Carlas Big Chance

Carla answered her mobile phone after the second line of her special ringtone “Nobody Weird like Me”, Traviss favourite song. ‘Hi, Travis. Whats up?’

‘Not much, I just wanted to see what my baby sister was up to.’

‘Oh fine, I guess. I just wish Dad would ease up on me.’

Travis chuckled. ‘Still skipping classes?’

‘You know I hate school, Travis. Why do I need an education to be in movies? Its’ Carlas voice trailed off.

‘I know, Sis. You just want to hit the big time now.’

‘Yeah, as if thats going to happen when Im in a stupid Math class or something. What have you been up too?’

‘I had a few minutes. Just wanted see how my kid sister was doing before I ironed my uniform, polished my buckle and shine my boots. You know how it is.’

It was Carlas turn to chuckle. ‘OK, have fun at boot camp. Dont let them catch you with your mobile phone.’

Carla rested back on her pillows and sighed. She missed Travis; missed his loud music and after school visits with her to the youth centre to play snooker when she was supposed to be doing homework.

Her phone buzzed. ‘Hello,’ she answered without checking the caller ID.

‘Hey, Carla, you up for some fun?’

It was Toni, a girl shed met a few weeks ago at the youth centre. Toni wanted to be a model and Carla liked her right off.

‘What kind of fun?’ Carla answered half-heartedly.

‘Remember Kevin?’

‘Yeah, hes the nerd that was playing chess at the youth centre. Goes to that snooty school off Main Street.’

‘Yep, thats him.’ Toni sounded excited. ‘Hes making a video for his school. Kevins uncle is on the school board and has heaps of money and some neat video equipment. He likes Kevins script and wants to enter him in a junior filmmakers competition in Hollywood!’

‘So, whats that got to do with me?’

‘Kevin needs a couple of girls to do some acting for him.’

Carla sprang from her bed. ‘Youre kidding! When?’

‘Were meeting them at the youth centre in half an hour.

‘Im on my way.’ Carla ended the call. This could be the break Im looking for. If Kevin wins the competition, Toni and I could be on our way to Hollywood.

It took less than a minute for Carla to see Toni talking to Kevin near the snooker tables. They were talking to another young guy who was leaning against a soda machine. Carla smiled at the handsome young man. He reached out to shake her hand. She was mesmerized by his presence.

‘Hi Carla.’ Kevin broke the spell. ‘My uncle is waiting for us at his home. Were doing the video there.’

Kevins uncles house was a few blocks from the youth centre. On the way Kevin explained his script. ‘Its a film Im doing for my photography and visual effects class. My uncle offered to help with his equipment.’ He laughed. ‘He doesnt trust me with his precious stuff.’

They arrived at a huge two-story house surrounded by an immaculate garden. They climbed the front stairs and Kevin unlocked the door.

Carla was elated as she stepped into the impressive entry. She looked beyond an archway where two video cameras and a still life camera were set up on tripods facing a sofa a sofa covered with cushions and satin sheets. Toni grinned at her and winked. The boys walked on past the girls and headed to one of the cameras and began to adjust some dials.

‘Whats going on, Toni? Wheres Kevins Uncle?’ Carla began to panic.

‘Who needs his uncle? They have the equipment and we have the opportunity of a lifetime right here.’

Steve returned to Carlas side and skimmed his index finger down her cheek and flicked her hair. ‘Hey Carla, dont fret. Isnt this what you wanted? Glamour! Fame! Its worth a hundred bucks.’

Carlas heart raced and her breathing quickened. With one sudden movement, she turned and ducked through the still open front door. She raced up the path and onto the street turning her head to see the three of them standing outside. They were laughing at her. Carla gasped and began to run.

When Carla was sure she hadnt been followed, she slowed her pace. Tears and sweat streamed down her face. She drew in deep breaths and swallowed repeatedly trying to regain control before returning home. Maybe I should wait a few years before I think about Hollywood. She wiped her brow with the sleeve of her sweater and wished for some big brother advice.

