Chapter 1 – The ring
“Look at this” exclaimed Nora “there is a ring in the cereal box!” She was sitting at the table in the kitchen filling a bowl with cereal when the ring fell out.
“Yes, honey. There should be” replied her father. He was facing the kitchen sink and didn’t turn around “it says so on the box, price in every box, right?”
Nora looked at the box. It did say that in big bold letters A Price in every box. She wasn’t sure they meant this though. The ring she held in her hands had a metallic yellow-silver like colour to it. It shone and gleamed when light hit it, it had a little rock in it or was it a mineral, she didn’t really understand the difference between the two her mother even referred to the diamond in her ring as a rock so they were most likely the same thing anyway. The rock was golden it looked like molten honey had hardened on it and she thought that if she focused on it properly enough she could make out a few darker things. She thought it was beautiful. She put the ring carefully in her pocket and poured milk into her cereal bowl. When she finished eating she headed out the door took the bus and arrived at school.
She wasn’t late, well that wasn’t true she was hardly late when she arrived at school. The teacher had just closed the door by the time she got there, she tried to sneak in unnoticed but that couldn’t really work, as soon as she opened the door the teacher noticed her and she got scolded by her teacher and distraught sat down in her seat at the back of the class next to the window. It was a long lecture about something, it started with numbers and variables and she quickly lost interest. Whenever that happened she would start drifting to her favourite place in the world. Her imagination, it was the only place that was truly hers and whenever she felt like the world was uninteresting she would go for a walk there. There was nothing in her imagination that she couldn’t do and there was nowhere that was out of bounds for her. Her inspiration was always a mixed bag of graphic novels, books and television, although it could really be anything at all.
“Dr Richard reeves?”
“Yes” answered a man wearing a large white coat without looking up from his big wooden desk.
“I am Anna your new secretary; you hired me several days ago. Today is my first day” said a timid woman wearing a short skirt and a vest.
“Oh yes” he looked up from his desk and got up with a hand extended. “Nice to see you again I’ll show you to your desk. Its right down here” he said and started walking down the corridor expecting Anna to follow. He took her to a desk and motioned her to sit, I already linked computer up to the network actually the technical service did that. It should all be ready for use” he stated looking deep into her big brown eyes. She was mesmerizing; her large eyes sucked him in as though they were incredible passageways into a secret and beautiful place. He had to hold himself in check as he noticed he was inching closer to her in order to kiss her. “If you have any questions I will be in my office” he added and walked away.
Anna sat behind her desk looking at her screen she didn’t move for several moments, did she just imagine or did Dr Reeves just try to kiss her. Just the thought made her blush, he was a well respected man but more than that he was good looking and she felt very much attracted to him. Maybe she should just try and chat him up, but something told her that if he really wanted to he would have kissed her when he had the chance. So she figured the best way to play it is by just letting it go and do her work to the best of capabilities. She turned back to her screen and looked at the screen, Dr Reeves was a very busy man, and his calendar was something of a challenge as there were no spaces in it at all and many people were sending emails with requests to have a meeting, it took her quite some time to get them sorted.
The sound of the phone put that on hold. It was Dr Warner who called to ask if Dr Reeves had left the results of a certain patient with her; she replied that he hadn’t and that Dr Reeves would be back in half an hour.
“Anna…”Anna slowly opened her eyes and looked up. The teacher was standing next to her desk looking down, an expression of earnest anger on his face. “What did I tell about falling asleep during my class?” he asked his voice clearly angry.
Anna looked down ashamed “I’m sorry Dr. Reeves I promise it won’t happen again”
“Dr Reeves?” he asked looking at her in confusion.
“I mean Mr. Reeves” she corrected herself quickly blushing slightly.
“Very well, just pay attention from now on alright?”
She nodded vigorously. He left her desk and walked back to the front of the class.
“Alright where were we…” he asked rhetorically and continued explaining a certain formula he had drawn on the blackboard.
Anna breathed a sigh of relief and tried to focus her attention on the lesson, a task that was very difficult to her. She hated math and although she did like Mr Reeves, math was just boring to her, all those numbers never made any sense and at the end even if she had understood how to solve a formula she still couldn’t apply it to her question correctly without forgetting some step along the way. The worst part of it was that she actually did try, she wanted to be good at math but it seemed like a forlorn dream to her, a dream that had long passed. She would be happy enough just passing the exam.
