Thomas

The smell of fresh coffee teased my nostrils. I entered Daisys Caf矇 below the row of offices that overlooked a noisy intersection on Charter Row.

Daisys beaming smile greeted me. ‘Morning, Dave. The usual?’

‘Yes, please. Any doughnuts?’

‘Sure.’

Daisy handed me the coffee then bagged the doughnuts while I guzzled down a few mouthfuls of the piping hot brew. ‘Ah Just the way I like it. See you later Daisy.’

I stepped back out into the commotion of the busy street and headed up the flight of stairs a few feet away. There, blocking my way, sat a vagabond. A middle-aged man, down on his luck and known to every tenant on Charter Row as Tom.

‘Tom.’ I paused to calm my tone. ‘I really need to get to my office.’

‘Can I-I-I come up? I-I-I need to t-t-talk,’ he stuttered.

‘Come on then.’ I sighed. I knew the only way to pass was to allow him to accompany me. I shook the bag of doughnuts. ‘Ive got your favourite.’

Tom grinned. He followed me up the stairs and I handed him the bag so I could unlock the door. I stepped aside to let him enter. Closing the door behind me, I placed the coffee on my desk and opened a window.

‘Now, what can I do for you Tom?’ I watched him gulp down the last doughnut.

He choked and sprayed crumbs over my desk. I handed him my coffee. I would go without. Tom stuttered his thanks and drank before he explained his request.

He began by telling me his name was actually Thomas not Tom. His problem was a simple one. Thomas needed bus fare to a canning factory where his friend John worked as a packer. Thomas needed to go today, preferably before ten oclock, because the cannery was employing staff this morning. He needed me to go along to speak for him. It was true enough, I understood his stuttering and asking for a position would be difficult for both Thomas and the employer.

‘Okay, you cant go like that.’ I pointed him to the tiny bathroom and told him to strip and have a sponge bath using the sink while I checked the phone messages.

There was only one message. ‘Lord Bellamy here; I need you to find someone. If you return my call before midday the job is yours.’ I looked at my watch. ‘Ouch!’

I could hear Thomas complaining about the cold water. I gave Thomas some spare clothes I kept at the office in case I slept at the office during investigations. The trousers were definitely too long but they would have to do.

The wash, the change of clothes and a comb through his hair, made Tom respectable enough. Thankfully his thread bare shoes were hidden by his trousers. I sprayed Thomas with cologne until we both choked.

Thomas’s eyes widened. He seemed excited to be out of Charter Row. He obviously hadnt been on a bus for a long time; maybe not at all. There was a lot I didnt know about Thomas.

‘Thomas,’ I asked, as the bus neared the factory. ‘Where will you live if you get this job?’

‘M-m-my friend, J-J-John, h-he let me stay for a-a bit,’ he answered, his eyes still fixed on the view beyond the window.

We arrived at the cannery a little before ten thirty. The manager was sympathetic and understanding.

‘John would like me to give you a go’, he told Thomas. ‘Ill give you a months trial. Johns a good teacher. Im sure youll be fine.’

After handshakes all around, I left Thomas with the manager and returned to my office where Old Spice cologne still lingered in the stuffy air. I pressed the replay button on the answering machine and dialed the recorded number. I was pleased Thomas had the opportunity for a fresh start. I wondered now if I had a job.

‘Lord Bellamys residence, may I help you?’

‘Yes, this is Dave Strong, Private Investigator. Lord Bellamy left a message on my answering machine.’

‘Yes, Mr. Strong, hes been waiting for your call. Ill put you through.’

There was only a brief silence before the voice on the phone matched that of the recording on my machine.  He came straight to the point of his request.

‘Hello Mr. Strong.  I need someone to find my brother.’ Lord Bellamys voice sounded stately but urgent. ‘My brother and my father, Lawrence Bellamy, had a disagreement over twenty years ago. My brother left and we havent heard from him since.’

He paused before continuing. ‘Our father passed away a few weeks ago and regardless of their differences, Father left my brother half the estate. I need to find him. Its time to bring him home. Can you help?’

This was right up my alley. I needed a good investigation and I loved finding long lost souls. ‘Yes, I can help you Lord Bellamy. Might I have some details to help start my search?’

‘His birth name is Thomas Alfred Bellamy, born 40 years ago in Sheffield. He has one significant characteristic trait that stands out. He stutters.’

穢 Chrissy Siggee

(Perhaps the shortest investigation in history)

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.

Archived in: Short Fiction

Graffiti King

The lunch bell rang. The din of chairs screeching, student chatter and books slamming closed echoed in the classroom.

Peter Mason, Id like a word with you in my office over lunch.

Yes Sir.

Peter had only been at this school for six months. His fathers job regularly moved them from state to state. This was his second school in three years, making it difficult to make friends and to be accepted by his peers.

Hey Mason, whats Olsen want to see you for this time? Jeremy Spears sniggered.

Jason shrugged and kept walking.

Mason, Spears shouted after him. See you after school usual place.

The gym was his favourite place. Oddly enough, it was the only class he didnt share with Jeremy. He entered the locker room and quickly changed into his gym gear.

One of the teams pole-vaulters came over while Peter was placing a sweatband around his head.  Mason, I didnt think you were going to show. Good to see you. He snickered and slapped Peters back.

Peter turned but the guy was gone. Whats he on?  Peter pushed open the swinging doors, entered the gym and did his usual warm-up routine. His favourite apparatus were the rings, and he was grateful he had them to himself for the next hour.

Mason, the coach shouted. Didnt you hear the bell? Go shower. Principal Olsen is waiting.

He showered quickly, dressed and was running his fingers through his matted hair when the coach entered the locker room.

Mason, you have an ability that will get you to the 2024 Olympic Games. Dont waste your time painting walls in your spare time.

Coach, I 色 But the coach had already left.

What is it with these jerks? He stormed off to the administration block, notified the secretary he had arrived and plopped in a chair to wait.

Come in, Mr. Mason. Take a seat.

Principal Olsen didnt even look up when he stepped behind his desk and sat down on his swivel chair. He picked up a newspaper and started reading.

They both sat in silence for a few moments before Principal Olsen spoke. Its come to my attention again, that you were seen immediately following the latest graffiti incident here at the school. Somehow your picture and story made front page news. He emphasized his last words by tossing the folded newspaper across the table for Peter to read.

Peter stared at the photo, obviously taken by a security video camera, and the caption below. Graffiti King Identified on Camera. In the hood of his jacket was a pressure-pack can.

How? Spears, it had to be Spears. Sir 色

Id like to believe you, I really would. However, Spears is seen here. He pointed to a gate, to the left of what appeared to be Peter. He may have avoided the camera rotation but 色

Why would I carry a spray can in my hoodie, Sir? Peter felt his pulse racing.

Im sorry, Peter. This time I have to issue a suspension. Your father has been notified. You can collect your things now before classes resume. Return to the office to collect your suspension letter for your father and leave while everyones in class.

Peter left in a daze. He couldnt believe it.

He emptied the contents of his locker into his backpack and shut the door. He made his way back to the gym and wandered over to the rings. He was overcome with disappointment. He took one last look and turned to see the coach standing nearby.

Its only for the remainder of the term, Peter, and unfortunately, Olsen wont let you use the school gym after school hours either. I tried, but he wont budge.

Coach, I didnt do it. Honest.

His coach sighed. He placed his hand on Peters shoulder and spoke with compassion. Look, stay away from Spears. Hes bad news. If you can keep out of trouble, Ill talk to Principal Olsen about a summer training program.

