Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Secret Room, 20th Chapter

"He's gone. Jimmy's gone."
"Oh, stop moping, will you." Jan was on the brink of pulling her hair out. "How can she just not care? It's downright criminal!"
"Don't you get it? Mrs. Banks' behind whatever's going on inside the Secret Room, and now she's got him."
"But then why doesn't she come after us?"
"I don't know! Maybe not yet."
Jan shook her head in despair. "This is just going nowhere."
Will pursed his lips, breathing in hard. "I'm going to stay up every night till I get a chance to enter. Jan, do you want to come along?"
"Ahem," Someone cleared his or her throat behind them, making the two jump. They turned around, rather unsure what to expect.
It was Phyllis.
"I happened to hear both of you talking about the Secret Room."
"Well," Jan answered before Will could. "It was nothing, really. Some of our friends were just going on about breaking in or something. Totally crazy ideas, we'll surely go tell them off."
"Jan, it's okay," A wry smile lined her face. "There's no need to lie to me, I'm not going to tell Mrs. Banks or anything. It's just that..."
She looked up at them both as if about to cry. "How can I make this clear to you: the Secret Room is truly somewhere you don't want to go. I-I-"
"You've...been there before?"
Phyllis looked down. "Please don't ask. All Mrs. Banks wants to do is make sure you guys don't get hurt. Just like me."
Will had to bite his tongue to stop himself from saying, "Yeah, right.".
"There's nothing I can say which will kill off your curiousity, other than telling you straight what's inside, which I can't. I know exactly how you feel, I've been in your shoes."
The two exchanged glances, not sure whether to take her word or dismiss her for some babbling lunatic. Here she was, first day on the job and she was talking about the Secret Room like she opened its doors every morning?
"This is not my first time in the orphanage, in case you're wondering. I've been here many, many times before."
Now that was really hard to believe. Will had been here for ten years, and he'd never once seen or heard about her.
"Oh, Phyllis, there you are," Mrs. Banks reappeared, giving Will his customary heart-race.
"Come with me, I have some more places to show you." She left with Phyllis, not even once sparing them a glance.
"Why, that was weird, wasn't it?" Jan broke the lingering silence. "How did she even know my name?"
" can she have been to the orphanage many times before, yet none of us have seen her before this? I just don't get it."
"But Will," Jan lowered her voice to a whisper. "She's not the first person to warn us off the Secret Room."
"Stella warned us like that as well, and now she's gone. Not to mention Jimmy. Something's really terribly wrong here. And all of them went missing in the night."
"So you mean..."
"You do whatever you like, Will, I'll help you in any way I can. But there's no way I'm staying up with you at night. It's just too dangerous."

Writer's Block: The Snowman

The snowman grinned at me
I saw not why he chose to.
"You, my friend, have not a clue
What shall soon happen to you."

"Here you stand all alone
Laughing kids pass you by.
They talk, they skip, they run
All you can do is sigh."

"It shall not be long
When out comes the sun.
Weep in vain, cry in silence
Your life will then be done. "

"Eyes to stone, nose to sticks
Body to snow, limbs to twigs
Much as you try to resist,
You must die for Death's sake."

Still he stared right at me
Eyes of stone twinkling bright
It befuddled me ever so
How he took his death so light.

And behold! A cloud parted
In pride came his murderer
With great pity I gazed
Seeing him leave forever.

"You once were adored
A reason for living
New ones will take your place
Who remembers your being?"

Silently his body drooped
It spread across the ground
Once a grinning snowman stood
Now here remained a mound.

"Oh, how dark it is today
For one to depart this way
Nobody knew, nobody cared
Nor was there a call to stay."

A child scooped up the mound
Carried it across the field
She patted it on a patch
Where a new snowman was built.

If only I knew
Why the snowman grinned
If only the human
Knew why I grinned.

