Authors: Terri Reid
Tags: #Mystery, #Romance
|A Mary O'Reilly Paranormal Mystery |
|Terri Reid (2011)|
The last few students climbed through windows, black smoke billowing out of them. The teacher turned to his student. “I’ll let you down first.”
“But Coach, whose going to help you?”
“Hey, you’re my best fielder, I expect to jump right into your arms,” he said. “Just promise not to whip me over to Smith for a double play.”
The young man, his face streaked with soot, grinned at his coach. “Yeah, Coach, I promise.”
He took the young man’s hands in a tight grip and slowly lowered him out the window. When he had extended his reach as far as he could, he let him go.
The student fell into the evergreen boughs, the prickly needles scraped his arms, but the branches kept him from hitting the ground. He rolled off the bushes and jumped up as fast as he could. He turned his eager face up to the window. “Okay, Coach,” he called.
The explosion violently blew the windows out of the building. Screaming students darted across the lawn, barely escaping the shards of glass raining down on them. All of the students except Stevo, who still stood below the gaping hole in the wall, oblivious to the blood running down his face and arms. “Coach, Coach,” he screamed. “I’m here, Coach. Coach, I’m here.”
Mary O’Reilly investigates the death of a beloved high school coach while she tries to overcome the repercussion of solving Jeannine’s murder.
Natural Reaction - A Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery (Book Six)
Natural Reaction - A Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery (Book Four)
Copyright (c) 2011 by Terri Reid
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This
may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.
The author would like to thank all those who have contributed to the creation of this book. The editors: Debbie Deutsch, Jan Hinds, Ruth Ann Mulnix and
. The invaluable assistant: Sarah Reid. The proof-reader and husband: Richard Reid. And especially to the wonderful readers who walk along with me through Mary and Bradley’s adventures and encourage me along the way. Thank you all!
Freeport, early 1960s
The bell pealed its final warning and two dozen high school students quickly rushed in from the grey locker-walled hallway into the Chemistry lab. But even though they were in his classroom, Charlie Thorne, their teacher, knew they were more concerned about the upcoming Spring Fling than anything else. “Okay, ladies and gentlemen,” he yelled over the clamor of voices. “I need you to quiet down and pay attention.”
“But Mr. Thorne,” bubbled Rosie Meriwether, the Homecoming Queen and a shoo-in for Prom Queen, “They just announced the band for the Spring Fling is going to be The Nomadds.”
“And yet they still allowed classes to continue,” he teased.
“Coach Thorne,” Stevo Morris, the shortstop for the high school baseball team Charlie coached, said. “This is a really big deal. The Nomadds are cool.”
“Thank you, Stevo,” Charlie replied, “And as
as they are, the only
we are going to discuss today are endothermic reactions.”
A low groan was emitted from the students and Charlie chuckled. “Cheer up,” he said. “Today’s experiments are fun and if you get them right, you won’t have to write the fifteen page paper on displacements instead of going to the Spring Fling.”
The class was immediately alert and quiet. “Yeah, I thought that would work,” he laughed.
He moved to the front of his lab table and looked around the room. He was younger than most of the teachers in the school by at least ten years. Because of his good natured personality, he was a favorite among the students. But he would be surprised to know that he was also considered the “dream man” for many of the high school coeds.”
“Okay, Stevo, explain single displacement,” he said.
Stevo grinned. “You mean the Raquel Welch Displacement Theory, sir?”
Charlie nodded. “Yes, that’s the one.”
“Okay, so I walk in the classroom with Raquel Welch on my arm,” he explained. “And then we walk over and meet you, right? So, she sees you and ditches me for you, because you’re a studlier element or a more active element.”
Charlie nodded and chuckled. “Exactly, single displacement,” he said. “She leaves Stevo for me because; well she has good taste…”
The class laughed at his joke.
“And because I am a more active element than Stevo.”
“Except in practice when we run laps, coach,” Stevo added. “Then I’m more active.”
Charlie nodded. “And that’s why I’m the coach and you’re the shortstop.”
He walked over to the chalkboard and wrote:
NH4OH + HNO3 = NH4NO3 + H2O
“This is an example of the Raquel Welch, Brigitte Bardot Double Displacement Theory,” he explained. “It’s the same premise, except instead of just one active element replacing a less active element, there are two separate changes going on here. In this case, I am the ammonium ion and I replace the positive hydrogen ion from the nitric acid, HNO3 and bond it to me. The remaining Hydrogen ion is left with the OH and becomes H2O or…”
“Water,” Rosie called out.
Water,” Charlie replied. “So, applying that to our theory, Raquel and I are together in this classroom.”
He circled the N. “Nitrogen.”