Peter smiled weakly. Thanks Coach.

With regrets, Peter returned to the administration block, collected the letter and headed home determined to hold on to the hint of hope that his coach had given him.

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.

Archived in: Short Fiction

The Mystery of Keats Missing Endymion Solved.

Historian Albert Winslow sat at his desk in a sparsely furnished London office. Using two large wooden tweezers, he gently unrolled the manuscript. Faded calligraphy on tea coloured paper revealed its age and fragility. With a magnifying glass he studied the almost illegible signature confirming the author, John Keats.

Winslow peered over the top of his wire-framed spectacles. He studied the gentleman sitting opposite, who repeatedly wiped his balding head with a handkerchief. ‘Sir, where did you say you found this manuscript?’

I didnt exactly find it. Its part of my inheritance.’

Removing his spectacles, the historian studied the gentleman sitting on the other side of his desk fidgeting in his chair. ‘What did you say your name was?’

‘Kent. Michael Kent.’

Mr Kent, this signature doesnt appear to resemble a Kent.’

‘It was handed down on my mothers side. My mother changed my surname when she remarried.’

‘I see. Leave it with me, Mr Kent. Ill have it valued for you by tomorrow. Leave your details with my secretary on the way out.’ He rose and shook his clients hand.

Winslows secretary entered his office the following morning. He looked up as she reached his desk.

‘Miss Harwich, could you please place a call to a Lord David Keats of Hampstead? Give him my name and switch him through to my office. Give me a few minutes though, I need to talk to Scotland Yard.’

‘Yes, Mr Winslow.’

It took just moments for Lord Keats’s voice to be heard.

‘Lord Keats?’

‘Yes, this is he.’

‘I believe I have in my possession your great grandfathers missing manuscript, Endymion.’

The line was quiet for so long that Winslow thought he had been disconnected when suddenly Lord Keats continued.

‘How can that be? It disappeared after he died, in 1821?  Its been almost a century?’

‘Yes, I know. I also know that your father, Lord Alfred Keats, passed away last week, my condolences.’

Thank you, but how do you know and what does his death have to do with my great grandfathers manuscript?

‘Your father paid me to know. You see Im a historian and a private investigator. Your father visited me here in London on December sixth last year. The manuscript had apparently resurfaced and he hired me to investigate its location. I sent him a wire last Monday about my findings before his heart attack. Did he mention it to you?’

‘No, and Im not sure why he would hire anyone. Until Christmas my father and I had been investigating the mystery disappearance together for almost a decade.’

Winslow carefully chose his words before proceeding. Perhaps, Lord Keats, your father discovered he hadnt been told when someone had found it. That someone decided to use it for his own financial gain.

‘What are you implying, Mr Winslow?’

‘Let me refresh your memory. Two years ago, your cousin, Michael Kent, inherited a meagre bequest. While clearing out his mothers writing bureau, Kent discovered a key to a safe deposit box that contained a letter from his grandfatheryour grandfathers younger brother. With that letter was your great grandfathers manuscript. The letter described in detail how your grandfather cheated him out of his share or their fathers estate. Your great uncle stole the manuscript after your great grandfathers death in 1821 before he could have it published. Are you following me Lord Keats?’

‘Continue, Mr Winslow. I find your hypothesis intriguing.’

‘Late last year, your cousin decided it was time to show his hand by attempting to blackmail your father. Because your father didnt want his conniving nephew to get his hands on his money, he came directly to me. We thought it was an open and shut case until I discovered that Michael Kent had an accomplicesomeone who wanted revenge for an unrelated incident years before. Unfortunately, that piece of information inadvertently killed your father. The accomplice was you. Am I right Lord Keats?’

‘Youre very clever, Mr Winslow. Theres one thing you havent explained. How did you get your hands on the manuscript?’

‘That was the easy part. After your fathers death, you and your cousin-initiated plan B: to sell the manuscript to a publisher and split the profit. However, your cousin decided to have it valued first. Unfortunately for you both, he came to me. I advertise my professions separately and I only display my name on the door.’

There was another notable silence followed by a murmur of voices at Lord Keats end of the line. ‘Youll have to excuse me, Mr Winslow. Apparently, I have visitors.’

‘Ah yes, my friends from Scotland Yard. Blackmail is a serious crime. Good day to you, Lord Keats.’

穢 Chrissy Siggee

Authors Notes:

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.

English poet John Keats, born October 1795 in Moorgate, London, died in February 1821 at the age of 26 from tuberculosis. His works had been the target of much abuse including his last epic poem Endymion. John Keats never married, which should indicate that the contents of: The Mystery of Keats Missing Endymion Solved set in the early twentieth century, is completely fictional.

Archived in: Short Fiction

AWOL

–  a fictional short read based on a true incident.

Snaking up the mountain road was miserable, and not just because great droplets of rain were exploding on the windscreen before the wipers could whisk them away. Susans eyes were strained from weeping most of the night since her brother, Ron, phoned her. After picking up her friend Annie, just after 6am, they began the long drive.

‘How could she get out?’ Susan cried. She squeezed the steering wheel tighter. ‘How could they let this happen?’

Susan please, you need to stay focused; otherwise Ron will need to send out a search party for us too.’ Annie sighed. ‘Hopefully, shell be found before we arrive. Those new GPS tracking shoes for Dementia and Alzheimer patients are well worth the expense in situations like this. Youll see.’ She sent up a silent prayer as Susan drove into the storm.

Ron met the two women at the car with an umbrella. He shouted updates as they scrambled across the parking lot and into the foyer of the nursing home. Inside, a young aide that Susan had recognized from her visit the previous week, greeted them with mugs of steaming coffee. Annie accepted hers with enthusiasm, but felt a twinge of guilt when she heard Susan decline.

‘What happened? Whos responsible?’ Susan demanded.

‘Please’, Ron soothed. It doesnt matter now whos to blame. The important thing is that everyone is doing their best to find her.’

‘Youre right.’ Susan reached for the coffee that the aide was still holding out to her. She held the mug of steaming coffee between her hands but didn’t drink.

A man wearing a search and rescue uniform stepped toward the siblings. ‘Ms Cummings, Im OMalley. Im in charge of the team. Ive been here with your brother since late last night.’ He offered his hand.

Susan shook OMalleys hand and took a quick sip of coffee before speaking. ‘Call me Susan, please. Ron tells me you have people out looking for our mother. How far could she possibly get in this weather?’

‘We dont know. It wasnt until almost midnight that the situation had been fully realized.’

The space between Susans eyebrows creased. ‘What do you mean”situation?’

Ron replied for OMalley. ‘Mum had evidently dressed in a hurry. Her slippers arent here and her GPS shoes are still under the bed. We think she may have followed someone elses visitor or a member of staff out the front door around 9pm. With the rain, they would have been concentrating on getting to their vehicle. Being so late well…Who would think?’ He paused to wipe rainwater from his face.

‘Ms Cummings…Susan’, O’Malley spoke above the sudden clap of thunder. ‘We are almost certain she couldnt have gotten very far but this constant rain has slowed us down’.

‘Ron called me at 11:15pm last night. She looked at her wristwatch. Its almost eight thirty. If shes exposed to this weather much longer, she色 Her words faded with the reality hitting Susan with a jolt. She handed the coffee to Annie with shaking hands. Okay… O’Malley, what can we do? Where do we go from here?’

