I had an interesting situation crop up with a recent chapter in my book. I was wanting to describe a scene involving a run-away train. But, it stressed me out. I had absolutely no clue as to how I would actually tell that story - especially with my limited train knowledge. I let the idea sit for the better part of a day, mulling it over and coming up empty. Then I had a spark ... maybe the train problem was out of my league. I am better suited to write about a people problem, and so I did. And I liked it. And I worked in a problem with the train's brakes that didn't freak me out, but did raise a little panic with my characters. Just enough.
It was a good lesson in writing about what comes naturally and not trying to write about something foreign. Unless, of course, I have extra time to research, which right now I don't.
So ... another lesson learned. And another snippet to share. Enjoy!
Room A-1 looked the same as before, but there was an excitement in the air that Peter hadn’t noticed yesterday. Silently Charlotte and Charlie sat side by side, their eyes turned to where Mr. Wiseman sat behind his desk, flipping through a stack of papers. Espi sat on the edge of her seat, chewing on her thumb nail. Her feet, both dressed in neon orange knee-high socks twitched under her desk. Her wild and curly hair looked wilder and curlier today, perhaps because of her wide-open eyes that refused to blink. She didn’t even acknowledge Peter and X as they entered the room.
Silently, X signaled for Peter to take the seat in the front row and he slid into the desk just behind him. He lifted his index finger to his lips, as if Peter needed to be informed of the need to be quiet. Peter looked to Mr. Wiseman who continued to study the file in front of him. Every few moments, he blindly reached toward a brown paper sack on this desk and pulled out a lemon drop and popped it in his mouth, never moving his eyes from the page he was reading.
Peter couldn’t decided if the hum of energy in the room was as a result of nerves or anticipation and likewise he couldn’t imagine what could possibly transform these four students into twitching, wide-eyed, speechless individuals.
Finally, Mr. Wiseman looked up from his paper and smiled. A collective sigh erupted from the twins and X and Espi, but they still said nothing. Mr. Wiseman nodded a few times, still smiling, and then beckoned the students toward his desk. Peter stood back, surprised, as the four students ran to the front of the room and surrounded Mr. Wiseman’s desk. Peter walked cautiously to a space to the left of X and studied the faces around him, still unsure as to what was happening.
“Well, class. I am very pleased with your report from last week. I feel that you followed all the proper protocol and took great care to conduct yourselves appropriately and covertly. I feel confident that you are aware of the awesome responsibility that this opportunity carries and that you are each using your individual gifts to the best of your abilities. And so it is for those reasons that I have made the executive decision to send you on another, ‘Special Assignment’.” Here Mr. Wiseman smiled warmly at each student, pausing for a moment to consider Peter’s puzzled expression. “Peter, I can only imagine how confused you must feel right now, but I truly believe that you will have a clear understanding of what we do here, very soon. Please be patient with me as I get the other students working and then I am at your disposal. Agreed?” Peter nodded, brow wrinkled and a frown forming on his face. “Now, if you four are ready, please extend your right hand.”
Mr. Wiseman leaned back in his chair and pulled open the desk drawer to his left. Reaching inside, he pulled out a long rectangular black box. It was old and the leather along one corner was cracked. Two rows of gold tacks ran along the middle of the box, indicating the top and bottom of the container. Gingerly, Mr. Wiseman lifted the lid from the box revealing a bronze cylinder lying in a bed of scarlet satin. The curious artifact was about eighteen inches long and had two bronze dials on either end. The dials were marked with mysterious symbols Peter had never seen before. Mr. Wiseman lifted the cylinder carefully and held it out toward the students. X, Espi, Charlotte and Charlie each grasped the cylinder with their right hand and immediately a strange low humming sound filled the room. The sound grew not in volume, but in intensity causing Peter to feel as though his entire body was vibrating. Mr. Wiseman let go and moved his hand to the top of the cylinder, twisting one of the dials until there was an audible click. Suddenly there was a wooshing noise, a momentary flash and then silence.