Chapter 1 – The Beginning (Part 1)
Thursday, February 18 1999
Sandi awoke early, around 6:45, from a nightmare. “What a dream,” she said. She did not remember many details. She did however remember the emerald and picked it up as she climbed out of bed. The emerald looked dirtier in the early morning light than it had the previous afternoon. “I need to get the dirt off,” she said. She began rubbing it.
What happened next was entirely unexpected. It frightened her much more than the nightmare did.
The Emerald lit up! Sandi dropped it in shock, collapsing back onto her bed. “Eep!”
There was static on the radio, where there had been a clear signal from one of Lawndale’s local FM stations (but not Z93) only a moment before. The bedroom light was flashing on and off. Then many swirls of light emanated from the emerald.
Sandi had recovered herself enough to think ‘What is happening?’
Then, there, in the centre of the room impossibility occurred. What appeared to be a normal teenage girl, much like Sandi herself appeared, appearing to coalesce out of the swirls of light. She had medium length dark blonde hair, about the length of Sandi’s, and grey eyes that showed a much greater
age than her looks implied.
A while later Sandi came to. The stranger was sitting on her chair at her study desk, where the accoutrements of the previous night’s homework session were, undisturbed by the stranger.
“Like, who are you?” Sandi asked, with fear, rather than the usual haughtiness, showing in her voice.
“I am sorry for the fright that I have given you. I am a genie. You may call me Jeannie, or Jean for short.”
Sandi didn’t know what
to believe, genies were the stuff of fairy tales and Disney movies.
“Say that again, a genie who grants wishes?” Sandi asked, her voice showing scepticism similar to that of Quinn’s sister, not that she would ever admit that fact.
“Yes, I grant your wishes. If you are holding the emerald in some way when you wish for something out loud it will be granted. The number of wishes is without limit.”
Sandi didn’t know what
to think. One thing was certain, if her parents discovered Jean in the room, she would be in trouble.
“I wish that my family would remember that you are staying here on exchange,” Sandi said, hoping that that it was a wish that Jean was capable of granting.
“Do you mean your immediate family or your extended family?” Jean asked.
“My immediate family, those that are living here!” Sandi said with impatience.
Jean then blinked, holding her arms across her chest as she did so. A strange sound surrounded Sandi on all sides.
“Your wish has been granted, although it would be easier if I knew your name. I know that the surname is Griffin, from the granting of the wish, but not your personal name,” Jean said.
“Alexandra, though I prefer Sandi if you don’t mind!”
“I will call you Sandi,” Jean said.
“Sandi! Jean! Your breakfast is ready,” Sandi’s mother, Linda, called.
“Yikes!” Sandi said, looking at the time (7:30 by her clock radio).
They were out in the kitchen in slightly less than 10 minutes, a record for Sandi. Sandi was wearing her usual outfit; whereas Jean was wearing one of Sandi’s other outfits...
Breakfast was tense.
Lawndale High School 8:30
Sandi and Jean were dropped off by Linda in front of the school. “We’re early; Stacy and Tiffany do not arrive until 8:45. Quinn usually arrives five minutes after that.” Sandi said after her mother had driven off.
Jean stopped short of the front entrance. “Aren’t you forgetting something Sandi?” she asked.
“What have I forgotten?” Sandi asked.
“I am not enrolled. I am not in the school’s records!” Jean said. Sandi mused on this. Ms Li would very quickly find out that someone was at the school, who was not supposed to be there.
“Good point,” Sandi conceded. “I wish that you were in all the relevant records at the school.”
Jean granted the wish, repeating the gesture from earlier, with the same sound.
“The wish is granted,” Jean said.
“Who can hear that anyway?” Sandi asked, referring to the wish granting sound, whilst entering the front entrance of the school.
“The person making the wish, and anyone in the immediate vicinity,” Jean said, as she entered the school building herself. Sandi could see that she was holding some information back, but figured that she would find out soon enough.
“Where are we going?” Jean asked.
“The Library. It is, like, open before homeroom on Thursdays. I would like to see if there is any information there about genies in history,” Sandi said.
“Ok,” Jean said, not sure what Sandi’s motives would be in such a project. They passed the Cafeteria and then went out into the quad towards the library.
Once in the Library, Sandi looked around and made sure that there weren’t any ‘popular’ people there who could identify her. She saw no one whom she recognised. She then went over to the cataloguing computers.
“These are new,” Jean said, looking at the computers.
“Were there not any computers the last time you were out of the emerald?” Sandi asked, wondering how long Jean had been in the emerald.
“They did exist, but they were not advanced enough to be used as a cataloguing system in a High School Library,” Jean said. She was in awe at the advancement of technology...
“Interesting,” Sandi said. She then thought of how they could be easier used. She decided that voice recognition would be interesting to have ‘At least that is what it is called in those shows that Stacy watches,’ she thought. She grabbed the emerald, which was on a necklace that she was wearing. ‘Good thing that its green matches that of my eyes,’ she thought.
