Friday, January 04, 2013


Fiction Friday Fakeout!

Ah, what the hell:

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Chapter 7
The Lay of the Land

Back at Doyle Hall, the boys were buzzing about Briana Tanner. Several boys—new and returning students alike—had questioned both Ben and Oz and other new kids who had ridden on one of the shuttles.
"Her parents didn't drop her off?" Teddy asked one of the older boys, who was roaming around the halls, a clipboard in his hand. Teddy had explained that most returning students were driven here by their parents, who themselves had often been former students, and enjoyed the chance to come up and see their old summer stomping grounds.
The older boy shook his head. "Nope," he said, consulting his clipboard, which contained a fresh memo from the Dean. "Her mom put her on a train this morning. Dean Taras says she should have been on one of the afternoon shuttles."
Ben nodded. "We were on the second one." He wracked his brain. There had been some girls on the shuttle, but he had taken no notice of them. "I guess she could have been on there, but I don't know. What's she look like?"
The older boy scowled again at his clipboard. "Girl, 12 years old. Strawberry-blonde hair in pigtails. Wearing blue jeans, white sneakers, and—" he squinted, then read aloud, "—and a pink tie-dye t-shirt with a peace symbol on it." Sound like anyone you saw?" he asked, looking from Ben to Oz.
Oz looked nonplussed. "I wasn't really looking at the girls," he muttered. "We were the last ones on the shuttle anyway, and there was—" he looked over at Ben. "—there were some distractions."
"You ought to ask Toby," Ben suggested, thinking back to how observant their new friend had been, how quickly he had spotted that Ben and Oz had opened that locked door in their room. "He was on the bus before we were." Ben looked around quickly, but couldn't see Toby anywhere in the crowd.
"How do we know she's even here anyway?" Oz asked. "Maybe something happened to her on the train."
"Or-or in the station. You know, like maybe someone jumped her in the bathroom or—" Teddy said.
"Or maybe she made it here but went exploring, maybe in one of the condemned buildings and got hurt—" Ben added.
The older boy scowled at them. "What do I look like, I care? You know, the detective thing everyone does around here gets lame after a couple years. You'll see."
Teddy frowned. "Tina says—"
"Yeah, well Tina might like the mystery crap, but the rest of us just come here to get away from our parents, see our friends. You'll see. Mean time, the Dean says I gotta ask around about this missing kid, so I'm gonna do it, get her off my back." He glowered at them a moment more, as though it was their fault he had to search for a missing girl, then went off down the hall. Teddy followed Ben and Oz up to their room.
"That's not true you know, what that doof said," Teddy insisted. "A lot of kids come here because of the stuff they learn. It's a big deal. People who went here as kids went on to be, like, FBI agents and famous crime writers. And TV reporters that catch Internet stalkers and stuff. He's just a loser."
"Like Grindle?" Oz asked.
"One of his buddies, yeah,"
They stepped into the room. Teddy looked around appraisingly. "My room's wider, but not by much. And we don't have an extra door. Wh-where's that go?"
Without thinking about it, Ben kicked his duffel into the corner, covering the scuff marks Toby had noticed earlier. He hunched down and began unzipping his bag. "No idea," he lied.
"It's locked," Oz added quickly.
If Teddy caught the tension in their voices, he didn't let on. "Yeah," he said, "there's a lot of locked doors around here. Maintenance closets and service hallways and stuff. When this was an academy in the olden days, they had maids and everything." He flopped on one of the beds as Ben and Oz finished unpacking, then sat up straight. "Hey, about that girl! I— I wonder if this is it!"
"If this is what?" Ben asked, pulling clothes out of his duffel.
"The school mystery!"
Ben and Oz stopped and looked at him.
"Tina told me all about them. They can be pretty lame some years—mostly like a scavenger hunt or-or something. But usually they're pretty awesome. The teachers take turns planning them and they do something different every summer. One year, the writing guy, Mr. Nolte, hid out for the whole summer," Teddy went on. "No one could find him. You came into his class and there would be a stack of assignments and an old tape recorder with a message from him. Or he'd have a computer set up with a Web cam and teach classes that way. Kids went nuts trying to figure out clues from the recording, taking screen shots of the Web cam video, trying to zoom in on details in the background of the images, thinking they could figure out where he was. He left clues in the library when kids went to research their assignments. It-it was pretty cool."
"Where was he?" Oz asked.
"Well, everyone thought he was hiding out in one of the closed-up dorms, but that's against the rules. Safety reasons. Tina and Greg, they thought they tracked him down to Camp Kadabra, the magic camp across the valley. They found out Mr. Nolte does card tricks and stuff and they thought he'd be over there."
