Runner-Up, Kidpub November 2012 Writing Contest
Meghan could have been called incredibly stupid. What sane 21-year-old would rush off into the night when a deranged man calls up at one o'clock in the morning, claiming that her ID had been found?
But Meghan Morris wasn't incredibly stupid at all. In fact, she was the smartest person in the world. Or, at least, that's what her IQ test showed. However, smartness is something completely different from common sense, and that was what Meghan lacked as she sped off on her motorbike like a teenaged graffiti artist.
If you were nearly as smart as Meghan, you'd be wondering, 'ID? What ID?' As she raced across the suburbs of Devlin, California, Meghan thought back to the time when she had received her ID.
It was a cold night, not unlike this one. But 15-year-old Meghan was safely in Devlin Laboratory, and she didn't own a motorbike.
"Meghan Victoria Morris," announced Dr. Quigley, "Welcome to Devlin Laboratories, the greatest labs in the whole of California. You have been granted a place in the nuclear department. If you accept the ID, you must promise to utmost secrecy. The developments in here stay here, and if we get knowledge of your conveying information to people outside these laboratories, you will be accused of being a spy and will serve 20 years in jail. Do you agree?"
Meghan nodded. "Yes, I do."
"Sign here, please."
All fifty-two scientists working in the laboratory stared as a quivering Meghan signed her name on the sheet that Dr. Quigley provided.
As she swerved to a stop, Meghan returned to the present. All that mattered was her ID, or she'd never be able to access the labs again.
The man on the phone had mentioned Frenzy Park, a wild, tree-dotted expanse of scruffy grass that more resembled a forest. Meghan thought it eerie that she had to come here, of all places, but she dismissed the thought, driven by the suggestion of finding that ID. It never occurred to her that the man, Mr. Williams-something-or-the-other, might have been lying.
As she stepped into the park, two blue pupils greeted her. She jumped but then recognized it was the security guard.
"Take the east path then the north path," she murmured. The coordinates led her deeper and deeper into the brambles, the shadows and the darkness.
"Boy, this is creepy. So I grab my ID, say 'thank you' and rush away before this madman tries to do something else," she revised. As she thought this, she reached the end of the north path. It was a dead end. Around it, Meghan could see thick trees that blocked all view. She shuddered. That would be the last option she'd try.
Just when it looked like the only option, she caught sight of a figure, perched on what looked like a bench. She jogged towards it, thinking all the time of the day she'd lost her ID.
Meghan walked across the sandy beach. Her flip-flops were soaked, her hair was frizzy and she was in a terrible mood. She stormed back to her bike. It was only when she'd left the beach and was in the car-park did she realize that she was being followed by a man with a drawn jacket-hood.
"Move it. I need to get to my car," she said curtly.
The man didn't move.
"I said-" The man grabbed her arm and twisted it.
"Hey! Help! Anyone?" But by now it was too late. The man grabbed her bag and flung her keys, sunscreen, wallet and phone on the ground, before pulling out the ID. Meghan stared as he made off with her one connection to Devlin Laboratories. But as he ran, his hood slipped off and Meghan could see thick black hair, spiky and gelled.
Without that ID, Meghan wouldn't be able to enter Devlin Lab. Without that ID, she would have no access to her laptop, which contained all the research and results she'd done for five, nearly six years.
Meghan felt a branch crunch under her feet, and she zapped back to the present. She glanced around warily. The man was hunched on the bench, but his face was masked in shadows. Meghan walked up to him.
"Quickly. Quickly!" the man said, half to himself.
"Yes... it's me, uh, Meghan."
"Quickly. Quickly! Quick-ug-ly!" he panted.
"Do you have my ID?" Meghan said cautiously.
"No! Quig-ly!" The man slumped against the bench, face down. His arm had a plaster, like the ones used after an injection. But Meghan knew the logo on the plaster. Why, though, did this man wear a plaster from Devlin Laboratories?
As the man breathed out, Meghan caught a whiff of a lemony, anti-septic smell. She had invented the tonic that gave off this smell a couple of years ago, and as she put the pieces together, she knew who had stolen her ID.
The man had been injected with a memory-loss medicine, which she had contributed to Devlin Lab's findings. The memory-loss shot also had some side effects, including fainting and nausea. Which meant the man with spiky hair was...
"Dr. Quigley!" That was what the man was saying: Quigley, not quickly. Meghan scowled. She had suspected that someone working in the lab was sneaking information, because she'd found out about inventions that scientists in the neighboring countries had claimed that they had discovered. Dr. Quigley. The head of Devlin Lab. A traitor.
She rushed off to Devlin Laboratory, her mind as cluttered as a wastepaper-basket. She was angry, sleep-deprived, and a little afraid. She would break down the doors of the lab if she needed to, but then what would happen to her?
Meghan skidded to a halt beside Devlin Lab. She hammered on the door, and to her surprise, it opened.
"Hello, Meghan Victoria Morris. Broken your promise yet?" Dr. Quigley drawled. He ushered her in, where 62 pairs of eyes met hers.
"Traitor!" Meghan yelled. Dr. Quigley didn't do anything, but he smiled, as did some of the other scientists. One even chuckled. Meghan recognized her co-worker, Alicia.
"Of course we're traitors, Meghan. We've been scheming to plot your downfall. You are a powerful weapon that could be used, for us or against us. We won't take that chance. Goodbye, Meghan." Alicia growled. Dr. Quigley advanced... holding a knife in his hand.