note.
“Actually,” Braxton Bouvet, or CreaseWing, stepped in, “Sorry, Steve, but I’ve followed you up until this point. You told me there was no risk if Theresa went in.”
“There wasn’t any risk! That’s what I’m telling you!”
“You said, and I quote ‘Then we’ll see if our experiment is efficient.” Braxton pointed at him.
“What is it that you’re saying right now?” The judge asked, “You have top marks for originality, but if there was a non calculated risk that this girl would end up getting hurt, your school would be disqualified.”
I looked at my team. If they were as intelligent as I thought they were, they would keep quiet and not say anything.
I hadn’t looked at the security measures.
“Then I’m afraid we’re gonna have to be disqualified, sir. Because our team trusted its leader, and our leader lied to us.” Braxton said, and Theresa stepped from behind him.
Mr. Finn looked at us. I had never seen him really angry, but this time he looked like he might explode.
“I-I.” I started mumbling, and Theresa tilted her head.
I blast off running in the opposite direction, I couldn’t take this.
By Theresa Carter
I didn’t know why, and, this far into the game, I didn’t care much, but Steve started running the second everyone started looking at him and he realized he had screwed up.
I decided to follow him and ran as fast as I could towards him.
He was a fast runner, I’ll give you that, but I had done this many more times than he had, and I threw myself over him just as he exited the building and headed for the car in which Mr.. Finn had driven us in.
“What on earth, Theresa?” He yelled at me like a little kid. I was kind of surprised with this attitude of his which reminded me a bit more of the Steve I used to know.
“Why did you do it, Steve?”
“Did it on purpose. You set me in. If something had happened to me it would’ve been the school’s fault, not yours, and you know that. The only thing I need to know is why.”
“Maybe,” He nodded, “But when do we get what we want?”
He started running again but turned left to the Burger King outside, and I had to follow him through a big crowd that was standing outside, almost knocking people off.
Thankfully, I knew that part of town because I had been there before, so I was able to tackle him down with a shortcut.
“It’s over,” I told him, “Whatever you were trying to do, it’s over.”
“Oh, is it?” He asked me with a smirk.
“I don’t know what your game is, or what I did to make you mad, but-“
“It’s alright Theresa,” He said, calmly, and standing up, right when the rest started to catch up, “You know why I did this. Don’t think for one second I didn’t know you were spying on me.”
I looked at him unconvinced, but he turned around to face Mr. Finn and the principal who had just arrived, along with some other science fair council members. I didn’t really see much of Steve after that.
“You know,” Braxton Bouvet said as he came closer to me, “In my defense, no one really knew what he was doing.”
I turned to him.
“How can you guys have not noticed he was being clouded by his own determination?”
“I mean, don’t get me wrong, we did, and we did know he had something against you, but the thing is that I didn’t expect this project to end like this.”
“When people follow an ideal they don’t truly know, things often go downhill.”
“I knew he kind of wanted puppets to end and all that. He wanted these ‘puppet’ heroes to go away, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad person.”
“The way he did things, people can often mistake him as one.”
The ride back was much more calm than it had been before, and the next day, I spent with Kaden Fahey in the woods.
“So did everything come out alright yesterday?” He asked me.
“Well… I guess it could have gone a lot better.” I replied, and he looked at me curiously.
“For Steve, I mean. Things didn’t go his way.”
“But that’s what you wanted, right?”
“Yes, but he had his reasons, and his objective for doing things. He just wanted to see all this puppet thing fall, starting with me.”
“It’s not like it’s the first time we’ve heard that-“
“Steve and I haven’t been on speaking terms since the beginning, if I recall correctly.”
“Some people just don’t get on, and even when you forgive each other, problems arise soon after. Some people are just meant to be against each other. I wouldn’t stress about it, Theresa.”
“Mom is alright at least. I have been talking to her lately.” I told him. He knew my mother and I had been having some problems.
“Say, Kaden,” I started, “Is that tea over there?”
“Eco-tea,” He corrected me, “I’m all for that eco-stuff.”
“Seems fair. You wouldn’t like to have some eco-tea with me, right?”
“Yeah, I’d love to.”
THERESA WILL RETURN