It took a second or two for his eyes to adjust, and then before him, Chewy saw a long dark hallway with a glowing rectangle at the other end. He walked slowly, studying the walls. There was something holding him in, keeping him on the path toward the light ahead, but when he reached out, all he felt was something hard. Looking down though, he saw nothing but eternal blackness. He began going faster.
He glanced behind and saw a similar rectangle. This must be what the door bridge looks like, he thought, wondering why he didn’t recall it from the two times before when he disappeared. He started again toward the opposite end, the light growing bigger, and quickly he jumped through it, finding himself in Miss Wolf’s class. It had worked! He was here, and Kent was way back there somewhere in that bathroom with no clue as to how the great Chewy Noh had done it to him again. Chewy smiled. He was right. This was fun.
He looked up at the clock in the corner. He only had minutes to get in and out, so he had to work fast. He dashed over to Wolf’s desk and dropped down to the bottom drawer. He had observed her storing test answers in here before, but with the drawer open, it felt like a mixed blessing.
He had found the answers but there were more than a hundred. He paused wondering which one to take. Maybe if he took them all he’d be able to figure it out later? He frowned. That would never work. Miss Wolf would definitely know someone had been in here. He needed to find the answers, transfer them to a different sheet and get out. Everything looked too difficult now, and then his pocket buzzed.
At first, Chewy froze, thinking he had tripped off a silent alarm. He completely forgot that while changing clothes he had slipped his phone into the traditional red, blue, and yellow Korean clothes he now had on. He yanked the phone out. Who could be calling him at a time like this? He looked at the number. It wasn’t a familiar one and he stared, questioning whether to answer it or not. Finally, he did.
“Hello,” he wearily answered.
“Chewy!” It was Clint’s voice. “What happened? Are you in there?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m in her classroom now, but—wait, when did you get a phone?”
Clint’s voice was frantic. “Is that really important right now?”
“I guess not,” Chewy said, smiling at Clint’s overly worried tone.
“Did you find it?”
Chewy looked back down at the pile of answer keys.
“Yes and no,” he said.
“What?” Clint screamed.
“Calm down, buddy. I see the answer keys. I just don’t know which one to copy.”
“Copy the unit eight test!” Clint yelled again. “And hurry!”
“We’re on unit eight?” Chewy said, pulling out a piece of paper from his other pocket and started copying down the answers from the top sheet.
“Don’t you pay attention in class?”
He heard Clint exhale in frustration before he asked, “You got it then?”
“No problem,” Chewy said, holding up his copy and shut the drawer with his foot. “I’ll see you on the other side.”
“Wait!” Clint yelled.
Chewy froze. He heard it too—the sound of thick heavy boots coming down the hallway.
“If you run to the door right now, she’s going to see you in the side window. Is there any place to hide, you know, Chewy-style?”
“We’ll see what I can do. I’ll see you when I see you,” Chewy said, putting the phone in his pocket.
Clint was right. Going back through the door bridge to the bathroom was risky now. He had to do something else, but looking around, he felt a new dread sink in. There were no good hiding places in this room. If he hid under her desk, his brightly colored clothes would attract her attention in a second. He looked to the closet door covered in posters of planets and the solar system. Maybe he could hide inside there, but it’d be risky. Again, he looked like a walking rainbow.
Come on Chewy, he thought to himself, you’ve gotten out of tighter spots than this. Just a minute ago, you escaped Kent by using a bathroom stall! He turned, glaring at the closet. That was it!
He pulled out one, last rice cake from his pocket, sticking it to the bottom. He hoped Miss Wolf wouldn’t be too perceptive and find it there. Otherwise, he tore off a small piece of paper while already starting the ritual dance. He sped it up drastically and was slightly afraid that he had skipped a couple of steps. By the end of it, he had scrolled the incantation on the paper and smacked it to the center of the heavily postered door. His little addition would barely stand out above all the clutter.
With keys rattling in the door, Chewy grabbed the handle to the closet, stepping in. Only then did he realize he was entering a door bridge without an opposite end. His grandfather had warned him about this. But it was too late, and he was gone.