The Missing Assignment

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Chapter 4. 
That evening, Nikki was busy with her assignment while David and Kate talked about inventions. Nikki was interested in the topic and so, she was paying more attention to what they said than to her assignment.

‘These holidays, I’m going to do some inventions,’ said David.
‘That’s always been my dream,’ he said.
‘Oh really? I didn’t know you were a scientist,’ said Kate, sarcastically.
‘By the way, what are you going to build?’ she asked.
‘I haven’t thought of that yet,’ said David.
‘Oh, so, that sort of scientist you are. Just dreaming and eating,’ said Kate.
‘No, it’s not like that. I’ve made some figures and diagrams,’ he said and brought a fat book.
‘Oh my god! Jolly hard work you did, didn’t you? Now, how will I read such a fat book?’ said Kate.
‘Nikki! Come here,’ called David. Nikki was pleased. She jumped to the bed pretending that she knew nothing about the invention thing.
‘Look here, this is a notebook of figures and diagrams. Actually I’ve decided to invent something in these holidays. I see, you have the unusual power by which you can easily know what’s written in the book. Please check it once and say if everything’s correct,’ he said.

schoolgirls

Nikki took the book and turned the pages. ‘When did you do this? I never saw you do anything but eat,’ she said as she looked at the diagrams.
‘Hmm, quite neat and nice. Now, let me check it,’ she said nodding. She took the book on her hands and closed her eyes. She forced opened her eyes at once. ‘Wow David!’ she said. ‘I’ve never expected you to be such a clever boy. You are very clever,’ she said with delight.
‘Why, is it all right?’ asked David, eager to know.
‘These diagrams are perfect and correct except for the two or three that I didn’t understand! All the calculations are correct and your idea is superb,’ said Nikki.

They chatted and talked about the things for invention, parts and all. By this time, Nikki was lost and her assignment lay helpless on the table.
The lovely scene outside was as heavenly as ever. The birds chatted happily at the Goofy Oaks. The Goofy Oaks is a place inside an oak tree. The tree could be seen standing strong just outside the window of Kate’s room. Inside the tree, there were some birds that could talk like humans. Yes, they could! They were some special birds unlike any other. Not all the birds of Rosetta were like this. Only the birds at the Goofy Oaks could talk like us. So, they chatted with each other just like we do.
At the backyard of the school, there was a creepy lane. By the side of the lane, grew an unusual and extraordinary flower. A colourful flower it was. It looked like a hibiscus and was exactly like that but each petal had different colours. The first petal was coloured in blue and black, the second petal in red and orange, the third in yellow and pink, the fourth in purple and green and the fifth in deep blue and violet.

This town was similar to our towns but unlike us, this town was a curious place sometimes. It had talking birds, curious flowers and here, the dogs and cats were best friends. Purr, Sir Adamson’s dog brought a pizza in his mouth and dropped it by the side of a lovely white cat at the garden and then he settled beside the cat and watched her eat.

“Dinner & Lunch” across the street was looking bright with sparkling lights. “Dinner & Lunch” was a café where almost all the people from the town went to eat. Street lights shined yellow at night and cheerful noises were heard from the houses in the dark. There was a little fountain in the park near the “Dinner & Lunch”. Above the fountain, the little messenger fairies danced. Their dress sparkled in the street lights and their ornaments dazzled in the dark. The house keeper, Mr. Brooklyn slept sounding in his shabby little house.

‘Zzzzzzzz!’ he snored without noticing one little bug settle down on his nose.
The Rogester Club across the Newton’s lane was filled with melodious sound. The songs of Beatle’s band were to be heard from there. The tune was sweet as anything and it made the dancers fly. Now, let us come to the bad part, the Dabrin Lane was silent and forbidden. It was lonely and there was nothing else in the lane except prickly bushes. The lane was dark as night and there was not even a street light to be seen. Completely forbidden lane as it was. Years and years ago, in this lane ghosts were heard making horrible noises, women shouting and children screaming. Those horrible noises made nights unbearable. One night, the lane was told to be filled with blood and corps. After a day or two, zombies started to attack but it all came to an end when the one to give this curse died. He was an evil who gave this curse and he said that this will continue until his death. But still, noises were heard and this time the noises were made by the detectives of the agency that appeared and disappeared. They did it to keep the lane still forbidden so that they could do their work in peace.

‘Oh well, the inventions you thought about are correct,’ said Kate. Nikki was back to her table, doing the assignment.
‘Where are you going?’ asked David as Nikki got up from her chair with a file on her hands.
‘I’m going to keep my file in the locker,’ she said and walked away. When she was in the locker room, she felt a pair of eyes was watching her press the dial. But as she saw nothing, she put her file in the locker, locked it and pressed the dial. She hummed as she did. ‘There it is, safe and sound,’ she said to herself. She went back to her room and started talking about inventions once again.

The next morning, the three of them were ready to go for their Matology class. However, David went with a group of boys.

