Gadgets the great escape, p.19
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       Gadgets: The Great Escape, p.19

           David Hancock

  Blade’s emotions weren’t just mixed they were tangled up and tied in a knot.

  Forque was alive, and for that he was overwhelmed with joy. Deep down in his heart when he was feeling really sad he had thought he might never see his girlfriend again. All sorts of ideas had been flashing through his mind. Maybe she had been kidnapped, killed even. Now he knew that she was alive and for that he was grateful.

  ut she had been grabbed by that horrible brat of a child. And Zack was using her, a beautiful delicately balanced carving fork, as a catapult. Blade was seething with anger. Forque had been lovingly created in the giant Bay Long factory in Taiwan, honed and polished to a brilliant sheen, and now she was sticking out of the pocket of a child monster. Her shine had been dulled, there looked like sticky finger marks all over her and a length of old rubber was tied round her sharp forks.

  Who knew what else might be wrong with her. She could be traumatised or even physically damaged. She was certainly tarnished and that was bad enough.

  Lee-Mailer was equally as shocked when Blade pointed out the catapult to him. ‘Oh no,’ he said so loudly that the other gadgets around him, hiding just inside the rockery, turned and looked. ‘Oh Blade, I am so sorry, but don’t do anything rash.’

  ‘Don’t do anything rash!‘ said Blade. ‘Don’t do anything rash! That’s my girlfriend he has there. I’ve got to do something. If only I was bigger, if only I could get to Zack and slash his trouser pocket and rescue Forque or something like that. But look at me I’m helpless. I can’t do anything.’

  ‘We’ll think of something,’ said Lee-Mailer, trying to cheer up his pal. ‘We just have to be vigilant. When Zack puts the catapult down we have to strike.’

  ‘You’re right, of course, we’ll just have to keep an eye on him and see what he does.’

  Blade couldn’t take his eyes off his girlfriend. ‘Psst…psst…’ he kept saying as quietly as possible to avoid Zack hearing. But Forque was way out of range and couldn’t hear him. She made no movement, instead she just stood there sticking out of Zack’s pocket, looking dirty and sad.

  Zack stood on the bottom patio with all his pebbles spread out on one of the tables. He was surveying the massive area of lawn I front of him. In the middle of the lawn was a beautifully ornate fountain with water cascading down from one bowl to another. It was a natural magnet for a wide variety of garden birds and a source of fun for Zack. He took the catapult out of his pocket and placed it on the table. There was a sharp intake of breath from Blade. His girlfriend looked worse than he had feared. She wasn’t just filthy dirty it looked like her prongs were bent and the middle buckling. ‘That can’t possibly be,’ thought Blade,’ ‘She is made of the finest, hardest steel you can get. Unless, of course, Zack had done it himself.’

  And that is exactly what Zack had done. Using tools he had found in his father’s garage he had bent the forks sideways and the middle back to make a more streamlined catapult that would give him a faster shot. Strips of rubber were attached to the prongs and then both tied to a piece of leather which held the pebble shot. It was rudimentary and it was more by luck than judgement that Zack would ever hit anything for which he was aiming.

  He was scanning the lawn looking at the fountain when a black-billed magpie came down for a drink. ‘Yeah,’ said Zack, his face lighting up. He snatched the catapult from the table-top, put the pebble in the pouch, tried to aim through the sideways bent prongs and pulled the rubber back as fast as he could. The pebble hurled towards the fountain and missed the magpie by several feet. But it was enough to scare off the bird who had hardly managed a sip of water.

  It didn’t discourage Zack. He was looking for the next bird he could try and kill.

  And he didn’t have to wait long because down came a blackbird to the watering hole, and then a fantastic sparrowhawk. Zack was spoilt for choice as he loaded the catapult again and took aim. The pebble went hurtling towards the fountain. The sparrowhawk was the quickest. It felt the vibration in the air and rose to safety long before the pebble arrived. The blackbird wasn’t quite so lucky and as it flew away the pebble ricocheted off the fountain and struck the bird’s feathers causing it to flutter before it soared to safety.

  ‘Yes. Yes,’ shouted Zack, doing a dance.

  ‘Let’s have a go,’ pleaded Jake.

  ‘Nah, go and make your own gat. This is mine. This is the king of gats. Yay.’

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