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The Quantum Mind: Chapter 9

by Ventomology


After school, Carrie raced straight to Mrs. Johns’s room.

Of course, since kids were still swimming and pushing through the halls, the biology teacher was outside her room, scanning the halls with her infrared camera.

“Hey Mrs. Johns,” Carrie said, just loud enough to be heard over screaming high schoolers.

“Good afternoon, Carrie.”

“So, what’s up?”

The teacher didn’t answer. But it wasn’t long before she gasped in surprise. “Carrie,” she started, following someone with her camera view, “Do you know any short, skinny African American boys?”

“Um, why?”

“I just saw someone who wasn’t cold this morning, but certainly is now.”

“If you’ve been looking at everyone with that heat camera, how do you know he’s Black?”

“Facial structure. Now tell me if you know any short, skinny-”

Carrie jumped to please the teacher. “I do, I do! I know one guy who matches that description.”

“Name?”

“Dieter. I can’t pronounce his last name.”

The teacher hmphed and lowered her camera to stare accusingly at Carrie. “He’s your friend, right? How can you not know how to pronounce his last name?”

“He’s more like a friend of a friend.”

“Fine. But you know why I’m asking, right?”

“I know,” Carrie groaned, “You need all the information you can get to keep Earth safe.”

“Good. Now that we’re clear on that, I suppose I’ll tell you what I already know.” She cleared her throat and assumed a knowledgeable air. “First, the cold spot is on campus.”

“Uh-huh,” Carrie said. That much had been obvious.

“Second, only select people come in contact with it. Since I don’t know their names, I haven’t been able to research them. If only I could keep you around all day, but alas, I can’t.”

Carrie was tempted to giggle.

“Third, I have only ever seen students with this cold temperature. No matter where else I look, or which teachers I look at, only students have been affected.”

Carrie wanted to say something in agreement, just so she could say something. But instead, she offered help. “Uh, if you have descriptions, I might be able to identify the people with the cold temperature.”

Mrs. Johns turned in surprise. “I highly doubt you know every student in the school. There’s no way you could pick out faces from the infrared pictures.”

What had Noel said earlier that day? It was something about her also being involved in this low body temperature thing. That would probably come in handy.

“At least let me try,” Carrie said.

The teacher conceded and showed Carrie the faces.

So Noel was right.

“That’s Lillian Kartal.”

“I already knew about her.”

“That’s Dieter, but you obviously knew that one.”

“Yes.” Mrs. Johns switched to the next picture.

“That’s Noel Finnard,” Carrie said. Huh, so Noel was right this morning.

Next one.

“Doug Li.”

Next.

“And that’s Theodore Wong.”

“Hmm. You seem to be acquainted with all of them. How intriguing.”

Carrie looked down in thought. That was weird, actually. She glanced back at Mrs. Johns, but for some reason, she didn’t want to say that Theo had telepathy. “I-I think one of the students has the cold spot in their bodies.”

“Why is that?”

“Well,” Carrie started. Should I tell her? No, I probably shouldn’t say anything about that without Noel or Theo’s permission. “You know, if it had been in a non-living thing, wouldn’t the cold stuff have spread already? There’s probably some sort of inhibitor from a human or something.”

“A stunning observation, Carrie,” Mrs. Johns said, “I suppose I’ll have to draw it out then.”

Dieter did not come to school the next day.

***

Yvette was concerned. No, she was beyond that. She was worried.

The first one gone had been Dieter, last Thursday. Next, Doug had disappeared Monday. It was Wednesday now. Lillian was absent, and neither of the two boys had come back.

Upon questioning, she found little. This wasn’t middle school, where the English teacher knew everything about everyone. And none of the three absentees had been online during their time away.

She asked Noel in the band locker room that afternoon.

The girl shook her head. “I talked to Dieter’s little sister yesterday, and she said he was supposed to be at some in-school retreat. Now I’ve got his whole family worried because I told her that Dieter hadn’t come to school since last week.”

“Oh my.”

Noel hoisted up her French Horn. “I’ll let you know if I find anything else, but I’ve got a bus to catch right now. See you later.”

Yvette watched Noel leave before heading to Mrs. Johns’s room to spy before her meeting with Mr. Wills.

But it wasn't long before the man himself arrived. He wasn't happy to see her there. A furious scowl on his face, Mr. Wills lunged for Yvette. She sprawled backwards to avoid him, but the man caught her foot and reeled her in. He pulled her upside down and she screamed from the shock.

Hands around her neck, Mr. Wills bustled into the biology room. "Hello Mrs. Johns," he said, "I've brought in a little eavesdropper."