There was still no sign of their missing mother by the time the rain eased at midday when the siblings and Annie returned to swallow down coffee and sandwiches. While O’Malley was updating the family and his search team, a small bus loaded with local volunteers arrived. After quick handshakes all-round the meeting continued. Annie, Susan and Ron had searched south along the main street questioning storeowners and shoppers. The search team had walked a few metres apart through an adjoining cornfield to the west and the vacant overgrown paddocks beyond, while O’Malley had conducted a search of out buildings, laundry and kitchen facilities at the nursing home. The night staff had been requested to report in with any information that may or not be related to the missing patient. O’Malley and a staff member also conducted interviews with a few patients who were with her shortly after seven last night. No clues or explanations were discovered. With directions for the original team to take a short break, eat and get dry, the new team were given maps for the north and east of the nursing home.

Susan and Ron took off on foot to cover the area between the car park and where they started their search that morning. Annie stayed behind to help serve coffee to the morning’s search team.

An hour later Susan and Ron returned chilled and wet from another soaking downpour with no news that would help with the search. Other searchers returned in groups of two and three’s over the next few hoursall quietly murmuring their disappointments but at least the rain had completely stopped.

Finally, Ron suggested to Susan that they drove around up and down every street and lane. He looked at his watch then up at the clearing clouds. ‘She has to be somewhere. It’s been too long and you know how Mum doesn’t like standing for too long. Perhaps we’ll have more success now.’ His face suddenly paled. ‘There’s also the railway station.’ He grabbed Susan’s arm and led her to the parking lot with Annie close behind.

Just as they were putting on their seatbelts, the nurses aide approached the driver’s side window of the SUV with O’Malley. Ron press the down arrow switch to hear her better. ‘I think I found something that may help.’ She handed him a book opened at a page with a recent date at the top and stepped back.

Ron read from his mothers diary. ‘I have to know for certain if my Harold went AWOL. If he has, I know where he could be. We often met at our secret place before he went to war.’

‘Why would Mum think Dad had gone AWOL?’ Susan asked.

‘I dont remember Dad ever going AWOL, Susan. Obviously, shes confused.’

Annie, who had been relatively quiet in the back seat, spoke up. ‘Isnt there an old army storage unit around here?’

‘Well yes, but it’s almost three kilometres from here. O’Malley looked in the direction of the army base. It sounds a long way for an old woman to walk.’

‘When I was here a few months ago with Susan,’ Annie continued, ‘I remember their mother had an old newspaper clipping about the unit.’

‘Youre right.’ Susan gasped. ‘I wondered at the time why Mum had kept the article.’

‘Okay’. Ron took charge. ‘Well check the railway station on the way. If we cant find her there, well continue on to this army place.’ Ron swapped the diary with a folded map with O’Malley who had quickly circled a crossroad to the east.

O’Malley nodded. ‘I’ll grab some first aid gear and blankets and meet you at the Army storage unit.’

Ron thanked him and drove off.

At the railway station Ron and Susan raced in opposite directions down the platform. It was silent and empty. ‘Let’s go! This is a waste of time’, Susan shouted to Ron who stood with his hands on his hips at the far end and gawking down the tracks that disappeared in the distance.

A clear starry sky abruptly brought the long day to a close when the three entered the old army storage unit with OMalley and two military personnel. Within minutes they had found, huddled in a skeleton of a storage shed, their mother. She was cold and wet but uninjured. With her dirt-smeared face looking up at Susan, she apologized for ruining her slippers.

Susan knelt beside her mother. ‘Thats okay Mum, we know of the perfect pair to replace them with. Lets go home.’

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.

Archived in: Short Fiction

Cindy

‘Dont just sit there Cindy, talk to me,’ Steve pouted.

‘Humph.’

‘Dont you think you are being just a wee bit selfish? I mean this place has a lot of potential. It has everything you need. Look at it. Your old place is gone Cindy. This is your new home.’

Cindy looked around. Her arms remained folded; her head held aloft. She puckered her lips and blew raspberries at no one in particular.

‘Youre not being polite. A lot of thought went into your new environment.’

‘Humph.’

‘Please, Cindy. Look at me. Talk to me. Im supposed to be your best friend. What kind of conversation can we have if you wont even look at me?’

She turned to face Steve and tapped on his watch with her long fingers.

‘Its almost noon. Are you hungry?’

Her reply was instant – and loud.

Steve was laughing now. ‘With all the dozens of words you understand, you must know every one relating to food.’ He stood. ‘Why dont we see whats to eat?’

They walked hand-in-hand to where Cindys siblings sat sniffing and feeling fruit.

‘See Cindy’, Steve pointed out. ‘Thats the way Ive been showing you how to choose the best fruit. Only, I dont kiss mangoes before I eat them’, he teased.

Steve moved toward Oliver and Tracy but Cindy pulled back.

‘Hi you two’, Steve said with a smile. He patted the top of Cindys head. ‘Its okay. I promise.’

The pair didnt look up from their meal.

With a flick of her free hand Cindy turned and marched away pulling on Steves arm to follow. She lowered her head to face the floor. Hands faced up and wiped her eyes and nose on Steves trousers.

He crouched down and spoke quietly. ‘I know this is all new to you地nd you havent seen your family for a while, but you will settle in. Things can only improve but this conversation has got to stop being one way. He paused and cupped Cindys face in his hand.  Look at me and tell me what makes you so sad.

In one huge lunge Cindy wrapped her arms around him and kissed his face, then danced around on the spot. She stopped suddenly and grabbed Steves shirt and tugged hard.

Taking the tiny wrists in his hands, Steve began to whisper. ‘I wish you could talk, Cindy girl. This is no sign Ive ever taught you. What is it?’

She fell limp in his arms.

‘Oh, I get it. You dont want me to leave.’

The reply was the slowest of nods with a bottom lip that would trip up a python.

‘Cindy girl, you have been the best chimpanzee I have ever had the pleasure to work with.’

He gently lifted his little friends chin with two fingers. He looked into her misty eyes. ‘But, its time to be just thata chimpanzee. Youre the best. You deserve the best. No more bananas for a trick. No more peeled grapes for signing a new word. Youre free.’ He paused. ‘Well, as free as the government will let you.’ He smiled and kissed his girl.

With that, Cindy strode in her cute swaying way to the table. She grabbed a banana and took it back to Steve, planted a kiss on his cheek and headed back to her family.

Oliver and Tracy looked up at Cindy shaking their heads and puckered their lips. They squealed in unison.

Cindy blew raspberries at her siblings and kissed a mango.

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.

Archived in: Short Fiction

The Runaway

Connie searched the playground the neighbours and the sand pile behind the back shed. Her hand went to her throat to ease the pain that seemed to creep up from her hammering heart. Moisture blurred her vision.

ETHAN! Connies throat grew tight. She had no choice but to call the social worker that had assigned Ethan to Connie and her husband Carl, a few weeks earlier.

She grabbed the phone and dialled. Ethan is missing! She blurted out before Rebecca could finish her greeting. Ive looked everywhere. Connie found herself pacing.

Calm down Connie. Hes probably run away.

Connie stood still. Why would he do that?

I dont know. We get a lot of foster kids who run away. Ethan has been in the system a long time, and with numerous foster families. Hes run away before. She sighed. I admit, I thought he was happy with you and Carl, but its hard to tell with these kids.

Thinking more clearly, Connie contemplated the past few weeks. Hes a bright little boy. I thought he was settling in. She paused. Carl offered to take Ethan fishing when he returns from the office. He needed a file to work on over the weekend.