“Psst, anna” whispered a voice from her right.
She turned to face Josh who was sitting at his desk next to her. He was a scruffy looking boy and she didn’t care for him much, he was always trying to talk to her though. “Yes?”
“Do you know what he is talking about?” he asked pointing at the teacher.
She sighed didn’t he just notice what happened? He seemed to be even more of a space cadet than me she thought. “Of course I don’t”
“Oh. That’s a shame. I thought you could explain it to me after school maybe” he looked slightly ashamed. Was he asking her out? She didn’t reply and just went back to focusing on the lesson with occasional pauses to look out of the window.
Outside it seemed like the world was infinitely more interesting than the real world, outside the world was breathing, there was action adventure and suspense everywhere. There were so many things to do, so many things to see, but hear in the real world you had to sit through boring math classes. Outside even a fallen leaf had his adventure struggling to stay afloat so that it wouldn’t feel any pain when it eventually landed on the ground, only to be whisked away by the wind to an unknown destination. Everything outside seemed so much more interesting then the classroom that she didn’t mind even switching places with a tree leaf. The only nice thing about the class was Mr. Reeves. She didn’t much like the other boys in her class they were all so childish but Mr. Reeves was different, he was a real gentleman. She could tell by the way he spoke that he was nice and gentle man, he could be stern but he would never raise his voice. He had a commandeering timber in his voice that would lead everyone around him to just forget all about challenging him. It wasn’t fear or anything like that it was a sort of respect. She thought it was the combination of his voice and his eyes the timber in his low brisk voice and his dark green eyes that pierced you through with their gaze that did the trick. Or maybe it was something else, he had so many good qualities it was hard to chose something that made him so formidable.
When the long lesson was finally over, she sneaked outside for a quick breath of fresh air. She walked out the front doors of the school and headed to the back where there were several trees some bushes and a few benches located in a neat corner. She headed straight for the bench in the middle where she could see the trees and sat down; she took several deep breaths when a voice startled her.
“Hi Anna, what are you doing?”
She quickly turned around and only marginally calmed down when she saw that it was Josh. “Hello Josh, what do you want? Did you follow me?” She asked him bluntly.
He smiled cheekily and nodded.
She could get angry with him for following her but what would be the point he was clearly a foolish boy so she resigned and said “You can sit on that bench over there” she said motioning to the bench in front of her.
His smile beamed at her and he quickly sat in front of her happy and content. Josh was staring at her, as if he was expecting her to do some tricks for him. He looked just like a puppy she thought his brain probably worked like one too. The way he was staring at her made her uncomfortable and to distract herself from it she put her hand in her pocket and fiddled with the ring she got from the cereal pack. Josh continued to stare smiling although he was now also looking at the hand that was hidden in her pocket.
“It’s a ring I found in a cereal pack” she muttered taking out the ring. Why was she explaining this to him?
Josh looked at it closely “Can I hold it?” he asked.
Carefully she handed the ring over to him. He stared at it fascinated and then without waiting for her permission he put the ring over his finger.
“Wow this is neat” he said.
“I didn’t tell you that you could put it on your finger did I?!” she called angrily.
“I’m sorry I just thought it was a cool ring. I’ll take it off if you want” he quickly put a finger on the rock and another on the other side so that he could pull it off. “I promise, I didn’t mean to upset you I…” Josh couldn’t finish his sentence because he wasn’t there anymore.
Anna stared in shock but there was no one there. In a moment Josh just disappeared, he was standing right there in front of her and now he was gone. It must be a trick, she looked around trying to locate him somewhere “Josh this isn’t funny. Where are you?” she screamed, but there was no response, Josh vanished from the face of the earth.
Alright, try to think about this logically what was Josh doing just before he vanished? He was playing with her ring, the ring she got from the cereal box. He was trying to get it off when he was suddenly whisked away. Did the ring take him somewhere? If that was it then she had to find another ring like it and that would lead her to the same place. Whatever that other place was she was sure she could get him out of there, she had some money on her all she needed to do was to go to the shopping centre and find some cereal boxes that contained the ring. School was now an afterthought and she quickly left the school yard to find another ring.