The Great Inventor: A short story by Oscar Remedios, Scoop reader, age 10
It was late one Sunday, when an innocuous, silver Volvo pulled up. Out stepped an old man with a parrot perched on his shoulder, and a pair of eccentric blue eyes flickering around anxiously. I ducked back, wondering who he was. Peering around the corner, I saw him heave a tarpaulin covered object through the doorway before vanishing into the depths of next door. Deciding to avoid him, I tiptoed cautiously back home. My mum agreed with my choice.
In the morning, I crept outside and stared. Black smoke seeped under next door’s garage. I dared a look through the window; an explosion rocked the building. A red light flashed angrily at me from inside – warding me away. I fled to the sound of flapping wings.
After several days riddled with explosions and smoke, I noticed that next door’s garage door, which was normally hidden by smoke, was hanging drunkenly on its hinges. Once reassured that the man was not close, I jumped in – tripping over blueprints which littered the floor. I whispered, “The Great Inventor”. When I began to pull the tarpaulin off whatever mystical object lurked beneath, the parrot screeched – alerting the old man who snatched my hand away. Reluctantly, the man toured me round his garage, showing me prototypes of an intriguing looking contraption. Eventually, I plucked up the courage to ask the question which continued to niggle at me: “What’s under that tarpaulin?” With a sigh, the man tugged and the tarpaulin fell away into a heap on the floor. I gasped. With baited breath, I studied every inch of it. Of the robot. I studied its large, grippy feet, long slender legs, the UK’s flag embossed on its back, a grille for a mouth, its x-ray eyes, a searchlight taking pride of place on its forehead. “Wow! I wasn’t expecting that!” I exclaimed, reaching up to scrutinise the control panel on its arm. Smiling proudly, the old man ushered me outside.
One week later, a military procession marched down the road towards The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (The RMAS). Just then, I noticed that there was a silver Volvo tailing the procession like a shadow. I looked closer but I couldn’t see the driver as the sun blinded me. When my Mother was looking the other way, I took my chance, slipping and sliding on the polished cobbles I rushed towards the car. Shading my eyes from the sun’s glare, I peered through the passenger window. The man with his parrot stationed on its usual perch and the robot were inside! He motioned for me to get in; I leapt inside. He said nothing but gave me a few queer glances while stroking his parrot. When the procession neared the RMAS, the man explained to me that his robot was going to revolutionise the UK’s defence systems. Everything clicked into place.
When he told an officer about his invention, the officer gawped and finally, gasped out:
“You stay outside and we’ll test the …”
“Britain’s Bodyguard,” interrupted the old man. The man and I obeyed while listening expectantly to the bangs emanating from inside the building. Coming outside, the officer wiped his brow and managed to stutter,
“It works”. We smiled together and departed silently.
Back home, I finished my tea and declared that I was visiting the old man. Outside, I was surprised to see his door open. I crept in and saw puzzled RMAS officers studying the blueprints on the floor. Where was MY Great Inventor? Why had he deserted me? Seeing a familiar feather fluttering to the floor I realised that his destiny must lie elsewhere.
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