Okay, Ill call the local police and then come around. Just stay calm.

Carl came in just as Connie hung up the phone. Look who I found in the car under a blanket.

Ethan, you scared me half to death. She placed her hand over her mouth and sat down at the table.

Ethan hung his head. I was going to run away when Carl got to town but I fell asleep.

Why would you want to run away? Connie dared to ask.

I got scared. When the Bakers took me fishing, they got mad at me because I broke their new rod. They beat me with it and told me I was selfish.

Carl sat beside Connie and drew Ethan close. Youll never be beaten here, I promise.

Even if I wet my bed? Mrs Beasley wiped my face with the sheets and then made me wash them.

Connie gasped. Theres no excuse for bad behaviour by any adult. She thought for a moment before continuing. You havent wet your bed since youve been here. Do you think theres a reason for that?

I dont know, Ethan shrugged. Im not scared here.

What kind of things do you like to do?

Ethan tilted his head and bit his lower lip. He shrugged again.

Do you like going to the movies?

I dont know. Ive never been. I watched cartoons sometimes at the Websters. The other families didnt let me watch TV.

Football? Carl asked.

The beach? Connie added.

Ethan began to whimper. I havent been anywhere muchjust school and the playground. A lone tear rolled down his face. I like the playground. He wiped the tear away. Can I go there again?

Connie looked at Carl for a long moment. She pulled Ethan onto her lap. He was short for a seven-year-old but it was his frail body and lightness that had surprised her.

Ethan stiffened but soon relaxed in Connies arms.

She kissed his cheek. We can go to the park together. How about a picnic of burgers and soda? She released her embrace. A tear stained face looked back at her.

Whats a pick nick?

Carl sighed deeply. His sad eyes met Connies. Theres a lot we can do. I think a picnic lunch at the playground is the perfect place to begin.

A knock sounded at the front door. Rebecca. I forgot all about her.

Carl let Rebecca in and explained the situation.

Ethans lip trembled. He looked up at Connie. Will I have to go to another foster family?

No sweetie, Rebecca answered for Connie. But you need to talk to Carl and Connie in the future if youre unsure of anything.

Connie and Carl wont beat me. It was a statement rather than a question.

Rebecca knelt down beside Ethan as he slid off Connies lap. No, Ethan. This family is圬ifferent.

Ethan looked up at Carl then to Connie, then back to Rebecca. Why are they different?

Well firstly, Carl began. We really want you to be our sonto adopt you as soon as you feel ready. If thats okay, he added.

The corners of Ethans mouth turned upwards.

Really? Yes, please!

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.

Archived in: Short Fiction

Dont Call Me Grumpy

Jessie stared wide-eyed at the freckled face of the checkout operator whose hair was as green as a florescent frog on high beam. She took a deep breath, reloaded her shopping trolley and headed to the back of the store where she plonked down the leaking carton of milk and retrieved a replacement before wandering along aisle after aisle until she felt ready to face another checkout operator.

The older woman wore a badge with the name Heidi printed in bold lettering. She was pleasant and the process went more smoothly than her earlier encounter. How was your shopping experience today?

It went OK, Jessie lied. Thank you for asking. She tapped her credit card, loaded the grocery bags into the trolley and returned to the basement parking area.

After loading the boot of her SUV, she sat in the driver seat before bursting into tears. I didnt need that. I didnt deserve that.

It wasnt until a car full of teenagers pulled in beside her that Jessie started the engine and reversed out of the car space. Taking a deep breath, she drove home.

Colin? Jessie asked over their evening meal, am I grumpy?

Her husband of four years looked up; a surprised look on his face. You mean in general or this evening?

Well圯ither, I suppose.

Not to my knowledge. You seem quieter than usual but I didnt think you were grumpy. Why do you ask?

Today was a trying day at work and I left late. I still needed to get the groceries on the way home. I must have caught every traffic light red and I had to drive around the car parking station for twenty minutes looking for a parking space. It really didnt take long to collect the items I needed but I hadnt realised until I unload the groceries at the checkout that the carton of milk was leaking and dumped a third of it’s contents on the conveyor belt.

That would make me grumpy, Colin chuckled.

I did groan a little. I asked the cashier if someone could bring another carton and perhaps something to clean up the mess.

What did she say?

Now thats the part when I almost lost the plot. She said, I quote: Im the checkout operator, not your maid and dont get grumpy with me or Ill call security. I found myself just staring at her bright slimy green hair that looked like it hadnt been washed in a month. I just put everything back into the trolley, including the milk and went back to the dairy section.

Jessie continued the story while Colin sat opposite and listened quietly. He reached across the table and took her hand. That was just plain rude. You should have reported her.

What good would that do. She sighed and a tear ran down her cheek. I wont be going through her checkout again, thats for sure. The worst of it is, I think I convinced myself that I must have been grumpy.

I dont think so Jessie, you shouldnt either.

She poked at her food for a few minutes before speaking again. I feel like Ive been stabbed through the heart. I hear her words in my head over and over.

Well, lets change them.

What do you mean?

Jessie, you are too sweet a person to be called grumpy. I think you should stand up to those nasty statements.

How? Do I go back and tell her shes a freckled face, slimy green frog? Thats not me either. She paused. That would get security onto me, she added with a chuckle.

They both laughed at that.

I could tell her, and my head, that Im not grumpy.

How about: Dont call me grumpy. Im not grumpy.

OK. Dont call me grumpy!

They smiled at each other before finishing their meal.

穢 Chrissy Siggee – January 2020

FICTION NOTE
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.

Archived in: Short Fiction

44

No one, especially not 44, would expect what followed after the invention of the Super Entertainment Network Systematic Active Technological Interactive On-track Node, which was eventually shortened to SENSATION for obvious reasons.

Eugene Gilbert Dwight, creator of SENSATION, sat smugly at his dusty computer watching the latest advertising video that would draw in millions of dollars to the company. It would also make a tidy increase in his personal bank balance over the next few months. Eugene pushed his thick glasses further up the bridge of his nose, clicked the end video link and sat back in his desk chair that had seen better days. He grinned until his face hurt.

’44’, the overhead intercom announced. ‘Please report to Mr Prestons office.’

Carl Preston’s an okay boss I suppose but he only climbed the ladder of success with out-dated software games. He rose and put on his jacket still smiling. With his hands shoved deep into bulging pockets of his baggy trousers, Eugene left cubicle 44. He strolled with his head held high between endless rows of doorless cubicles. Each cubicle was numbered and accommodating an unknown geek working monotonously in their narrow workspaces. At the far end of the long building he knocked on the door of Preston’s eight-by-eight square air-conditioned office.

‘You wanted to see me, Mr Preston?’

‘Yes, sit down 44.’

Eugene sat but he left his hands in his pockets. He fidgeted with an iPod in one pocket and his mobile phone in the other. He preferred multiple gadgets; not like these new all-in-one inventions they had been selling in this dump lately. He relaxed. It was a good feeling to know that SENSATION is too perfect for a delayed unveiling.

‘We have a media release tomorrow for SENSATION’, Preston was saying while continuing at his computer. ‘Well be using the video I emailed to you this morning.’ He sat back in his chair. ‘However, after considerable negotiations with both the Executive Management of this company and the media, its been agreed unanimously that I will represent SENSATION at the press conference.’

With hands suddenly still within his pockets, Eugene stared at his supervisor in disbelief. ‘But its my invention. You know how hard I worked on this project. I worked unpaid overtime for six months to develop SENSATION to perfection before I revealed it to you.’

