Authors: Eden Unger Bowditch
THE ARRIVAL OF THE
MYSTERIOUS MEN IN BLACK
Eden Unger Bowditch
Copyright 2011 by Eden Unger Bowditch
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by electronic means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote passages in a review.
All the characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
ISBN 978-1-61088-002-2 $19.95 (cloth)
ISBN 978-1-61088-006-0 $14.95 (paper)
Published by Bancroft Press (“Books that enlighten”)
P.O. Box 65360, Baltimore, MD 21209
Cover design and author photo: Steve Parke
Interior design: Tracy Copes
Chapter illustrations: Jason Williford
Printed in the United States of America
FOR MY CHILDREN,
JULIUS, LYRIC, AND CYRUS, WHO SHOWED ME WHERE
“MAGIC” FALLS SHORT AND THAT REAL MAGIC
IS SOMETHING WE CAN TOUCH.
AND TO THE LOVE OF MY LIFE,
WITHOUT WHOM I JUST WOULDN’T BE–NATE.
If you wonder whether you have walked into the right book, ask yourself whether you have ever had to tie a shoelace to a light switch in order to create enough force to pull it open from your bed... or if you have ever put vinegar into baking soda and created a volcano... or if you have ever had to use your formidable brain to invent something to help you or those near you, if not mankind. If so, then you know how important invention can be.
For some, tiny moments of invention can lead to bigger and more powerful uses of brainpower, unleashing something mystical within. This, good reader, is the secret to where the real magic lies.
But be wary of what magic you bring into this world, because sometimes we cannot undo the magic we create.
—Eden Unger Bowditch
Dayton, Ohio, Early Fall 1903
here were two things the scientist knew for certain. One, he had only seconds to change the world. And, two, if he took too long, all his efforts might be for nothing.
As beads of sweat on his forehead threatened to rain into his eyes, he thought to himself,
With only a handful of moments to achieve the correct ratio, he could ill afford the time or movement to wipe away the perspiration.
His hand twitched ever so slightly, his fingers motionless, as he clutched the burette. Trying not to blink, he hooked his elbow on the edge of the table and leaned in to brace himself. The corner of the table cut into his arm, but he had no choice. He had to prevent his hand from shaking any way he could—his right hand, anyway. His left, holding the beaker, continued a slow, circular spin, to be sure that the resin, when released, would not settle at the bottom, and that the other liquid remained in constant motion. With so much resting on an action so small, he could not make even the tiniest of mistakes.
The scientist took a deep breath and let it out slowly. This eased the fog beginning to cloud his glasses. One droplet—one golden droplet from the burette’s long, slender glass tube—was all he needed. The golden resin in the burette had to be released into the rotating beaker and captured in the clear, viscous liquid. Any more than one droplet, even a fraction more, and, after months and months of computations, he would have to begin everything all over again. That is, if he survived the catastrophe.
His thumb ever so gently touched the rubber bulb at the end of the burette. This light pressure pushed the resin down the glass tube, a small golden bulge appearing at the bottom.
The sound of a creaking door suddenly filled the silent room. His breath caught in his throat.
Careful. Concentrate. One droplet.