Writer's Block: "He"

The mountain had no end
The road seemed to bend
He stared ahead, many miles wide
There was none by his side

None by his side

He had to forge on
Seeking all he would receive
Be it alone or befriended
There was too much to know

Too much to know

A mountain before his sight
It stood so tall
There always were mountains
But none this tall
Was this the final one?
Would this mountain give?
Nothing more he wanted
Than to stand at the top
And proudly proclaim
His message to the world

He knew he could
But he wished he need not
Silently he wept

He wept
He wept
As the world passed him by

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Writer's Block

The search for that darned third story continues. Though if I must say, I've certainly let my imagination run out of control with The Secret Room! =^p
Allow me to be self-delusional for a while and say I've received many emails from readers asking me how long more this story will continue. Well, I say it'll continue as long as I see fit, till I've really let the story lay itself out nicely, with all the characters well fleshed out. Which shouldn't be more ten 10 Chapters more. Shouldn't. it getting draggy? Sometimes it's so hard for me to tell, standing so close and marvelling those tiny individual words. That's why I need more emails from YOU, the fans!
End of self-delusion.
Anyway, back to the search for that darned third story. Ever been in a room full of people, yet you feel totally lonely? Wait, that's a lousy metaphor. How about browsing through a menu packed with good food, yet not knowing what to choose? Hoho, say hi to Cliched Metaphor #38! But yeah...I still can't for my life decide what I want. Everytime some self- proclaimed super-duper idea pops up and I say "I'm SO gonna use that.", it makes way for the NEXT self-proclaimed super-duper idea. Which in turn lasts till ANOTHER one grows on my scalp. Sometimes I feel sorry for those old rejected ones and try giving them "bit part roles" in the new ideas. Which produces something like chocolate fudge with garlic toppings.Sad to say, unlike Blogspot, I've not really received any specific comments for The Secret Room. Which makes me hard to judge whether I'm on the right track or not. So instinctively I somehow form my own conclusion that it QUITE flopped. Oh, flopped is such an ugly word. It didn't do as well compared to Blogspot.
I figure there're two ways I can go about this third story; one is sticking back to the tried and tested formula of unwitting-protagonist-journeying-in-a-strange-unknown-land-towards-a-greater-mission a la Blogspot. Another would be saying, "Ah, what the heck, I don't care, I'm gonna write something that'll make everyone say Omigosh-are-you-crazy-you-can't-handle-a-story-like-that-it's-so-not-your-style." Which translates along the lines of warm fuzzy stories with some soul in them.
I mean, there're only so many twistedly "creative" stories you can write before you get bored and start wondering whether you're really capable of anything else. A wise lecturer once said that an artist's greatest fear is developing a style or pattern which makes him recognisable at once. Debatable words, but this is one of those cases.
Sheesh, maybe let's just do a sequel to Blogspot. :-)

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.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Writer's Block: "Dream"

See the worried ones
See what they dream
They are old
They are poor
They are weak
They are afraid

See the busy ones
See what they dream
They are rich
They are smart
They are known
They are tired

See the careless ones
See what they dream
They are pleased
They are free
They are calm
They are unwary

O see O see
How sweet a dream be
Be it like reality
Till the certainty flees

See the sleeping ones
See how they dream
Why not they
Ever wake?

Look around you
Is there One
Watching us dream?

The Secret Room, 18th Chapter

"Stella, are you in there? Please knock three times for yes. We're waiting outside.
Will and Jimmy."
With bated breath they slipped the note beneath the door, pushing it as far in as they could. Now all they could do was wait for something to happen.
Seconds ticked by, and still nothing. Before long a full minute was up. Will felt his heart thumping against his chest, as though warning him of something bad about to happen. He let out his breath in a long, controlled sigh.
"Nothing's happening. You think she got it?"
"She's in there. I'm positive."
"Hey...wait if someone else got the note instead of her?"
"Well, then the moment we hear the door unlocking, we scoot off. Simple as that."
Somehow, Will wasn't so convinced. But seeing as they had nothing to go by but their blind faith, the two boys stayed put.
Two minutes. Three minutes.
"Man, I can't take anymore of this," Will said, beads of sweat lining his forehead. "Let's forget it and go back to bed."
"Darn," Jimmy cursed. "Maybe we didn't push the note far in enough. Tell you what - go get a long ruler from our room."
"You heard me. Go get a long ruler from our room! I'll wait here to keep watch."
"Okay, okay."
Fearfully Will descended the stairs back to their room. Any moment now he expected Mrs. Banks to pounce out of a corner and burn her eyes into his.
Gulping hard, he turned the knob and entered the room. Somehow he'd manage to make his way back without anything going wrong. He picked up the metal ruler lying on the table, then hurried back out, making sure the shut the door behind him.
This was sheer madness, madness they didn't need to go through. Stella's words flashed back in his mind: "Will, I'm serious. I'm telling you this not as an adult, but as a friend. There were some other kids I knew who used to mess around too much with the Secret Room. All of them wish they never did now."
All of them wish they never did now. Stella and her friends were still being made to pay some "consequences" till today. Surely there was something more to that room than a place off-limits to kids. Mrs. Banks had to be hiding something truly sinister inside.
Ruler in hand, he reached the fourth floor. His watch read ten minutes to twelve. We're going to be back in bed by twelve. No later than twelve.
But wait a minute. Wasn't Jimmy supposed to be there waiting for him? Only the tattered notepad Jimmy always carried along remained in front of the Secret Room.
"Jimmy! We don't have time for this. Where are you?"
As he feared, he spoke only to the walls.
Heart racing, Will searched every nook and cranny on the floor. Up he went to the floor above, all the floors below, and even back to their room to be sure. Jimmy was nowhere to be found.
In desperation Will raced back to the Secret Room. Somehow he was sure Jimmy was in there.
"Jimmy!" he pounded on the door as loudly as the silence would allow. "I know you're inside! Scream! Knock the door! Pass a note! Anything! Just do something!"