"Was he?" Ben asked.
Teddy laughed. "No way! You-you're not supposed to leave Sherrinford and the school mystery only takes place on the grounds here—it's one of the rules." (Especially for me and the rest of the DCs, Ben thought, suddenly aware of the weight of the ankle bracelet on his leg.) "But Greg was sure he was over there," Teddy sighed. "He's kind of a-a dummy. He and Tina got in a lot of trouble that time. Anyway, some other kids found the teacher. The page numbers on his assignment sheets made up a code that contained GPS coordinates that led to a cabin in the woods—there are a bunch of them on this side of the mountain, old tourist cabins and places like that. Anyway, that's where he was."
"That is pretty cool," Ben agreed. "So you think Briana Tanner's made up?"
Teddy grinned shyly. "Well, th-think about it. I mean, our first night, and there's a student missing? They watch us pretty closely around here. Tina and I weren't out of the back seat of the car before Dean Taras swooped in and checked our names off her list. And what kind of parents put a kid on a train all by herself?"
"I don't know," Ben said quietly. All of a sudden, he felt an uncomfortable pang of homesickness.
Oz nodded, thinking. "But the bus driver took attendance, checked us off a list before we got on the bus. Wouldn't the driver have known if he was a name short?"
Ben grimaced. He hadn't thought of that until Oz mentioned it. I am one sucky detective, he thought, not for the last time.
Teddy shrugged. "Well, I-I don't know. But it all seems kind of funny to me."
Just then there was a knock at the door. Ben got up to answer it, expecting another counselor, but it was Toby, who looked furtively up and down the hall before jumping inside. He looked even grubbier and dust-covered than he had at supper.
"Man, this place is jumping. Lotta guys with clipboards asking questions about that Brenna chick," he warbled, throwing himself into a chair by the desk.
"Briana," Ben corrected automatically. Toby scowled at him and hooked his nostril-grabbing fingers at him threateningly.
"Teddy thinks this missing girl is part of the school mystery," Oz offered, as he rooted through various cables and junk in his massive suitcase.
Teddy started to protest but Toby's face lit up with excitement. "Yeahhh," he shrilled, his voice going up an octave. "I betcha you're right. Makes total sense. She sure wasn't on the bus with us." Teddy relaxed instantly, his shy smile returning. Ben had the idea that maybe he wasn't used to people thinking his ideas had any merit. "Maybe she's hiding out over in the girls' dorms. I bet there's a hidden room up there too—" Toby said, then stopped himself as Oz and Ben simultaneously gave him a warning look. None of them wanted to own up to their little adventure behind the mysterious door. They liked Teddy, but his family obviously had a history here and they weren't sure yet if they could trust him with their secret.
Teddy seemed to take no notice of this, in any case. "Well, I'm gonna go unpack. You newbies have that tour tomorrow morning. I don't need to go—my sister and parents showed me around plenty of times. See you at breakfast?"
They all grunted in the affirmative as Teddy left.
"All moved in?" Ben asked as he went back to unloading his duffel.
Toby shrugged. "My roommates are weirdos. I think I'm gonna camp out up in the secret room."
Oz looked at him owlishly. "Really? What, are you going to come and go through there?" he said, pointing to the door.
"Yeah," Toby said blandly. "Who would know?"
Ben stared at him. "You're in a school for detectives. Teddy noticed the door right away, just like you. Probably would have seen the scuff marks on the floor if I hadn't covered them. Someone would know. And it would be our butts!"
Toby waved this off. "Okay, dude, don't get 'em in a bunch. It just so happens I was up there a few minutes ago. And you didn't even know, did you?"
"You do look a little dusty," Oz offered. He was now dumping items from his suitcase onto the desk and was sorting them into some kind of order. "Let me guess, you found a back stairway or something."
"Close. I actually found a cool mini-elevator in the bathroom wall. It was behind the door. You climb in and there's a pulley. It takes you down to the furnace room."
"Dumbwaiter," Ben said.
Toby rounded him. "Dumb who, Bridge?" he shrilled.
"The elevator. It's called a dumbwaiter. We had one in our old house, but it didn't work. Dad said they had to use the shaft for the central air ducts that they added later. It's for laundry and stuff and—" Ben trailed off. The feeling of homesickness was stronger, and now suffused with guilt. His parents had loved that house—he had too. And they'd had to sell it and move into a crappy apartment, and to make matters worse, he had gone and gotten into trouble…