Then he circled the H. “Hydrogen.”
“Then Stevo walks in with Brigitte Bardot on his arm,” he added, as he circled NO3. “She takes one look at me and leaves Stevo and hooks up with me and Raquel. And Stevo is left with…”
“Water,” the class replies.
Charlie laughed. “Exactly, Stevo is left with water.”
He moved back to the front of the lab table. “Okay, first a big hand for Stevo for being a good sport.”
The class broke into a round of applause and Stevo stood and bowed.
“Now, next we are going to have some fun with chemicals,” he said. “The experiment I just showed you is how to make ammonium nitrate. Who knows what that’s used for?”
, one of the boys who lived out in the country, raised his hand.
“It’s fertilizer,” he said. “We use it all the time.”
“Yes, you’re right. Excellent,” Charlie responded. “Because of the high concentration of nitrogen, farmers use it to increase plant growth. However, combining the ingredients to make ammonium nitrate can be a little tricky, so I’m going to demonstrate how to do it and then I’ll let each of you use some ammonium nitrate to perform a cool experiment.”
Charlie pulled a tray of sealed glass bottles and a couple of empty beakers to the middle of the table. “Okay, I want you to all put on your safety glasses because this stuff gets hot and can splatter.”
He put a 550 ml beaker in the middle of the table and then opened one of the glass bottles. “First, I’ll put 100 ml of water into the beaker. Stevo, you remember about the water, don’t you?”
Stevo chuckled. “Sure do, Coach.”
Charlie opened the next bottle. “This is nitric acid,” he said. “You always want to add acid to water because if you do it the other way around, the acid will splash up when the water is added to it.”
He reached over for a metal bowl that was filled with water and ice. “Okay, the next ingredient is ammonium hydroxide, but before we start adding it, we are going to place the beaker into a salt-ice bath because this stuff really heats up when it’s mixed together.”
Placing the beaker into the bowl, he opened the bottle of ammonium hydroxide and started to slowly add it to the mixture. “I’m using a piece of litmus paper to test when the ingredients become alkaline and I’m slowly adding the ammonium hydroxide so it doesn’t come to a boil. Jon, come on up here and lightly touch the beaker.”
Jon came up and placed his fingertips on the beaker. “Whoa, that stuff is hot, Mr. Thorne.”
“Yes, the chemical reaction is causing the molecules to move quickly which is creating heat.”
A few minutes later, Charlie moved the beaker out of the ice water and over to the Bunsen burner. “Okay, now that it’s reached an alkaline level, I will boil off the rest of the water and only a crust of white will remain. That crust is ammonium nitrate. So Stevo is boiled away and I am left with Raquel and Brigitte.”
He set the beaker to the side and lifted the safety glasses off his face.
Stevo raised his hand. “So, which one are you taking to the Spring Fling and can I have the other one?”
The students laughed along with Charlie.
“In your dreams, Stevo, in your dreams.”
He moved the tray to the side and pulled out a stack of mimeographed paper. “Okay, here’s your lab assignment. You are going to be mixing ammonium nitrate with water to create an endothermic reaction.”
“So, that hot stuff is going to get cold when you mix it in water?” Jon asked.
Charlie grinned. “Well, that’s for me to know and for you to find out. Go with your partners to your lab tables and remember to keep your safety glasses on. Even though this is a very safe experiment, we never want to take chances.”
He walked around the room, handing out the instructions and making sure each student had their safety glasses and lab smocks on. “Okay,” he said. “Take a spoonful of the ammonium nitrate and place it in the beaker. Now open the brown bottles of distilled water and slowly pour it onto the powder…”
“Wow! This really works,” Jon said. “It’s like freezing.”
“Good job, Jon,” Charlie said, applauding the student. “You have just created an endothermic reaction.”
“Does that mean I get to take Rachel Welch to the Spring Fling?” he asked with a grin.
“Not in this lifetime,” Charlie responded.
“Hey, Coach, something’s wrong with my experiment,” Stevo called. “It’s like foaming up and getting hot.”
Charlie quickly turned, “Stevo, step away…”
Before he could finish the sentence, the beaker had exploded and the lab table was on fire. “Everyone, out of the room,” he yelled, running to the fire extinguisher.
He pulled it off the wall and ran to the table. Pressing the handle, he waited for the white foam to burst from the nozzle, but nothing happened.
“Coach, the door is locked,” Stevo called, panic obvious in his voice. “I can’t open it.”
Charlie ran to the door and tried it. Stevo was right, it was locked. He tried throwing himself against it, but the solid wood door was not going to give. He glanced over his shoulder and saw the fire spreading to the next lab table. Another small explosion of glass and wood had the students screaming in fear.