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 and studied the gentleman sitting opposite who repeatedly wiped his balding head with a handkerchief. ‘Sir, where did you say you found this manuscript?’

‘Well… I didnt exactly find it. It was… um… part of my inheritance.’

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

‘Kent. Michael Kent.’

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

‘Oh, um it was handed down on my mothers side. My mother changed my surname name 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. He didnt mention it?’

‘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.

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.

 

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?’

Cindy 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 mangos 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. ‘Cindy, 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 Steve 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?’

Cindy fell limp in Steves 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,’ he continued, ‘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.

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.

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?’

‘Please, Susan, 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 tofindher.’

‘Youre right.’ Susan 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. ‘Susan, please. Ron tells me you have people out looking for our mother. How far could she possible get in this weather?’

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

The space between Susans eyebrows creased. ‘What do you meansituation?’

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 toswallowdown 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 westand 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 still 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 replied. 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 it.’

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

‘Okay,’ Ron said, taking 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; 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.

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 theterrifying 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.The rider regained control easing his horse to a slow trot to allow it’s 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 ride steered his panting 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 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