Another entry for Flash Mob Writes.
Attention to Detail
The tropical vegetation drooped under the constant weight of the steady rainfall. The ground itself was made for the constant moisture. Absorbing the water into the earth so that nothing accumulated.
“Exquisite,” Dr. Fraunch whispered. The man took his pencil and lifted one of the larger leaves to reveal the small pump affixed to the side of the terrarium. The whole scene in the glass chamber was perfect. Dr. Fraunch would expect no less from last year’s Clark County elementary science fair winner.
The judge returned to his clipboard and then back to the dour girl that made this miniature rainforest. Barbara Grossman looked as disinterested in his evaluation as she’d looked on stage last year accepting her ribbon. “Is something wrong?” she asked.
“Not at all, It’s just. . . ” He pointed to the project display board. Strong black block text labeled the science fair entry as TROPICAL BIODOME. “There’s something inside that doesn’t match the title.”
Barbara shrugged. Dr. Fraunch reached back into the terrarium and lifted a different set of foliage near the ground revealing two miniature head stoned at the head of two tiny, shallow graves. “Are these part of the biosphere?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said confidently.
“Even these graves?”
“I reused the terrarium from last year.”
Fraunch remembered the two gerbils on the wheels connected to the small glowing LED light. It was years more advanced than any other elementary student at the fair.
“I forgot to take them out of the experiment last year.” Barbara scratched under her nose, indifferently. “They were still in the terrarium when I got it up from the basement about a month ago.”
Dr. Fraunch considered what he would find if he probed deeper in the terrarium. He retreated his pencil from the space. The girl was now looking up at him as a baby bird does when mother returns with part of a worm. “Don’t worry I put them to good use. I fed what was left of them to the tarantula that lives in there.”
The judge nodded slowly. “But there’s not a tarantula that lives in there.”
“Yes there is. She’s in there, all covered in babies,” Barbara asserted.
Dr. Fraunch delicately slid the top back onto the container. He was sweating and breathing rapidly at the thought of the incredible spider loose somewhere in the science fair.
“You lost a spider?” he said, controlling the panic in his voice.
“No,” Barbara calmly replied. “I know right where she is. She’s on the bottom of your clipboard.”