*** Means a change of point of view, or a short lapse of time
Gabriella is Bella- it's a nicknameDisclaimer: I do not own Knight Rider, but I really wish I did.Letters
It had been another typical school day for Gabriella. She'd awoken in her bed, gotten ready for school, and eaten her breakfast. Even school was normal, with the only people talking to her being the teachers and the class bullies. In a word, the seven-year-old's day had been lonely, and now she sat in the small, cluttered kitchen of her home, thinking about the work she had done in school today, her homework, and her sorry social life.
…Geometry today was too easy, maybe I should ask Mrs. Keller to get me some more challenging problems… I wish Kara and Chris would stop picking on me, just because I'm three grades higher than all the other kids my age doesn't give them the right to ask me stupid questions, I mean, the square root of 17? Even I know that that can't be done! Where'd they get that anyway? A fourth grader doesn't know about square roots. They must've got it from Kara's older brother…
"Gabriella, are you doing your homework? Are you stuck? Would you like my help? What are you working on?"
"Yes mom, I'm doing my homework; no I'm not stuck, if I need you I'll ask for your help. I'm working on my plant project – Mrs. Keller asked me to describe the growth phases of a sugar-bean, and I'm working on the phases of germination."
Gabriella stood up to allow her mother to sit at her work place, so that she could read her work through.
Benita Mathaise had been an exceptionally bright student in school, and had been over the moon when her oldest daughter turned out to be a genius, but the absolute brilliance of her child shocked even the 47-year old nurse sometimes. The only thing that had never shocked her was the fact that the children her age, as well as the children in her class, shunned her as though she had some terrible disease that was highly contagious. She often found it painful to watch her daughter try to interact with children her age.
It's not like she tries to show off the fact that she's so much smarter than them, she actually tries to speak like a 7-year-old. She does it perfectly; the only problem is that the children know what she is, and mock her every chance they get.
"Honey, I think you've made a couple of spelling mistakes, let me get my plant book, and we can check the correct spelling together."
"If you're talking about 101 great science experiments don't bother! Mom, I don't want to sound like a first grader in front of a person who knows I'm more intelligent than that."
"Bella, you know I wouldn't. I was actually going to get my biology book from high school…"
Benita chuckled at the edge of panic that had entered her daughter's voice. It was still funny that a 7-year-old would be so afraid of sounding like one.
Later that night, Gabriella sat on her bed with a piece of paper and a pencil, and wrote a letter to a person she didn't know, in a place far away. It was a desperate plea for the one thing she craved, and yet was refused every time - a human friendship. She folded the letter, put the letter in an envelope, sealed it and wrote an address on the front.
She had asked her father, a geography expert, for a random address in the US to post the letter to, because she hoped that the distance would reduce the chance of her letter being rejected. After she attached the correct stamp value, she placed the letter on her bedside table, turned off her bedroom light and went to bed.
The next day, after school, Gabriella stopped by her local post office with her mother and posted the letter. Later that week, that same letter began a journey that would take it halfway across South Africa, across the Atlantic Ocean, and halfway across the United States.
Two weeks later, a man by the name of Charles Graiman woke to a stormy grey sky. Looking at the time, he started slightly, and quickly climbed out bed.
I wish Anne had woken me up earlier; I wanted to wake up before 11.00 a.m. today! Oh well, may as well enjoy what's left of my day off - I won't get another anytime soon.
An hour later, he had showered, gotten dressed, and was eating breakfast at his dining room table. He noticed some documents lying across the table from him.
Hmm. Anne must not have had time to look at the mail this morning. Let's see what we have here.
Everything seemed to be in order until he came to the last envelope.
What's this? We weren't expecting any mail from abroad, and this has travelled a long way… Suddenly, he smiled. Maybe it's a letter from Michael, I haven't received one in years… No, it can't be; I told him to only send letters to my lab! His forehead creased as he thought, and then suddenly he stiffened. If it's another letter from them, then we'll have to relocate again; they mustn't find us! Well, if it is from them and I leave it, they'll never find us. But that doesn't mean I'll open it; what if it's a letter bomb? I'll put in secure storage! That way, if it is a bomb, the explosion won't do any damage. Maybe I'll open it in three years, and then it won't do any damage. Yes, that's exactly what I'll do…
And that is how a letter from a lonely seven-year-old genius was put in bombproof container, sealed away, and put in the empty basement of the house of the man that received it. And there that letter would stay, for a good four years.
***Four years later***
Sarah Graiman paused in a doorway, peering down the darkened stairwell as if squinting would somehow cause the gloomy, dank air of the basement to clear and lighten, allowing her to see.
"Mike, get over here, I'm going to need that flashlight if I'm gonna go down there – dad didn't change the globe when it fused, he probably didn't even know it had."
"Sarah, Michael is currently absorbed in the task of preparing beverages and food, and did not hear you; would you like me to tell him that you require his assistance?"
Sarah chuckled at the formality of the words whispered by the small device tucked into her ear.
"No, Kitt, it's alright. I'll go and fetch the torch myself. Mike can finish those snacks; I'm starting to get hungry now, anyway. I just wish that my dad hadn't left those files in the basement- this place always did give me the creeps when I was small, and it hasn't lost it's 'charm' over the years."
After fetching the strong flashlight, Sarah made her way down the damp concrete flight of stairs.
Ugh, it's so dank down here! Dad really should have opened this place more often! Oh well, time to focus on the task at hand, Sarah.