Preston sighed and raised his hand, palm forward. ‘I know, I know. His voice more relaxed and sincere. ‘This is business Eugene. Your place is working on your next invention. Youll be rewarded financially for your design and efforts, but you have known from the beginning, whatever is invented in our workshop belongs to Super Techno Entertainment. Plain and simple.’

‘But thats not fair.’

Preston returned to his business tone. ‘Lifes not fair 44, but a contract is a contract. Ill send a copy of the paperwork you signed when you joined the company eight years ago if you want.’ He paused to lean forward. Ill tell you what. Ill ask if your name can be mentioned as part of the team for the invention. Its the best I can do. I have also informed 3 to swap with your cubicle after work tonight. I need a good man nearby. What do you think? Its a huge promotion from 44.

Eugene was still absorbing the team part. ‘Team? What team?’

Preston offered a little further expansion on his offer, which Eugene considered reluctantly, but he was still annoyed over his lost chance to make Eugene Gilbert Dwight known in the technology circles via this press conference.

‘It was a one-man teamEugenes one-man team,’ he mumbled.

Prestons tone became serious. ‘Its a take it or leave it offer.’

I guess that $10,000 bonus will help me out.’ A little self-esteem returned as he shook Prestons hand.

‘Ill see you again after we complete the press conference and media release,’ Preston said as he stood. ‘Youll be the first to see it.’

Eugene stood and forced a smile then left.

‘Oh, and Eugene’, he added apologetically. ‘Dont forget to empty all the rubbish bins in the workshop every day. Its part of cubicle 3’s allocated duties.’

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.

Archived in: Short Fiction

Police Embarrassment

‘This is the Police. Come out with your hands in the air!’

Three police cars parked strategically around the front of the gas station. The alarm had been activated and the police were called in. There had been a spate of break-ins and they had finally caught the culprit in the act. Firearms used in the previous two robberies made the police nervous. They guarded themselves behind their cars where the faint smell of body odour and heated engine oil mingled. Neighbours awakened by the early dawn invasion, gathered cautiously outside their homes to observe the commotion.

‘Do you hear me? This is Police Officer Brody. Come out with your hands up!’

The door opened slowly, revealing a small laced-up boot. The officers dropped down behind their vehicles, guns cocked.

‘Please dont shoot’, a quiet trembling voice responded.

The door opened a little further and an elderly woman hobbled out. She was stooped low and walked with a cane.

‘What the? Please step out into the open and put down yourcane.’

She dropped the cane and raised her hands as far as her skinny arms would allow.

Officer Brody stepped forward to access the situation. He motioned Police Officer Mandy Walters to carry out a search. Brody steadied the shaken old lady with his powerful hand under her elbow. Officer Walters placed the crooked walking stick back into an arthritic hand. She obviously didnt want to embarrass the startled petite woman any further by searching her.

With an indignant expression, the woman faced the officer in charge. ‘I think there has been a mistake. You see, I left my keys in the bathroom and when I went back in, I noticed I had grease on my clothes.’ She rubbed at the spot on her weathered skirt.

‘I tried to wash it, but I had to take it off because the skirt wouldnt reach the faucet. I locked myself in so no one would disturb me. Unfortunately, I think the nice man at the counter must have closed up for the night and didnt realize I was still there.’

‘Where is your car?’

‘Sir! I dont own a car. Thats my motorcycle.’ She lifted her cane and pointed with her bent fingers past the police cars and confused police officers. A Harley Davison that sheltered under an ancient oak tree glistened in the morning sunlight.

‘I find this all hard to believe. Tell me how you were in there all night without triggering the alarm?’

‘Well, you see. I sat on the toilet seat to adjust my tights and I slipped off into the corner. I was stuck and didnt have the energy to get up until this morning. When I left the bathroom, I was aware that I couldnt get out so I shook the door. That pesky alarm just kept screaming at me.’

Brody scratched his head, completely mesmerized while she shuffled towards the Harley across the road. She mounted the motorcycle with a little difficulty, but unwavering. She placed an opened-face helmet over her greying, outdated hairstyle.

Using her key, the engine started up with a roar. Poking the cane into a side pouch, she flipped the kickstand up and drove off in one smooth movement. Officer Brody glanced at a smug-faced Walters before replacing his gun into its holster.

‘What are you looking at? You can do the report when we get back.’

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.

Archived in: Short Fiction

Faith’s Adventures – All 8 Stories

From the Archives:

Faith to the Rescue
Faith Loses a Friend
Faith Goes on a Holiday
Faith’s Christmas Surprise
Faiths Close Encounter
Faiths Discovery
Faith Becomes a Mother
Faith – Thats my Blue Eye
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Partly true, partly fictional. 8 very short stories about Ken and his dog faith. Suitable for all ages. Please note: story “Faith Loses a Friend” may need parental guidance for younger children.

Archived in: Short Fiction

The Rider and His Horse

Prickly wind struck his face repeatedly like razors and sweat stung his eyes as his horse zigzagged down the steep mountain. With every frightening turn he clutched the reins that were wrapped tightly round his raw and bleeding fists. His partly bare knees ached as they gripped firmly against the saddle, still his horse hurtled on further with sweat dripping from every inch of its petrified body.

The rider hung on frantically. With no power of control, they careered toward the valley below. He forced his head to turn to see the blazing inferno that threatened to overtake them and felt the searing heat insulting their already over heated bodies. The air was thick with blinding smoke but his horse continued to pursue an unknown trail heaving deep wheezing breaths as they went.

Rocks skidded from under foot causing the horse to lurch sideways and slide forward for a number of stomach-churning seconds. With stability regained the horse veered sharply left but the terrifying ordeal of the incline was not over.

Just as they plunged into the openness of the green valley a stampede of wild horses threatened their safety. The riders horse swerved to avoid collision. Regaining control, the rider eased his horse to a slow trot to allow its heartbeat to ease gently. But with the rapidly descending flames still raging toward the valley he needed to act fast.

Immediately the stampede had past, the rider steered his sweating horse toward a shallow stream. Without wanting to stress his faithful horse further he gently steered the horse with the reins toward a rugged landscape located on the opposite side of the valley. Once there he dismounted and led the horse through a maze of rocky crevices.

Above them a cloud of thickening smoke rapidly blocked out the sky. The ground beneath them altered from the luscious valley grass to a rocky path leading into a partially hidden opening in the side of the valley wall. The cave-like passageway was dark and damp as they edged forward to the echo of his horses hooves on the rocky surface. The horse’s wheezy breath gradually eased closer to a regular breathing pattern.

A gentle breeze carried a fresh earthy fragrance as they made their way through a tunnel that seemed to have no end. The man touched the wall and the ceiling above to find their way. Following a bend slightly leftward a faint light filtered in. Within moments they stepped out once again into the valley now blackened – burnt to ashes. A hundred yards further on, the stench of burnt flesh insulted their nostrils. The horse tried to push the man away from the scene but they couldnt avoid the hundreds of carcasses of wild horses that were scattered across the valley floor.

The riders horse reared and snorted. In awe and wonder the rider mounted and rode away from the valley of death.

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.

Archived in: Short Fiction

Faith’s Adventures – re-posted all Together.

