The next thing he knew, Joey was lying on a big lumpy couch in a small cluttered office. A dingy old lamp sat on a small, messy desk with a paper covered chair next to it. A peculiar woman with a long red braid was looking down on him with concern. â€œAre you all right, Dr. Sorton?â€
â€œWhere am I?â€ asked Joey. He was feeling rather tired and sick to his stomach.
â€œYou are in the official headquarters of the OPERRAW, the Organization for the Protection of Earthâ€™s Resources by Retreating to Another World. We would like you to help us improve our ASHEWST, the Atom Splitting High Energy Wrinkler of Space and Time. That was how we got you here.â€
â€œSo you teleported me here and you want me to help you improve your teleporter?â€ clarified Joey.
â€œNot precisely. We used certain top-secret technology to transport you through the fabric of space and time. Of course, weâ€™ll tell you all about it if you agree to help,â€ replied the woman. â€œNow, if youâ€™ll just come with me, Iâ€™ll take you to see the boss. You might have heard of him: Dr. John Wheeler.â€
Joey had never heard of John Wheeler, but he did not say anything and followed the women to a larger, neater office. A heavily built man sat on a swivel chair with his feet on a large desk. As they entered, he swung his feet off the desk and leaned forward to peer at Joey.
â€œSo youâ€™re the famous scientist weâ€™ve heard so much about! Come, sit down.â€ He indicated a chair sitting in a corner. The red-haired woman fetched the chair and placed it in front of the desk, and Joey sat down.
â€œSir, Iâ€™m afraid â€”â€ he began. He had realized that the stranger who had kidnapped him had mistaken him for his father, a well-known scientist. He hoped that he could explain it to the people here and get them to take him back home. He was considerably less frightened now that he knew what had happened. â€œCall me John,â€ the man interrupted.
â€œBut Iâ€™m not actually a scientist. You must be thinking of my father. We have the same name, only he goes by Joe, and I go by Joey.â€
â€œYou what?â€ He turned to Kylie. â€œIs this true? Did you get the wrong man?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know. Zach said the kidâ€™s name was Joseph Sorton, but I guess Sortonâ€™s son was named Joseph as well.â€
â€œHow could you do this?â€ John Wheeler cried. â€œYou failed me! Now I have to deal with this kid, in addition to finding Sorton!â€ He stood up and grabbed the woman by the collar, hauling her up against the desk.
Joey realized it might be wise to leave. He crept out of the office as John Wheeler continued to rage at Kylie. Once he was outside, he made his way back to the office where heâ€™d first woken up. On the desk was the device the stranger had used to get Joey here. Joey opened the lid, wondering if he could figure out how to get himself back home. As he did so, he heard a girlâ€™s voice in the doorway.
â€œDonâ€™t touch that.â€
He turned to see an older girl in a lab coat with a pair of large, round glasses. She was standing in the doorway to the office.
â€œThatâ€™s a dangerous device,â€ she continued. â€œBut I guess youâ€™re a scientist, and you would know. You must be Dr. Sorton. No offense, but you look rather young.â€
â€œIâ€™m actually his son. We have the same name, and someone mistook me for him.â€
â€œReally? I suppose not everyone here is all that smart. And by the way, my name is Beth.â€
â€œHey, do you know how I can get out of here? I was sort of brought here against my will, and Iâ€™d like to get home.â€
â€œWell, the stairs are down the hall on the left, and the exit is on the ground floor in the lobby; you canâ€™t miss it. But you probably donâ€™t live near here. We are in Dallas, Texas.â€
â€œTexas? Oh, wow. Thatâ€™s pretty far. Is there any way I can teleport myself back?â€
â€œWell, Iâ€™m not sure if thatâ€™s a good idea. By the way, whereâ€™s Kylie?â€
â€œDr. Wheeler was pretty mad when he found out that Iâ€™m not my dad. He started yelling at her and I sneaked away.â€
â€œThat was probably pretty smart. But once Dr. Wheeler finds out, heâ€™ll be even madder at you. Maybe it is a good idea if you leave.â€
â€œPlease, can you help me?â€ begged Joey. â€œMy parents will be worried if Iâ€™m gone too long. And who knows what theyâ€™ll do to me if I stay here?â€
â€œAll right,â€ agreed Beth. She took the device from Joey and began fiddling with some dials and switches. â€œThis should take you right back where you came from,â€ she explained. â€œBut thereâ€™s always the risk that something could go wrong and you could be killed. Thatâ€™s always a risk when using the shoes.â€
â€œThe shoes?â€ asked Joey.
â€œItâ€™s our nickname for the ASHEWST, or Atom Splitting High Energy Wrinkler of Space and Time. This thing.â€ She indicated the black box. â€œAre you ready?â€
â€œI guess so,â€ replied Joey.
â€œHere it goes.â€
Then everything went black.
Â© 2014 Christina Smith. All rights reserved.