‘Im home,’ Carla called from the front room. ‘Ive got an assignment due. Ill be in my room.’

‘OK,’ her mother called back. ‘Well be eating at seven. Im running late.’

Carla entered her bedroom and closed the door. She took her mobile phone from her pocket and hit Traviss speed-dial. Taking a deep breath she struggled to fight back more tears.

‘Hey Sis, you just caught me. Whats up?’

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
Younger Teens by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

 

Sea Hawke

Another short story I wrote back in 2008 to 2010 for The Cypress Times in Texas. I havent edited any of them but I thought I might share some of my old writing.

SEA HAWKE

Father, let me take the Sea Hawke. I can bring home more fish.

Son, its one thing to go out past the bay on your own in the Mermaid, but you need more experience with the Sea Hawke. The Sea Hawke is much too big for you to handle on your own.

But, Father…

The older man lifted his hand palm outward and said no more. He stepped out of the deep sea fishing boat that had been in his family for generations. He glanced at his 15-year-old son, Simon. He was tall for his age and sturdily built like his older brother, but had a defiant nature that sometimes got him into trouble. He watched his son for a moment before wearily heading home.

Simon threw a pebble into the water of their little cove and stormed up to the end of the wharf where his small run-about was tied up. He turned his head to see his father step out of view.

Its not fair, he spat into the cooling breeze.

Simon clambered into his small dinghy and pulled the cord on the small motor. The motor revved and he released the rope. Skimming across the water his eye wondered momentarily to the Mermaid anchored beyond the cove before concentrating on the Sea Hawke a little farther out where the water was deeper. 

He eased off the throttle as he neared the Sea Hawke and pulled in alongside. I know what Im doing, he muttered under his breath, gritting his teeth and hauling himself over the side of his fathers precious boat. Hed been out in the Sea Hawke since he was seven. His brother, Thomas, who was only three years older, had taken him out to sea many times.

The engine struggled to start. He stood at the helm and clenched his teeth. Come on. He tried again and the motor roared to life. He let the engine idle while he pulled up anchor and methodically coiled the chain onto the deck. With care, he guided the Sea Hawke forward before he turned the boat and headed out to sea.


It was almost an hour of gentle rising and falling over deep-sea waters before he slowed the boat to a stop. This looks perfect, he spoke into the salty wind. He watched sea birds fly in circles just above the surface of lightly foaming waves.

Okay, now the nets. He struggled and perspiration trickled down his face. Finally the net went over the side and disappeared almost instantly.

He returned to the helm and allowed the boat to move forward. The thick ropes that held the nets to the deck now trailed behind the boat and began to sag under the weight of his catch.

I knew I could do it, he congratulated himself.

The boat jolted and twisted in an unexpected swirl of waves. Huh! What the…

Simon struggled to steer the Sea Hawke. It began to tip to the starboard side. The wind had also unmistakably risen and Simon began to panic. He cut off the engine and ran to the stern.

Oh no! Father will be angry.

The Sea Hawke heaved and Simon grabbed at the ropes for balance. He suddenly found himself leaning far over the edge of the boat. He stared into the clouded eyes of a dead young whale which had snagged in the net. Its weight was pulling the boat over.

When the boat steadied and rested almost completely on its side, he gingerly reached for a fishing knife that hung from a hook on the stern.

I … cant … reach … He stretched as far as he could but the rise and fall of the boat wrenched it out of reach. He struggled to breathe, coughing violently as the fall of the waves threatened to choke him. The salt stung his eyes and blurred his vision. He vomited onto the deck. Dizziness engulfed him.


SIMON! SIMON!

Simon shook his head to clear it. He must be hearing things.

SIMON, ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?

Simon looked up and around until his eyes fell on his fathers face. He was a little way off the bow in The Mermaid. Through the sea spray he saw Thomas lob a rope over the top of the bow but the dizziness returned and he grabbed the net as the boat rose and fell heavily.

