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Andrew knew about the fire at Coot's farm and he had some other news as well.
The sighting of the meteor had something to do with that fire and a half dozen or more which had occurred along a ten-mile path. Their science teacher had discussed the subject of meteors and meteorites in their science class because he had seen the dazzling spectacle as the missile from outer space hurled down through the earth's atmosphere and turned into pieces of molten rock, metal and fire.
"Mr. Gauthier said that he was going out tomorrow to try and find some of the pieces and he said I could come if I got your permission," Andrew exclaimed.
"Who else is going?" Dorothy asked.
"Ian Brouder and Peter Wright are going too. Do you think it's OK?"
"I can't see any harm in it. It sounds like fun," Jim Small replied.
"Do you think I could go Andrew?" Michael questioned.
"Sure, maybe we'll discover another mystery. Come on, let's phone Ian and Peter right away."
"Every time something like this happens, another mystery is discovered." Dorothy moaned. "Just mark my words!"
Saturday morning was bright and warm. Summer holiday time was only a few weeks away. Michael and Andrew rode over to Jeb Coot's farm where they were meeting Ian, Peter and their teacher. It was a sad sight to see the smoldering remains of a barn. When Andrew knocked at Mr. Coot's door, a rather tired looking old man greeted him.
"Hello Andrew, it's not a pretty scene is it?"
"Did you save all the animals?" Michael asked.
"Yes, I was lucky there. My dog Barney woke me up just as the fire was starting. Itwas too late to save the barn, but I got all the animals out. I don't know how I'll build again," he moaned and scratched his head.
A car drove into the lane way and Mr. Gauthier, their science teacher, got out.
"What are you kids up to?" Mr. Coot asked. "Not another mystery I hope?"
"Good morning Mr. Coot, I'm Andrew's science teacher and I promised the boys that they could come with me to try and find pieces of the meteorite that burned your barn."
"So you think it was a celestial body that torched my place. Well go ahead, I'll not stop you."
"Was Barney acting strange or different?" Andrew asked.
"No I don't think so, he was restless. Usually he's sawing wood at that time of night, if that's any good to you."
Ian and Peter rode up on their bikes.
"Well we had better be off." Mr. Gauthier said.
The four boys followed the teacher down to the barn. He had brought a metal detector with him and he explained to the boys how he was going to use it.
"I think we should walk in the direction where the brush fire started. It's no good using this device here. There is probably a wealth of metal buried here, nails, bolts and all sorts of things. Back in the bush we should have a better chance of finding something."
The boys were excited and trudged along listening to the birds singing. The first fire was just a mile from the Coot's farm and it didn't take long to reach it.
Georgina and Meghan had finished their breakfast and were waiting for their father to finish his.
"Dad, when are we going to Britain?" Meghan asked.
"The 1st of July, so you'll have to wait two more weeks."
They got into the car and drove in the direction of Twinforks.
"I wonder who telexed your mother? She can't think who it could be."
Dorothy had asked her husband to pick up the telex. As for who would be telexing her, she hadn't the faintest idea. She had an elderly aunt who lived in England but they hadn't been in touch since her own mother had died nearly twenty years before. At that time Dorothy had been a young teenager while Aunt Matilda was in her late sixties. Well, there was no point in speculating, she'd find out in time. She watched as the girls piled into the car and drove off with their father. A drive in the country was good for them. She busied herself with mending some rips in Michael's pants. Her son, Michael, could go through pants in minutes and they always seemed to rip in the same location.
Michael watched as Mr. Gauthier moved the metal detector back and forth. They searched the ashes of the small grass fire that had burned itself out when it reached the rippling creek that flooded into Terrance Lake. When the machine started to beep, Mr. Gauthier bent down with a trowel and slowly dug away the soil from the area. He recorded the strongest signal on a pad of paper.
"Are meteorites dangerous after they've landed?" Peter asked.
"Not usually, unless they are radioactive. As soon as I find one, we'll check it with my Geiger counter."
The hole was soon a foot deep and nearly three feet across.
"One of the problems with meteorites is that they can be composed of all sorts of things and sometimes they disintegrate on impact."
"Look, here's something!" Ian shouted.
"Stand back! I'll check it with the Geiger counter," said Mr. Gauthier as he moved the microphone back and forth.
"Nothing's moving on the meter," Andrew said.
"How can it be glowing?" Michael asked.
They removed the small object, examined it and put it carefully in their pack.
The rock was only about an inch wide and two inches long. It was light green in color and was very smooth.
"This is great. I've never seen anything like it. A glow stone which looks like a chert rock but has a metal composition. Strange, I wonder what the geology department will say when they examine it?"
They spent the rest of the day walking over the area where the fires had occurred. They didn't find any other meteorites.
"Well, let's call it a day. I'm exhausted," Mr. Gauthier said.
No one objected and they hiked back to Mr. Coot's farm.
When they arrived, Jeb was talking to Bert, the fire chief.
"Have you fellows discovered anything?" Bert asked.
"Yes, we found a meteorite," Andrew answered.
"A meteorite! Well, that certainly could account for all those fires. My men were out most of the night fighting them. It was lucky that most were small and didn't do much damage except for this barn."
Michael, meanwhile, was looking around the remains of the barn while the rest of the group was excitedly showing the farmer and the fire chief the glowing stone.
"We must be off," Mr. Gauthier said, "When I get the test results from the university, I'll let you fellow explorers know what exactly we found."
"Do you think you'll know before school is out?" Peter asked.
"Oh, I forgot about that, you guys only have two days left. I'll be sure to get the results back to you before then," Mr. Gauthier answered them with a smile.
Peter and Ian waved goodbye and rode off on their bikes as Mr. Gauthier drove away. Just as Andrew was watching the fire chief drive off in his red car, he heard Michael give a long whistle. Andrew ran over to Michael where he found him staring at the ground.
"What have you found Mike?" asked Andrew, out of breath.
"We now have a glow stone of our own!" he replied.
"It's a beauty, Mike. Look how there are stripes of color in it. You see that each stripe is glowing on its own."
"Wait until we show this to Dad. I'm going to call it my rainbow stone. I bet it will look really neat in the dark."
Andrew and Michael rode home on their bikes and arrived just in time for supper.
Copyright © 2004 George W.J. Laidlaw
Posted May 13, 2012
Posted May 13, 2012
Posted May 13, 2012