The kids crowded into the playground to watch the event. A gorgeous woman that looked like she could be a model held an electronic device that beeped at rapid intervals. The closer she held it to a swing set near the center of the playground, the faster the beep repeated. “This is where the signal is strongest,” she said, holding it down against the gravel that covered the ground.

“This is where you need a hero,” Michelangelo Demetrius said, flexing his fingers. “Allow me.” He lifted the swing set up almost effortlessly by one of its legs and flipped it over into an empty area. Then he felt around beneath the gravel until his hand found a handle. He pulled it up and the switch clicked, lowering a square section of the playground floor until a staircase was revealed, leading down into a dark underground room. He waved at the children watching him. “Now make sure and stay away from this entrance. It could be dangerous down there. Well, not for me!” he laughed, and then he proceeded down into the dark hole, followed by the short man with the glasses and the woman with the device.

Several teachers and other faculty stood in a line, making sure the kids behaved themselves. “Remember, don’t go near the hole,” one of the teachers said. “There could be some evil scientist down there, and there’s no telling what kind of diabolical inventions they might have.”

The boy with the ugly sweater pointed toward the entrance to the lab. “Then how come Jeffy is over there?”

The teacher turned to see the boy with the plaid shirt who had managed to silence Michelangelo Demetrius. The 6-year-old’s name was Jeffrey Giligan, and he was known throughout the school as one of the biggest rascals around. He stood confidently on the edge of the staircase, then hurried down into the blackness before any of the teachers could stop him.


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