Fortunately, Wil was able to keep awake the remainder of History. She wouldn’t have put it past Mr. G. to try the correctional fluid method if she dozed again. There was no telling what that crazy Air Force fanatic would do.
She hurried to finish the reading and its questions. The silence around her was slowly replaced by the hum of conversations, as her classmates began visiting with each other or working on other homework. They had started the simple assignment whilst Wil was airborne, and most were now finished.
“Done,” Wil said quietly and triumphantly. She set the notepaper with her answers to the top right on her desk, then extracted the secret crossword from her binder. “T-M-E-E-Y-B-R-R-L-I-A-B-Y-R-E-F-A-T-S-C-H-O-O-L,” She read, under her breath.
She had despaired a bit, at first glance, that she had yet another step before resolution. Now, however, Wil could see that not all of the words were scrambled. Clearly, there was “by,” “fat,” and “school.” Perhaps the letters AND the words were scrambled, which would account for “fat” being right before “school.”
Logic told Wil that there wasn’t a good reason to have “fat” anywhere in the message, though. No one at school was named that, nor any location. Perhaps she was supposed to seek out a person who was fat, but she also doubted that.
She stared at the page, thinking, as the room buzzed around her.
Just then, Wil noticed that the key letter boxes in the crossword itself were not all the same. Five of the squares had an extra line on the side. She’d thought it an error of the print before, but now entertained the idea of it being another clue. The letters affected by the extra line were E, B, Y, T, and L.
Thanks to the assignment she had just completed on Morse Code and other methods used for communication during America’s wars, Wil remembered that a space between words is written with a slash. This meant that T-M-E-E was one word, IF her code-writer intended for her to copy the letters down in the order she had. Wil sincerely hoped that was the case. She felt reassurance that it was, since “school” copied that way was not scrambled.
“Eetm, Mete, Meet!” Wil said, a bit too loudly. A few people near her looked at her questioningly, and she smiled shyly before quickly looking back down at her paper. She pretended to be absorbed by it as she attempted to cover most of it with her textbook and hand. They returned to their own conversations and work.
Wil exhaled in relief, and really did become absorbed.
Y, B became “by;” R, R, L, I, A, B, Y was “library;” and R, E, F, A, T was “after.”
“Meet by library after school,” Wil read excitedly in her mind. In answer, the ending bell rang.