‘I’m glad he’s gone with the boys, today. Sometimes, it’s a shame to see the others giggling when they see David with us. I feel sorry,’ said Kate as she and Nikki walked to their English class.
‘Sometimes I think how strong our relationship is. We always care about each other. It’s a truth that, more than myself, I care about you and David,’ said Nikki.
‘I feel the same. I like David. Though he is stupid at times, he’s very caring. I really do like the both of you,’ said Kate, shaking her head and smiling to herself. ‘We are made for each other and we’ll fight the evil together,’ said Nikki. ‘No doubt about that,’ said Kate giving a high five.

After the English class, the students were ready for the class of Extraordinary Science. Extraordinary Science was an optional subject and out of the three of them, only Nikki opted for it. She thought it as a very interesting subject and wondered why the others didn’t choose it.

Nikki went to her locker because today she had to submit the assignment she worked on the other night. She turned the dial round and round and then pressed it. It was a shock for her when she opened it. There was no assignment or files!

‘No assignments?’ she was surprised.
‘But I kept it here last night!’ she said to herself. She ran back to her room and searched everywhere but there was no assignment. In class, she made an excuse.
‘Sir, I’m really sorry. But I promise that I’ll submit it tomorrow,’ she said.
‘I’ve never seen you in this condition. You are my star student. Well, it’s all right. But I want it by tomorrow,’ said Mr. Bretty.
‘Who could have taken that?’ thought Nikki. She looked at everyone and saw Gwendoline giggling. Nikki got suspicious.
‘Last night, I thought that someone was watching me. Could that be Gwen?’ she thought. ‘It could be. I’ll have to discuss about it with Kate and Dave,’ she thought. As classes got over, Nikki told everything to Kate and David.
‘I believe it is Gwen,’ said David.
‘We can’t tell that confidently until proved. I have an idea. Do collect a new paper from Mr. Bretty and do it today and keep it with you. Submit it tomorrow and wait for the results. If you ask Gwen what she has got, she’ll be proud to show you her marks if she has cheated. You don’t need to see her marks. Instead, see the first answer and you’ll know whether it was your answer or not because it is English and everyone has their own style of writing. If it is yours, it’s Gwen who did the work. She doesn’t know whom she is dealing with. We are with you and you don’t have to be worried,’ said Kate.
‘I won’t think of worrying a bit when I’m with you. By the way, your idea is brilliant!’ said Nikki. ‘Yeah, it is,’ nodded David.
‘Thanks. And I’ll find out the rest of the revenge plan,’ she said.
‘Oh, that would be exciting!’ said Nikki happily.
‘You get on with the first part and I’ll think of the next,’ said Kate.

That night, Nikki went to collect an extra paper from Mr. Bretty and did it in the night. She hid it secretly under her bed sheet and was fast asleep for the night.
So, as planned, the next morning Nikki was ready for the class of Extraordinary Science. But before that, she visited the staff room and submitted the paper to Mr. Bretty.

‘Good work, Nick. Now, I can check your paper along with the other papers,’ said Mr. Bretty, pleased.
‘Thanks, sir,’ said Nikki and she went back to the class.

Mr. Bretty was there with the bundles of papers. He distributed the papers and Nikki looked at her big “A+”. ‘Nikki, I’m glad you did another assignment but you are not going to be so careless from now on. I need the assignment on the given time and date. You’ll take care of it,’ Mr. Bretty said. Nikki was sad. It wasn’t her fault at all. She saw Gwen smile and clenched her teeth in anger.
After the class, she walked over to Gwen. Though she was angry, she hid her anger and asked Gwen very sweetly.

‘Hi Gwen, what have you got?’ she asked. Gwen took out the paper with a smile and showed her.
‘An A+,’ she said proudly. Nikki looked at the first solution and she realized that it was her answer.
‘Congratulations Gwen!’ said Nikki going pale.
‘Thanks,’ said Gwen and walked away looking high and mighty.
‘So it’s you. You don’t know with whom you are messing with,’ muttered Nikki angrily.

After school, Nikki told David and Kate all about the day’s happenings.

‘Have you thought of anything? I want revenge,’ said Nikki.
‘Wait a minute. Let me think,’ said Kate. ‘Yes! I’ve got it!’ she shouted after sometime. ‘All right, Nikki, when are you going to get the next assignment?’ she asked.
‘Next assignment? Why, we’ve got one today. Sometimes our assignments are regular,’ said Nikki confused.
‘Very well, listen to me. Get one extra assignment from Mr. Bretty today,’ said Kate.
‘All right, and then?’ asked Nikki, eagerly. ‘In one assignment, you write all the wrong answers and in another, you write the correct answers. You keep the wrong one in the locker and let Gwen find it. Keep the correct one with you. The next day, you get to the class first and keep the assignment in the table and let it get buried under the other assignments. And then, you sit with a worried face and let Gwen see you like that. She’ll think that once again, her plan is successful. When Mr. Bretty arrives for the class, you take him outside and ask him a question or two with a worried face and let Gwen see you once again but don’t let her hear you. She’ll probably think that you thought you have lost your paper and you are telling to Mr. Bretty about it. The next day, when you get full marks, show it to Gwen and ask her for her paper once again. Let her feel ashamed after that,’ Kate ended her speech and silence spread.
‘Brilliant!’ said David suddenly. ‘I see you are cleverer than me!’ he said.
‘Oh Kate! I can’t wait to apply your idea!’ said Nikki. She hopped in the room and danced and sang. She was very happy.
‘Nikki, I think I told you to collect one more assignment,’ Kate reminded her.
‘Oh ya!’ Nikki wore her jersey and ran to the staff room at top speed.
‘Mr. Bretty, I need an assignment. An extra one,’ said Nikki.
‘An assignment? Sorry, I can’t give you one without any reason. Tell me, what’s wrong?’
‘Sir, by mistake Gwen spilt the bottle of ink over my assignment and now it’s of no use. So, I’ve thrown it,’ said Nikki.
‘All right, take this,’ he said giving the paper to Nikki. ‘Thank you, sir,’ she said and went to her room.

