Thank you to everyone who voted for whether or not Gregory should follow the bag lady’s mission… A hearty 67% of you decided that Gregory should indeed take this opportunity to make something of his life and go for it!
I’m going away for a short Easter break so the next instalment will be posted upon my return, but if you want to be reminded, then please subscribe using the links on the top left or by joining the Story Soup Facebook page. All comments and suggestions welcome! In particular, how is Darren magical??
Gregory encounters some little-known scientific history.
Gregory said nothing for a while. In the silence that followed, Darren the diplodocus came over and began to sniff his hand. Gregory couldn’t help but smile as Darren sneezed and fell over. Gregory had never been allowed a pet. His father didn’t like mess and his mother was allergic to fur. One summer he had ‘rescued’ an earwig in the park and had kept it in a woolly hat until it ran away, but anything bigger than a fish was sincerely out of the question. He hadn’t even been granted a sibling for company. As a result he was both lonely and selfish, as many lone children are. If he’d had his choice he would have preferred a dog or a wolf but he had to admit, this little dinosaur was rather cute. Even cuter than this:
And to think it had magical powers! Gregory couldn’t help feeling intrigued.
“Alright,” he said finally. “Let’s do it.”
“Yes!” the bag yelled, punching the air in delight.
“So, what should we do first?” Gregory muttered, turning the exam papers over uselessly in his hands.
“Maybe we should follow the sign,” the bag suggested.
“That one,” the bag pointed a grubby arm.
“Oh!” said Gregory in surprise. “Well, I guess that’s a good start.”
They followed the sign and soon came across another. This one led them down a dried up stream. Eventually they came upon a third notice. This one pointed between two bushes and was inscribed with the words, ‘Keep going, Gregory.’
“Huh!” Gregory uttered in mild disbelief. He could not help feeling a little bit disgruntled, as though the bag lady was teasing him somewhat. Nevertheless, it was good to have a bit of direction.
The next sign was quite high up, nestled in the branches of an old oak tree.
“For someone who has lost all sensation in her arms and legs, this bag lady sure is agile…” Gregory muttered dryly, feeling as though he were sinking deeper and deeper into some kind of trap. He wondered whether it was too late to back out, but morbid curiosity got the better of him and he pushed on.
They followed the trail for quite some time, venturing further into the dark forest. They had to stop once or twice so that the bag could sew up some scuffs on his feet. Gregory had carried him for a while and then put him down, complaining that he was too heavy. Darren was sitting on Gregory’s shoulder, swaying from side to side in a contented manner. Gregory gave him a tender pat every now and then. “Isn’t this exciting, Darren!” he said, forcing a smile. He hoped he sounded braver than he felt.
Eventually they came to a small hut. It looked as though it had been hastily assembled using a collection of sticks and moss. Gregory glanced around with a shiver, wondering if the bag lady was nearby. The light was beginning to fade and, without his father’s watch, Gregory had no idea what time it was. He took a deep breath and entered the hut. Beside him, the bag gave a little hiccup and followed. They expected to find the hut occupied or at the very least decked out with utensils, weapons, or other fancy tools intended for their use. But to their surprise it was as good as empty. All they could see was a photo pinned to the wall. It was of this chap:
“Oh, not him again!” the bag sniffed in annoyance.
“Isn’t that Albert Einstein?” Gregory asked in confusion. “What’s he got to do with anything?”
They went over to the photo and examined it more closely. Under the picture was one last sign, engraved with the words, ‘Give me my brain back.’
“Ah, yes,” the bag said tiredly. “Now I remember.”
“Remember what?” Gregory exclaimed in frustration. “What on earth am I meant to do?”
The bag yawned and leant against the wall. Then he began to explain. “So this guy was some kind of big shot apparently. Well, when he died his brain was taken without permission by scientists wanting to discover the secret of his great intelligence. His family came and demanded his brain back so the sneaky doctors swapped it for the brain of a child at a local orphanage. They named her Alberta and she became the property of science. She was incredibly gifted and was examined and prodded daily. She clearly did not enjoy this very much because she ran away as soon as she could and has lived as a bag lady ever since. She was always grumbling about who she might have been with her own brain…” The bag paused for dramatic effect and then concluded with a little chuckle, “Maybe she wants you to travel back in time and restore her original brain!”