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Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:27 am
barefootrunner wrote a review...



Back again! May the best team win this review day!

Character development

Not much, except that Mrs. Johns is in the spotlight, and she is very creepy :D
I also figured that I didn't know what Dieter looked like. I'm not sure what anyone looks like! I think it's because you introduced them all together, too fast on the bus. In general, this work might also need more detail. I'm not seeing many images of the things I read, so you need more descriptions.

Plot

This should be huge! But it isn't. Kids with abnormal body heat disappearing under highly suspicious circumstances, a crazy bio teacher interested in them all—why doesn't Carrie panic or at least put two and two together to figure out the connection? The reaction to this ought to be bigger, and it would give more importance and drama to the disappearances, which are in fact the most worrying thing that has happened so far!


Keep writing! This is going great :)

barefoot




Ventomology says...


Whoops, I probably need something from Theo or Noel's perspective so that it's clear that they already have plans...



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Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:14 am
Deanie wrote a review...



Hello! I'm finally going to be all caught up with these chapters :D

This was an okay chapter. It released a lot of suspense though, which will surely keep the reader wanting to turn the page and see what else is in store. Pat on the back there!

I noticed that at the beginning Mrs. Johns was asking Carrie if she knew a skinny black boy. And then it turned out to be Dieter! I noticed then that, I really don't know the characters if I haven't the slightest idea of what Dieter looked like before. And then I also realized I have no clue in the slightest what any of the characters look like! I know this can be a bit difficult to slip in without using clichés. But maybe Noel is looking around the bus for a mass of curly brown hair and someone with pale green eyes... and the spots Carrie and sits next to her! That's a discrete way of letting us know what Carrie looks like. And you can do things similar to this for the other characters as well. As I've mentioned many times before - we do need to know who we are reading about to some extent. We really need to live through the story as readers.

So Mrs. Johns is supposed to be doing an investigation that Yvette was supposed to be doing. If Yvette had to do it discretely, wouldn't she need to as well? I don't see looking through a camera at students and trusting in Carrie by telling her she's trying to save the world as discrete. I'm sure Yvette could've achieved just as much being as obvious as she is. Maybe you should make Mrs. Johns a bit more low-ley? And as well as that, Carrie just buys the idea that this teacher is trying to save the world? If my biology teacher told me this, I would think he was crazy! Actually, in general all the children at this school are far too accepting. No one questions anything, even absolutely crazy ideas like students reading minds!

Mr. Wills picks up Yvette and drags her into a room, against her will. Because she was just saying goodbye to Noel, I'm sure she was either outside or in a hallway; both where there would be a lot of bustling children. No one questions an adult teacher man-handling a child? That would be really strange. And I'm sure children would do something at the very least....

Noel and Yvette find out that Dieter hasn't been home at all or at school for a whole week! And Noel says goodbye and waltzes off. For all she knows, her best mates could've been kidnapped! Especially her other friends since they've been absent reasonably long as well. So, wouldn't it not only be Yvette worrying, but also Noel? And shouldn't they try and get an adult in here to help with official searches? For someone who is ditzy, Noel is also incredibly smart. And I just don't see how those two character traits can go together.

I think you've got a good idea and story here. You just need to work a bit more on building strong characters and also keeping it realistic. I've enjoyed reading this so far. Please post on my wall or message me whenever you post the next chapter. I look forwards to reading more of this.

Deanie x




Ventomology says...


Ah, goodness. You're definitely right about the character reactions. I do have a good reason on Yvette's part, but the others... not so much. And thank you for your tip on where to slip in character descriptions! I always have lots of trouble with that.
Thank you so much for reviewing!



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Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:11 am
FireFox wrote a review...



Hi, Buggiedude! I haven't read any of your other chapters, nor do I know if you even have any of them posted, but I will be checking after I finish this review! When I review, I typically list two or three things I think you could work on to improve the piece and a few things that I thought you did well. BUT, to be entirely honest, I found absolutely nothing in this chapter that needs improvement! I just wanted to let you know that I love your dialogue; it is so realistic and rather amusing. This chapter is almost entirely dialogue and I think you did a great job with it! I guess the only thing I can really ask of you is to maybe add a bit more description, not only to balance out the dialogue, but because readers like description. I love to be able to feel like I am actually in the situation!

Keep writing! Feel free to PM me with any questions!

-FireFox




Ventomology says...


Thank you so much for reviewing! Since you reminded me, I guess it's time to go through the coming chapters and edit some details in, huh? I never get enough reviewers, so thanks a ton!




A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.
— Roald Dahl