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Writer's Block

This so caps a sucky entire 18th Chapter just vanished. Just as I was about to click "Publish Post".'s OK, I'll write it again tomorrow (Monday), most of it is still pretty much in my mind... :-((((

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Secret Room, 17th Chapter

"You mean she stopped working, just like that?"
"Why did she leave?"
"Didn't she say anything?"
Mrs. Banks didn't reply their queries. She just strode to the end of the room and raised her voice, "LISTEN HERE, CHILDREN! Now, it has come to my attention that recently some of you are getting overly concerned with the Secret Room. May I remind you that you are all strictly prohibited from entering it. Strictly prohibited, I repeat. Anyone caught will be punished even more severely than ever before. Do I make myself clear?"
Everyone nodded, even the nice ladies.
"DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?" She suddenly boomed once more, catching everyone by shock. They nodded meekly.
She glared one last time at them three and walked off in a huff.

"This is getting ridiculous, man." Jimmy said out suddenly to Will just as they were getting ready for bed. "First Stella appears out of nowhere in the middle of the night, then she starts crying and screaming. And now she's gone without a trace."
"Do you really believe she's dead?"
"If so, who killed her? Mrs. Banks wouldn't dare, would she? I mean, she'd get thrown into jail or something, right?"
Will shrugged. "Heck, maybe she locked her up in the Secret Room."
Jimmy opened his mouth to speak, but froze. "Will...that's it! Do you think that..."
"She locks people up in the Secret Room?"
"Yeah! That explains those two fingers you saw, and...and the bloody marks underneath!"
A flurry of possibilities raced through the boys' minds. Everything from Mrs. Banks motives to the identity of those trapped inside, to what was being done to the prisoners inside. The more they thought, the more they said; and the more they said, the more excited they grew.
"Think about it, Will!" Jimmy's eyes danced in the dim light. "Stella can't be anywhere else but trapped in the Secret Room! If only we could talk to her somehow..."
Will grinned broadly, holding up a pencil and a notepad.
Moments later, the two boys found themselves outside the Secret Room once more, hastily scribbling a note in the dark.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Secret Room, 16th Chapter

"And then she ran off?"
"Yeah, I think she was crying."
It was breakfast time again, and Will was relating to Jimmy and Jan what Stella had told him last night.
"But..." Jimmy looked rather frustrated. "Why did you call off the whole thing last night?"
"Yeah, that sure was weird, you suddenly waking us up and asking us to go back to our rooms."
"Guys, I'm not so sure whether we should continue anymore," Will lowered his face. "I mean, there really must be something terrible about that room if Stella keeps warning us away like that."
"You know what? That's the problem. The more she keeps telling us not to, the more we want to." said Jimmy.
"But if they really wanted us to not go in, wouldn't it be better for them to not talk about it at all? I mean, there's this saying that goes, 'The forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest.' " said Jan as the other two mouthed along to her cliche.
"So what you're trying to say is that they're purposely tempting us to the Secret Room?"
"I don't know, you tell me."
Will thought about it for a moment. She did have a point there. Mrs. Banks, Stella and everyone else was just making too big a fuss of the room that it couldn't possibly contain anything that could live up to the hype. Treasure? Superhero hide-out? Ghosts? These were the most far-fetched ideas he could cook up, and still they didn't sound terribly exciting.
He looked around the hall at nothing in particular, rather stumped.
"Hey Jan, did you hear the news?" Melissa her roommate sat at their table. "One of the lady workers was found dead this morning."
Their jaws dropped wide open.
"Uh-huh, I think that's her."
"Rubbish!" Mrs. Banks appeared from out of nowhere, almost making Will choke. "Stella has just stopped working here. We'll find a replacement for her shortly."
"And as for you three," her piercing eyes narrowed at them. "Make sure I don't catch you doing anything you shouldn't be doing."