Toby was talking again. "Well, it's pretty handy. And I can come and go through the basement so you fraidy-cats won't have to worry about getting in trouble," he sneered. "Anyway, I meant what I said earlier: someone ought to check the girls' dorm. They probably have the same set-up and if I were a missing girl or doing a school mystery or whatever, that's where I'd hide," he said.
Oz nodded. "Makes sense. We should ask some of the new girls on the tour tomorrow."
"What?" Toby said. "And let them get credit for finding her?"
Oz held up his hands in a gesture of surrender. "No, you're right," he said dryly. "You go ahead and sneak into the girls' dorm. Maybe Ben could break into their rooms until you find a door like ours, then he can pick the lock and go look for her—"
Ben looked up sharply. Given where his mind had been, this felt like a slap in the face. Oz understood his error immediately.
Toby looked up too. "Who can pick locks? You, Bridge?" he asked, sounding eager and impressed.
"Thanks, Oz," Ben said. Then he looked at Toby and nodded. "I used to, but not anymore."
"Hey," Oz said falteringly, his dry demeanor broken again. "I'm sorry. I know—"
"—that Burglar Ben Bridge could get sent to juvie prison or Hard Knocks boot camp if I do anything like that again? Yeah, you're right," he said. Ben suddenly felt very tired.
Toby bounded out of the chair. "Well, this is getting lame," he said. "I'm going to go unpack. Don't worry—" he said as Oz started to open his mouth. "I'll take my private elevator. See you losers in the morning," he said brightly, and headed out.
"Hey," Oz said again, "I'm really—"
"It's okay," Ben interrupted. "I don't mind that Toby knows, I guess. I just don't want everyone to know. Don't worry about it." He stepped over his duffel and collapsed on his bed. For a while he watched Oz set up what was starting to remind him of his grandpa's old work bench—all sorts of tools and mysterious metal objects and other junk. The feeling of homesickness all but made his stomach ache. Ben felt in his pocket. His PerfaPick was still there. And clutching it, he fell asleep.
In his dreams, he was running down a dusty hallway, chasing a girl with strawberry-blonde pigtails. "I'm the school mystery!" she cried, her voice sounding like Tina Jordan's. Then she ducked through a little door in the wall. But when Ben got to the door, there was no dumbwaiter, just a rigid stack of air-conditioning ductwork, like the dumbwaiter shaft in his old house, the house he missed almost as much as he missed his parents.
When Ben opened his eyes, he saw another shaft, a shaft of sunlight that was in his face. He heard the clatter of feet out in the hall. He looked at his watch and saw it was 9:45. Oz was gone and Ben realized that the campus tour started soon. He leapt off the bed, threw on a fresh shirt, grabbed his toothbrush and bolted down the hall to the bathroom.
A few minutes before 10, Ben dashed across the quad to the main building, where a group of new students were milling. As he slowed to a stop, Oz stepped out of the crowd, a sheepish look on his face. He handed something to Ben, wrapped in a napkin.
"You missed breakfast," he said. "So I grabbed something for you. Hope you like bagels."
Ben looked at the bagel, a hastily assembled affair with cream cheese dripping out through the middle. In fact, he wasn't a big fan of bagels at all, but he was hungry. More importantly, he realized that this was Oz's way of trying to make up for his thoughtless remark of the night before. He took a huge bite and nodded gratefully at Oz.
"Awefum," he said around a mouthful of food. "Fanks."
          A moment later, a tall girl, another counselor, appeared at the doorway and ushered the new students inside. "Come on!" she said officiously. "Sherrinford is a big place and I have a lot to show you new kids so you don't get lost." As she led them towards the corridor to the cafeteria/auditorium, she rattled off a brief history of the school and its buildings, most of it information Ben had already read online.
The girl walked them through the door Ben had seen yesterday. "Business offices are back here," the girl said crisply. "If you need to see any of the teachers or speak with the Dean, their offices are all along this corridor." It was a narrow corridor, made even narrower by an assortment of obstacles—several rolling office chairs, a cart with a couple of old computer monitors on it, and yet more white boxes of brand new printer paper, their yellow strapping still cinched tightly around each. The kids sidestepped around each impediment, but then their way was completely blocked, this time by Dean Taras herself, who was coming out of an office, talking heatedly to a man in overalls.
This man didn't look like the men Ben had seen last night. For one thing this guy was short, shorter than the Dean and most of the students. Short but wide. Muscles stood out on his shoulders and he had Popeye-like forearms that made him appear almost as wide as he was tall.
He's a little giant, Ben thought, absurdly. But it fit. Despite his diminutive stature, the man seemed to fill up the space in a most imposing way. Part of that may have been because the little giant gave off a pungent aroma that all but filled the corridor, an aroma of spoiled food and dirt. He glared at the students for a moment as if they were the ones giving off a foul odor.
