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The BOX -  a short story  Part 2


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THE BOX  - A short story   Part 2 

WITH AUDIO. : Click to open/close audio player

 When Mick got a job delivering a box to a reception at the Hill Park Hotel,  he got more than the fifty pounds that he expected .....

     The rain drops falling on the window made it harder and harder to see what was happening; and instead of trying to look through the window, Sophie looked at it, and watched the red, blue and white light break into a thousand dancing and trickling spots.

    Eventually the traffic began to move on, and a moment later, Opie's Corner, with its lights and its police cars, had disappeared into the night behind them.
    "Come on," said Mick. "Next stop!"
    They got off at the foot of Blenden Road, and began walking up the last hundred yards towards the Hotel.
    "Gee this box is heavy!" exclaimed Mick.
    "He must have thought you had a car!" answered Sophie.
    "No, he asked how old I was!"
    "We're early, you know!"
    "Too bad! What are we supposed to do? Just hang round waiting?"
    "I don't know, do I? You made the arrangements!"

     It was indeed just a quarter to ten as they turned off Blenden Road and through the gates of the Hill Park Hotel. It was an old manor house that had once stood well outside the town, but was now surrounded by suburban streets. It still stood, however, in spacious grounds.
    Inside the gates, the driveway curved off to the left, through a group of trees; they could see the lights of the hotel in front of them, across the grass; but under the trees it was very dark. Drops of water were falling heavily off the wet branches.
    "I don't like this!" said Sophie. "Someone could jump out from behind one of those trees!"
    "Oh get real!" answered Mick. "This is a posh hotel! You've been watching too much telly!"
    "I don't like it, Mick! I think there's something in that box!"
    "Well of course there is! It's a surprise for Mr. Ansell, straight from Tescos !"
    "Yeah, I know. But it's all rather suspicious, isn't it? Why couldn't your Mr. Charnwood get the box delivered normally?"
    "Well I s'pose they couldn't find any firm that delivers at this time of night! And anyway, what d'you think's in the box? Ten pounds of special-offer ecstasy tabs, or what?"
    "No..."
    "Maybe it's a box of their best semtex then, for terrorists !"
    "Mick..."

    At that moment, a car came in through the gates behind them, its lights sweeping across the green grass as it turned towards them.
    Then, as it reached them, it braked hard and stopped, one of the doors opened, and a man jumped out.
    "Police!" he said. He was not in uniform. "What's that you've got there? Where are you going?"
    "We're delivering it to the hotel!" said Sophie.
    "Is it yours?"
    "No," Mick answered. "We're delivering it to Mr. Ansell's party. It's a surprise."
    "And who's Mr. Ansell?"
    "We don't know," said Sophie. "We've never met him."
    "Come on!" said the other policeman, a very large man. "Get in the back of the car, you two!"
    "What for?"
    "Do as I say, please! We'll drive you to the door. And give me that box will you!"
    Mick and Sophie climbed into the back seat; thirty seconds later, the car pulled up outside the hotel entrance.
    "Wait in the car," said the shorter of the two policemen. The big policeman said nothing as they sat and waited; but the wait was not long.
    In less than a minute, the short policeman was back in the car.
    "Right, you two," he said. "They don't know anyone by the name of Ansell there. And there's no-one with that name at the dinner party. So we'd better go down to the station with this!"
    "Cor!" exclaimed Mick. "And what about the fifty quid I was going to get?"
    "Fifty quid?" asked the smaller policeman.
    "Yes, for bringing the box from Tesco's."
    "Well, we'll see about that later," said the policeman. "Where d'you live, young lad?"
    "Larkway St." said Mick, "Just near Opie's Corner."
    "Oh, there, I know," said the policeman. "Well we'll drop you off there now, and you can come in and see us at the station tomorrow morning, O.K."
    As they approached Opie's corner, Mick saw that the police cars with their blue flashing lights were still there. At that moment, the car stopped.
    "We'll set you down here," said the driver. "We've got to go back to the hotel, I've just remembered!"
    "And here's thirty quid," said the other policeman.
    "What's that for?" asked Mick.
    "You'll find out when you come down to the station tomorrow."
    "Which station?"
    "The main one, of course; in the town centre."

    "Oh well," said Mick, as the police car drove off. "Maybe there was something strange in that box!"
    "I told you so," said Sophie.
    "Anyway, let's go to Gigi's!"

    Next morning after breakfast, Mick went to the police station. The officer on duty was most interested in his story; especially since no policemen on duty the night before had gone anywhere near the Hill Park Hotel.

The End.


WORD GUIDE:
 trickle: to flow (move) very slowly - eventually: at last, finally -  Gee! - Oh! - hang round: wait - grounds: land, gardens - driveway: access road - posh: chic, luxurious - suspicious: strange - tabs: tablets - semtex: a type of explosive - to brake: to slow down - pull up: stop - station: police station (not railway station!) - Cor!: Oh! - lad: boy, young man - on duty: on service.

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THE BOX, part 2 - Worksheet

Note: as with part 1, there are a few very small differences between this printed version of the story, and the audio version.

Replace the missing prepositions in this extract from the story.

Instead of trying to look _______ the window, Sophie looked _______ it, and watched the red, blue and white light break _______ a thousand dancing and trickling spots.
    Eventually the traffic began to move _____, and a moment later, Opie's Corner, _______ its lights and its police cars, had disappeared _______ the night _______ them.
    "Come ____," said Mick. "Next stop!"
    They got _______ _______ the foot of Blenden Road, and began walking _______ the last hundred yards _______ the Hotel.
    "Gee this box is heavy!" exclaimed Mick.
   
    It was just a quarter to ten as they turned _______ Blenden Road and _______ the gates of the Hill Park Hotel. It was an old manor house that had once stood well __________ the town, but was now surrounded ____ suburban streets. It still stood, however, _____ spacious grounds.
    Inside the gates, the driveway curved _______ to the left, _______ a group of trees; they could see the lights of the hotel _______ front of them, _______ the grass; but _______ the trees it was very dark. Drops of water were falling heavily _______ the wet branches.
    "I don't like this!" said Sophie. "Someone could jump ____ ____ _______ one of those trees!"

   

For teachers:  using this story in class :Introductory exercise: Before taking the second part of this story with your class, begin by asking students to tell the story collectively. Here are a lot of quick questions, to elicit answers that will tell the story.

Who are the heroes of the story?
Why did Mick get in touch with Mr. Charnwood?
What did Mr. Charnwood ask him to do?
Why did Mick accept?
What was the weather like on the day of the story?
What did Mick and Sophie find at Tesco's?
What did they do after leaving Tesco's?
Why did the bus slow stop by Opie's corner?

Language points:
There are a number of points to pay attention to in this part of the story:
a) prepositions,
b) prepositional verbs,
c) modal verbs,
d) questions.
 In line 10, note the indirect question: He asked how old I was.
Have students re-express some of the direct questions in the text on the same model,
i.e.: (two lines below) What are we supposed to do becomes He asked what we were supposed to do.
The point to remember is the word order.

Follow-up exercises. Though this episode ends the story, it still leaves room for further developments, as the last paragraph leaves everything wide open. Have students explain what really happened, in their own words. Maximum length: 300 words. (four point line
 Role Play After Mick went to the police station, the policemen asked him and Sophie to come in and answer some questions. Sophie's Mum and Dad came along too. Imagine the interrogation session that took place.


Or visit the Linguapress guide to working with written documents:   
Reading comprehension in the English class
(Version française : Petite méthodologie de la compréhension écrite )

This teaching resource is © copyright Linguapress 1996-2016.
Revised 2015 . Originally published in Freeway, the Intermediate level English newsmagazine.
Republication on other websites or in print is not authorised

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