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Secret Room, 15th Chapter

Will wrapped his arms tighter around himself, shivering at the slight chill. His watch read almost one, the latest he'd stayed up in a long while.
Jimmy and Jan were fast asleep against a pillar, while he felt like an idiot standing there alone in the dark. Every minute there was this faint hope of hearing a sound, but nothing ever interrupted the steady hum of the air conditioning units.
"Must not sleep." he slapped his cheeks lightly. "Must not sleep."
He looked at the Secret Room, as if expecting it to burst open any moment. But like everything else, it remained plain and unassuming. Stiffingly boring, in other words.
As another yawn tried to force its way out, Will tried so hard to stifle it that tears welled up. He didn't want to sleep, but there was no way he could resist any longer.
"Oh man..." he slumped down against the door. "Just a short one."
And he fell asleep right in front of the Secret Room.
Some time later, he found himself drifting back into half-awakedness. Someone was tapping on his shoulder and calling out his name faintly yet firmly.
"Go away," he mumbled to himself. Then something stirred his mind. He had no business being near the Secret Room at an unearthly hour like this, what with Jan and Jimmy counting on him to keep watch! What if it was...Mrs. Banks?
Praying hard, he slowly opened his eyes. Please don't let those horn-rimmed glasses stare back at me. Please don't let it be Mrs. Banks.
"What are you doing up here at this time? I told you to stay away." He almost jumped for joy upon seeing that it was Stella. However, she didn't look that pleased either.
"Will, you promised me. Do you have any idea how crazily dangerous this is? You should be counting your lucky stars it was me who found you, and not someone else."
He hung his head in shame.
She grabbed him firmly by the shoulders. "Go back to your room this instant. And if I ever find you or your friends near the Secret Room again, I'll tell Mrs. Banks first thing."
"Stella, please," he suddenly begged, catching her by surprise. "I've never wanted to know something so much ever before in my life. If you would just tell me a bit more about this room and what happened to you years ago, maybe I would be satisfied. Otherwise you know I'd just keep coming back."
Her grip on him loosened. "All right, Will. I'll let you know all I can."
"The stories you heard are true, but they don't tell the whole story. I didn't escape punishment, nor was I the only one who got punished. My friends and I, all of us were made to bear the consequences. That's why I don't want you to end up like me, understand?"
"B-but...what? What consequences are you bearing? And who are those friends of yours? Where are they now?"
Suddenly Stella jolted straight up, her face filled with cold sweat. "What have I done? Dear me, what have I done? I'VE TOLD YOU TOO MUCH!"

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Writer's Block

Here I am! This is me! Lest you start thinking me some Bryan Adams fan, I shall start off by breaking the good news: MY COMPUTER IS FIXED! they say, behind every silver, there was be a cloudy lining. Though I can go online, my brilliant machine comes up with some new problem each day which makes me go "Wow, I would've never thought of that". For instance:

a) There's a virus which pops up a countdown screen for the computer to shut down every now and then.
b) My CPU power supply overheats once in a while, making the whole thing shut down, as well. And two wrongs so do not make a right. ;^)
c) I can't talk to people on Windows Messenger unless they talk to me first.
d) At certain times, I can't copy, paste, or, horrors, DRAG FILES!