"—I have to call the missing girl's mother and then speak to the police this morning, so I'll leave this in your hands. I know this isn't part of your job, Reynard, but the office-supply people gave us three times the printer paper we ordered and they're being annoyingly noncommittal about when they'll be able to return to collect the overstock. As you can see, there are hundreds of boxes, and they need to be put out of the way, I—oh, hello everyone," she said, finally noticing the throng of students clogging the hallway. Dean Taras now turned to the counselor. "Amelia, perhaps it's best if you show them the computer lab another time. As you can see, we're much too cluttered here just now."
Amelia nodded curtly, but it was clear she didn't like being derailed by any change of plan. "It's nothing special," she said as she pushed her way back through the new students and led them out the way they came. "Just a bunch of old computers from, like, the Dark Ages. The newest ones are about four or five years old."
As Ben turned to go back, he thought he heard his name and craned his neck around. None of the kids were looking at him, then he saw Dean Taras conferring with the little giant she called Reynard. And Reynard was casting a sour glance his way. Then the Dean and the man both turned and went back into the office from which they'd come.
Outside, Amelia led them on a brisk walk across the quad, where they were met by Toby, who was dashing across from Doyle Hall. "You're late," Amelia snapped. Toby favored her with a scowl, then shouldered his way into the crowd until he was standing next to Ben and Oz.
"Get stuck in the dumbwaiter?" Ben asked.
"Oh, shut it," Toby said.
Amelia led them past the girls' dorm to a row of buildings that backed up to a towering forest. Along the way, the girl noted which buildings were closed for safety reasons (although this was unnecessary—these all either had concrete barricades on the steps leading up to the doors, or the doors themselves were chained and padlocked). "Here's where you'll have your classes," Amelia said, pointing to one of the buildings directly across from them, a three-story structure festooned with fussily carved stones. Next to it was a more stately building of deep-red brick and green tendrils of climbing ivy. It was also a three-story affair, but at the top was a tall spire that Ben took for a bell tower. It reminded him of nothing so much as a church, but over the doorway, he saw a name carved on the lintel: SACKER LIBRARY.
"Awesome," Toby whispered. "This is where I'm going to work! Where are you again, Bridge?"
"Garbage duty," Ben muttered, then elbowed Toby when he started shaking with silent laughter.
Inside the library seemed like a church as well: cool and unnaturally quiet. The air was heavy with the smell of old paper and leather and Ben felt his heart slow a beat. He loved libraries, had spent quite a lot of time at the one in school. Why couldn't I have had this job, he wondered, also not for the last time.
The students filed in to a single massive room, high-ceilinged, with bright windows up in the eaves, letting in the summer light. Just below these windows, but out of the sunlight, were shelves and shelves of books. A row of desks and tables filled the center of the room, and at the end was a circular desk where a woman was hunched over a computer. She looked up at the students murmuring at the far end. The woman squinted at them over the top of a pair of bifocals, tapping a pencil thoughtfully against her teeth. Ben waited for her to drop the pencil and put a finger to her mouth, shushing the newcomers. But instead she broke into a huge grin, stuck the pencil absently into the dark hair piled on top of her head, and gave them a long, languorous wave.
"Hello everyone!" she boomed, her voice startlingly loud in the space. She leapt to her feet. She was amazingly tall and thin. In fact, she reminded Ben instantly of a female version of Mr. Hawksmoor, except that she had a slightly rounded face and a short nose. Her bright eyes sparkled as she bustled over to the students, arms outstretched.
"Welcome, fellow detectives!" she cried. "This is Sacker Library, the very best place in Sherrinford, and the finest library of mystery in the world."
"Library of mystery," Toby repeated, a big grin on his face. "Oh, I am going to like it here!"
"Shut up," Ben muttered.
"Thanks, Amelia," the lady said, then tuned to face the students. "My name is Miss Seaver, I'm the librarian here. Now, I bet some of you read about Sherrinford online before coming here. Can anyone tell me about Sacker Library?"
Ben frowned. He had read something about the library, but couldn't remember what? An eager girl in front of him raised her hand.
"Well, it's like you said, isn't it? It's a library about crimes and mysteries?" she asked.
Miss Seaver nodded excitedly. "Yes, yes! We have many, many reference books and resources on all the topics you'd expect to find at a regular library, but we do have a special focus on crime, criminal law, forensic medicine," she was gesturing now to appropriate shelves on either side of the great room.