“I wish that the computers in the school will be able to be controlled by voice, and that they would have the components necessary for that to work,” she said.
“This will take a few moments,” Jean said. She closed her eyes and concentrated as she and the emerald scanned all the computers in the school. (She had been aware of them earlier after Sandi had wished for her to be on the enrolment records, but now she needed to understand them better.)
After scanning the hardware and the software of every computer in the school and then understanding all of them, she was ready. She granted Sandi’s wish. A barely visible ripple emanated out from Jean and the emerald, carrying the wish granting sound with it. As it struck each computer in the school it changed them, giving them microphones, speakers and voice recognition software compatible with the operating system that the particular computers were running.
Where there wasn’t enough hard drive space, the wave increased the capacity of the drive to compensate. All the computers in the school were affected, from the more recent Pentium II’s running Windows 98 and iMacs running MacOS 8.5, through to the 386’s running Windows 3.11 and Macintosh II’s running System 7.5. Jean also placed some ‘Easter Eggs’ on many of the computers...
“The wish is granted,” Jean said, once the conversion processes were complete.
“I would have thought that it would have been quicker,” Sandi said.
“The bigger the wish, the longer it takes to be completed,” Jean said. Sandi gave this some thought. “I suppose so,” she said. She lead Jean over to the closest of the cataloguing computers.
“Catalogue: Like, show me the listings for any books containing information on genie legends,” she said. After a few seconds the database software returned Sandi’s query. There were 3 books.
“Cool,” she said. She took out a notepad from her purse and wrote down the Dewey Decimal numbers that had come up.
“Let’s go,” she said to Jean as she went towards the first relevant section of the bookshelves.
However, Sandi did not know that the School Librarian, Michaela Daniels, had seen and heard everything after her wish for the computers to be able to be controlled by voice.
As Sandi and Jean walked into the midst of the non-fiction section she ran what happened through her mind. Sandi’s wish, Jean’s response and gesture, the wish granting noise, the ripple carrying the wish granting noise, a different noise coming from the computers in the library as they were altered and Sandi ordering books via voice... She came to the conclusion that Jean was a genie (though she still didn’t know her name).
Meanwhile at the front of the school, Stacy Rowe and Tiffany Blum-Deckler had arrived. “Whe-ere is Sand-di?” Tiffany asked after a minute of looking for her.
“I don’t know,” Stacy said. ‘Maybe she is late,’ she thought. Tiffany reached into her handbag and took out her cell phone.
“Tooo, bad Sand-di doesn’t ha-ave her own Ce-ell Pho-one,” Tiffany said.
“You could try her house,” Stacy said.
“Oh Yea-ah,” Tiffany said, as she dialled the Griffin’s home phone number.
“Hello; you have reached the Griffin’s Residence, we are not at home now. Would you please leave a message,
” came the recording of Linda’s voice from the Griffin’s answering machine.
Stacy looked at Tiffany. “We will wait for Quinn. She will know what to do,” she said.
“Oh Yea-ah,” Tiffany said. She placed her cell phone back into her handbag and took out a mirror. Stacy sighed.
Back in the library Sandi was talking to Elias Howarth, whom she had dated a couple of times.
“...Like, I am looking for a book for class. Mr DeMartino gave me a C on my last test. My Mom insists that I keep a B average,” Sandi said after Elias had asked why Sandi was in the library. ‘And most of it is true,’ Sandi mused. Linda did insist that she had moderately good grades and Mr DeMartino had given her a C on her last test.
“That is fine, Sandi. It’s not like you’re a brain, like a certain Junior I have often run into,” Elias said.
‘While dating Quinn no doubt,’ Sandi thought.
“Anyway, who is this new friend?” Elias asked.
“Hi Elias. I am Jean Jenner. I am on exchange from Britain, staying with the Griffins. It seems that I have picked up the American accent well.”
“Interesting. If you are available at Recess I would like to find out more,” Elias said.
“Sure,” Jean said. Elias said goodbye to Sandi and left.
“He is a little geeky, but, like, his cuteness makes up for that geekiness,” Sandi said. She then found the first of the books that she was looking for. She grabbed it from the bookshelf...
Meanwhile Quinn Morgendorffer had arrived at school. She had walked up to Stacy and Tiffany and asked; “Where’s Sandi?”
“We-e Do-on’t kno-ow,” Tiffany said.
“I thought that maybe you would know,” Stacy said. Quinn thought for a few seconds.
“Something may have come up. I am sure that we’ll see in her in class,” she said.
“That is a good idea, Quinn,” Stacy said. The three friends then went into the school.
Michaela had gone to the CD-ROM reference computer and had started to use the voice recognition software. Elias noticed her and went over to her. He was quite sure that even if voice recognition software existed that the school wouldn’t be able to afford it. “Since when do we have computers with voice recognition software?” he asked, the curiosity showing in his voice.
