It all started the night Lilly was found missing.
The night before, she was there, in her beaker, beside Nathan. Lithium is highly reactive. If exposed to oxygen, Lilly would oxidize, become a chemical compound. That would break Nathan’s nucleus, just to know his sister would change into a perfect stranger before him.
Dr. Kaye; the head of the chemistry lab he and Lilly lived in; walked into the room, talking to her most trusted friend, Cassie.
“I don’t understand how this happened,” Dr. Kaye muttered. It was loud enough for Nathan to hear through the glass and protective solution. “I thought the lab was safe. Now the kids won’t have the chance to view some lithium.”
“It’ll be okay. We’ll have to find another bit of lithium. Hopefully, Dr. Francium has access to the lithium,” Cassie replied.
“No, the sodium will reject it. Haven’t you perceived how close the lithium and the sodium were? It won’t accept it.” Dr. Kaye sounded as if she was taking Nathan’s approach to this.
“I guess we’re going to postpone the field trip. Those poor freshman students. They were looking forward to this.” Cassie was definitely sympathetic for the younger high school students, all from grade nine, that were coming later that afternoon. Nathan’s nucleus suddenly felt like it was made of protons only it was so heavy. But then he heard what the top chemist had planned.
“Reschedule the tour until tomorrow,” Kaye said, whipping around and out the door. “Put a lid on the sodium. I think it might have a mind of its own.”
Cassie nodded. “Sure thing, Ally,” she replied. “Do you want me to leave the lab open?”
“That would be great, Cassie. Leave the cupboard open, too.”
Cassie did as Dr. Kaye expected and followed her friend out of the lab, shutting the lights off.
* * *
Later on that day, Nathan gathered the courage and determination to roll his durable chalice onto the floor without spilling his dilution. His beaker rolled on the floor until it reached the hallway. He rolled until he heard the small, terrified voice of his sister in his nucleus, “Nathan, hurry up. Dr. Francium will oxidize me if you don’t come.”
Nathan tumbled in the direction he heard the voice coming from. He came to an unlocked door, and somersaulted into the room. Nathan inwardly gasped.
Lilly, the pink part of lithium with a bow on her, was still in her beaker, praise the potassium in his family. He wheeled in the direction of Dr. Francium’s desk.
“Lilly, is your beaker’s lid still on?” Nathan transmitted just by wiggling his mustache.
“I think so,” Lilly replied, wriggling around in her chalice. “Do you want me to try to roll off Dr. Fr’s desk?”
“No, don’t try until I alert Dr. Kaye and Cassie. Isn’t Dr. Francium on his coffee break?”
“Yeah. So I just ... wait here until he comes back?”
“No. Wait until I come back with Dr. Kaye and Cassie. They’ll be able to handle you,” Nathan explained. “Stay calm. Don’t panic. You’ll get out still as lithium.”
“Thanks,” Lilly replied as Nathan made his way out of Dr. Francium’s lab.
* * *
Dr. Kaye and Cassie were standing outside of Dr. Kaye’s laboratory when Nathan rolled into the side of Cassie’s foot. By now, Dr. Ally Kaye was beginning to lose hope of finding Lilly.
“Hey, the sodium’s back,” Cassie said as she picked up Nathan’s container and all his contents. “Wonder where he was?”
“Good question,” a voice from behind Cassie and Dr. Kaye replied. The way the voice sounded made Nathan’s electrons stop in their outer shells. “It’s a shame you can’t find your infinitesimal amount of lithium. It has quite the character.”
Dr. Kaye and Cassie turned to face him. The man was tall, spindly and had a bald head. The only bits of hair were on the sided of his head and his eyebrows. He wore square glasses, an orange shirt, and a green tie underneath a snow white lab coat. He had black pants and shoes. He also had most tremendous nose Nathan had ever seen! He kept a straight face and had eyes enlarged by contact lens so big, Nathan could see the chemist’s red irises. The name tag he wore read |Dr. Fr|, so Nathan and his respected chemists knew who it was. Dr. Francium!
“You stole my lithium, didn’t you?” Dr. Kaye accused, her voice wobbling with frustration.
The rival chemist smiled in a twisted way. “You got that right. And I’m going to oxidize it.”
Cassie, thinking right along with Nathan, walked across the hall and into dr. Francium’s laboratory. Dr. Kaye followed them into the workshop and scanned the room.
Within seconds, the two humans that worked closely with Nathan and Lilly had seen Lilly. Dr. Kaye walked right up to Dr. Francium’s desk and snatched Lilly off the table and took her back to the Kaye lab.
“Your plan has been foiled, Dr. Francium,” Dr. Ally Kaye spat at her rival. “Next time, I’ll lock my cupboards.”