The Kacheek Club: An Anniversary Adventure - Part Four
Gwen, Bridgette, Xana, and Sarina quickly scampered across the school's green lawn, each one of them thinking in their minds how desolate and empty their Neoschool looked at night. The foursome all wore itchy black sweaters (courtesy of Gwen and all of the sweaters in her attic which her grandmother had knitted her for her past birthdays) and matching woolen caps. The Wooden Petpet Crate in Xana's paws contained Pollie, who was sound asleep inside.
Bridgette, Xana, and Sarina silently assembled themselves against the school doors, waiting patiently for Gwen's orders.
"Okay. It's now or never, guys." Gwen swiped some Pitch Black Lipstick over her cheeks to resemble face paint before continuing. "Bridgette, it's time to do your thing."
Bridgette hurriedly fished through the various pockets of her sweater before pulling out an Air Faerie Hair Clip. She deftly stuck the hair clip into the giant lock on the school door and jiggled it to the left a few times.
"You can't really expect this to work, can you? I mean, look at-" whispered Xana, but she stopped abruptly when the lock clicked and the school doors swung open.
Bridgette beamed proudly and raised her eyebrows at Xana. "You were saying?"
Xana blushed slightly before following Gwen into the school.
For the next few minutes, all was almost silent as the four Kacheeks roamed the deserted hallways.
"Do you guys hear that sound?" Bridgette wrinkled her nose and looked around the hallways.
"What sound?" Xana looked at her curiously.
"It sounds like someone's dropping tiny little beans on the floor."
"Oh, that would be me!" Sarina piped up. "The minute we entered the school, I started dropping Blueberry Jelly Beans wherever I walked. That way, they'll serve as a trail back to the school entrance in case we somehow get lost in the school hallways. Clever, huh?"
Gwen rolled her eyes. "This is our school, Sarina, not the Haunted Woods! Trust me, the chances of Xana failing a math test are probably higher than the chances of us getting lost."
Sarina shrugged and tossed a jelly bean into her mouth.
Gwen stepped aside once they reached their classroom door. "Bridgette, go ahead."
This time, Xana kept her mouth shut as Bridgette prodded the lock on the door with her hair clip. After a few seconds of tinkering, Bridgette stood up and opened the classroom door with ease.
"If anybody wants lessons, just ask." The Faerie Kacheek smiled widely, her teeth gleaming in the moonlight shining through the windows.
Gwen dashed over to the empty glass petpet cage. "C'mon, Xana!"
"Coming, coming!" Xana adjusted her grip on the Wooden Petpet Crate as she crossed the room to join Gwen. The moment she arrived, both Kacheeks quickly tried their best to pry the lid off of the crate.
"Ugh... A little help here, Bridgette?" Gwen tried once again to pull the lid off without success.
"Uh, believe me, I totally would help if it weren't for the fact that I just painted my nails yesterday," replied Bridgette, admiring the Glittery Red Nail Polish on her nails.
"Sarina, how do you open this thing?" asked Xana, clenching her teeth as she attempted to lift the lid off.
Sarina, who had been busy admiring a Blue Faellie Poster on the wall, looked over at her classmates and giggled. "The key is to press, not pull."
"Huh?" Gwen and Xana exchanged confused glances.
Sarina sighed and walked over to the group. She turned the crate all the way around to reveal a red button on the side. "You press this to open the lid," the Cloud Kacheek explained matter-of-factly. She pressed the button, and to Gwen and Xana's amazement, the lid flew open in a flash.
Gwen looked over at Xana. "This story never goes out to the public. Agreed?"
"Agreed," Xana said willingly.
The two Kacheeks carefully lifted the slumbering Pollie out of the crate and lowered her down into the petpet cage.
"Well, that's that." Bridgette grinned. "Imagine the look on Ms. Julie's face when she comes in tomorrow and sees Pollie back!"
Suddenly, loud footsteps sounded from the end of the hallway.
"Who could that be?" Gwen's eyes were wide with fright.
"Who's in there?" growled a harsh voice.
Xana gasped. "I know who it is! It's Mr. Mulgar!"
"Who?" Gwen, Bridgette, and Sarina looked at her in confusion.
"The janitor! Remember? Ms. Julie said that the janitor only comes after school to clean up," Xana quickly explained. Every so often, her eyes would drift over to the door to make sure it was clear. "One time I forgot my history book here at school, so I had to come here after school to get it. I had to talk Mr. Mulgar into unlocking the classroom door for me so that I could get in."
"Mr. Mulgar sounds like a reasonable person," said Sarina cheerfully. "I'm sure he'll understand if we tell him that we only had to sneak into the classroom to return Pollie... Right?"
"Wrong!" exclaimed Gwen. "If we tell him that we had to return Pollie, then Mr. Mulgar will tell Ms. Julie that we were the petpet burglars. And that is so not an option."
The footsteps became more audible as Mr. Mulgar neared the classroom.
"Hide!" squeaked Bridgette.
