Author: Tim Emery
Genre: Young Adult (Thriller)
Title: The Fire-Breather's Daughter
"I can take us anywhere, anytime. Guy . we can do practically anything we
"Eh?" Guy's attention was yanked from his laptop by Adam's sudden appearance
at his bedroom door.
"With your skills and mine, we can work magic; we can be gods or demons
even, just . just, well . whatever we want to be."
"Slow down mate - what ARE you on about? You're making no sense."
"Guy, I know you'll think this is nuts. I've seen the future, or a future,
or maybe . maybe just ONE of our futures. One as it has been written. I'm
not really sure yet. This is all virtual." Adam's gesture took in the whole
"LIFE IS VIRTUAL. Nothing is really real, if you . see what I mean." Adam
continued breathlessly. "But everything is as real as we want it to be, and
you and I, YOU AND I can be masters of reality . such as it is. Appealing or
He struggled to suppress his grin. "It so-oo appeals to me, MASTERS OF
"Adam, slow down . and explain . in simple English . what the hell you're on
"If I just told you, you wouldn't believe me, so I'm going to show you. Here
and now. I'm going to . disappear for a while; to help someone called Vicky.
You don't know her and, well . she doesn't know me yet, but I might need you
here, to help me to help her."
"Please Adam, sit down mate and slow down." Guy gestured to the desk and
chair at the end of his bed. "Take the backpack off and sit down. What's in
there anyway? It's crammed."
His attempt to divert Adam's line of talking failed.
"I've created a folder on the network called Slushfiles. You'll understand
why when you've read my notes and followed a few links. There is a link to
our story Guy. OUR STORY! I've found our story and a few others - the notes
tell you more."
"What do you mean our -"
"Shut up and listen. I've been working on programs to do with virtual
positioning." Adam's eyes glistened as they registered Guy's raised eyebrow
at the virtual positioning phrase. "I'm going to try something now . here
and now!" Pulling his phone out, he rolled it over and over in his hand as
Guy tried to speak. "What -"
Adam held a palm forward. "You're not going to stop me. I know you would
want to test them to destruction but there isn't time. Vicky needs help and
I need you here . you know, just in case things don't work. I know I can
count on you."
Laura appeared at Guy's bedroom door, her cheek still flushed from the
unexpected kiss from Adam. In other circumstances she would have welcomed
the opportunity to move for more. This had just been a glancing kiss, given
between him bursting through the front door and dashing up the stairs, three
at a time. She hadn't heard the name Vicky before. It bothered her. "Who's
Adam grinned enigmatically at Laura then Guy.
"Guy, look after Laura, she's special. Oh and don't give your brother so
much money. He WILL get into gambling trouble. Believe me, though you'll see
for yourself . one way or another."
"We will all be ok in the end. It's just that our lives will be easier if
you're less generous with Sam. You know how stupid Sam can be."
"Eh? What's Sam got to do with anything?" Having finally got to ask a
complete question, Guy rubbed the bristle on his chin then tugged on his
right ear lobe, as his brow furrowed and nose wrinkled.
"I'm ready Guy. I've been getting the programs and my backpack ready for
weeks. You're going to be proud of me. You can come as well, when I've
sounded it out . and you trust me enough. I can't wait any longer, but I
needed you to know what I'm doing. Watch this, just watch. Wow! Don't you
just love live testing? It's such a buzz!"
Adam's fingers raced around his phone key pad. There was a pop like a large
balloon bursting; the plasterboard walls juddered; the windows rattled and
the partly ajar door swept fully open, as air swept in to fill the space
that Adam had abandoned.
Like the Cheshire cat, he had disappeared in a wide grin.
There was a hole in the carpet and a corner of Guy's spare chair had been
cleanly sheared off. Neither showed any sign of burning, cutting, or any
other normal force.
"Where's he gone? What just happened? Guy, where's Adam? Guy, what did you
do to him? What did he just do?"
Guy sat motionless, staring blankly at the space where Adam had been. He was
unable to answer Laura's questions and had no idea what Adam had been
wittering on about, or why he had come into his bedroom sporting a full
backpack. For a few moments his thoughts ground to a halt as he struggled to
believe what he had witnessed.
Smiling at the vacated space, he shook his head slowly then gave a long, low
"Virtual positioning? Well, I don't understand what he's done, but you have
to be impressed. What a stunt!"
Laura walked over the spot from where Adam had disappeared, glanced out the
window and then stubbed her toe at the hole in the carpet.
"What an idiot! And you must think I'm an idiot too. It's just some sort of
trick. You pair are just playing a nasty, horrible trick on me. Well, I
won't have any part of it. I don't know how you did it, but I'm not staying
here; I'm not going to look for him either - 'cos I'm not as stupid as you
two think. You're both nasty, geeky sods."
"Hang on Lors, that's not ." like Adam, Laura wasn't going to let Guy
complete his sentence and was already halfway down the stairs.
Guy hurriedly turned back to his laptop. It would not be easy to catch up
with this Masters of Reality stuff that Adam was so excited about, and
whatever it was that he had just managed to do.
"Good Morning Mr Rigby, sir. The chamber pots are empty and clean. I trust
the floors are good enough for you today."
Vicky curtsied a little clumsily; she was still uncomfortable with some of
the etiquette that was expected of her. The red and black chequered Minton
tile floor, on which she stood, was spotless.
"Ugh, floors'll do for now. It's Mon-shewer Rigby. You call the Chef de
Cuisine Mon-shewer. How many times do I have to tell you that? And stop
telling me about the bloody pots, they don't interest me.'
Rigby had a gruff Yorkshire accent and although he had only a few badly
pronounced French words, he still took pride in his fancy job title. His
eyes continually flicked between Vicky's face and her chest; not glancing at
the floor once.
"Get yon table laid, there's a lot going on t'day. You'll be too busy to
help Mister Thomas that's for sure."