Science Project

Science Project
by John J. McNally
It was a brisk spring morning over the town of Rolling Hills, New Hampshire but you wouldn’t know it to walk into Miss Harper’s seventh grade classroom. The room was downright stuffy, uncomfortably so. This was odd because usually the school was chilly on Mondays from not having been heated all weekend. On top of that there was a smell in the room, an odor that immediately made Miss Harper regret the doughnut she had eaten ten minutes earlier. After checking that all the class pets were still alive and healthy she decided to keep quiet about it.

It was science project day, and the twenty-one children in Miss Harper’s seventh grade class were all very bright. Everyone had come bearing bags and boxes and posters. Judging by the smell, Miss Harper guessed that someone had chosen either rotting food, or a decomposing animal as their subject of study. She didn’t want to hurt one of her students’ feelings, so she decided grin and bear it.

After calling the roster, she said to the class: “I know your are all anxious to show off your science projects, so why don’t we just jump right into them.” This way, she thought to herself, I can air out the room during lunchtime. “Is there anyone who didn’t finish their project and needs more time? Two hands went up, Miss Harper was surprised to see that one of them was Charles Goodwin, he was the cream of the crop among a bright group of people.

“I’m not sure what’s wrong Miss Harper, but my computer won’t work. The power comes on but the screen is going nuts! As soon as I can get it fixed I’ll be able to show you my project.”

Poor Charles looked on the verge of tears, and a couple of giggles around the classroom didn’t help matters either. “Paul, and Kristen.” Miss Harper chided,“which one of you wants to go first.”

“I will.” pronounced Paul proudly. He carried a large maze up to the front of the room, with two mice sitting in a cage perched on top. “This is an experiment in positive reinforcement.” he stated, and went on to explain how one of the mice had learned the maze faster due to the reward of food at the end. However, when he put the two mice into the maze, they curled into balls and remained frozen in place. Paul’s normal confidence cracked, he looked at Miss Harper in panic.

“It’s probably just the change in environment Paul.” she explained calmly. “Why don’t you leave them in the cage for a little while, and they’ll probably calm down a bit.” Paul nodded his head dutifully and returned the mice to their cage, he then returned to his seat dejected.

Sighing internally, Miss Harper had to admit this was one of the worst days she had ever experienced. That foul odor had only grown worse, she was starting to wonder if something had died behind the walls. She looked across the room to Kristen to see if she was ready with her project.

“I’m sorry for laughing at you earlier, Charles,” she said as she carried several papers and a videotape up to the front of the room. “I think my project may be interfering with your computer, and might have scared Paul’s mice as well.”

Charles snapped his Notebook computer hard to his chest protectively. “You don’t have magnets in there or something do you!?”

“No, nothing like that.” Kristen answered.

Miss Harper looked at Kristen as she wheeled the TV unit from the corner of the room. What could this girl possibly have in mind? Kristen was a bright student, but not particularly fond of science. She could not grasp the importance of the scientific method, claiming with almost perfect childlike naivete “What’s the point of all this repetition anyway?”

“My experiment was to try and prove whether or not mythical creatures truly existed. I chose this project after seeing the movie Fairy Tale in which two girls in England claimed to see fairies, and actually took pictures of them. The movie was based on a true story, and to this date no one has ever proven that these photos were faked in any way. Here are some copies of those photos.”

Kristen passed a set to the teacher, and another set to one of the students to pass around the classroom. “I did a lot of research looking for more hard evidence (she glanced toward Miss Harper for approval) of the existence of these creatures, but none was to be found. I found many accounts of interactions, mostly secondhand, but a few from the people who claimed to see these beings themselves. One person lives here in the U.S., and I spoke to her on the phone. She was a very nice woman and didn’t seem crazy or weird. She told me that she wasn’t drunk or taking any sort of drugs when she saw the fairies, it just happened by surprise.”

Miss Harper was torn, clearly Kristen had done a tremendous amount of research here, and deserved a good grade for her efforts. But the subject matter was ludicrous, it wasn’t science; and unless Kristen concludes that fairies do not exist, Miss Harper would have to count it against her.

“While doing my research,” Kristen continued, “ I came across a lot of historical accounts of people seeing fairies in mirrors and window reflections. One writer theorized that the fairies could sense when they are being watched directly, and recommended using a mirror to spot them.”

“Miss Harper, this isn’t science!” complained Charles.