“I am as confused as you are,” Michaela said.
“Really?” Elias asked, surprised that the librarian would admit that.
“You have met Sandi’s new friend?” Michaela asked. Elias nodded in the affirmative and she continued, “She could be some kind of genie. I think I heard Sandi wish for the computers to change.” She also explained Jean’s body language and the strange sounds.
“That is only a possibility. There could be others,” Elias said. He was uncertain. A genie could explain at lot of things. “I will investigate Jean, that is the name that she gave me, and I’ll get back to you,” he continued.
“That would be a good idea,” Michaela said. Elias went over to the Cataloguing computers.
Ted Dewitt-Clinton was already at the cataloguing computers, looking something up. Elias could see that Sandi and Jean were out of sight, somewhere in a distant corner of the library. He decided to tell Ted the librarian’s suspicions.
“Ted? Have you seen Sandi Griffin this morning?” he asked.
“Why do you ask?” Ted asked, curiously.
“She had this person with her. It wasn’t one of her usual Fashion Club friends,” Elias said.
“Yes. I did see her and someone else enter the library earlier,” Ted said.
“Anyway, Ted, Mrs Daniels thinks that that person is a genie,” Elias said, hoping that Ted did know what a genie was.
“You mean a genie like one in the old Arabian tales, or like the more recent Disneyfied versions? Why would she think that?” Ted mused.
“The computers in the library can suddenly respond to voice commands,” Elias said to Ted. Then to the computer “Computer: List all works by JRR Tolkien.”
Ted gave Elias a dubious look as he gave his answer but then he looked at the screen.
AUTHOR SEARCH: JRR Tolkien
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring TOLK 5 copies
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers TOLK 5 copies
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King TOLK 5 copies
Lord of the Rings: Omnibus Edition TOLK 4 copies
The Hobbit TOLK 6 copies
The Silmarillion TOLK 2 copies
The Unfinished Tales TOLK 1 copy
“Amazing!” Ted said, more at the computer having voice recognition software, rather than the school having multiple copies of most of the Middle Earth Legendarium, although he appreciated the latter too.
“See?” Elias asked. He already knew that the library had multiple copies of LOTR.
“Ok. Possibly, I will look into it,” Ted said, thinking that there could be other reasons why the computers suddenly had voice recognition software.
“Cool. I will do so as well, but we have to be discrete about it,” Elias said.
“No problem there,” Ted said. Then the bell rang. They quickly left the library, not knowing that Sandi had heard most of their conversation.
“Gee, Jean, I hope that they will not, like, confirm their suspicions,” she said.
“You could have made a subtler wish,” Jean said. Sandi placed the book she had been reading down next to the cataloguing computer, glancing at the Tolkien list.
“Maybe, but now I have lost track of time. Quinn could be turning Stacy and Tiffany against me,” Sandi said.
“In fifteen minutes?” Jean asked as they left the library.
“You don’t know Quinn! Let’s go to homeroom. You did put yourself into my homeroom didn’t you?” Sandi asked.
“Yes, of course I did,” Jean said. They went towards the building in which their homeroom was...
After homeroom, Sandi, Jean, Quinn, Stacy and Tiffany had history. Sandi and Jean met Quinn, Stacy and Tiffany.
“There you are, Sandi!” Quinn said as she approached the history classroom. “Who is this?” she asked, referring to Jean.
“This is Jean Jenner. She is on exchange from England and is staying with my family,” Sandi said.
“That is so cool!” Stacy said.
“Yea-ah. Very coo-ol,” Tiffany said.
“You didn’t say anything about this,” Quinn said.
“It was, like, a surprise!” Sandi said. She then noticed Mr DeMartino approaching.
the rest of the class
?” he asked.
“I don’t know, but maybe, like, their homerooms are on the other side of the school!” Sandi said.
timetable changes!” Mr Anthony DeMartino said as he opened the door to the classroom.
10 minutes later Ms Li was going through paperwork when she noticed the addition of Jean Jenner as a new exchange student. She called her secretary.
“Nadine! Why was I not informed of the arrival of a new exchange student to my school!” she said.
Nadine Fenton looked over the paperwork. “She is enrolled starting today. The paperwork looks in order,” she said.
“Good! But still, a new student needs to report to the principal as soon as they arrive on the first day. No exceptions!” Li said.
“Very true,” Nadine said.
“Ms Jean Jenner, please report to the Principal’s Office. Immediately!”
came Ms Li’s voice over the intercom.
‘I knew that would happen,’ Jean thought. She quickly left the room before Sandi, or Mr DeMartino could say anything.
After Jean had left Sandi grabbed the emerald and said “I wish that Jean will know what to say to Ms Li.” The emerald glowed briefly and the wish granting noise came from it.
from playing with your gimmicky Jewel
lery in class!
” Mr DeMartino shouted.
“Sorry,” Sandi said, not entirely sincerely.
Continued in next post