The Sacred Secret
Chapter 7 - Who ya gonna call?
'Oh Priscilla, I am...how do you say?...over the moon!' cried Monique as the
two girls reached their dorm room. 'We must be straight away tomorrow morning
after a quick breakfast... Non!... Could we not skip breakfast and get the first
tram running... or better still... just run all the way... Then again, no! We have
to take a few things for tomorrow night... so maybe a taxi and...' she halted,
breathless, her hands rummaging through the drawers of her dresser, selecting
and rejecting items of clothing at random.
'Slow down Moni, you're gonna bust a boiler and blow a gasket if you don't
get a hold of yourself,' cautioned Priscilla, although she was only marginally
less excited then Monique, and was also busy stuffing clothing into her
overnight bag. 'Anyway we have to keep a lid on it tonight, just a light dinner
and early to bed for our beauty sleep so we'll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed
for tomorrow, and yeah, outta here at sparrows.'
Monique halted her rummaging. 'What is this lid on? And bushy tails with
Priscilla grinned, 'I forgot, we do sometimes need an interpret... Ohmygosh!
What about your Mother's wedding ring?'
Monique's left hand went sharply to her mouth as her right fumbled out the
chain with the peridot ring and the gold wedding band attached. 'Mon Dieu! This
has come with us all the way from Africa in the BlackEagle. How can we give it
back? We should not have it. There is no explanation...'
'You could just throw it away,' said Priscilla, tentatively testing Monique's
'But no! I could never do that to my Mother!' Monique replied emphatically.
'This is her wedding ring, given to her by Father, see here, "All you need
is love," that is the inscription and that is why I am here. This ring is a
symbol of them...Of me.'
Priscilla took Monique's hand in hers. 'Do you really think I meant that?
Dear friend, of course we have to get it back to your Mum. Just don't know
'I will have to say that I found it at the hotel after they were abducted,
that it must have slipped off there...'
'That would be a lie,' said Priscilla, 'but in this case... although, would
your parents actually believe it? After all, the ring was supposed to be amongst
the things taken from them?'
Monique landed on her narrow bed with a thump, pondering. 'They were both
under stress, shocked, confused, the inventory of their possessions might have
been wrong... and this time, if I have to lie...' she heaved a big sigh, 'then I
will do it. There! That is what must be done...'
'Wait on!' said Priscilla, as a thought suddenly struck her and she whipped
around to face Monique, a pair of hot-pink knickers clutched to her chin. 'What
about Harry? Do you suppose he might be able to help us?'
'What? It is not enough for that little alien-doggie to be watching us when
we are getting in and out of our showers, now you would have him choosing the
colour of our undergarments? Really Priscilla...'
'No, no, foolish girl! I mean the wedding ring! After all it was Harry's
Number Four in Africa, remember? "He's one of ours," who put it into
your pocket. Maybe there's some way of getting it back into your
Mum's...um...pocket,' she ended lamely.
'Even if that is possible, how can we contact Harry tonight?'
'Uhh...Perhaps we need to buttonhole Tsu at dinner, maybe she can help...'
Priscilla was interrupted by an urgent rapping at the door. Monique, having
tilted her head, grappling with the term buttonhole and what it actually meant,
clicked the latch back and opened the door.
It was Narenda and she appeared very excited. 'There has been some sort of
confrontation in the Quad!' she exclaimed, nervously glancing over her shoulder.
'Calm down Narenda,' said Priscilla, whilst a number of students milled about
in the hall, buzzing with conversation. 'Take it slowly. What's going on?'
'Something has occurred, a confrontation, I didn't see it, but from what I am
told it happened when John Wynd was taking down his flag. A group of older boys,
white boys, surrounded him, and then some others, aboriginal kids, came up and
there was an argument and shouting. John seemed to calm it down, then a number
of Prefects and Teachers came and broke it up. They took John away and sent all
the others off!'
'Something's going on alright. Not sure exactly what,' said Louis, clattering
a tray onto a table in Queasies cafe half an hour later. 'There are a lot of
rumours and stories going around, you must have heard them?'