Suddenly, Thomas had a strong arm around him. Thomass free hand hacked away at the ropes of the net with his knife. It seemed like an eternity to Simon, but finally the net gave way under the weight and fell into the churning waves. The boat rebounded almost throwing them overboard together. But Thomas held tight.

Simon sat on the deck of The Mermaid, wrapped in an old blanket. He shivered and coughed. The tow ropes slackened and tightened as the boats pushed through the heavy swell. His father hadnt spoken since Thomas helped him aboard The Mermaid. He turned to his father standing at the helm and met his fathers glare, eyes slightly closed, jaw stiffly jerked sideways. Simon fought against the tears that suddenly threatened. He had hurt his father and lost his trust. Quickly wiping the blanket across his eyes to avoid his fathers penetrating stare; he took a deep breath.

Are you okay, my son?

Simon nodded in his fathers direction before looking up. His fathers face had relaxed a little and some of the softness had returned to the deep sea-green eyes. Yes, Father. He looked back out over the stern and watched Thomas expertly work at the helm of his fathers crippled Sea Hawke.

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: Younger Teens

Wisdom in the Midst of Valentines Day Cards, Mush and Romantic Songs

Another short story I wrote back in 2008 to 2010 for The Cypress Times in Texas. I haven’t edited any of them but I thought I might share some of my old writing.

Wisdom in the Midst of Valentines Day Cards, Mush and Romantic Songs

Anthony and Gladys were quite a couple who loved each other dearly. After my own parents died, my husbands parents became more than just family, we were friends. Michael and I valued their wisdom and their guidance, especially on marriage. Gladys passed away a few years ago and Anthony died shortly after. I loved them both, and the memories of Gladys in particular, still make me smile.

I remember one special occasion like it happened yesterday. It began when Gladys and I went shopping for Valentines Day. I found what I wanted fairly quickly but nothing was good enough for her Anthony. We read cards for hours but she wanted that perfect card. She wanted a Valentines Card with the perfect words.

Youre the only love in my life,

Youre the only one I love

When was the last time I said I love you?

When was the last time I said I care?

It may have been last Valentines Day

But I could never be untrue?

If I tell you that I love you,

If I tell you Ill be true,

If I tell you youre my sunshine

Will you be my Valentine?

Even when words are unsaid,

Youre forever in my heart

Youre forever in my head,

We can never part.

I give you my heart,

I give you my all

Just never let me go,

Let me be your Valentine.

Oh, please. What a lot of mush, Gladys concluded in desperation.

It was the fifth store we had visited and we had read dozens of silly poems, listened to romantic lyrics and trudged through mazes of red hearts and balloons. I had had enough. Gladys had given up. She replaced the last Valentine card back in the rack and we leftempty handed.

I tell Anthony all the time that I love him. He tells me all the time. Well no… thats not quite true.

We laughed together and left arm-in-arm to the exit and out to the car.

Glad and I were sipping tea on her patio a few days after Valentines Day. Her eyes sparkled as she shared some moments from their Valentines dinner. Gladys always had a way of weaving teaching and wisdom together with life experiences to tell a story地s well as making it fun. This is what she shared:

The aroma of roasting beef filled Anthonys senses the moment he entered the house just after six oclock圯xactly how I had planned it. Our favourite romantic songs played quietly in the background, and two simple taper candles flickered in the gentle breeze from the fan rotating above an elegantly set table for two.

Something smells good, Anthony said. It was his usual greeting, followed by a peck on the cheek. Looks good too. Anthony opened the oven door to take a long sniff.

I had even made a lemon-meringue pie for dessert, and told him so as he continued toward the bathroom to shower and change.

My diamond ring still holds its sparkle, and for the evening, I had let my hair fall over my bare shoulders. Theyre more like old prunes these days, but he never seems to mind.

Gladys and I laughed at that.

Gladys continued. The softness of the satin evening dress Anthony had bought me for Christmas, matched my mood of the evening.

Anthonys after-shower look made me smile. Always has. He looked relaxed after his long day and the scent of his favourite cologne drifted across the table and a wet strand of hair stuck to his forehead. He wore a shirt to match his hazel eyes, which twinkled in the candlelight.

