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TEN

Later that afternoon, JimJim was outside at recess. He wasn’t surprised when he heard the voice.

“I was definitely very worried there for a while. I didn’t know if you would make it. I know you can handle one purple shadow. You do that all the time. Four purple shadows at the same time are way more than just one. You had me holding my breath there for a while.”

“Thanks for stopping by, PosterGuy. How did you find out about the four purple shadows? I was very worried too. When they surrounded me, I was definitely worried. So how did you find out about what was happening in my classroom?”

“I got a flash message from Council Headquarters. It said to pop over to your classroom. I popped in and hung out in the corner.

“There I was, sticking tight to the wall. I was just looking around.

“You were supposed to be thought-zapping TT but was that what was going on? No way, no how. There you were right smack in the middle of four purple shadows. I couldn’t believe it.

“That was new. The Shadow Kids never did anything like that before. They have to cooperate to do that. They never cooperate. They just don’t do it but they definitely did it that time.”

JimJim took a deep breath and started talking very fast. He said, “You were there. The four purple shadows were surrounding me. The battle went on for a while. When it was over, TT and those other two kids were gone. Poof. It was like they just disappeared. So what is going on with them? Where did they disappear to?”

PosterGuy talked very slowly. He said, “They were there. They were definitely there. You say they were there. Poof. They weren’t there anymore. When the purple shadows disappeared, so did TT and the other two kids. They were gone. It was like they were never there.

“Your teacher and the other students in your class just went on like nothing happened. I have seen a lot of strange stuff but this was way too weird. They were just gone. Some very strange stuff is definitely going on.”

“Hey Beetle Brain. Who are you talking to? It looks pretty strange. You are sitting here by yourself, having a conversation. You are the only one here. You keep looking at that poster like you are talking to the guy on it. Where did that poster come from anyway? It’s not supposed to be here.

“I was standing over there by the swings watching you over here talking to a poster. I watched for a while. I watched the poster. It looked like the guy on the poster was talking to you. His lips were moving. How did you do that? How did you make the lips on the guy in the poster move like he was talking? This is weird. You are weird.”

JimJim looked up and said, “What are you doing here?”

SueSue sat down on the step beside JimJim. For a while, she just sat there quietly. Finally, she said, “JimJim, we need to talk.”

JimJim wasn’t sure what to say. SueSue never called him anything but Beetle Brain. She sounded serious. He said, “Sure, okay, let’s talk. What do you want to talk about?”

SueSue looked away and then back. She said, “This is very serious, JimJim. There is something you need to know. I guess I will just tell you. It’s not easy but I will just tell you.”

SueSue stopped to take a breath. JimJim said, “What is on your mind?”

SueSue took another big breath. She said, “There are a few things you need to know. Well, I need to tell you what is going on.”

SueSue took one more big breath. She said, “It started a few weeks ago. I was having a bad dream. I got up and came to your door. I knocked but you didn’t answer me. I thought you didn’t hear me. I was trying to be quiet so I didn’t wake up everyone else in the house.

“I opened your door to see if you were awake. You were sitting on the edge of your bed. I said something to you. You didn’t answer. I walked over and touched your arm to get your attention. When I touched you, everything changed.

“We were suddenly somewhere I had never been before. You were sitting at a table where other kids were sitting. I just stood behind you and watched.”

JimJim was surprised but said nothing. SueSue kept talking. “I know about the Council and the Council Kids. I know about the purple shadow and the Shadow Kids. I know about PosterGuy.

“I was pretending like I didn’t know when I saw you here talking to PosterGuy. It’s time for the truth. I know it all. I even know about TT and the other two kids who disappeared with him. That’s why we need to talk.”

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