'Only that some of the aboriginal students are angry about the flag-spitting
incident,' said Monique.
'And that there are others who are dark...opps...probably shouldn't use that
word...narky, on the guys who stuck Boofhead, erm, Roseanne, up on the Admin
roof last night. I suppose John's final flag lowering was as good a place as any
for a showdown?' Priscilla concluded.
'That's my guess,' Louis answered, 'but now the staff have taken John out of
the action and warned off the others. A pity,' he ruminated, 'haven't seen a
really good rumble in the school since the beginning of my first year...'
'We don't need fighting in our school for any reason!' Priscilla scolded
fiercely, then standing and turning sharply on her heel she added, 'Can't see
Tsuang Tsu here, perhaps she's in The Thumpin' Tummy? Coming Monique?' Monique
pulled a face and rose, shrugging her shoulders. Then, with a tiny smile aimed
at Louis, who was looking somewhat chastened, she began to follow Priscilla's
They finally found Tsu in another little cafe called, The Student's Little
Cafe, located on the second floor close to one of the lounges, and quickly
explained their dilemma. Tsu heard them out, but before she could offer any
advice, several other girls from One A. arrived at their table and all she had
time to say was, 'I'll pass it on. Don't worry.'
Somewhat disconsolately, Priscilla and Monique managed a hurried snack before
returning to their dorm to settle down for the night. 'I wonder if there is
really anything Tsu can do to help us at such short notice,' said Monique as she
closed the door, tugging the handle behind her so that it rattled until she
clicked the top lock shut. 'You know, Priscilla, there is something that I have
been wondering about, and now I am thinking further...and...I do not know quite
what it is that I...But wait! Another thought comes to me. Do you remember?
Harry said that from now on, when we bring the peridot ring into contact with
that silver card, he would know, and he would come!'
Priscilla looked up, 'Well, we weren't planning on showering tonight. Best
turn the light off and give it a try. No point in putting on P.J.'s just yet.
Who knows what might happen? At least we've got our bags packed for the weekend
at home, and your parents will be there by midday tomorrow. Let's try to make
contact with Harry.'
Together, the two girls waited until after ten o'clock, and then, when most
of the main ground floor lights were switched off, they brought out the silver
card and attempted to activate it with the peridot ring and chain. As had
happened once before at the touch of these two objects, the flat, silver sheet
trembled and began to unfold, finally opening into a box-like formation. 'What
do we do now?' said Monique. 'How do we contact Harry?'
'Base to co-pilots,' said a soft voice, emanating from the interior of the
box; a voice that both girls knew at once.
'Harry!' they cried together, relieved.
'Well spotted!' came the reply. 'Although I'm not a Dalmatian, ha-ha! Er...Ahem...Just
my little joke girls, and I can tell by the stony silence that it crashed and
burned. Anyway, Tsuang Tsu tells me we have a wedding ring problem. A how-do
dilemma caused by a convince-you situation. Well I come bearing good news, a
stroke of luck that favours us. Monique, your parents will be coming into
Melbourne on an earlier flight than was expected. It is due in around five this
morning and that will suit the situation perfectly. O.K. Here's what we...oh
gee...that is you two, are going to do about it.'
It was just on four a.m. and the two girls, having been aroused by
Priscilla's tiny alarm clock after several solid hours sleep, stood together
dressed in warm windcheaters and jeans, at the door inside their room. 'Any
time,' said Priscilla, jigging on the spot, the chill of the night and her own
adrenalin mixing into a heightened expectation. 'He said he would be...'
Suddenly, both girls felt the strange sensation of lifting off their feet so
that only the tips of their gym boots dragged at the floor. It was as if a burst
of energy had flashed into the room and altered their state of consciousness.
And in that altered state, they both turned to peer back at their own beds. Sure
enough, in the dim light cast by the transom above their door they observed,
with an intake of breath, two indistinct forms lying beneath the coverlets.
