Detective Case 1: The Revenge.
?Things will never be the same?, the shadow thought as he moved passed the foul smelling odours and dilapidated structures. ?Not since that moment which destroyed my future, which rendered me in this state, led me to this moment.? ?Suddenly, the figure increased his pace and passed through the alley, and a sly grin on his face appeared on as he moved.
"This town sucks, even the school day starts earlier than my old school," protested twelve-year-old Michelle Summers as she sat at the breakfast table, slurping up her Weetabix and milk.
"Hush dear, we've been through this before," her mother replied, checking her new school bag. ??Everything's too new,? she thought as she did this, ?new town, new house, new surroundings. I hate change; why can't things stay the same? Why did we move here just for some unknown job her father worked on??
?Right ? I had better get going,? Michelle said as she stood up, grabbed her bag, and kissed her mother goodbye as she headed out of the door?
Michelle stared at the ground even as the bus screeched to a halt in front of her. She tried to imagine it as the old bus she was had got so used to riding for the past few years. In contrast to the bright yellow bus with a shiny front and sparkling windows, this one was grey with leaves caught between the windscreen wipers and the windscreen and a dented indicator light.
?At least the bus driver gave me a grin,? she thought as she got on. ?He looks so like Grandpa,? she thought but her thoughts were interrupted by a tall figure blocking her way.
"Oh look! A Newbie! Another target!" The orange haired boy yelled. His hands was about to touch Michelle's face when someone jerked him back to his seat. "Easy boss. We'll get her when there're no crowds around." Glaring at the bully, Michelle hurriedly dashed to an empty seat, any sat, and as she sat she clutched her bag to her face.
No sooner had the bus moved off than it jerked to a stop. A trio of girls entered but Michelle took no notice of them until she heard, "Whoa, Miss China! Ni Hao!"
"I can speak English perfectly, you jerk head - now get out of my way before you want your eyes dug out!" Michelle's head jerked up to that unknown accent and found herself staring at a long-haired Chinese girl with spotless cheeks. At twelve years of age, Michelle herself was just wearing a vest while this girl's bra was clearly visible through her school blouse. The girl was taller than Michelle and almost of an equal height as the bullies. The gang glared back at the girl and then resumed their seats.
"Bloody idiots," the girl swore to Michelle, before she sat next to her, then extended her hand. "Hi, I'm Lin Ling and I won't apologise for not having an English name. If that's so hard for you to pronounce, call me Lin."
Michelle instantly shook the new girl's hand and replied, "Call me Chelle. It's my first time here."
"Mine too," Lin replied. "I've just moved in from Hong Kong actually. My parents both work in the commodities firm here. And I've met trouble-makers like that guy over there, so I know how to handle them," she nodded in their direction.
"Ok, Lin," she replied and was glad she found a new friend.
"So, if I help you, you and I will be even," the Northern accent noted.
"Exactly, and you'll also get back at your old teacher," the shadowy figure added.
"Old, useless guy!" The Northerner snorted. "Ok, but I got to bring me brother along. He can be useful."
"Brother? That prick who nearly got picked up twice by the coppers?"
Summers....Summers.... Michelle finally found her class on the enormous LCD screen. "Hey," Lin Ling tapped her shoulder. "I'm in 8C, you?"
"Yay, looks like we will have a great time together." They both found a class filled with girls and boys mostly white, though there were a few South Asian and Caribbean students. "Alright, settle down class," the teacher, named Mr Lambeth who they later found to teach geography announced. As usual, the first item of the day was the 'roll call'. When he reached Lin's name, he struggled and said, "Chan Lin."
"Chan Lin Ling," she corrected him.
"Sorry," was his only reply.
"Just call her Ching," called a voice and Lin immediately shot up and saw one of the earlier gang members snort.
"You want to take that back or I make you?" She yelled and even Lambeth couldn't control the ensuing uproar.
"So, ready?" the figure called.
"You know these uniforms are squeezing me waist," came the reply.
"I look like a kid," was the response from the brother.
"You are supposed to look like one you dummy. And both of you gained like how many stones? Now, let's go through the plan again."
"What a twat," Michelle commented as the two girls lined up for the lunch break.
"Twat? Sorry, I've failed to keep up with your British slang," Lin added and then heard the explanation. "There are worse words than that in Cantonese and Mandarin."
"What's the difference between..." Michelle paused to receive the huge pile of food from the dinner lady. At the benches, Lin lifted up the mess of cheese, pasta and filling, sniffed it, and remarked. "This is disgusting. I thought British food was better than this."