“Just shut up Charles!” shot Kristen. “You’re just mad because your computer won’t work!”

“Kristen,” said Miss Harper gently. “Perhaps you could tell us your conclusions.” She was trying not to show her sympathy with Charles assessment.

“Um, sure.” said Kristen taken aback. “Using my father’s video camera, and a mirror I recorded this footage down by the stream near my house. She turned on the TV and hit the play button on the VCR. Miss Harper had to shift around in order to see the screen properly.

The time index read 5:35 p.m. and the scene was a little dark, but clear. The camera appeared to be mounted on a tripod and pointing toward a silver framed mirror that was perched on a stump. There were some quick flashes in the mirror, probably hummingbirds zipping around before nightfall, although it was a little early in the year for hummingbirds to be around.

Then, a small and distinctly humanoid figure flew right up to the mirror and touched it. Her face made a little “o” of surprise and then turned to the camera alarmed. She quickly flew off. The classroom was filled with excited whispers.

“Big deal. I can do better than that with Videomaster 3.0!” stated Charles. “That’s obviously faked.”

Once again Charles was echoing Miss Harper’s feelings, the tape had to be a fake, and she had the sad task of having to give Kristen a failing grade.

“I suspected that nobody would believe me.” Kristen continued calmly “and I explained that to the fairies when they expressed their concerns to me.”

“You spoke to them!” one of the other students said in awe.

“Kristen, I’m afraid this has gone far enough.” Miss Harper interceded “I can’t accept this videotape as evidence. As Charles pointed out, it’s very easy to produce those kind of effects with a computer these days.”

“But, if you will let me finish…” Kristen responded impatiently.

“You’ve had enough time, young lady. Please return to your seat.”

“Fine.” Kristen sighed. “Okay Kritzkel now.” Without so much as a whisper a large reptilian form materialized in the room. It was curled against the front wall of the room, its long tail extending around corner of the room. Clearly this creature was over twenty feet long, and even more clearly, it was a dragon.

There was a collective sharp intake of breath, but strangely enough no screams. Perhaps it was the shock of something so impossible being there that held everyone motionless, everyone but Kristen that is.

“As I was saying before.” she continued “the fairies had realized what I was doing, and expressed concern about this videotape being made public. They were afraid of people coming out to the creek to hunt for them, destroying the woods in the process.”

“I promised them that I would destroy the tape after I showed it to the class,” she paused to pop it out of the VCR, “and I asked them if one of them would come along to prove that I wasn’t making all of this up. That’s when they introduced me to Kritzkel.” She walked over to the dragon and placed the tape in its mouth. The dragon promptly crunched it and swallowed the pieces.

<Good day to you class> The dragon spoke directly into their minds. <I agreed to accompany Kristen here today in order to establish without a doubt that there are beings which exist among you daily, of which your scientists are not aware.>

<Humans exist in a very focused realm, unaware that less then a hair’s breadth away are an infinite number of parallel human realms, some very similar, some very different. The dragons, the fairies and we do not exist the same way. There is only one of our realm, however to some degree it touches all of yours. Some realms we frequent often, particularly the greener ones. I don’t particularly like this one because there are no buffalo to eat. We have the ability to move in and out of your realm at will, we can move between space, rather than just through.>

The class continued to sit frozen in place. Did Kritzkel cast some sort of spell on them, Kristen wondered. The dragon chuckled, which was an interesting sight. <No little one, I have not cast any spells. Your friends are quite spellbound however.> The dragon laughed at his own joke. <It is time for me to be going now.> He raised his long sinewy body up on all fours and flexed his wings, the effect created a rather large draught in the room, scattering loose papers everywhere. <Sorry if you found my breath offensive> Kritzkel said to the teacher good naturedly, <It has been a pleasure visiting your classroom.> And with that, he promptly vanished as effortlessly as he had appeared. Kristen, feeling very smug returned to her seat. As she passed Charles she whispered “Try your computer now.”

“It’s working!” He exclaimed.

“Good, then Charles why don’t you go next.” managed Miss Harper, while with shaking hands she changed Kristen’s “F” to an “A+.”

(c)2000, John J. McNally. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy or distribute without the author’s permission.

About the author: John J. McNally enjoys writing from the perspective that everything is possible, and very likely to happen. He owns the Mind Altering Fiction website and is co-owner of the Conscious Creation website with his partner Kristen.