Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Secret Room, 19th Chapter

Will stared glumly into his bowl of porridge. Mirroring his feelings, his spoon scooped up some and let it fall back into the bowl. Splat.
He hadn't had the chance yet to tell anyone about Jimmy's sudden disappearance. As much as he wished, what happened last night was no dream. He'd woken up with an empty bed beside him.
"Hey," Jan sat beside him. "Where's Jimmy?"
Will sighed. "He's gone."
"Gone? What do you mean gone?"
"Gone. Just like Stella."
In great detail he described everything that happened last night to her. Jan's expression changed from disbelief to shock as she came to terms with the thought of Jimmy being another casualty.
"Have you told Mrs. Banks yet?"
Will shook his head.
"Then what are you still waiting for?"
"Hey, settle down. I'm afraid she might find out what we were up to last night."
"No, you don't get it! This is serious! One of the kids in this orphanage is missing, and we have a right to investigate!"
The commotion caused several heads to turn. Will sheepishly grinned and waved them off.
"Come now, you idiot," Jan hissed. "Let's go look for Mrs. Banks."
Out of the blue Mrs. Banks stepped into the hall, a meek short-haired girl tailing her. She was dressed in a nice lady uniform, yet Will had never seen her face before.
"Good morning, children!" She seemed uncharacteristically rather jolly. "I'm sure many of you know by now that Stella quit yesterday morning."
She paused, letting the words sink in.
"Well, no more worries now, because we have a new worker! Everyone, say hi to Phyllis!"
"Hiiii Phyyyyyllisssss..." droned the children.
Phyllis blushed, smiling forcefully.
"Now, I expect no nonsense from anyone of you towards her, seeing that she's new here. Any complaints, and you'll come see me. Is that understood?"
"Very well then, you may continue your breakfast."
The hall sprang back into life. Jan grabbed Will's hand and marched to Mrs. Banks.
"Excuse me," she tapped her shoulder. "Sorry for disturbing you, Mrs. Banks, but there's something serious we need to discuss with you."
"And that would be...?" she uttered coldly.
"One of our friends, Jimmy, is missing. We searched all over, but we can't find him."
To their bewilderment, she threw her head back and laughed. A satisfied, amused laugh which almost said "Serves him right".
Then as sudden as she'd started, Mrs. Banks stopped laughing. "I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do."
And she walked off.

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