Foresters Assignment

All eyes seemed to follow the smartly dressed young woman marching between the rows. Her head moved from side to side inspecting the finest of specimens. She stopped occasionally for a closer assessment.

Stand straight, Forester, the commander yelled. What happened to you anyway?

Forester leaned back as far as his twisted limbs could take the strain. Sir, I色

Hush, son. Youre a disgrace to the ranks.

Forester watched farmer Stanley as he followed the woman who had turned into his row. Their conversation grew louder.

Maam, what kind of tree are you looking for? They all look the same to me.

I need something different.

She stopped suddenly and pointed. That one! Its perfect.

Staring forward, Forester focused on the womans jacket which blocked his view of the commander.

Stanley was scratching his head. Why would anyone want a Christmas tree that looks like this? Its just a mangled mess. Its stunted and undeveloped. He ran his calloused hands over the branches.

A fearful Forester tried to keep still.

Theres too much space between these limbs, Stanley pointed. Theres more on one side than the other. Its worthless.

Nevertheless, its the one I want.

OK, Maam, but Im not going to charge you. I dont want you coming back for a refund or giving my plantation a bad name.

Stanley removed his axe from its belt that hung loosely under his protruding belly.

Where are you going to put this宇hing? There has to be a reason for choosing such a pathetic looking tree for Christmas.

Its was my son Sams idea. Shetook a deep breath then exhaled slowly.Sams a paraplegic. He fell from his horse a few years back. Hes spends a lot of time in the childrens hospital and since I have to work over Christmas, well we have to make the most of it. Ill be the pediatrician on call over Christmas.

Stanley smiled. A doctor, aye?

Yes, Dr Anne Shepherd. Anne, please.

She accepted his out-stretched callused hand before continuing in a more subdued manner.Sams father is in the army and has been serving in Iraq but hell be home for Christmas. Anyway, Christmas with the children is going to be the only way well spend any time together.

Stanley was staring at the woman for a few moments before he shifted his attention back to the narrow trunk and lifted the axe.

With one crack Forester fell sideways and looked up at his commander. Sorry, Sir.

The commander glanced momentarily at his fallen comrade. Its all right, Forrester. I think you may be worthy of this important assignment after all. Do us proud.

Yes, Sir,’Forester replied as he swayed back and forth in Stanley’s hand.

Stanley walked behind Anne to where she had parked her vehicle. There he waited while she opened the rear door.

Sam, I found one.

Cool! Let me see.

Hanging almost upside down, Forester appreciated Stanleys strong grip and watched Anne climb into the back of the modified van. Anne pulled a small lever at the base of the boys seat and turned it around.

Forester became suddenly dizzy and almost lost his bearings when Stanley unexpectedly flipped him upright.

Here it is, Stanley called.

WOW! Its perfect, Mum.

Forester blinked and opened his eyes wide so he could see clearly a child who sat in a strange chair with big wheels. The boy was smiling broadly and Forester realized it was he, Forester, who Sam was so excited to see. Forester felt six feet tall.

Thanks, Mum. Thanks, Mister.

You can place the tree here beside the wheelchair in a moment, Anne told Stanley. She turned Sams chair back into place and secured it before climbing back out through the rear exit. Thank you, we appreciate your kindness.

Its my pleasure Maam and you have a great Christmas, Sam.

Resting beside Sams chair, Forester was overwhelmed by the excitement that had glowed in the boys face. Forrester didnt even flinch when the door closed and latched.

Come on, Mum. We need to get to the hospital so the kids can decorate it. Its going to be a neat Christmas and with Dad coming home, everything will be perfect.

Forrester heard the front door open and close. Annes sweet response and cheerful laughter sounded beautiful. When the engine started he felt Sams fingers wrap around his feeble trunk. He shivered with pride. His assignment had begun.

穢 Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

PIRATES, HIDDEN TREASURE AND …

Fourteen-year-old Electra sat perched on the edge of her chair facing the small group that sat cross legged on her bed.

‘It happened a long time ago,’ she began, ‘but it seems like yesterdayprobably because Ive told the story so often. The only reason why I tell the story is because its why my family is the way it is. You see, we are a family with roots. Oh, you think your familys has roots too? Okay, let me explain what REAL ancestry means.’

Electra put the empty popcorn bowl on the floor before continuing.

‘In 1801, my great, great, great, great grandfather, built this house. He had been a pirate ever since he ran away to sea and became a captains cabin boy. The ship was called the Black Raven its captains name was..’

‘Electra! Will you please stop telling that tale.’

‘Aw刑ad. Why not? It sure beats the real story.’

‘Theres nothing wrong with our familys history, or your family home. And, dont forget the reason why you were named Electra.’

Sandy, one of the girls at the pyjama party, bounced off the bed. ‘Tell us, Mr Chapman. We really want to know about your house and your family.’

The other girls joined in the pleading.

Electra stood and took the freshly made popcorn from her father, pointed the bowl toward her chair where she had just been sitting, and motioned him to take over the narration.

‘Electra was right about the year. Thats when the house was built, but thats where the truth of her story finishes.’ He waited for Sandy and his daughter to join the other girls on the bed. Electra passed the popcorn round before he continued.

‘Basically, my father bought this house to save it from being bulldozed. The locals wanted it demolished for safety reasons. My father made an offer, bought it and renovated it. Its been our family home since I was a boy. There are a few rooms that have never been restored but its stable.’

Sandy stared at nothing in particular. ‘You mean those rooms could be haunted?’

Electra burst out laughing. ‘You must be kidding.’

‘Please continue,’ one of the girls requested, her eyes focusing on Electras father and ignoring his daughters outburst.

‘No, the house is not hauntednot that I know of. The rooms have just never been needed. Theres no great mystery, only the family who my dad bought it from. They lost all their fortune and the house was left empty for years.’

Sandy looked puzzled. ‘Is that it? Electra, I think its a great story. Tell us Mr Chapman how did Electra get her name.’

‘Its not all that interesting,’ Electra commented casually, wriggled back against the bed board and stuffed popcorn into her mouth.

Her father paused and took a moment to continue. ‘Electras mother was beautiful. She had red hair’

‘That explains your hair,’ Sandy teased.

Electra pushed Sandy playfully off the bed, causing Sandy to squeal and the others to laugh.

‘She died in child birth’ he continued unperturbed. A hush filled the room before he continued. ‘I didnt know what I would do or how I would bring up our little girl on my own. I brought her back here to my family home where my parents helped until they passed away. Not only was Electra born with red hair but she looked like she had a shock that caused her hair to frizz. Her grandmother named her. Over time her hair lost its frizz but the name stuck. Her hair still reminds me of her mother.’

He stood and left the room, closing the door quietly behind him.

The girls remained speechless. Electra climbed off the bed and placed the popcorn on her desk before anyone spoke.

Sandy followed Electra and stood behind her, hesitating before speaking. ‘Youve never told me the real story, Electra. Why wouldn’t anyone like the true story about your family and this house?’

Electra turned, her eyes glistened with tears. ‘I wish I knew my mother but I do know a lot about her. Dad and my grandparents made sure I knew everything about her. Every birthday I tell my pirate story so I dont get sad. I guess I didnt realize, until today, just how sad my dad gets.’

The girls gathered around their friend for a group hug. ‘Your family sounds wonderful,’ Sandy exclaimed. ‘Your family home is beautiful. Why dont we ask your dad to show us around?’

Electra smiled and wiped her eyes. ‘Thats sounds like a great idea. Maybe well find some pirate ghosts or some lost treasure,’ she added with a giggle. She took Sandy by the hand and led the girls from her room in search of an adventure.

穢 Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.