As she swung the torch around to illuminate as much of the room she could, the beam of light lit up the shape of a large, metal box. The years had not treated it well, and its once shiny exterior was now dull, and covered in rough patches, where rust was just beginning to take hold of the smooth surface.
"Kitt, what's this?"
"It seems to be a container made to hold unexploded bombs Sarah."
"Seems, Kitt? Can't your scanners detect what's inside the box?"
"No, Sarah, I cannot. It seems to be lead-lined, thereby hindering my knowledge of the container's contents."
"Mmm, I see. Kitt, if I opened the box, would you be able to scan the interior for explosives?"
"Yes, Sarah, if the box were open my scanners would be perfectly capable of detecting what the box contains; however, there is a high risk that if the box does contain a bomb, it will detonate as soon as the box is opened. If the box does not contain a bomb, I am quite sure that you father will not be pleased if you do open it. That box was sealed and hidden for a reason, you know."
"Stop being such a worry-wart Kitt! That bomb must be ancient; it probably wouldn't detonate if you set it off on purpose! Besides, what if the files my dad sent us for are in the box?"
"I can assure you that the documents that you were sent to retrieve are not in that box. I have detected the correct documents in a filing cabinet to your immediate left.'
Sure enough, when Sarah spun to her left she knocked her elbow on a rather solid cabinet, which, upon her perusal, contained all the documents she had been sent to fetch and even some her father had thought were lost forever.
"Kitt, I'll get the folders out first, they look really delicate, but then I'm coming back down here for the box. I'm sure I'll be able to carry it; it's not that big. Once it's upstairs, I'll open it right by you, as soon as I open this an inch, you can scan the contents and tell me whether the box contains explosives or not; alright?"
"No, it's not alright, but I know that you're not going to oblige any requests I make against you opening the box."
"Darn right I'm not, you know I'm too stubborn."
Sarah quickly absorbed herself in the task of transferring all the files in the basement to the Ford flex in the driveway of her childhood home. It was hard work, and she was only halfway done when a man emerged from the kitchen holding two large glasses of soda in his hands.
"Here, you look like you could use a drink, Sarah. You've been working for three hours now."
"Thanks, but no thanks, Mike. I plan to stop only once I'm done; I'm nearly finished."
"Sarah, my scans indicate that you are becoming dehydrated and your blood sugar is dropping; if you do not stop to eat soon, you will collapse. And surely you jest when you say that you are almost finished; you're hardly halfway done."
"Yeah. It's almost lunch Sarah, and you last ate at 7.30 this morning."
Sighing, Sarah put the load of files she was carrying into Kitt's interior. She turned to face Mike and Kitt with a mischievous grin on her face.
"Fine, I'll stop to eat, but then you have to start helping with the heavy lifting, Mike. And I get to open that box straight after lunch."
Mike groaned. It was much more fun exploring Charles's extensive basement than carrying box after box of paperwork all the way up two flights of stairs and out to Kitt.
Oh well, heavy lifting is much easier than explaining to Charles why Sarah collapsed and had to have two of Kitt's emergency glucose shots.
"Fine, I'll help with the papers- but you have to eat at least four sandwiches."
"Sarah, I really do not want you to open that box without you father's consent. Please, wait until we get back, so that you can at least ask him what should be in the box!"
Sarah pretended to think over the suggestion, and an ingenious compromise popped into her head.
"How about a compromise? We chat to my dad now, and then, if the contents aren't suspicious, we open the box now?"
" That is a much better idea, and I can handle that course of action; why don't you two go and rest and eat, and then after lunch we will contact Dr. Graiman."
" That sounds like a great plan; let's go!"
After lunch, Sarah and Mike went down into the basement to fetch the large, metal box. Both the humans and the A.I. were surprised when they discovered that the box was actually much lighter than its large size indicated; Sarah could easily lift the box with one hand. Sarah carried the box outside and set it down on the floor in front of Kitt, where Charles could easily see it and Kitt could scan it once again for anomalies.
"Kitt, could you initiate a chat with my father, please?"
"I will open a chat-line with Charles now Sarah, however, it may take a couple of seconds for him to get to a two-way camera-message facility."
"Kitt, I'm perfectly aware of all the possible delays. There's no need…"
Suddenly an image of Charles Graiman was visible, portrayed as a holograph on Kitt's exterior.
"Hello Sarah, Mike, what can I help you two with?"
"Dad, there was a large, metal box down in the basement. Kitt wanted me to ask if it was safe to open."
Charles suddenly looked a bit uncomfortable.
"Can I see the box for a second?"
Sarah and Mike stepped aside, and the box came into view.
"Oh, that metal box! Yes, Sarah it should be perfectly safe to open. I received it in the mail about, um, four years ago. Remember that time where I was particularly paranoid?"
"Yes, that was the year mom… left."
"Yes… well, some people were trying to track and locate your mother and I, and so any unusual mail was, well, treated like a bomb. I never opened that letter, so if it was a bomb, it would have gone off by now. If it wasn't a bomb, well then it's about time we opened our mail, isn't it?"
"Yes, the letter doesn't have an addressee, that's why I was so worried."
"I see. Well, thanks, dad. We should be finished here soon, so we'll see you in a couple hours."
" 'Bye sweetheart."
And with that last word the chat was terminated, leaving three curious individuals eyeing the metal box with apprehension and excitement.