Fisrt chapter of a children's story of time travel
|Connor sighed. He was so bored. Could there be anything more deadly than a museum? A museum devoted to colonial history? A museum devoted to colonial history on a day when he could be playing basketball? No, he didn't think so. To a twelve year old, any time spent in a museum can seem like an eternity.
He walked on a few steps and read the next little sign. After all, what else was there to do? He looked at the display case. He frowned. He read the sign again, looked back to the case, raised his eyebrows and shrugged. If he had to look at another rusty nail or piece of broken junk, he'd ...
"Hey!" he protested, as his best mate, Matt, stumbled into him.
Matt clutched at his arm to keep his balance. "Sorry, mate." He turned and glanced behind the display to where the rest of the class stood. A wicked grin spread across his otherwise angelic face. The wide blue eyes, cute smattering of freckles and shiny fair hair fooled many people into thinking he was very sweet. However, their teacher, Mr Simmonds, believed he was a devil in disguise, who delighted in causing trouble. "This place needs a bit of livening up, don't you think?" He glanced back again, then winked at Connor.
What's he up to now? wondered Connor. His brown eyes deepened in concern as he frowned at his best friend. Connor was more serious than Matt and was generally considered to be a "good influence" on him. Matt just thought that Connor needed to have more fun and had devoted many days to achieving that result.
Seconds later, screams erupted. Many of the kids were brushing frantically at their clothes, while a couple of the boys sniggered from a safe distance.
"Matthew Tate!" Mr Simmonds, their teacher, bellowed as he spun around, searching. He spotted Matt, now intently studying the display of horseshoes and farming implements. "Right, young man, front and centre, now!" Mr Simmonds was turning an interesting shade of red and a vein throbbed in his forehead.
"Yes, Mr Simmonds?" Matt asked, his eyes wide and his expression innocent.
"This is your fault!"
"Me, Sir? No, Sir, I was just looking at this fascinating piece of ..."
"Rubbish!" Mr Simmonds growled.
"Do you really think so, Sir?" Matt answered doubtfully. " The museum wouldn't display rubbish, surely."
Mr Simmonds grabbed Matt's arm. "Don't you get cute with me, Tate. Now, move it." Mr Simmonds marched Matt across the room. "You too," he snarled at Connor, as he passed by him.
"What? Why me?"
"I saw you both - sniggering at your little joke. Now you can share the results of your fun."
Moments later, he ushered the boys into a messy office, crowded with books, boxes and artifacts. Gesturing at a couple of hard, wooden chairs, Mr Simmonds glared at the boys. "I was hoping that I wouldn't need this room, but the curator said any troublemakers could wait here. So, make yourselves comfortable, boys." Mr Simmonds eyed the chairs knowingly, and then left the room, grinning.
The boys slumped into the chairs. They were both tall and lanky for their age, so there was plenty of body parts to sprawl. There were a few moments of silence.
"Sorry, Connor," Matt said ruefully. "I didn't mean to get you into trouble too. Honestly."
" 's ok. I don't think I'm missing much. By the way, what did you do back there?"
"Here, have a look," Matt answered and pulled a small plastic container from his pocket. He opened it to show Connor half a dozen small, brown cockroaches scurrying around.
"Pop a few of these in some backpacks and - Hey Presto!"
Connor shook his head and wiggled in his chair. Just looking at the cockroaches made him feel squirmy.
Matt got to his feet and started to poke around the room. Picking up one book, then another, he flipped through them briefly. He sauntered over towards some boxes stacked by the window and peeked inside.
"Matt!" Connor protested. " You'd better leave those alone. What if Simmonds comes back?"
"It's cool, Connor. Don't be such a worry wart." Matt continued to look through the boxes but found nothing interesting. He glanced out of the window at the brilliant day outside, then resumed his pacing. His next stop was the large desk, overflowing with papers and journals. He moved the topmost pile, causing a small landslide of paper over the side.
"Grab a brain, Matt! Someone might come in!"
Matt ignored Connor, picking up a small, grubby box and trying to pry it open.
"Matt! I think someone's coming," Connor hissed. Matt struggled with the lid of the box but it refused to open. "Matt! Don't ..."
"It's stuck. You try." Matt tossed the box towards Connor, who lunged to catch it. The door started to open. The box hit Connor's outstretched hand and broke open. A key spun through the air. Connor and Matt both grabbed for it. As their hands collided, there was a flash of light, dazzling them both.
"Matt, you idiot. What have you done now?" groaned Connor.