'I suppose that means we're outta here,' said Priscilla, clicking back the
'We better not get ourselves caught, I feel practically naked sneaking around
like this,' Priscilla whispered as the two girls flitted down the corridor
toward the double glass doors that opened onto the Quad. At this time of the
morning the only lights left on were the grubby emergency bulbs in metal grills,
positioned along the halls at intervals that left the gaps between in shadow.
'You are not naked,' said Monique, almost matter-of-factly and altogether far
too loudly for Priscilla's liking, 'Harry will have us covered by Sense
Disablers, no one will be able to see or hear us, or even feel us as we travel.
We are hidden better than if we were wearing black from head to foot.'
Priscilla's eyes widened in a look that spelled out, Girl, you 'are' wearing
black from head to foot! But instead she said, 'Yeah, just need the balaclavas
and we'd be set to rob the nearest convenience store.' They slid to a halt and
peered around a corner into the lobby. 'Nobody here. This entrance should still
be open so that staff can get in and out to check the grounds, O.K. let's do
The pair darted toward the doors, pushed them open and burst out into the
chill of the night.
Outside, the Quad was illuminated by lights similar to that of street
lighting and whole areas were hidden in darkness, but the sight that met both
girls brought them to a startled, eye-popping halt. On the margin of the Quad,
stood a strange structure; both Priscilla and Monique knew what it was, but if
anyone else could have seen it they would have been nonplussed. It was a
structure that seemed completely out of place, a ramshackle kids cubby;
something that might have been imagined high in the branches of a back-yard
tree. And from its shaky-looking wooden door, a single gleaming light blinked,
beckoning the girls forward.
Just at that moment, a shadowy squat figure emerged from their left,
torchlight bobbing along before it on a pathway between the Admin building and
the row of flagpoles that lined the Quad. Reacting without thinking, Monique and
Priscilla separated as the patrolling person strolled between them, whistling.
'Mister Mitikovsky, I am telling you!' said Priscilla, mimicking his accent
and smirking as she joined Monique. But in the next moment, apprehension
replaced her jocular mood as Mitikovsky suddenly turned left and strode out
toward the BlackEagle, flashing his torch around as he went, oblivious of the
cubby-house sitting directly in front of him.
'Ohhwhoaa!' Priscilla involuntarily shrieked, lunging forward, to be brought
up sharply by the firm grip of Monique's fingers, grasping at the collar of her
wind-cheater. 'Not so fast, my whitey friend, look!'
The ramshackle craft that stood in Stanley Mitikovsky's path began to
back-track and move aside as he softly whistled his way across the bitumen of
the Quad, shining his torch from side to side, ignorant of anything unusual in
his nightly patrol. He continued on his way toward the far side, content in the
knowledge that all was well and completely under his control.
'Oh duhh!' said Priscilla, shrugging free of Monique's grasp. 'I should've
known that he couldn't see it. But it's so hard without practice, I mean you
don't get much chance to practice about things that are invisible every day, let
alone in school!'
'Black people are used to being invisible by white people trying hard not to
see them,' said Monique ruefully, gently propelling her friend forward. 'How
about we just try and catch that thing?'
'...and so glad to have you aboard again girls,' said the voice, as they
entered the shining, stainless steel interior of The Black Eagle. 'Do remember
that in this little venture I am...'
'Not with us all the way. Yeah, we remember Harry. You're here, but you're
not here, just like last time. Well where the hell are you?' said Priscilla
'I'm in my basket, you know, Granny Black's old knitting basket. Where else
should I be? I mean somebody's got to maintain control over the situation...'
'You're in your basket, mooching and scratching and you're maintaining
'Well, later I'll probably go downstairs and out through my new doggy door to
take a l...look around at the garden, but I still...'
'Won't be with us every step of the way,' Priscilla muttered, shaking her
head in exasperation, 'O.K. what do we do now?'
'Take a seat, of course.'
Two couches slid out from cabinets in the side of the craft and Monique, with
enthusiasm, threw herself onto the nearest. 'Come on Cilla, my Mum and Dad will
be flying in, in an hour!'
Chapter 8 [Next]