From the Archives:  Faith’s Adventure – All 8 Stories

Faith to the Rescue
Faith Loses a Friend
Faith Goes on a Holiday
Faith’s Christmas Surprise
Faiths Close Encounter
Faiths Discovery
Faith Becomes a Mother
Faith – Thats my Blue Eye
1924250_36118412313_7426_n-imp

Partly true, partly fictional. 8 very short stories about Ken and his dog faith. Suitable for all ages. Please note: story “Faith Loses a Friend” may need parental guidance for younger children.

Archived in: Short Fiction

Faith and Blue Eye!

1931032_36129957313_9434_n-impWOW this little guy has one blue eye, Ken exclaimed.

Luke took the pup from Ken. ‘”Heterochromia Iridis.” Its rare. It occurs as a result of too much or too little melanin in one eye.Can happen in humans too. He studied the pup further before reviewing the eyes again; a torch in hand.

‘So what does that mean?

‘Well, nothing we can hope. Its certainly striking. You may have problems selling him but I wouldnt worry about that just now.

Ken reach for the pup. ‘What do you think, Faith? Shall we call this little one Blue Eye?

Faith licked her pup.

Thanks for coming around, Luke. Much appreciated.

I see you built two new kennel yards. Great size.

Ken led the vet through the rear door. Yes, it seems to be working well. I bring Faith out onto the verandah with two or three pups at a time before bringing Shield out. Hes certainly clumsy. He almost squashed one on of them trying to play with it.

As if on cue, Shield barked and jumped at the fence.

Its sounds like a plan. Faiths area is large enough for the next few months if you dont sell them all by then but let Faith and Shield out together for an hour or two every day. Just watch his behaviour though. He looked beyond the enclosed area to the rest of the small acreage and chuckled. A good place to wear them out as they grow, and believe me, theyll grow.

The two laughed and shook hands.

Call the clinic when their ready for their vaccinations. If its easier, bring Faith in at a different time. Luke left by the side gate.

Ken released the catch on the Shields cage. Hey, Boof! How about a sprint around the acreage? He started the three-wheeled farm buggy and sped off.

Shield leapt out of the enclosure and chased after Ken while Faith and the pups looked on.

On a sunny day five weeks later while the pups were exploring the back yard beyond their enclosure, Ken released Shield for the first time with his whole family.

Ken mounted the buggy and turned the key. The buggy rumbled to life. Lets go! Shield, Faith.

Faith turned to her pups and barked a couple of times before chasing after Shield who had already bolted after the buggy.

It wasnt until Ken sped past the litter on his first lap that the three bigger pups joined the chase. On the second and third laps all but one pup had joined the game.

Faith slowed and plodded over to the little one that just sat staring out at the paddock. Aw圭ome on little Blue Eye. She nudged the little one but he remained staring. She woofed gently before she turned and ran to follow the last of the slower pups.

Blue Eye leaned forward. His eyes focused only on the buggy.

Again Ken sped past. COME ON BLUE EYE! YOU’RE MISSING ALL THE FUN! By the time Ken had passed Blue Eye the pups were spread around the full lap of the paddock.

Still Blue Eye sat and focused on Ken and his buggy. ThenOne, two, RUN!With an awkward leap forward, Blue Eye raced directly out across the worn track almost colliding with his youngest sister. With eyes focused straight ahead he ran faster than he thought his little paws could carry him. He crossed the centre of the paddock just as Ken made the bend to take the back straight.

Blue Eye yapped and slid sideways into the dust cloud that had formed behind the buggy. He was now leading the pack ahead of his father. Yap Yap Yap

Ken glanced behind. Howd you do that? 76007BD7-imp

Ken steered into the final bend toward the start place with Blue Eye yapping close behind. He glanced over his shoulder as he approached the turn to begin a new lap. Blue Eye had slowed and returning to the same spot to sit and stare as he had before.

Ken watched Blue Eye in amazement. You must be kidding me, he said out loud to himself when Blue Eye again dived out to cross the paddock. Hes figured this out. He laughed. Go Blue Eye!

Again Blue Eye skidded in behind the buggy and yapped loudly. This time however, the others were slowing, including his father. Ken slowed to let Blue Eye pass but to his surprise the pup came up beside him and slowed to match the speed of the buggy.

The two continued side by side until Ken stopped and turned the engine off. Well Ill be安e have one smart pup here, Faith.

The proud mother didnt need to be told. She was all ready smothering him with licks. Shield however was not so pleased and bared is fangs.

Shield! Thats enough!

At Kens pointed finger, Shield returned to his enclosure.

Well, Faith, Ken said. I think we had better get these pups cleaned and fed.

While Blue Eye enjoyed a few moments praise from his mother, the rest of the pups headed to the back porch. Ken approached Shield where he had waited at the entry of his enclosure. Ah Shield. Dont be jealous. You should be proud of Blue Eye…all of them. You have a great family. Try to get on and dont be so rough. He patted Shield before filling his food and water bowls. Leaving the gate ajar, Ken headed over to feed the rest of the family.

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穢 Chrissy Siggee 2019

This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dog Faith all other 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.

Archived in: Short Fiction

Faiths Becomes a Mother

1931032_36129957313_9434_n-impThe aroma of fresh coffee brewing and the sound of country music playing announced the new day before Faith even opened her eyes. Squinting against the brightness that burst through the kitchen window to the laundry, where she had slept the past week, she stretched out her front legs.

Ken came over with her breakfast bowl. Hey, Girl. Howd you sleep? You were restless last night. Uncomfortable? He returned to the kitchen and poured a coffee.

Faith ate her breakfast hungrily without rising, lapped some water and rested her head on her paws. She woofed but it sounded more like a grunt.

Ill be here all day; in fact I have a few weeks off. Its going to get busy for all of us. Shield will be back later today. Hes at yet another training session. He paused to take a sip of his steamy brew. Ive missed you the past few months. Dont get me wrong. Shields been a good help on patrols but hes not my Faith.

Turning awkwardly in a circle on the bed she settled back into the same position. If only I could get comfortable.I hope the doctor is right. This time tomorrow Ill be quite a few kilos lighter. Well, except near feed times.

You know, I called him Boof at the end of last nights shift. Ken chuckled when Faith lifted her head. Yeah, I know. Hes OK and hell make a great dad. Im just not sure hell ever be a great security dog.

With her head resting again on her paws she closed her eyes.Maybe youre right她n both accounts and yes, I think Boof suits him.

It was just after she had eaten a few nibbles of lunch when the first puppy arrived, quickly followed by six siblings.

Well done, Ken exclaimed while checking the last puppy for signs of stress. Ive called Luke – your favourite vet. Hell drop by on his way home from the clinic. I cant believe youre a mother of seven. He watched the puppies feed and noticed that she had eight nipples. Well, at least theres plenty to spare. He patted Faith before leaving her to nurse her family. A830DBAE-imp

Shield was delivered safely home shortly before the vet arrived. He danced around the kitchen just outside the laundry door until the knock on the door.

gggrrrr..

All right Shield Ken warned. Thats enough. He grabbed his collar and led him out the glass sliding door that led to the rear verandah and closed it before Shield could push his way back in.

Ah, Luke sighed as he entered the kitchen. The over-protective father. Hes a bit clumsy too if I recall correctly. You may have to be here when hes around Faith and the pups.

I will. No problems about that.

Luke checked Faith first then each pup one at a time making sure they had good suction. A nice litter you have here. Dont forget I have first choice, he said with a grin and a wink. He stood to wash his hands in the laundry tub. OK. Thats about it.

When do you want to see them again?

Ill drop by in a few weeks to check when their eyes are open. Bring them into the clinic say in eight week after that for their vaccinations. Call me any time if Faith has any issues with her health or feeding.