I smiled at her words. They were still in love, and it showed.

The music changed as if on cue. Remember this song? Anthony had whispered, like he was trying to avoid drowning out the words.

Yes, I smiled. It was the song on the car radio the night you asked me to marry you.

Anthony looked into my eyes and said, I love you more now than I can say. His boyish grin still captivates my heart.

Gladys admitted her throat constricted many times that evening.

I thought about those mushy greeting cards a lot. All I could get out was that I loved him too. Anthony admitted he hadnt bought a Valentines card either. They were all so色

Mushy. We finished the sentence together.


After 40 years of marriage, they didnt need a card to say how much they loved each other.

No, I guess were mushy enough, Anthony had declared. He had stood and took me by my hand and led me outside where, in the light of the silvery moon, we old mushies danced the night away.

I miss Glad, and I miss her guidance she gave as the older woman. Yes, Gladys was my mother-in-law but most of all, she was my friend. Our shopping trips were always special. Her wonderful stories will stay with me forever. Perhaps one day, Ill have a daughter-in-law of my own to whom I can pass on Gladyss stories and share similar ones of my own.

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

Annoying Cousin Gertrude

It was Erics third morning of his mountain holiday. Hed just nestled back against the decaying roots of a fallen tree that lay balancing over the edge of a large waterhole. The trickle of a lazy waterfall created tiny ripples across the surface of the water where sunbeams played. The peace was interrupted by the sound of a twig snapping.

What the? Howd you know where Id be?

Gertrude giggled and approached Eric. I got up early to follow you. I thought you might be lonely fishing by yourself. Besides, this is one of my favourite places.

Well, Im not lonely, so you can go home.

Gertrude paid no attention and began to toss pebbles into the water. I can catch fish too you know. She stepped into the water and inched her way toward the waterfall, splashing about as she went. Here, fishy, fishy.

Eric rolled his eyes. He looped a worm, spearing it onto his hook with the last turn. He was two years older than his pain-in-the-neck cousin and he didnt particularly want her around. His parents decided the summer holidays with thirteen-year-old Gertrude at her familys mountain property, would be good for Eric. He doubted it.

Get out of the water and keep quiet, youll scare the fish.

Only if I can help.

Eric scanned the parameter of the waterhole and began to work on a plan. Okay, I need more worms. Lots of worms and they have to be long, fat ones. You could try over there.

He pointed towards a small opening in the rocks behind the trickling waterfall, almost twenty feet away. The waterfall is really only a trickle and the water doesnt look deep. Shell be fine. He smiled at the thought.

Eric cast his line, leaned back and closed his eyes. This is nice

 

plop

Eric opened his eyes towards the sound. His bait tin had blown into the water. It was then that he noticed the dark clouds overhead and the strengthening breeze. He reeled in his line and scrambled down to retrieve his tin. He paused. Uh oh

Gertrude, where are you? Wed better get back.

He did a quick check of the area. I guess she took the hint.

Light rain fell as he packed up his fishing gear, but by the time he put his backpack on, it had become a heavy downpour. He was about to leave when he thought he heard his name being called. He stopped and listened.

Eric! Help me!

The call repeated and although it was faint, it was definitely Gertrude. He couldnt tell where it was coming from. It seemed to be coming from under the ground. Eric was baffled.

WHERE ARE YOU?

Her reply was barely audible. Im in here. Behind the waterfall.

Eric dropped his backpack and ran straight through the waterhole. He climbed over slippery rocks and slid behind the falls that now flowed steadily down the rock face. The ground inside the narrow cave was muddy and he struggled to stay on his feet.

Gertrude, where are you?

This way! Be careful, the walls collapsed. Her voice echoed faintly but Eric could now hear her clearly.

He gingerly felt his way along a dark tapering, downward tunnel. Gertrude?

Right here.

Eric almost tripped over his cousin. He crouched and felt the ground around them. Mud had covered her legs.

Can you move?

Yes, but I hurt my ankle when I slipped with the mudslide.

