It was a long plane ride to Hawaii. A limo met them at the airport in Kona, Hawaii and took them to a dock where a small yacht transported them across the Pacific Ocean to a little island where the school was located.
The island had a small port. The temperature was nearly 85 degree and it was very windy but not unpleasant. The air was refreshing.
They could see a large stone building from the port. It resembled a castle.
Their luggage was placed in the rear of a golf cart as they climbed into the seats. As they neared the castle they could hear the sound of children’s voices. It sounded like shouting.
The golf cart drove past a large wooden pole that had the letters PIGC engraved on it. The sound of shouting grew louder. It was coming from around the corner of the castle.
A brown man with jet black hair emerged from the castle entrance with his hand outstretched. He reached for Belinda’s hand and welcomed her and Devin to PIGC’s Hawaii campus.
“My name is Carl,” he said rubbing Devin’s head.
“What is all that noise?” Devin asked.
“Some of the children have built remote control cars and are racing them in a tournament. Let me show you your rooms. You must be tired.”
“Can we watch the tournament?”
“Uh, sure. Is that alright with you Mrs. Winslow?”
Belinda nodded. She was interested in seeing the other children. She wondered if the two from the video would be there.
They walked down a hallway and exited through a side door. The noise became very loud once they got outside. They followed a short stone path to a wire fence. Beyond the fence, they could see bleachers filled with shouting children and adults. In front of the bleachers was a paved race track. There were eight lanes each with a motorized wireless vehicle buzzing across them. The vehicles were between three to three and a half feet tall and four feet wide. There were cars, trucks, and SUVs. A bright yellow pickup with red flames was leading the way around a turn with a sky blue corvette closing in on it. A shout filled their ears as the Corvette past the truck.
“We can get a seat right over here.” Carl led them to the bleachers. They climbed three levels and found some space between some very loud boys in dark blue uniforms and some less loud girls in light blue uniforms.
“Hi Devin,” the kids greeted him. Devin shook the outstretched hands.
“Everyone knows you were coming today,” Carl responded to Devin’s surprised look.
More shouts went up as a green Hummer past the yellow pickup and inched towards the Corvette.
“Where are the operators?” Belinda shouted above the noise.
“They are in an enclosed area where they can see and control the cars but no one can see them. The kids have no idea who is running which car.”
Devin looked around to see if he could figure out where the drivers were. He saw nothing but the track and the bleachers.
The yellow pickup shot past the Hummer. The Hummer’s driver must have been taken by surprise because the vehicle suddenly veered off the track. It quickly corrected itself but it lost its third place position. Now it was a race between the Corvette and the truck.
“Do you see that grey car with the red hearts?” Devin pointed the car out to Belinda.
“Yeah Sweet, what about it?” Belinda asked looking at the unimpressive car that was in sixth place.
“I think that car is going to win.” Belinda didn’t question him but she kept her eye on the grey car. Sure enough, the grey car began to pass the cars in front of it and soon had caught up with the Corvette and the truck. With only one lap to go the grey car swiveled ahead of the other two. It continued to accelerate until the rest of the cars were far behind.
The kids began to shout for joy as it passed the finish line. Devin joined in, enjoying it as much as the students. They cheered until all the cars had crossed. Then the drivers appeared on the track and maneuvered their cars to be next to them. The operator of the grey car was Matthew from the video.
All the children stood up and applauded him as he received his gold medal. All of the other drivers received standing ovations as well and medals of different colors. It was apparent that they were all winners each having successfully built their cars.
“That was awesome! They built those cars? Wow!” Devin continued talking about the race even after they had left the track.
Carl took them back to the campus and showed them their rooms. This time they did not share a room. Belinda was taken to her’s first. It had a Hawaiian motif with small palm trees scattered throughout the room. There was a king size bed and like at the New Jersey campus, a Jacuzzi and walk-in shower.
Devin’s room was much further down the hall, around the corner, and up an elevator. It was a smaller double suite with full-size beds. One side of the suite was furnished with personal items. It was obvious that someone lived there.
“You’ll be sharing a room with Chris,” explained Carl. “He has been looking forward to your coming.”
Devin’s things were already in the room on his side.
“Take a few moments to freshen up. Chris will be back soon and he’ll give you and your mother a tour of our campus. I’ll see you later.”
Devin sat at the desk of his suite. He could see the desk in the other suite but not the bed. Chris had pictures of a man and a woman and five boys ranging in age from maybe four to fourteen. Devin wondered which boy was Chris. He could see the similarities in the family member’s faces. He wondered what it would be like to have a large family like that. Perhaps his mother wouldn’t miss him as much if she had another child.
Just the thought of his mother made him miss her even though she was close by. He didn’t have much time to dwell on his loneliness because a boy came rambunctiously through the door controlling a large remote control yellow truck with flames. Devin recognized it from the race.
“Hi Devin,” the boy greeted him with a handshake. “I am Chris.”
“How come you didn’t race your truck?” Devin inquired. He remembered the boy who had raced the yellow truck was older.
“I built the truck but I let my friend race it. Let me change my clothes then I’ll take you and your mother for a tour of the campus.”
Chris looked to be nine or ten years old. He had sandy blonde messy hair and was thin. He wore small round glasses over his pale green eyes. When he smiled Devin could see through his thin lips a small gap between his slightly yellowish teeth. His nose seemed too big and wide for his narrow face.
As Chris changed his clothes in his suite Devin looked at the photograph of the family on his desk. The rest of the boys were handsome and healthy looking with darker hair like the man. Chris looked more like the woman.