Then she pointed to an alcove Ben hadn't noticed before, this one a clubby little room with old, overstuffed armchairs and, incongruously, a giant blue beanbag. "We also have a reading room packed with mystery and crime fiction. Including, of course, a complete set of the original Reston Twin mysteries."
Miss Seaver walked them around, showing them the reference desk computers and library catalogs, and explaining what rules existed here. "Really, the only rule I have is no food or drinks. You can come and go as you like, pretty much every book here is available to check out for as long as you like. And yes, you can talk here. This isn't a church, although it once was, back in the academy days. And just like a church, we have our sacred and priceless relics," she said, winking at them.
Before any of them could ask what she meant by this, she led them behind the circular desk to a heavy, ornately carved door hanging on massive metal hinges. It looked very old to Ben, but had one distractingly modern detail: set into the wall next to it was a small metal keypad. Miss Seaver stood in front of it, quickly tapped in a few numbers. There was a faint buzzing sound from somewhere and then the door popped open. Miss Seaver grunted and wrestled with the heavy door. Slowly, it began to open.
She led them into a very different room now: it was smaller, or at least seemed smaller, since it was filled with metal racks of books. The racks were on rails mounted on the ceiling that let them slide forward or backward. But all of the racks were at various positions on the rails so that none of them lined up in a uniform row. It reminded Ben of a maze. The air was cooler, the room felt heavy and quiet. Even the lights were different. There were no windows and Ben noticed immediately that all available light was coming from strangely humming fixtures overhead. The light made his eyes feel funny.
"Special lamps," Miss Seaver said. "So the light doesn't damage the books."
"Feels like a vault," one student remarked.
Miss Seaver smiled, her voice lowering from its enthusiastic tone to one of special reverence. "That's because it is. This is our rare book room. In it is our most special collection. The room is climate-controlled and nearly all of the books—we have over 2,000 in here—are preserved in Mylar sleeves."
Carefully, she took down the book nearest here, a small, thick tome bound in green leather. Ben caught a glimpse of the name embossed in gold leaf on the front: Edgar Allan Poe. "First edition," Miss Seaver said in the hushed tone Ben usually associated with librarians. "Over the years, students here have donated their collections of mystery and crime books. For a while, it was the fashion among mystery writers to send signed first editions to the library."
She carefully put the Poe book back. "You name it, they're here. We have a set of signed Agatha Christie books," she said, then smiled. "Well, except for the last one or two, since they were published after her death. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle donated a portion of his private library to us. Not too many mysteries, though: Sir Arthur never thought much of his most famous creation, Sherlock Holmes. We do have one or two of his bound editions of The Strand, the magazine that published most of the Holmes short stories. So most of his endowment consisted of books on spiritualism, a particular interest of his later in life."
Ben and the other students followed her single-file among the rows as she pointed to a stack of old pulp magazine devoted to the Shadow on one shelf, a bound volume of vintage Super Sleuth comics on another. Then she called out the names of books by mystery writers old and new—"McBain here, Dobyns here"—then Ben saw a very odd book at the end of one row. Unlike the rest of the volumes here, this one appeared to be encased in metal.
Toby noticed it too. "What's that one?"
Miss Seaver smiled, then grabbed the book. With a grunt of effort she lifted it from the shelves. "Anyone here ever read Steel Sterling?"
Ben raised his hand at the mention of his favorite hard-bitten, two-fisted private eye.
"Well, the author of the Sterling books, Simon Petrie, taught here for a year at the very end of his life. He was good friends with Oscar Reston, the first Oscar Reston, I mean. This was the last Sterling novel he ever wrote, and he had it bound in a steel cover, with silver plates embedded on the front." She huffed again and with some effort held out the book so they could see it. "Thank goodness he didn't give us a full set like this," she said smiling. She set it back on the shelf, arms trembling. Then she smiled apologetically at the group.
"Unfortunately, none of these books can be checked out. Most, like Steel here, are one of a kind. Priceless, really. That's why we keep them in this vault. Sometimes we'll get university types—doctoral students or biographers—coming here to do research. But they have to write months in advance to make an appointment."