It was when Luke moved past the back door to head up the hallway that Shield barked and jumped at the glass.

Thats enough, Shield! Ken pointed and directed him to sit. Ill limit his visiting times or hell be stressing Faith out.

Its probably a good idea and if he gets rough with them, you may have to ban him from any close contact. Luke paused before opening the front door. You will need a bigger area for the pups anyway. Perhaps a divided area where Shield can oversee without you having to watch him every minute.

Sounds like a good idea. It will give me something to do while Im off work. Thanks again for stopping by.

Back in the kitchen Ken stood watching Faith and the pups to his left and then Shield licking the glass to his right. Ah Boof, what an interesting few weeks we have ahead.

穢 Chrissy Siggee 2019

This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dog Faith all other 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.

Archived in: Short Fiction

Faiths Discovery

1931032_36129957313_9434_n-impAsh threatened to gag her with each breath she took but Faith continued to sniff the charred ground around her. The smell of burnt flesh occasionally assaulted her nostrils and smouldering debris quickened her steps. Small puffs of smoke drifted upward here and there. It was a dismal aftermath.

Mind your paws, Faith, Kens voiced in a raspy whisper. He cleared his throat before continuing. I dont think theres anything out here but death, he added and knelt on one knee beside the burnt carcass of a small wallaby.

Faith nuzzled Kens elbow. He lifted his arm and drew her near. Theres always life after a fire. We just have to keep looking. With her head held low she continued her search.

Kens radio crackled to life. Hey you guys. Did you find anything?

Not yet, Chief. Mandy and Steve are searching along the creek then up to Wattle Road. Faith and I are moving in the same direct along the top of the ridge. Hopefully, we can cover more ground this way without walking right past any life. The air is still thick in places. Oh, and theres been a few spot fires we had to extinguish too. Ill check in when we meet up with the other two.

OK, Ken. I know its not the best job but someone has to do it. Later.

Come on, Faith. Lets get moving.

Faith thought about the conversation Ken had with his fire fighter friend Joe earlier today. Poor Joe. He found that old man in that burnt-out shed this morning. Not much left of him. Faith shuddered. Counselling, Chief had told him. I think I would need it too. A high-pitched whistle broke into her dismal thoughts.

Looking around, Ken whistled back. Faiths ears pricked up and shifted back and forth. The whistle came again and they both turned toward the sound in a hurried walk.

Whats up, Ken shouted as they approached two figures slumped over a mound on the ash covered ground.

Looks like a backpack but theres no one around here, Steve said. At least not in the ten-metre circle weve searched.

It could have been here for months, Mandy added poking at the pack with her fire fighters axe. We can take it back for further investigation.

The guys nodded in agreement and continue toward the road that was just within their hazy vision. Faith led the way with her head close to the ground. No one spoke until they stopped in the middle of the deserted street. They all walked slowly in a small circle just staring. Three burnt-out cars smouldered on the side of the road. They appeared to have been heading north out of harms way. Ken approached the closest vehicle and peered inside before moving to the other two. Faith stayed by his side.

Well, at least the occupants seemed to have escaped, Ken said to no one in particular. He removed his hat and wiped his sweating brow with the sleeve of his filthy jacket.

This has been a day of deaths and sadness, Steve said quietly. Down right depressing it is.

Steve and Mandy dowsed what flames they could. Dark puffs of dark clouds formed and died above the cars.

Faith began to walk in circles sniffing the ground.

Ken crouched on the warped bitumen. What is it, Girl?

She barked and headed up the road with Mandy, Steve and Ken following close behind.

Most of the houses on both sides of the road were burnt out; some still burning.

Anyone here? Ken shouted.

Hello, Mandy and Steve called in unison.

Faith barked.

Silence. Except for the crackling of nearby flames and the shifting of rubble, it was eerily quiet.

Well split up. Faith and I will check out these two houses. Mandy, Steve, take those two, Ken pointed across the road opposite the burnt-out cars. Dont go in unless you see someone在ut call for us first. He removed Faiths lead. Ill call for you if we find anything.

Steve nodded. All right. Be careful, Ken.

Faith looked up from the steps she had been sniffing to see Ken jog through the charred remains of the front gate. Nothing here.or is there? With ears twitching back and forth she listened.

Hear anything. He stood beside her and waited.

She wagged her tail and proceeded to circle the entire house before returning to Ken and looked up. Nothing. Lets go. She bolted through the side fence while Ken took the long way around.

The second house revealed nothing as well. They returned to find Mandy and Steve putting out spot fires near an outdoor BBQ and gas bottle. Nothing? Ken asked.

Nope, Steve sighed.

Faiths ears snapped to attention. There it is again. Something

Faith?

She looked over her shoulder at Ken and woofed.

The three followed her around to the rear of the house to what appeared to be a workshop or garden shed. As they neared the opened door they heard a faint cry. Faith was nudging a shelf that had collapsed.

Lets see what we have here, Ken said quietly. Faith moved out of his way and sat beside Mandy who patted her gently.

Oh my. How did you get stuck in there? Steve, give me your rake.

Steve obliged and placed his firemans rescue rake into Kens hand.

A few minutes later Ken stood up with something in his hand.

A flower pot? Mandy gasped.

Ken turned the pot around to reveal a little bundle of fur. A kitten, to be exact.

Faith whimpered and Ken placed the kitten, still in the pot, under Faiths nose.

She gently licked the ball of fluff. Hi cutie. Im sure glad Shield is spending the day in training. Hed eat you alive.

Smart dog, Steve finally reacted and moved outside with the others close behind.

The three fire fighters laughed. Faith barked. The Kitten meowed. Their depressing mood had suddenly been lifted. Mandy took out her water bottle and removed her glove. The kitten lapped from her opened hand.

Just above the commotion the chiefs voice was heard. Hey, whats happening out there? We havent heard anything for some time. Whats happening, Ken?

Ken handed the kitten over to a jubilant Mandy. Were fine Chief, he yelled. You wont believe this.

The cheering rose and Faith jumped up and down barking excitedly.

Ken?

Everythings OK, Chief. We found a kitten. Hes alive! Again, cheers went up.

The chief responded with a chuckle. Im glad for you guys. Its been a depressing day. Oh, and another search and rescue team found a backpacker. Hes all right. He was dazed and wondering around. Says he lost his backpack in the fire somewhere by the river. He paused. Return to headquarters. I think you all need a break.

See you soon, Chief. Were bringing in the kitten. Mandy’s already named it. He laughed. Lucky, I think. We also have the backpack. Hope that makes the owners day.Over and out.

Faith bounded over to Ken at his call. Lets go home.

穢 Chrissy Siggee 2019

This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dog Faith all other 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.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

 

Faiths Close Encounter

1931032_36129957313_9434_n-impWith his gloved right hand still holding Faiths lead, Ken pulled his overcoat tightly around him. His brush with death a year earlier had left him somewhat thinner. Its a cold night for security, hey Faith.

Faith looked up in response and Shield shook himself causing Ken to drop his lead.

Just as Ken picked up the lead and twisted it around his bulky glove they heard a faint thud in the darkness beyond the path that led to the administration block of the high school they were patrolling. There had been a number of recent school break-ins and Ken and his dog team had been called in for an extra night’s security shift.

The thud came again and the murmurings of voices carried in the chilly air.

A quick directive from Ken silenced an anxious Shield. Lets get closer. Quietly,’ he added for the benefit of the newly trained canine. Shield was a quick learner but he had the tendency of being impatient.

