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Mystery May
Now You See Them, Now You Don't - The Lost Colony, Part 1



Now You See Them, Now You Don't - The Lost Colony, Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   2.85

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    airy, babysitter, capsule, flier, good-sized, sniggle, sweaty, toddle, weapon-Mr, deserted, original, fetch, palms, mode, settled, sticking
     content words:    John White, Weird History Class, These English, Roanoke Island, North Carolina, Matter Transporter, Even Mr, James Bond, Sometimes Rocky, Indiana Jones


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Now You See Them, Now You Don't - The Lost Colony, Part 1
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     The joke was: "I'm their leader. Where did they go?" I'd seen it printed on goofy looking ball caps that had an eye shade sticking out both sides. Oddly enough, somebody in history had really said it. Well, at least he knew the feeling.
 
2     Picture this: you're the guy in charge, kind of a chief babysitter. The rug rats you're looking after run out of milk. You leave your helper in charge and trot down to the store to fetch some. When you get back, you find the place deserted.
 
3     You search the house from top to bottom. No one's home. You think hard. Did they take a notion to toddle over and visit the neighbors? Were they snatched by aliens? Where did they go? That's kind of what happened to a guy named John White. He was the leader of one of the first British colonies in America way back there in 1587.
 
4     We found out about the lost colony in Mr. Sniggle's Weird History Class. It was the first real settlement of white families in what would later be the U.S. These English people settled on Roanoke Island off the coast of what is now North Carolina. They seemed to have just vanished off the face of the earth. From then till now, lots of smart people have tried to figure out what happened to them.
 
5     We figured we'd give it a shot. After all, we had a secret weapon—Mr. Sniggle's Matter Transporter. We'd learned that didn't always make it simple, though. Last time, we'd fetched up on a beautiful beach. Nice, right? Maybe. Before the trip was over, we came way too close to being keelhauled by pirates.
 
6     This second trip had its own hazards. Even Mr. Sniggle had had qualms. He'd come close to giving the project a thumbs down. "Some people who came to America treated the original owners badly," he said. "The native tribes had no reason to be friendly towards newcomers. You're going back to the same place in the same era," he said. "Guess who will likely be there to meet you?"
 
7     "What about your new shielding device?" I'd asked. "That could be helpful. Is it ready?" Since the pirate adventure, Mr. S. had been working on a new toy. He'd come up with a strange tool that made molecules jump around all over the place. It emits a "beam" like a flashlight. The beam is a force field rather than light. Anyone looking into the field can't see past it. When you point the "beam" in front of you, it's like a wall. Your body is shielded from view.
 
8     "The device performs well in trials," Mr. S. replied thoughtfully. He was still for a long minute, stroking his chin. Finally, he nodded and agreed to the trip. That night, he'd stayed up all night. He'd built and tested shielding tools for all four of us. The next day, he'd drilled us in how to use the device.

Paragraphs 9 to 17:
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