Eric dug the mud away with his bare hands and eased Gertrude to her feet.

Lean on me, he said gallantly.

Once they were moving, they fumbled their way back up through the short tunnel to the opening behind the falls, Eric found himself whispering. What is this place?

Gertrude grimaced and leaned heavily on Erics arm for support. This whole area around the waterfall is a maze of caves and tunnels. Ill show you around in a few days when the ground dries out. Heavy rain comes unexpectedly up here I should have known better. The upper streams dont take long to fill and create enormous changes in the falls and waterhole.

She paused momentarily. Hopefully, we can swim back to where you were fishing, before the water rises.

With their back against the wall, they eased their way around to the far end of the waterfall where its flow was less intense. They jumped simultaneously into the water below. Cascades of water plummeted down on them, thrashing them below the surface.

Coughing and breathless, they finally dragged themselves onto the bank and into the shelter of a huge rock.

He watched Gertrude shiver and squeeze the water from her shirt. She’s not really a kid.

Gertrude, he asked quietly. Why do you have to be so, so…

Annoying? I dont know. I just wanted to be friends.

He studied her face. Can we start over?

After a few moments Gertrude nodded causing drips of water to fall from her hair and spill down her face like huge tears.

Okay, but call me Trudy. I hate Gertrude.

They both laughed.

So, Trudy, what do you want to do when the rain stops?

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
Younger Teens by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

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 families 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 wanted to save this house from being bulldozed. The locals wanted it demolished for safety reasons. He pleaded his case 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 history gets a bit confusing. A few generations back the family lost most of 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. 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.

Archived in
Younger Teens by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

The Dragon and the Princess

Everyone except Thomas Creighton-Smiths granddaughter, Ada, knew Rosie was more than just a pig. Adas ideal retirement for Rosie was to explore the ancient land of dragons by day and visit the kitchen for under-the-table dinner scraps in the evenings before dreaming by the fireplace.

At breakfast one dank April Friday, Grandma had suggested they have roast pig for Sunday lunch complete with the traditional three vegetables and brown gravy made from the juices of the roasting meat. It was while Grandma chatted on about where she would insert the large rotisserie rod that Ada ran from the kitchen with Rosie close at her heels. ‘It will help tenderise the old sow’, Grandma was saying without acknowledging she had heard the back-door slam.

Thomas put down his morning paper. ‘I just wanted to take the pig to the abattoir to recoup some of our losses. After all, this is a working farm’. He muttered as he left the house in search of Ada.

His eyes scanned the landscape for a sign of the two gallant explorers. In spite of himself, old Thomas didnt envy the little girl. He had grown up in Beatrix Potter country and the fantasies she created. The stunning Lake District would have been more practical for Adas school holiday imagination. He shook his head. Maybe we should have stayed in Ambleside and taken up trout farming.

It was two days before St Georges national holiday and Thomas needed to take that fat old pig for a road trip but Grandma was fixed on having tough pork and bacon. He stood at the garden gate and looked around. Where are they? He squinted into the fog that settled over the bogs as he recalled his mothers favourite story that dated back to the 6th century. What was it again? Oh yes. St George rescued a young maiden by slaying a terrifying fire-breathing dragon. He slipped his hands into his warm pockets and headed for the main road.

So she wouldnt fall over, Ada held up her long flowing medieval princess costume as she marched down Old Kent Road. Rosie trudged slightly behind with cardboard toilet cylinders on her pointy ears and three black ribbons tied onto her limp tail.

They stopped near a red telephone box just beyond the intersection where the road-signs crisscrossed on a wooden post. ‘Oh Rosie, how could Grandma say such horrid things? I wont let them eat you.’ Ada stomped her foot splashing slops of mud over both of them.

She lifted the old play dress above her waist to search the pockets of her faded jeans beneath. With a silver coin in her hand she stepped into the telephone box. Finding the correct number from the list beside the chunky black phone, Ada dialled and waited. Rosie grunted, shuffled and squeezed in until she jammed herself tight between Adas knees.