"Has anyone ever tried to break in and steal them?" Oz asked. Most of the students nodded in agreement; it was clearly on a lot of people's minds.
Miss Seaver laughed. "I wondered how long it would be before someone would ask. It's just about the first question I get every year. And my answer is always: Who on earth would be foolish enough to try to steal books from a library in a school packed with smart young detectives?"
Then her smile faltered. "You know, one year, when I was a student here—yes, back in the Dark Ages—one of the teachers took Mr. Poe there at the end of the row and hid it for the school mystery. Unfortunately, he neglected to inform the librarian at the time. She was in quite a state that summer. In fact, she spent as much time as the students trying to solve the mystery. But one lucky girl beat her to it, and found it."
"Where was it?" a girl asked.
"In Mr. Reston's private study, right there on the shelf with all his other books. Right there for everyone to see, just like in Poe's story 'The Purloined Letter.'"
Amelia looked at the librarian and asked a question in a tone that suggested she'd asked this same question every year.
"And who was that lucky girl, Miss Seaver?"
The librarian blushed, then smiled sweetly. "You're looking at her."
As they filed out of the library back into the warm summer day, Toby hung back. "I'll catch up with you at lunch," he said. "I'm going to talk to Miss Seaver about my job. Starts tomorrow!" And with a short wave, he disappeared back into the library.
Amelia led them behind the buildings, to a low, long shed that stood beside a dirt track leading into the forest.
"This is the bike shed. We have enough bicycles for everyone in the school and you can sign them out any time from 8 til 7. We'll sound warning chimes about 30 minutes before the bike shed closes. When you hear them, come on back. Actually, anytime you hear the chimes—especially if they sound for a long time, that means the Dean wants you back here in the quad on the double. The Sherrinford grounds cover the whole north side of the mountain, and there are, I'm not kidding, about a hundred miles of walking and biking trails, but you'll hear the chimes wherever you are. And if you don't come when they sound, you'll lose bike and trail privileges." Then she cleared her throat, aiming a glare at the crowd. "And you DCs, don't even think about leaving the mountain. Those house-arrest monitors of yours will—"
"—alert the police and it's game over for us," Oz muttered. Other DCs around him grumbled. They had heard this enough already in the past 24 hours.
Amelia fiddled with her clipboard and removed a small sheaf of paper that she began handing out. Ben saw it was a map of the buildings and grounds, with some of the larger trails marked by names like Tenderfoot, Rocky Reach, Pathfinder, and True North. "There are many old sheds and cabins throughout the forest," Amelia went on. "But you won't find them on your maps, because we don't want you to go there. Most of these buildings are very old and structurally unsafe. Stay out of them. The last thing we need is somebody poking around in an old cabin and crashing through a floor or having a roof cave in on them."
Amelia let this sobering thought sink in, then noticed something new on her clipboard that she had apparently overlooked. "Also, I'm supposed to warn you this year to stay off the Pathfinder Trail. There's a ledge above it and this spring some of the rocks have been coming loose and landing on the trail. Don't be idiots—stay out of there. Bike shed will be open starting tomorrow. Which DC is doing that job?" A boy behind Ben, someone he actually remembered as being on his shuttle, raised his handing tentatively and in a moment Ben saw clearly who of the new kids were DCs like him and who were regular students: all the regular students were smirking or glowering at the boy. Including Amelia, who simply said, "Well, you better not have been a bike thief, kid."
There were some murmurs of resentment at this from Ben and the other DCs, but before anything could come of it, they heard a loud rumbling noise. Ben looked up the service road they were standing on. Coming down from behind the main building, a massive, ancient dump truck came clattering along, gravel pinging off its grille and flying in every direction. Ben and the other students jumped off the road as the truck passed in a cloud of dust and pebbles. Ben caught a brief look into the cab and saw the sun-weathered face of the little giant, the man who had been talking to Dean Taras earlier. He took no notice of the kids he'd almost run over and roared on down the road.
"Who was that?" one kid asked.
Amelia, coughing and wiping dust off her clipboard, said sourly, "There goes the meanest man in Sherrinford. That's Reynard, the garbage man." Then she brightened. "Who's the DC assigned to help him haul trash? I wouldn't want to be in his shoes!" All the students, even some of the DCs, laughed at this. "Come on!" Amelia brayed. "Which one of you is it?"
Ben kept his hands straight at his side and stared at the gravel road. Great…just great, he thought.