Deep masculine voices sent chills through Faiths body. Cold is right and these guys sound dangerous and I cant even see them yet. Where are they?She stifled a whimper.

Ken stopped to point his torch at the ground and switched it on. Slowly directing the light in a sweeping circle around him, he found his bearings. He flicked the torch off again before continuing toward the voices.

Ah they must be between the Administration Block and the Science Building. Thankfully they mustnt have seen the glow of the torch.

Before taking the path between the two two-storey buildings, Ken knelt and drew his team close to whisper. I need to call for back-up but if something goes wrong before they arrive Shield, follow Faith, she knows the drill.

They took a few steps back and hid behind a retaining wall that lined the garden on one side of the path. Here Ken touch his radio that had been surprisingly quiet tonight. Bluelight, this is Canine Security over.

This is Bluelight. Whats up, Ken. Over.

I hope youre in the vicinity of High and Green. Over.

The radio crackled again startling Shield. ‘The high school? Over.’

That’s a big ten-four. Trespassers. Over, he said quietly listening for any changes in the distant voices.

On our way. Be careful.

Ken turned the radio volume dial down. Peering around the retaining wall, he listened and watched for a few minutes before leading Faith and Shield toward the corner of the Administration building.

Faith stood close to Kens right side and followed his gaze down the path where she could just make out the tall broad silhouette of a man with his hands reaching above his head. A ladder leaned against the Science building. There are at least two of them. If there are three, we still should be ok but they sure are big.

Ken took a moment to glance at his watch then estimated the distance between them and the trespassers to be at least twenty metres. If he could get closer he could see exactly how many and what they were up to.

Faith resisted against the lead a little but trusted Ken. They moved soundlessly toward the men whose voices became clearer as they approached.

Hurry up, one of them shouted in a whisper. We have enough computers. Grab some cables or something to tie them to the trolley or theyll fall off.

OK, OK, someone from the first floor window called back. Pascos gone to look.

Faiths hair stood on end. Shield made the quietest of whimpers but it was enough.

The dogs froze before Ken could stop causing the leads to become taut.

WHO ARE YOU?

Ken looked up at the huge dark figure that seemed to have stepped out of the wall just a few steps in front of him.

Oops! This must be the lookout.How did we miss seeing him? Faith stood her ground.

I asked you a question, Weed.

Ken kept his voice clear and steady. Well, Im Ken and this is my Faith and my Shield.

Another huge figure appeared and the two looked down at the dogs in surprise.

RUN!, Ken yelled and turned before the men realised what was happening.

Faith and Shield bolted.

Kens feet hardly touched the ground as they raced around the corner and back up the path. The oval, he panted. He gripped the leads tighter hoping they wouldnt slip through his gloves.

COME BACK HERE, WEED.

Faith made a sudden turn to the right causing Shield to gasp as he was jerked along. Ouch!Where do you get you strength, Girl?

The three kept running until the voices faded.

Faith slowed and panted to a stop. They all collapsed on the damp grass in the middle of the sports oval just as a distant siren broke the midnight darkness.

Ken turned the volume up on his radio and panted a brief update I think theres three, maybe four. They have computers on a trolley of some sort. Over.

Ok, Ken. Take it easy. We have called in another Bluelight. Well get them to cover the south of the Science block. Stay where you are until we have them in custody. Over.

No worries about that. He signed off and hugged his team.

Shield nuzzled Faith. That was so cool. Can we do that again?

Faith gave a quiet woof andpushed in closer to Ken. Her Ken宇he weed.

穢 Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dogs Faith andShield all other 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.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Faiths Christmas Surprise

1931032_36129957313_9434_n-impChristmas carols played while Ken wrapped the last of the gifts that were to be distributed at the childrens hospital later that afternoon. This was Faiths favourite time of year and best of all she was allowed to visit the children again with Ken.

It had been a busy year with many visits to hospitals where children needed a distraction from their pain, recovery or just the plain old boredom of their every day routine. Faith always looked forward to seeing them. It was their smiles and squeals of glee that made it all worthwhile.

Ken had made a silly elf hat for Faith to match his. She shook her head. Nope its not going to come off.Oh well, I guess the children will like it. At least its better than last years reindeer antlers.

Almost done, Faith, Ken said clutching a red ribbon between his teeth as he talked.

Faith tilted her head to one side and ruffed. Its about time. Curiosity had set in so she wandered over to the Christmas tree and sniffed a sack of gifts.

Youre not going to find anything under there for you this Christmas, Faith girl.

Faith whimpered and hung her head.

Its not like that, Ken laughed. He knelt on one knee as he often did and hugged her. Your gift will arrive sometime later tonight. Actually, it will be our gift. Well be sharing this one. Those gifts under the tree are for my parents who are coming for Christmas lunch tomorrow.

Faith wagged her tail. She loved Kens mum and dad.I wonder if our gift will arrive by sleighor maybe its being delivered in a fire truck. She nudged Kens elbow with her nose knocking him off balance. Come on! Its time to go.

Less than an hour later, Ken was busy handing out gifts to the children in the burns unit while Faith nuzzled the hands of any child, parent or nurse reaching out to her. The ward was noisy with excitementoh what fun it is!One child was almost totally covered in bandages; blue eyes, a little nose, hands and feet protruding. Faith looked up at a male nurse standing nearby.

Go on. Mandy will be thrilled he said nodding at the patient.

Faith cautiously stepped toward the child and licked a dangling hand before carefully lifting both paws onto the side of the bed. She was within inches of the little girl’s nose.

Mandy lifted her hand slowly and placed it on Faiths head. There they remained for what seemed a very long time. But, Faith didnt mind.

The afternoon visit included ice cream for everyone except Faith, as usual, but Ken had a few doggy surprises in his pocket for her to enjoy. It had been a great visit.

It wasnt until later that evening when she curled up on the mat near the back door that Faith thought about Mandy again. She whimpered a moment before resting her head on her paws. And, I wonder what our surprise will be尖awn.

It was just after dawn when Faith was aroused from a deep sleep by a faint scratching noise. She opened her eyes slowly anticipating a possum trying to steal the remaining few biscuits from her bowl. To her surprise, another pair of doggy eyes met hers across the porch. Faith blinked, not just to clear her eyes but in response to the handsome canine who lay opposite.

Both dogs lifted their heads in unison. Oh my, Faith thought. Her tongue slipped over the side of her jaw. A slobbery drool slipped down to the tip of her tongue before she could prevent it dripping to the floor. Fortunately, those amber eyes before her didnt seem to notice. Time seemed to stand still.

The glass door gliding along its track brought Faith out of her daze. Ken stepped out and knelt to stroke Faiths ears. I see you two have met.

Well, sort of. She shook her head throwing drool over Kens clean shirt.

Faith, meet Shield. Shield this is Faith.

Shield rose to his feet in what seemed to Faith as a graceful bow. Faith followed suit and approached the longhaired Border Collie before she shyly turned her head and nudged Ken instead.

With a chuckle, Ken picked himself up of the floor. Ok you two, how about breakfast?

Both dogs wagged their tails eagerly and waited in anticipation.

The two dogs spent most of the day playing and walking in the back garden. They soon became the best of friends. Kens parents had been and gone. Lunch was fabulous. There had been plenty of gifts to go around and the doggy treats were extra special on such a wonderful day of the year.

Merry Christmas from Faith and Shield Oh, and Ken too of course.

穢 Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dog Faith all other 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.

 

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace