To Feel, A Modern Tale (07.11.11)

The tale of Chloe and Ecker continues…with Chapter Ten.

CHAPTER ONE <Click here for all of CHAPTER ONE.>

CHAPTER TWO <Click here for all of CHAPTER TWO.>

CHAPTER THREE <Click here for all of CHAPTER THREE.>

CHAPTER FOUR <Click here for all of CHAPTER FOUR.>

CHAPTER FIVE <Click here for all of CHAPTER FIVE.>

CHAPTER SIX <Click here for all of CHAPTER SIX.>

CHAPTER SEVEN <Click here for all of CHAPTER SEVEN.>

CHAPTER EIGHT <Click here for all of CHAPTER EIGHT.>

CHAPTER NINE <Click here for all of CHAPTER NINE.>

CHAPTER TEN

Ecker arrived back at the academy and watched the other students slowly filing back into the classroom. Each looked in a daze as they poured into the room chatting among themselves feverishly and heading to their respective desks.

The group’s team leader Niman scanned over the group of students and zeroed in on Ecker. “Ecker, where’s Chloe?”

Ecker looked behind him and then back at his instructor. “I thought she was right behind me when we left,” he said nervously. “I really thought she had my hand.”

Niman’s look of frustration grew. “What do you mean you thought you had her hand? We’re supposed to be staying closely at all times with our co-traveler,” she said. She stormed past Ecker and marched out into the hallway searching frantically for the young woman.

Ecker slouched in his chair and looked down at his tablet wondering if his friend would ever forgive him. He opened the packing list file that Chloe had worked on so diligently before they left and scanned the list of items. He stared at her bags which lay on the floor next to his under the desk. He felt badly about taking her things but knew that it was the only way that she would be safe there and not discovered by anyone else as the distant traveler that she was.

Niman returned to the classroom and stopped by Ecker’s desk. “She’s not here,” she said quietly. “Why do you have her things if she’s not here?” She stared at him with an increased intensity.

“I was trying to help her, so she wouldn’t have to carry everything while we made the jump,” Ecker told her. He stared down at his hands which were beginning to shake a little as he held his tablet. “I’m so sorry.”

“Go to Mr. Jackson’s office,” Niman told Ecker sternly and walked away. Ecker knew what was in store. When he had been found in Dunston and brought back, it was Mr. Jackson who had concocted the explanation for Ecker’s own disappearance. Ecker was sure that Mr. Jackson would find a way to get to the truth, so he would have to stay silent about the whereabouts of his friend whom he thought surely by now had connected with some friendly family in the village of CarthMoore.

He stood up and slowly made his way down the hallway to the academy head’s office. His assistant Rachel greeted the young man eagerly. “Hi, Ecker, what can I do for you? Oh, did you have a nice time on your trip?”

Ecker fidgeted as he stood there and stared at the floor. “Um, yes, um, Niman told me to come down here to see Mr. Jackson. Is he in his office?”

Rachel looked at the boy tentatively and glanced over at the executive’s door. “Yes, he’s in. Let me just let him know that you’re here to see him. Hold on a second,” she said and quickly disappeared behind the door.

Ecker looked at the walls and scoured photos of students taking part in academy activities, searching for the familiar face of his friend. There, there she was. There’s Chloe, he thought as he discovered her smiling face in a picture from last year’s talent competition. She had placed third for her song and dance routine. He smiled as he reflected on the performance.

Mr. Jackson stuck his head out of the door, as Rachel returned to her desk. “Ecker, what a nice surprise. Come on in,” he said and motioned to Ecker to enter his office. “What can I do for you?”

Ecker sat down in one of the chairs in front of Mr. Jackson’s desk. “Niman asked me to come see you,” He paused seriously. “It’s about my friend…Chloe…she’s…disappeared.”

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