Cryptozoological Mystification: Maybe . . .
The_Disnerd: Thanks, glad you like it.
Fruktus_1997: To be fair, he had been the only one to obey the rules. Although Wonka never tempted Charlie with anything. It seems to me that the contest was rigged from the start. My story attempted to show a different side of the story and by doing so I had to create three dimensional personalities to two dimensional characters. My goal was to prove that things are rarely black and white, and while these kids may be far from perfect (in fact, most of them were downright brats) they still suffered in ways that nobody, let alone a child should. Seeing your comment, it is apparent that I at least partially succeeded in doing so. Long story short, thanks for the review, sorry for the lecture.
Peter_1312: Thank you.
Author's notes: Sorry it took me so long to update, and I realize this is a short(er) chapter, barely reaching over 2,000 words. I will try to update more frequently and keep the chapters longer. In the meantime, please enjoy this one and, as always, leave a comment at the end. This chapter ends on sort of a dark note that differs from my normal cliff hangers. I would like to know what people thought about that in particular.
"Someone's coming!" Violet cried in a loud whisper. Instantly, all the kids scrambled for cover. Mike and Veruca hid in the closet, Augustus under the bed, and Violet managed to squeeze into a large desk drawer.
Mike fought with Veruca for the crack of the door. Veruca won. He heard a woman (he could tell it was a woman because of the light footsteps) enter the room. Veruca said that she was carrying a pile of laundry so high that it blocked her face. "Charlie," the woman called. She spoke in a lower class British accent. "Charlie, is that you, Dear? I thought you were off with Mr. Wonka in Brazil."
"Now she's putting down the pile," Veruca whispered, "she's wiping her brow and . . . oh my god!"
Mike heard the sound of two women screaming. One was the lady, the other, Veruca. He shot her a look. "What was that for?" Mike hissed.
Veruca shuddered. "You didn't see her hair. It's hideous!"
She uttered those words a bit louder than Mike would have preferred. Fortunately, as luck would have it, Charlie's mother (for that's who Mike assumed she was,) was far too caught up in her own horror to notice the comment about her appearance.
"Shut up!" he hissed, elbowing her in the ribs. Veruca scowled at him, but complied.
Mike shoved his way past Veruca and peered through the crack himself. The woman was about thirty-five years old. She had curly, black hair that came just above her shoulders. Her large, gray eyes were caring and intelligent, although at the moment they appeared (understandably) absolutely terrified as she glanced around her son's vandalized room. Mrs. Bucket frantically began searching the drawers, as if to make sure that everything was still there. She stopped at the sight of Charlie's diary. Her lower lip trembled slightly. For a moment, Mike thought she was about to cry. Fortunately for him, she didn't. Mrs. Bucket swallowed her tears and exited the room in a hurry.
"Come on," Mike said, once her footsteps had died away. "We have to get out of here."
"Vy?" asked Augustus, coming out from under the bed. "She is gone, no?"
"Use your common sense! I'll bet you anything that she went to go get her husband or a group of Oompa Loompas to search the place for burglars." Inwardly, Mike scolded himself for not thinking this through. Of course the Bucket family would be present, even if Charlie and Wonka themselves were not. This was where they lived now, after all. Once again, Mike felt a pang of jealousy and indignation, although he didn't understand why. What were the Buckets to him? Why did he care that they won the stupid prize? It was just a dumb tour. He hated chocolate anyway, so who gave a damn? I do, that's who, he thought bitterly. And Mike hated himself for that.
"I don't understand how we're going to get out of here. We can't get through the door."
"Maybe there's a hidden entrance or something. Like in movies." It seemed like a long shot, but at this point, Mike was just about ready to believe anything.
The other gave him a strange look, but began to search the room anyway. Sure enough, just behind the bed, there was a square carved into the wall. It was painted the same color and was nearly invisible, but it was there nonetheless.
"I'll be honest," he said. "I did not think that we'd find anything."
Tentively, as if afraid the wall might bite him, Mike gave the carving a light touch. When nothing happened, Veruca rolled her eyes and Violet pushed the others out of the way. Choosing to take a more direct approach, she punched the wall, pushing the square further inside and revealing yet another secret compartment. This was the size of a modest hotel bedroom, which offered enough space for them all to step inside.
Of course, Teavee was too clever to do such a thing. He knew better than to keep all his eggs in one basket. "Someone should stay behind," said Mike, his eyes scanning the group, "Just in case."
Augustus immediately raised his hand. "I vill do it," he said, his chest puffing out.
Teavee nodded curtly, "Good." He said, "Augustus, you stay here, Violet, Veruca, you follow me."
The girls trailed silently behind them as they entered the new room. There was a single door at the end. Instinctively, despite knowing in his heart that it was useless, Mike ran over and tugged at its handle. And just as he expected, it did not even budge.
"Hey, look at this!" Veruca called. The others joined her and followed the girl's eyes. She was studying a device attached to the wall; it looked like a scale of some sort. A single key lay upon it, seemingly without any extra protection. Perhaps Wonka had thought the secret wall would be enough. Mike laughed bitterly. No, that was not Wonka's style. He looked up and examined the contraption. His eyes scanned he area around the key. Hundreds of cables were connected, no doubt in some erratic Rube Goldberg device that would malfunction at the slightest touch and turn them all into marshmallows . . . or whatever.
"Don't touch it!" he ordered the others. The girls had seemed to pick up on Wonka's pattern at this point, and were both cleverly keeping their distance from the alien device.
As Mike continued to observe it, he couldn't help but feel that the whole situation felt oddly familiar. A scale, a key . . . where had he seen this before?
"Raiders of the Lost Ark!" Mike shouted suddenly, causing both Violet and Veruca to jump back in alarm.
"Yes . . ." Violet said hesitantly, as if waiting for him to get to the point. "That is a movie."
"No, no. This is just like Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. There's a scene where they need to get a key, but if they take it, it will set off a trap."
"So what did he do?"
"He . . . he . . . replaced the key with something that weighed the same amount. Yes!" the girls could practically see the gears turning in Mike's head.
"But how will we know how much the key weighs?" she asked.
Mike stopped. He hadn't thought of that. Still, determined not to give up, he studied the key from every possible angle, but not daring to touch it.
"It's gold," Veruca said. Violet and Mike's heads snapped back to look at her. "Trust me, I know. I own enough of it." She made her way closer to the scale and studied it in a similar fashion as Mike had done mere moments before. Then Veruca, to the shock of her two counterparts, ran her fingers down the key. "This is incredible. 24 carat gold," she mused. There was a greedy look in her eye, and for a moment Mike feared that she might break her end of the bargain and snatch the key for herself. Luckily, there was some brain under that thick skull of hers. Although what she said next truly surprised the others. "It costs a little over thirty pounds by the gram. It's actually measured in Troy ounces, but that's besides the point." The others all turned and gaped at her, astounded expressions on their faces. For not the first time since he had reentered the factory, Mike found himself at a loss for words. Veruca rolled her eyes in annoyance. "What? I need to make sure I'm not being ripped off at the shopping centers! A girl needs her jewelry, after all."
"Gold weighs 208.11 grams via volume. And a gram weighs about 0.035274 ounces. There are sixteen ounces in a pound . . . this is key is a skeleton key (a/n: no, I'm not making that up. It's a type of key. Think of the giant, old-fashioned ones) and they weigh, like, what? Well, don't look at me, how the hell would I know?" Mike began thinking aloud. Without anything to write with, he resorted to mumbling and using his fingers. After more than ten minutes of counting and cussing, he reached an answer, looking extremely exhausted.
Violet raised an eyebrow. She looked as if she were trying not to laugh. "You do realize that I have a calculator on my phone, right?"
Several swearwords and arguments later, the trio arrived at a conclusion at the key weighed roughly 8.26 ounces, a little bit more than half a pound. "We need something that weighs roughly two hundred and thirty-five grams."
"What do we have that can measure up to that weight?"
"What are you talking about?" Violet asked.
"Well, if we want to use the key, we'll have to replace to with something that weighs just as much. Haven't you seen the movie?"
"I've seen the movie," Violet said, putting her hands on her hips. "I just fail to see the point in this. I mean, why go through the trouble? Why not just have someone put their hand on the scale and apply an equal amount of pressure while another person opens the door?"
Even Mike had to admit, the idea did make sense. But he pushed that thought out of his mind. "Because . . . because that's not what Indiana Jones did!"
Veruca stepped forward. "Is that what you think this is?" she demanded. "Is this like a movie to you, or some giant video game? This is real life, Teavee! You can't press escape and start over! And if 'that's not what Indian Jones did' is your best reason not to try this out, then you're completely mental."
Violet scowled. "I can fight my own battles, thank you very much," she said coldly.
Mike was in shock. Veruca had probably said more intelligent things in that room than over the entire two-week period they had spent in her house. "Fine," he said, "we'll try your stupid idea. Augstus," he called out, "get over here!"
The boy obliged and made his way over to the others.
"Who's going to put his hand on the scale?" Veruca asked nervously. "Not me!" she added hastily, holding up her hands, as if in self defense from some imaginary monster.
"Whoever does will have to run to the door extremely fast before it closes," Mike mused. There was no way he was doing any more running that day, so that left him out of the picture. "Violet, since it was your brilliant idea, YOU can put your hand on the scale while we all escape."
He expected Beauregard to protest, but instead she nodded. "Fine, you guys run along, I'm not scared."
Mike searched for any quiver in her voice, or hesitation to respond. There were none. Violet spoke with the utmost confidence and composure, as if it were a perfectly normal thing to do. For some reason this annoyed Mike to no end. So the boy simply shrugged and muttered. "It's your funeral."
Violet frowned. "I thought you wanted me to stay behind. Now you're suddenly changing your mind?"
"No!" she wasn't getting it at all. "No, that's not even remotely close. I said I wanted us to follow my plan, which is far superior and much, much more practical than yours. But because you insisted, we're going to try it out your way, and if you die, then we try mine." The words rolled off his tongue casually, as if he was commenting on the weather.
Violet flinched ever so slightly at the comment before gathering her composure once again. Still, the very fact that she was uncomfortable, if only for a second, made Mike grin. Yes, he could bear with everything that was going on, as long as he wasn't the only one who suffered in the end. It was like they said, misery needs company. And if Mike was going to burn in hell, well then he would drag every last poor soul down into the dark abyss right along with him.
I apologize for getting so technical in this chapter. *Shurgs* Guess my mind is still on Mathleetes (that's right I'm on Mathleetes, don't judge me!)
I notice that a lot of people follow and favorite this story, which is great, don't get me wrong. But I would like to know what you found interesting in the writing so that I can add more of it. I realize it's annoying when an author keeps telling you to review, but, well . . . REVIEW! *puppy face* Pretty please?