"Hey it is, but this is school. You'll get used to it."
"Clubs, societies! Clubs, societies!" A dark brunette called out and handed out leaflets to all the new Year 8s. "Make sure you sign up for at least one before the end of the term!"
"Make..." Michelle read the leaflet. "Compulsory?"
"If you don't sign up, you aren't a Croonfordther," the girl who had a badge with the name 'Louisa' stencilled on it. "We've got all kinds sports and clubs so there's no excuse for not finding one you like." She kept calling out and handing out the leaflets.
"Ooh, Science club! That's for me!" Lin exclaimed, jamming her finger.
"Yeah, my parents said I could recite the Periodic Table by heart before I could even run."
"Eh, the old school hasn't changed bit," the youngest said.
"Forget the look, remember the plan," the shadow said.
"How are we to past that old guard? He remembers faces."
"Don't worry," came the response as he unscrewed a phial.
?347, 349 where's room 350?? Michelle thought as she passed odd number rooms. ?350, where...?
"Oh, sorry lass," a voice said and a tattooed arm extended out, helping her out. "Usually no one except me comes down here." Michelle found the school's main security guard, Mr Wiggins in front of her.
"Uh, thanks. Michelle Summers. I'm looking for room 350."
"That's up two stairs, a short walk to your left. Funny way the school's structured," Wiggins directed and with a thanks, Michelle headed off. Just as she reached the top, three boys dashed across her path, nearly knocking her down again.
"Idiots," she muttered then found Louisa exiting room 350. "I'm here to join the Writing club," Chelle stated.
"Sorry, closed for the day. And we took lots of new members." Louisa stared at Michelle then asked, "What experience do you have?"
"Well I was top in my English class in my previous school...."
"The Writing Club isn't about grades in class. It's about finding stories, especially adventures. Wrote anything about that sort?"
"Email me your top two scripts at...." Louisa scribbled an email address on a scrap of paper. "I'll give you the answer by the end of the week."
"Did she see you?" The figure thundered.
"Yeah I'm sure."
"Better be. Now back to the moving."
"Got in!" Lin announced as their class moved to the mathematics room.
"What...the Science club?" Michelle asked.
"Yup, and they say I can be Assistant Secretary by next term!" Lin clapped. "What a dream!"
"Aw, now we have not just a Eastern gal, but a smarty-pants," the gang member called out and stepped next to her.
"Listen Mr Freckles, one more time you say that..."
"Want to take me on?" The boy taunted and raised his right fist. Lin confidently grabbed it and with a twist and a cry, the boy fell flat on his back.
"Call me something?" Lin taunted but more embarrassed than hurt, he grabbed his scattered belongings and crawled away.
"I have a Blue Belt in Taekwondo," Lin remarked to an amazed Michelle. "How's your club searching?"
It was Thursday and Michelle stared at her laptop screen. She had completed one script based on a story she wrote when she was ten but was still stuck with the second story. ?I need to stretch and fill my bottle? she thought. The school's library was near the steps leading to Room 350 and the fountain was in between. As she filled her bottle, she again saw several fleeting figures moving up the stairs. What are those students up to? She thought and she was about to follow them when the librarian called. "Young lady, you shouldn't leave your laptop out. Others can snatch it."
It was Friday and Michelle had spent the whole night writing her second story and polishing her first. "What did you do, we don't even have tests scheduled," Lin said as she rubbed her face.
"My stories. My chance to get into the Writing club."
"Like that's it? No other societies?"
"Well I'm not a sporty girl, don't think I'm ready for junior or student council, and not a scientist like you," Michelle replied. "So, this is the activity I think I can shine in."
Michelle wanted to email the stories just after life science class but the teacher had gone over time and thus her class had to rush like mad to the next and that class teacher as well droned on beyond the limit. Fortunately, their schedule ended just before 12:30 and boys and girls nearly tripped over each other as they ran towards the gates.
"I really need to get a good connection to send these stories," Michelle told Lin.
"Ok, but you're free after, right? Wanna grab lunch at the pub down the road? Or the desert shop next to it?"
"Good plan. I don't have your number yet..." After both girls exchanged numbers, Michelle ran upstairs to the library. As she reached the top, she again encountered those senior students and this time two of them were carrying a ladder.
"Hey guys, what ya doing?" She called but didn't hear a reply.
"Hey...." But she had to duck as the end of the ladder swung and nearly struck her. "Wouldn't to mind watch it?"