That evening, she was busy doing the wrong assignment and the correct assignment. It was fun to do the wrong one! When she finished, she showed it to Kate. ‘Very good,’ said Kate. Nikki gave the set of papers to David.
‘Hah! What an answer you wrote, Nikki. Very funny indeed!’ he said laughing heartily.
‘Yes, I know that they are funny answers but what can I do? However, it’s the same with Gwen. She doesn’t even know anything,’ said Nikki.
‘Now go before she gets suspicious at you. Go and keep the fake paper in your locker,’ said Kate.
‘Ya, I’m going,’ Nikki nodded happily and she took the papers to the locker room. She looked here and there and felt herself shiver with excitement.

She kept the paper in the locker and smiled to herself. Very soon, she was in her room, laughing heartily as she thought about the plan.
‘Have you gone mad, Nikki?’ asked David, his eyes in his fat notebook.
‘Yes, I think so. You know, I can’t wait anymore,’ said Nikki starting to laugh again.

Later that night, she went to see if her assignment was gone and sure, it was not there in the locker. Nikki smiled to herself with joy.
The next day, Nikki got her paper buried under the others and she acted really well. She smiled a watery sort of smile and Gwen smiled back at her, happily. Gwen probably thought that Nikki was worried and scared. She was worried about nothing at all but was pretending to be worried.

The next morning, Nikki was very excited and so were David and Kate.
‘Oh, I wish I had been in your place. I could have taken a camera with me to the class and snap a picture of Miss Gwendoline after she gets her results,’ he said.
‘Oh, I feel the same. If only I had a camera,’ said Nikki.
‘Bye, Nikki!’ David waved.
‘Kate, see you after class!’ shouted Nikki. Nikki walked to the classroom and waited patiently for Mr. Bretty to arrive.

She was excited and nervous. What if something went wrong in the plan? What if Gwen had known what was their plot? What if the plan is not successful? Mr. Bretty arrived with a bundle of papers. The class stood up to greet the teacher.
‘Nothing will go wrong, Nick,’ Nikki told to herself.
‘Students, please take your seats,’ Mr. Bretty said, his voice as calm as usual. ‘As you know that today I’ve got the papers, I think you are all excited. Well, I don’t want to be late but I’m glad to say that most of you have done well.’

Nikki was scared. Maybe something had gone wrong in the plan or maybe Gwen had known about the plan and had gone her own way, and has got the marks by cheating. And Mr. Bretty is thinking that she had improved. That thought made Nick shiver.
‘Be positive,’ she said to herself. Goodness always wins and that is what happened.

The teacher distributed the papers and Gwen had got her paper first. So, Nikki tried to look at her paper. The teacher gave the paper to Nikki and before she could see what she had got, the teacher spoke.
‘Gwendoline, it’s really bad of you. You didn’t answer a single one correctly!’ scolded Mr. Bretty.
‘Nikki Rushdie, you are the first in class once again. You answered everything correctly,’ he said.
‘Thank you, sir,’ Nikki bowed, sighing in relief.

Nothing had gone wrong after all. Gwendoline looked at Nikki with surprise and confusion and Nikki smiled at her sweetly.
That evening, Nikki told everything to David and Kate. How she had thought things would go wrong and how it had turned out to be very well and she also described Gwen’s face after the distribution of papers. She laughed along with the other two. But David almost fell down from his bed with laughter.
‘I wish I had a camera, I wish I had it,’ said Kate all the time as she laughed hammering on the bed with her fist. ‘I would have gone for Gwen’s face at first and then, her assignment, and then you with a red face going yellow with pleasure,’ she said. ‘From now, I’ll always do like this if she doesn’t change herself,’ said Nikki, laughing again and again.

Gwen was really ashamed and was thinking about some new plans in her room but the bond of these three children was much stronger. The laughter did end at last with David getting a stomach pain with the entire laughing job.
‘I thought laughing was really good for health,’ he said to the others.

That night, while sleeping, Nikki laughed once but no one noticed it. That was a funny sight.

(By 13 year old Deeksha Das from India, writing under the pen name of Garnet)

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