And today, it even spread to my beloved blog! I couldn't see my chatterbox, nor log in! This sounds silly, but the "Sign In" button disappeared, and I had to go in through the "Post Comments" section instead. Plus, the fun doesn't end there! I couldn't click the "Edit" button to continue the draft for Chapter 15 I'd written halfway this morning. Which explains why you're putting up with this now. Sheesh.
Any-hoo, I've been in deep thought this past week about the next story. Would've loved to update you on my ideas every time they came, but it's pretty fun this way too. Let's see:

a) First, I decided the protagonist would be female.
b) Then I wanted to rewrite an old, old story of mine about two twin sisters. However, this old story is far less developed than the old Secret Room and I didn't have a copy with me.
c) Another story with a twist in the end? I was afraid my stories were all getting too similar and familiar. A love story, perhaps?
d) Nah. I could never. It would probably turn out hillarious. Then I chanced upon this conspiracy theory which I found so mind-boggling I wanted to turn it into my story somehow, in a modified way. I was extremely sure this would be my next story.
e) Insane people think insane thoughts. This appeared in my mind, and I somehow felt compelled to write something about a woman slowly being driven to the brink of insanity.
f) And most recently just now, I was flipping through B-grade horror films in a store, and MAN! That was COOL! Did you know that Leonardo DiCaprio starred in "Critters 3: You Are What They Eat"? Go check it out, I kid you not! Reading the synopses, I started recalling those numerous R.L. Stine thrillers...maybe? Hmm.

Well, there you have it - a possible trailer to the story of a woman who loves and is yet driven to the brink of insanity by a conspiracy theory of some bloodsucking monsters.
Whoa, do I STILL have to talk about The Secret Room? You might have noticed I've once again broken my promise and it's gonna take longer than 15 chapters now. Not that that's a bad thing, I must say. I'm slowly growing to like this story as well, just you wait till the fun starts kicking in.
I now end this piece with the four most-heard words these days: Happy Chinese New Year!

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Secret Room, 14th Chapter

"Tonight?" Jan balked. "No way, I'm too beat up!"
Jimmy was about to second her, then decided against it. "I'd like us get on with this thing as quickly as we can, before word starts getting round. Mrs. Banks isn't unaware of what we're doing, you know."
"So that's it!" Will said. "We do it tonight!"
"You serious about this, guys?" groaned Jan.
"Dead serious."

A good few hours later, Will and Jimmy found themselves creeping along the dark hallways long after lights out. Every now and then, they would stop and press themselves against a wall to listen out for any footsteps that weren't theirs.
"Where's Jan? We agreed to meet at twelve."
"Duh, this isn't the fifth floor yet."
"Whoops, silly me."
Cautiously they went up the stairs, taking great care to lift each step off the ground and land it gently.
"Man, this is taking longer than I expected. We're so going to be late."
"Shut up and keep walking."
After what seemed like a hike up Mount Everest, they finally reached the intended floor. Even in the near pitch dark conditions, Will could see clearly the grim purple door. "Jan!" he whispered as loudly as he could. "Where are you?"
A recognisable silhouette revealed itself. "Sheesh. I have a nice warm bed waiting for me downstairs, you know."
"Okay, okay, sorry. We had to be sure nobody heard us."
"Jan, did you see anyone while you were here?"
"Nope! Just me, myself, and I."
Good, that means Mrs. Banks could still be coming up here later."
"Guys," Jan quipped. "If we stay up all night, won't we be life-size zombies in the morning? I hear they've got another busy day planned out for us."
The two boys looked at each other.
"Why don't we do this instead," she continued. "We take turns staying up, so each of us loses only two hours of sleep."
"Yeah, and that way we'll only be half-zombies." Will cracked.
"And since Will is the leader of this team," said Jan. "He'll have the honour of being first!"

