Alexia's Bike, p.1Tobias Gavran
Copyright 2014 Tobias Gavran
Table of content
The sound of his steps bounced back against the walls of the empty house. His feet frantically beat on the creaking wood. He was holding the banister with the tip of his fingers, ready to stabilize himself if he was to trip because of the speed. He had to be quick, very quick… Everyone had to know!
It all began in the morning. Sunny days were just coming back in France. Spring was almost there and the children from the block were getting accustomed to play football again.
Walter noticed, whilst walking to school, the absence of Alexia, who used to accompany him on his way. The young girl’s bike, a pink bicycle whose colour he often mocked, was not lying on the parking lot where her parents used to park. It surprised him because he had been used to see the two-wheeled vehicle sitting there since winter began.
Walter was not worried, though. She must have taken her bike to get there more quickly, he thought.
He arrived just before the bell rang and had to join the ranks in a hurry. It was only when the teacher called the register that he remarked Alexia was not there either. Even worse, the teacher did not know why! She even asked:
“Is Alexia sick?”
No one in the class knew. They all shook their head.
“Very well, I will call her parents tomorrow if she is still absent.”
That was not normal. Alexia was always there and everybody knew so. Her mother was very strict: a real dragon! Unless the little girl was extremely ill, she would have been forced to go to school. Why would she have been sick, though? It was getting warmer outside. People were sick when it was cold, everybody knew that!
It was decided. He had to talk to Hassan!
Hassan was an older pupil. He was in fifth grade, though it was called CM2 in France, and he was very intelligent. At least, that’s what everyone said. Even the headmaster once said that he was “a pocket-sized Sherlock Holmes”: a renowned detective, there were even films about him. Mommy had laughed, one day, when Walter had said that, because the films were inspired by books… But novels or movies, it had to mean that this “Sherlock Holmes” was a very well-known man!
Hassan, on the other hand, was not known everywhere. No. However, people from the block knew who he was. He had already found footballs, rulers, erasers and a lot of other stuff people had either lost or stolen. If he could do all that, then he surely could find where Alexia was.
Walter’s legs had been shaking under the table for the first half of the morning. He had been waiting for recess with so much impatience that he finished all his exercises faster than ever before. It even surprised the teacher who usually had to ask him to hurry. He didn’t want to be forced to stay to copy his lessons when the break would come.
When the time to go downstairs came, he was careful to not run in the hallways and to stay in the ranks, so that he wouldn’t be denied the right to go outside.
Walter soon arrived at the playground and turned his head left and right, looking for the older boy. Hassan was watching a game of marbles with the utmost attention, straight as an arrow. Walter found him a little bizarre, but people often said that geniuses were eccentric – it meant strange, or something like that.
“Hassan!” Walter yelled.
The perfect little detective raised his hand, a gesture to instigate patience, as though he was doing something important and difficult. Then, he whispered suddenly to Walter: “The blue one, the white and the agate.”
The younger one of them frowned before his eyebrows reached the top of his forehead out of surprise.
Hassan had just predicted the exact sequence in which the marbles would be struck! Such a prediction had to be the sign of marvellous talents in the art of deduction. It certainly meant that he could be of help in the matter at hand.
“You come looking for my help in regards to Alexia’s disappearance? Hassan asked.”
“But… How do you know…”
“She’s always with you during recess, but isn’t today, and you look worried.”
“You are very perceptive!”
“No, no more than any other.”
Walter frowned again. He wasn’t convinced at all!
“Do you know how many steps you climb each day to go to the first floor?” Hassan asked.
“I… No, I don’t.”
“Seventeen, exactly. I am not perceptive, my dear Walter, I am observant, that’s all. Everyone can be. One only needs to be observant, not perceptive.”
Walter crossed his arms.
“Are you going to tell me I have to look for her alone?” he asked.
“No, not at all. I will ask my parents if I can come play with you after lunch, OK?”
“But I don’t want to play?”
“Mm… You don’t even want to play detective?” Hassan asked with an amused smile.
Walter let out a lengthy “oh” as he understood where Hassan was going with this. Then he smiled too, nodded and told him that he would meet him once he had eaten.
Alexia's Bike by Tobias Gavran / History & Fiction have rating 1.9 out of 5 / Based on31 votes