“So.” He told them as he poured a jar of grape juice into a lucent jar of crystal clear water. The students arrayed in the tiered clusters of choir seats leaned forward with interest, as the clear water became a deep purple color.
Professor Langdon’s eye crinkled with good humor as he turned to look at his rapt students. “As you can see what was once transparent and clear is now…”
A student raised his hand. A young man with a mop of red hair and plenty of freckles beneath it.
“Yes, Mister McCannon.”
“I’m not sure I understand the nature of this experiment.”
Professor Langdon raised a new beaker of liquid, which was even murkier than the grape juice to pour into the jar. He poured it slowly. As he did so, the murky grape juice waters became not more opaque, but less, until the water was crystal clear again.
The class broke into applause.
“Now.” Professor Langdon said, after turning back to his rapt audience. “Can anyone tell me what has just happened?”
A girl raised her hand. “You’ve made the grape juice invisible.”
Professor Langdon clapped his hands in applause for her statement. “Very good, Miss Dearling. Very good, indeed.”
A bell sounded.
The students remained seated attentively.
Professor Langdon smiled. “Tomorrow, I want you each to bring what you think just happened in the form of a formula. That will be all.”
The class erupted in a flow of movement away from the cramped seating, until the students had all evacuated except for Mister McCannon and Miss Dearling.
They looked at each other expectantly.
“Go on.” Mister McCannon told the girl.
“Professor Langdon, this is remarkable. With the formula to this you could make anything invisible. Even a human!”
“A human.” Mister McCannon joined in. “I’d like to volunteer!”
Professor Langdon gave him a sad smile. “Being invisible isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.”
They gave him blank looks.
“Think of this. You get up in the morning to shave. How?”
“With a razor, sir.” Mister McCannon explained.
“And what would happen if you missed your face and cut your nose off instead?”
“You could learn to feel your face by touch. Besides, Professor, you could turn visible anytime you wanted.”
“What if…a supposition, of course, you could not return to visibility?”
Mister McCannon blanched. “I hadn’t thought about that, Professor.”
Professor Langdon closed his paperwork on the podium he had been speaking from and examined the faces watching him. ‘On Monday you will bring an essay that will cover two aspects of invisibility.
“Number One, how might one deal with the visibility factor, if one were able to turn invisible.
“Number two, what would be the consequences of having that kind of power if you misused it?
“That’ll be all. Class excused.”
Everyone departed except for Mister McCannon and Miss Dearling.”
Professor Langdon looked up from a note he was scribbling as reminder to himself and saw them. “May I help you?”
“Uh.” Mister Cannon looked to Miss Dearling, who looked back at him.”
“Show him.” She said.
“Show me what, Mister Cannon?”
Shyly, the student began to pull up his starched white shirt. As he did so, nothing was visible.
Mister Cannon looked to Miss Dearling and she shoved the sleeve of her starched white blouse upwards, and as she did the elbow of her right arm faded away, revealing no upper arm.”
“I see.” Professor Langdon finally said after he took in for a moment what was revealed.
“Come with me.” He ordered and they followed, rearranging their shirt and blouse to hide the missing parts.
They followed him down a flight of steps in the classroom to a door marked exit. He opened it and led them down another flight of stairs into his office. They were stunned to see is so barren. Only a minimal desk and chair and some paperwork. He smiled at their surprise, and then pressed a panel on the back wall.
They both gasped as the wall began to slide upwards.
He gestured them to enter and closed the wall behind him.
As they entered he said. “Welcome to my world.”
The young adults were stunned. There were dogs with half a visible body, bats with only wings and eyes, bowls of goldfish with only their tails visible.
“Professor Langdon! This is utterly remarkable!” Mister Cannon said.
They both turned to look at him and he was nowhere to be seen. Then they saw a chair scoot away from a desk and a pencil and pad rise from it.
“Once you learn how to manage your gift, you will be able to make anything visible or invisible.” He told them with pride.
“The Visibility Factor.” Miss Dearling gasped.
“Yes. I have solved it for myself.” Professor Langdon replied as he dissolved back into view, a huge smile on his face. “And given the time and diligence, I can help you two as well.”
Both the young adults looked as if Santa had just visited them. Both had tears in their eyes as they nodded. There was hope after all.