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Writer's Block

The question on everyone's mind:
More like, is my computer really fixed? Hahahahahhahaha...
Well, in a relatively new experience last night, I reformatted my computer last night, but for some weird reason, still can't go online due to some cannot-ty detect-ty modem-my thingy. Which brings me now to Yuen Kan's* house, where they've put up with me for quite a while after the reluctant trip to the Museum Of Islamic Arts (don't ask). Well, Damien* gave me some computer gibberish which if I type into some mystical previously unseen part of my computer, will enable me to enter the World Wide Web where I shall be connected to a global community miles apart just by a simple click. Maybe.
Anyway, to answer Joy's* question: am I going to change the ending after all? To know how it ends, we must first go to where it began...
The place: my bathroom, the second most creativity-generating place in my house. The time: last night, where stuff happened. I was at first unsure how to handle this whole Stella character, having already ran into the risk of dragging this story too long. Like I mentioned, Stella is obviously someone with a past with Mrs. Banks, and I had to find some way to live her up to the hype after having painted so many intruiging possible plots for her. Yeah, I don't plan well, live with it, nyekekkekekekek.
And well, I dare not say that I've come up with a perfect direction for her, but (CAUTION! UNNECCESSARY BIG WORDS AHEAD) something devious has bubbled in the cauldron of my mind. Something that would even allow me to escape from certain corners I've painted myself into.
Oh wait, wasn't I supposed to talk about the super-secret ending? As in, what actually is inside the Secret Room? Fear not, I won't make corny "If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret" statements. Let's just say I've improved upon the previous ending, making it more...more...argh, quick! Gimme a big word! espionage.

*names have been changed to protect the identity of those mentioned.

The Secret Room, 13th Chapter

"Tell us, quick! What did you find out?"
It was dinnertime and the three were sitting at the same table, eagerly yapping away on the day's proceedings. Obviously, Will's encounter with Stella was taking centerstage.
"You're totally sure Mrs. Banks didn't catch you?"
He took his sweet time chewing on a mouthful of rice, followed by a long, slow sip of water.
"She wouldn't tell me anything."
"WHAT?!" Jan stood up, then sat down upon realising the curious stares around her.
"Not a single thing?" she hissed. "Or was it you who didn't ask?"
He shook his head. "I asked. She wasn't mad at me, but she didn't seem exactly happy either."
"What did she say, then?"
"There was this look in her eyes," he tried mimicking an icy, faraway stare. "She literally begged me not to mess around with the Secret Room. Or else I would end up like the other kids."
"What other kids?"
"That's all she said."
"Now," Jimmy put down his fork. "This seems stranger by the minute."
"Well, unlike someone else, I sure got some interesting information today." said Jan. "There is one possible way we can break into the Secret Room, if our timing is right."
"Wow, now that is something!"
"Heh, of course. Now, the older kids have told me that nobody but Mrs. Banks has the keys to the room. Not even the ladies who work here. So, that would mean-"
"The only way to get in would be through Mrs. Banks!"
"Hush, you. Some of them claim that on certain nights, she enters the room herself. Therefore, if we could find some way to sneak in while she opens it..."
"But how on earth are we supposed to sneak in just like that?"
"I don't know, you tell me!"
"Some sort of distraction, maybe?" Jimmy thought out loud. "After all, there are three of us."
"That could work."
Suddenly Will couldn't stop fidgeting. "Guys, this might just work if we do it right. First, we have to find out when she goes into the room. And I suggest we start tonight."

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Secret Room, 12th Chapter

Her eyes grew narrow. "What?"
"The Secret Room." Will braved himself, saying it louder this time.
"You jolly well know that you're not allowed to snoop around it."
Though she tried her best to say it with conviction and authority, he sensed some fear in her voice.
"Stella, weren't you once curious about it as well?"
She turned away.
"Stella!" Will ran to face her. "Please! I want to know if the stories are true!"
Her jaw dropped open. "What stories?"
"Stories of you trying to break into the Secret Room many years ago."
"Will," she said slowly, pausing over each word. "Are you doing the same?"
Whoops. Maybe he shouldn't have been so straightforward. She did, after all, have connections with Mrs. Banks.
"I'm won't say anything about what you've heard. But take it from me: stay clear of the Secret Room."
"That's what Mrs. Banks tells us all the time."
"For a good reason, I believe."
"But you did find out something, didn't you?"
"Will, I know nothing and even if I did, I wouldn't tell you. You're not the first one to have come and asked me about this, and I told the rest nothing. So forget it."
With those cold, cold words in his ears, she walked away. He was so sure there was something she was hiding. But was she hiding it by her own free will, or was it because Mrs. Banks made her not tell?
"Stella, wait!" he caught up with her. "There's something important I forgot to mention. Please don't tell Mrs. Banks about what I asked just now."
A warm smile returned to her face. "Don't worry. I won't."
"But Will, I'm serious. I'm telling you this not as an adult, but as a friend. There were some other kids I knew who used to mess around too much with the Secret Room. All of them wish they never did now."