Immediately, the Kacheeks dispersed into different directions in the classroom. Gwen fled towards the classroom door and hid herself between the door and the wall. Bridgette performed a running leap as she jumped into the pile of Blue Bean Bag Chairs typically used for storytime. Xana almost slipped on the floor as she crawled underneath the teacher's desk. Sarina, realizing one moment too late that all of the good hiding spots were taken, noticed that the last row of the Peanut Bookcase next to her was empty. She managed to squish herself into that small area of space in a minimal amount of time.
Several seconds later, a disheveled Halloween Gnorbu entered the classroom dragging a damp mop behind him.
"Who goes there?" Mr. Mulgar bellowed. He scanned the entire classroom once before walking back out to the hallway. "Wha-? How'd these jelly beans get here?" The Gnorbu grumbled something about broomsticks and pay raises as he proceeded to clean up the candy.
Sarina looked ecstatic as she climbed out from her hiding spot. "I told you guys the jelly beans would come in handy!" she whispered happily. "They got Mr. Mulgar out of the classroom."
"Yeah, the jelly beans solved one problem... and created another!" Xana spoke in a low voice. "In case you haven't noticed, now Mr. Mulgar is going to be sweeping up those jelly beans in the hallway. How are we supposed to get out of this classroom if he is blocking our way towards the school entrance?"
"Oh no!" Bridgette gasped. "We're gonna be stuck here all night!" She glanced around the room desperately. "I call sleeping in the heap of bean bag chairs!"
"I wanna sleep in the Peanut Bookcase!" Sarina raised her paw in the air. "It actually gets pretty comfy once you get used to it. You hardly notice that it's a bookcase after that."
"Listen, guys. Nobody is sleeping in here tonight." Gwen pointed towards the classroom windows. "I have an idea. If we can find a rope, we can use it to lower ourselves down safely to the ground through the window."
"One problem," said Bridgette. "What if one of us slips or something? Our shoes aren't made to do that kind of stuff!"
"What we need to do is to smear something sticky on our shoes so that they will stick to the wall while we're climbing down," Gwen murmured thoughtfully. "I would volunteer to use the piece of Earth Faerie Gum that I'm chewing, but I don't think there's enough for everybody."
"I know what we can do." Xana ran over to her desk and pulled out her bags of marshmallow mush. "We can use these marshmallows as the sticky substance."
Sarina's mouth watered as she caught sight of the sugary treat.
"Wait a minute, you're willing to destroy your science project just so we can get out of here?" Gwen raised her eyebrows in surprise.
"Of course. I'd rather lose my science project than be stuck in here all night without food or adequate bedding." Xana rolled her eyes as if it should have been obvious.
Gwen smiled. "Great! Let's get going, then!" She scrambled over to the classroom closet, where Ms. Julie was known to keep all of sorts of miscellaneous things. Opening the door, a string made out of colorful handkerchiefs caught her eye. "This can serve as our rope!"
"Hey, I remember that! Last month, the Chia clown that Ms. Julie invited to the class used those handkerchiefs in one of his tricks," put in Sarina.
"We don't have a moment to lose, guys." Bridgette pointed to the door and and mimed Mr. Mulgar sweeping, so that the other girls would remember that they were still in danger of getting caught.
Gwen pushed open one of the classroom windows as high as she could before securely tying the handkerchief rope to the window ledge.
"I'll go first as a demonstration, I guess," she said. She carefully spread the marshmallow goo all over the bottom of her shoes before cautiously grabbing hold of the rope.
"Be careful," Bridgette squeaked, her voice tinged with fear. She, Xana, and Sarina all leaned their heads out the window and watched in terror as Gwen slowly but surely made her way to the ground.
"The marshmallows seem to be holding up nicely," Xana muttered approvingly of her science project.
"I bet they'd taste good, too." Sarina licked her lips.
Once Gwen had reached the ground without harm, Sarina volunteered to go down next. The minute Sarina's feet touched the ground, Xana took hold of the rope and made her way down gingerly.
"Your turn, Bridgette!" yelled Gwen from the ground.
"O-okay." Bridgette took a deep breath and smeared the last of the marshmallow mush on her shoes. With clammy paws, she grabbed the rope and sluggishly began to make her way down. However, she had no sooner climbed out the window before Mr. Mulgar popped his head out of the open window.
"Grrr, how'd this window get opened?"
Luckily, the Gnorbu didn't seem to notice the Faerie Kacheek dangling several feet underneath the window ledge. "Hmph. They don't pay me enough to do this kind of work." Mr. Mulgar grunted as he pushed the window closed.
Bridgette, who had been holding her breath for the past twenty seconds, was almost faint with relief when she reached the ground.
The four Kacheeks smiled with triumph before they did a group hug. The cold night sky suddenly didn't seem so dark as the Kacheek Club made their way home.
Gwen smiled at the photograph in the frame as she spoke. "You know, if I had to spend the night breaking into a classroom to return a stolen petpet, I'm glad that it was at least with you guys."
Xana, Bridgette, and Sarina beamed and said in unison, "Agreed!"
From that point on, Gwen decided to keep the picture frame of the Kacheek Club in her room. She figured that something that symbolized such a priceless memory didn't deserve to stay in a room full of dusty cobwebs.