“How was your trip?” Chris inquired from the other side.
“It was fun. The stewardess was really nice.”
“Was it Pamela?”
“Her daughter goes to the Greece campus. I met her once on a flight. She’s very pretty.”
Chris reappeared from around the corner. He had been dressed in blue jeans and a PIGC tee shirt but now he was in the PIGC dark blue uniform.
“Let’s go get your mother,” he said as he opened the door.
Chris took Devin and Belinda to various classrooms. There were no classes in session. He described what each class was used for then they headed to the labs. Some looked very scientific. Some had live animals. Others looked more like workshops. They could see the different unfinished objects to be created at each station.
He next took them to the recreation areas. There were four indoor and two outdoor. Basketball and tennis courts along with racquetball courts were built individually into the largest indoor recreational area. There were a few kids playing racquetball and another group was deep into a game of basketball. They watched the basketball game for a short while then Chris took them to the dining area.
The main dining room was an intimate area with comfortable chairs and oblong tables that all faced the same direction. They seated eight students a piece. This was where the students sat. At the front where the tables faced was one long straight table where the professors sat. There was room for about sixteen chairs but only fourteen chairs were there.
They next went to the library where many students were studying. It was a massive place, unlike any library they had ever seen. There were thousands upon thousands of books, DVDs, audio and video tapes and to Devin’s delight, magazines.
Everywhere they went the kids greeted Devin by name as though he were an old friend. Matthew from the DVD was in the library. He came up to Devin and Belinda and shook Devin’s hand. Then he lifted Belinda’s hand and kissed it.
“Thank you for allowing Devin to come,” he said with his slight accent. “I hope he will be able to stay.”
Belinda just smiled at him.
The last place Chris showed them was the computer lab. Devin had used the computer at Nicky’s house. Other than that he did not have much experience with them. But even he and Belinda could tell they were really fancy computers.
One kid about eight years old called Devin over.
“Hey Devin,” he greeted him excitedly. “I just built this game. Do you want to try it out for me?”
“Devin, this is Carlo,” said Chris.
“Sure Carlos,” Devin answered.
“There’s no ‘s’. Just Carlo,” Carlo responded as he gave up his seat. “It’s a strategy game. The white balls will fall from the top in a pattern. You have to figure out the pattern to catch the balls. Each level has a different pattern. First, you see the balls fall then they fall again with the catcher’s mitt at the bottom. Use the arrow keys to move the mitt.” Carlo reached over and showed Devin how to move the mitt. “Ready?” Devin nodded.
Devin missed the first two balls as he got used to the speed of the mitt vs. the balls. After that, he didn’t miss anymore. He got through all ten levels.
“That was fun!” he exclaimed.
“Wow! I’m going to have to make a harder version just for you,” Carlo muttered.
“Come on Devin,” Chris called as he tapped him on the shoulder. “I’ll take you back to Mrs. Winslow’s room. Dinner will be soon but you can hang out with your mom until then.”
When they got out of the computer lab Chris whispered that nobody ever beats Carlo’s games. He was the best game programmer at the Hawaii campus.
“Now he’ll be motivated to create a game that can outwit you.”
“He’ll have a hard time beating Devin,” mused Belinda.
Once back at Belinda’s room Chris left them saying he would be back soon to take them back to the dining area. Devin climbed on the couch and sighed with a huge grin on his face. Besides the day he met Sheila, this was the best day of his life.
Belinda sadly looked at her son’s face. She knew she would have to leave him. No decent mother would take such an opportunity away from their child. She studied his face as he leaned back on the couch with his eyes closed, smile still intact. He looked so much like Kevin. She knew Kevin would want Devin to have a chance to excel. PIGC was a place that could teach him things she could only dream about. Just the thought of an eight-year-old programming a computer game wowed her. Her son could learn to do that.
“I have to stop being selfish.” She thought out loud as she dropped her gaze to the carpet. When she looked at Devin again he was staring at her. His piercing green eyes met her dark brown eyes. They didn’t speak but each knew what the other was thinking.
Belinda let the tears flow silently down her cheeks as she rode in Nicky’s car. Her friend drove quietly knowing nothing she could say would help.
“When is Devin coming home?” asked Sheila from the back seat.
“Hush up Sheila,” Nicky whispered.
“Why is Mrs. Belinda crying, mommy? Is Devin okay?”
“It’s alright Sweet,” Belinda answered weakly. “Devin is at his new school. He’ll be learning how to fly airplanes, build computers and probably cure cancer.” She turned and smiled at Sheila through her tears.
“Why are you crying then?”
“I just miss him.”
Sheila sighed deeply and said, “I miss him too!”
Once home Belinda went into Devin’s room and sat on his twin size bed. It seemed so uncomfortable after sleeping in the luxurious bed at PIGC. Everything at PIGC was better. Devin was surely better off there.
“Get up Belinda,” she said to herself. “You are not going to be sad. You did the right thing now continue with your life.” She got up and went into the living room, shutting Devin’s door as she left. She noticed a piece of paper on the floor in front of the living room window.
“That’s weird. Where did that come from?” She picked it up and found that it was a note that had been forced through the crack in the window sill. The note had footprints on it and was very wrinkled. It had probably been missed due to the preparations of sending Devin to PIGC.
Her hands started to tremble as she recognized Kevin’s handwriting.
The note simply said, “DON’T LET THEM HAVE HIM!”