"Get back to your playpen girl!" Came the gruff reply.
"Well, I'm not a kindergartener!" She shot back and scampered to the library. The stories weren't her best but after the umpteenth edits, she sent them off. Please, let me into the club she thought. Back outside, she was about to head down when she heard sounds and a muted conversation from upstairs. Drawing out her mobile phone, Michelle headed up and found herself facing a door with a large horizontal handle. Using several fingers to push the door slightly inwards, she gasped.
The interior was a science lab, an old chemistry lab to be exact. The three boys were huddled over some gas tanks, with electrical wires hanging down from above. Whatever they were up to was clearly not sinister but downright dangerous. Setting her camera to silent. Michelle snapped photos then stepped back and was about to call an emergency number when the floor creaked.
"What the...someone's there!" Michelle immediately raced down the steps but arms already shot and grabbed her hair and torso. "Hemmmpph!!!!" A thick hand covered her lips, cutting her off. She was carried despite her struggling and kicking into the lab and pushed down on a wooden chair.
"It's that lass who's been passing us the last few days!" One shiny blonde hair cried.
"The one you said who didn't see your face?" A taller black hair guy said.
"!@#$$# She's seen all of us now!" The third cried. "Why ya didn't think of wearing masks?"
"Who are you lot? What you up to here?" Michelle cried but smelled some weird odour which informed her something was going to explode soon.
"Shut the heck up! Find something and shut her and bind her!" With one thug holding her against the chair, the others took off their school ties and roughly bound her to the chair. "No, please...ow!" Her own school tie was yanked off and jammed into her mouth, the ends tied behind her. "Whatmmmph!" She cried.
"Don't worry hunny, just a boom!" The black hair guy said his hands moving to form a mushroom cloud, "And you'll never have to study again. Maybe in a nice ward."
The three thugs scampered off, the lab door swinging ominously. "Hellmmmph, helmpp!" Michelle struggled violently again her bonds and cried. "Helmmmph!" Just as she shifted her chair, her phone clattered down on the ground. Her legs were free so she aggressively shifted herself, trying to reach the phone. Suddenly, messages flashed on the screen and Michelle cried out. She successfully touched the screen using her tight-clad feet and pressed hard.
"Chelle? You there? It's Lin. Finished with your stories?"
"Limmm!" She cried.
"Chelle? What? You injured?"
"Tmmp flmmr! Gasmms! Call Ninmmph Ninmmph Ninmmph!"
"I'm coming up!" Michelle groaned as the call ended and looked at the tanks and contraception. Please, I don't want to die at this ag...
"Chelle! O My Gosh!" Michelle turned and saw Lin at the door. "Hang on!" Deft fingers worked at the knots of her gag and that finally came off.
"Lin, call someone! That tank is going to explode!"
"Wait..." The half Malaysian, half Hong Kong-er bent down to examining the wires and contraption. With two fingers, she removed several wires and twisted a knob. The odour dissipated.
"Even kids are smarter than that," she remarked, returning to remove the rest of the bonds. "Now, what on earth happened? Oh shit, you're bleeding."
"Uh, p..period," Chelle croaked. Tossing her a sanitary towel, both girls were running down towards the main office when they heard a groan. Security guard Wiggins came out of the gents. "Goodness, I never had such a terrible tummy ache. But I had a fresh sandwich for lunch and always take my coffee black." He then noticed two students. "What on earth happened to you?" He pointed at a dishevelled Michelle.
A day later, both girls received individual badges of appreciation from the principal. The trio were former students of the school who received low grades and were attempting to take revenge by blowing up the old school lab. They nearly succeeded but as Lin noted, they forgot to dip and secure all the electric wires inside the tank. Thanks to Michelle's phones, Wiggins immediately recognised them. His stomach ache was due to a drug one of them secretly squirted into his coffee.
"Well, that certainly was a close shave," Lin hugged Michelle.
"Excuse me," Louisa walked up to them. "Michelle Summers? I regret to say your stories aren't good enough." Michelle's eyes lowered. "But, I'm, well, the Writing Club leadership thinks you have great potential." She nodded to the badge. "Would you like to conduct research for us?"
With a nod, Michelle accepted. "Now, let's celebrate!" Lin nodded.
"Celebrate? Well ok, you saved me back there," Chelle noted.
"And you got what you want."
"So who's paying for who's lunch?"
"So long as it's not like the food here," Lin added.
Michelle and Lin Ling will return in Case 2: The Missing Bust.