You really love leaving us hanging don't you? :) Looking forward to next week's chapter!
What a nice surprise. Thanks.
Awwww. You're too kind, MM. Thanks for another chapter.

I hope your holidays with the family went well and that you're getting the hang of your new job.
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Did you lose your creativity? Was Blaze your only muse? Don't you need to capture your thoughts and share at the same time? You are missed. Your family is missed. I hope your life is so OK that you feel it is boring. It would never be too boring for me though.

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هل تبحث عن شركة متخصصة فى خدمات التنظيف بالدمام بافضل المعدات والسوائل وثقة تمة فى العمل ودقة فى النتائج كل هذه المميزات توفرها شركة الجنرال الشركة الافضل والامثل فى الخدمات المنزلية بالدمام وبما اننا الشركة الافضل والامثل بدون منافس سوف نسعى لتوفر افضل الخدمات باقل تكلفة وبقدر كبير من الاهتمام والدقة عزيزى اينما كنت فى اى منطقة ا وحى تابع لمدينة الدمام اتصل بنا وسوف نصلك فى الحال شركة االجنرال للخدمات المنزلية
شركة نقل عفش بالدمام

شركة تسليك مجاري بالدمام

شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام

شركة تنظيف منازل بالدمام ومجالس وكنب وشقق

شركة مكافحه نمل ابيض بالدمام بافضل المبيدات

شركة تنظيف مجالس وكنب بالدمام بافضل مواد التنظييف

شركة تنظيف خزانات بالدمام مع التعقيم والغسيل

شركة تنظيف سجاد بالدمام بالبخار

شركة تنظيف شقق بالدمام وفلل وقصور


شركة نقل عفش من الرياض الى جدة

شركة نقل عفش من الرياض الى الامارات شركة شحن عفش من الرياض الى دبي
شركة نقل عفش من الرياض الى الاردن شركة شحن عفش من الرياض الى الاردن


السلام عليكم ورحمه الله وبركاته عملائنا الكرام تقدم شركه الصفرات افضل خدمات التنظيف وافضل العماله المدربه
ونحن ملتزمون بتقديم ضمان للعميل علي جودة الخدمة المقدمة المتفق
عليها مسبقا مع مندوبناونحن فى شركه الصفرات نسعى لتقديم افضل خدمه بأفضل الاسعار
على الاطلاق يوجد فى شركتنا كافه الخدات المزليه
منها عزل اسطه وتنظيف سجاد وتنظيف مجالس ونقل الاثاث ومكاغحه الحشرات وتسليك المجارى
وكشف تسريبات المياه وتنظيف المنازل وتنظيف المسابح بكل انواعها وتنظيف الخزنات وعزلها كما يوجد فى شركتنا افضل المعدات المستورده
التى نضمن بها كفائه الخدمه لعملائنا الكرام نحن فى شركه الصفرات نهتم بأدق التفاصيل لراحتك وراحه اسرتك كل ما عليك هو الاتصال بنا يصلك العماله المدربه بأحدث الاجهزه لأداء الخدمه المطلوبه بأفضل الاسعار
شركتنا من افضل الشركات على الاطلاق من حيث العماله وخبرتهم واحدث معدات التنظيف شركه الصفرات جائت لراحتك فقط تواصلو معانا نصلكم فى الحال فى كافحه انحاء الرياض
شركة الصفرات لتنظيف المنازل بالرياض
شركة الصفرات لعزل الاسطح بالرياض
شركة الصفرات لتنظيف المجالس بالرياض
شركة الصفرات لتنظيف السجاد بالرياض
شركة الصفرات لنقل الاثاث بالرياض
شركة الصفرات لمكافحة الحشرات بالرياض
شركة الصفرات لكشف التسربات بالرياض
شركة الصفرات لتنظيف المسابح بالرياض
شركة الصفرات لتنظيف الخزانات بالرياض
شركة الصفرات لتسليك المجاري بالرياض
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