‘Hello!’ Ada shouted into the mouthpiece. ‘Please help me. Theyre going to kill Rosie!’

 

Approaching the end of the lane where it met the road, Grandpa looked left then right. Their farm was located two miles due east of the abattoir between Dover and Holyhead. He sniffed the thick foul air. This neighbourhood is likened to the lowest-priced property on the English Monopoly board. A few moments later he decided Ada would have headed away from town so off he trudged.

Minutes later he heard an ear-piercing squeal followed by a shout from young Ada. He quickened his stride. The telephone box, a little way past the next farm on the opposite side of the road, seemed to be alive as it shook and groaned. Grandpa stopped in mid-step; his neck craned forward. There was someone, or something, in the telephone box. There were too many legs to count. He saw what looked like horns and a tail with blades. There was a lot of banging and bumping going on behind the grime and moss streaked glass.

‘Oh my, it looks like a dragon!’

Ada screamed again jolting Grandpa from his trance. Manoeuvring the door open to avoid swishing his granddaughter, he grabbed Rosie by the tail and dragged her squealing from the booth.

Later, after the local Bobbies had their explanation and had a good laugh, Grandpa and Ada sat down to rest at the nearby bus-stop.

‘Did you know Ada, only forty-five to fifty percent of animals at the abattoir can be turned into edible meat products, fifteen percent is waste, and the remaining forty to forty five percent is turned into by-products like bath soap, candles and glue? He paused. You know, glue suits her.’

‘But Grandpa’

‘Its OK. Id rather like rescuing my little princess from dragons. Come on, lets go home and break the news to Grandma.’ He winked at his granddaughter. ‘There will be no more talk of bacon and roast pork.’

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.

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 by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

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 by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

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
Younger Teens by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

 

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 by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

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 by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Wounded Hearts

Another short story I wrote back in 2008 to 2010 for The Cypress Times in Texas. I haven’t edited any of them but I thought I might share some of my old writing.

WOUNDED HEARTS

Carrie, you have wounded my heart. Why do you keep saying hurtful things? 

Carrie rolled her eyes. Oh please, youre so melodramatic, Sandy. Get over it.

Youre always insulting me in front of my friends. Why?

Why, why? Always, why? Sis, you just dont get it. Read my lips. You安ill好ev宅er吁ING. Stop embarrassing yourself and I wouldnt have to come to your rescue.

Rescue?

Growing up in a family of five girls, Sandy always felt stuck in the middle. It wasnt easy. She was the plain sister. Her hair was plain. Her face was plain. Her nose was plain. Sandy looked in the mirror. My whole me is plain. But匈 can sing, she protested at the image. “I know Im not perfect but from the moment I wake each morning, I wanted to sing.

Sandys sisters constantly teased her about her singing. Carrie was the worst. She was a year older than Sandy and seemed to find joy in wounding her sister with her words. Carrie couldnt sing. Actually, she hated singing. She would scream at any of her siblings for playing a record or if they hummed as they worked or played.

Just after Carries seventeenth birthday, there was a huge argument between the five girls over the record-player disappearing. Carrie finally admitted shed thrown it out. She stormed from the family home and moved up state with her boyfriend. Sandy never saw Carrie again. Marsha was the only one who kept in contact with Carrie在esides their mother. The teasing continued from the others but not as often or as cruel. 

After high school, Sandy worked as a secretary for a pastor in a big church. One day, he heard her singing along to their churchs latest CD. She was busy typing the monthly newsletter and didnt see him enter the church office. Usually the place was empty on Fridays so Sandy could sing to her hearts content安here no-one would make fun of her. Pastor Lloyd was just standing there, leaning on the door-frame. It gave Sandy the fright of her life. Her face burned with embarrassment.

Sandy and the Pastor had a long talk that day about her voice and experience她r rather, lack of. Within a few weeks, Sandy was singing back-up on Sundays and shortly after, the music director allowed Sandy to sing her first solo.

That was nine years ago. Sandy finally got over the hurt she grew up with她r so she thought.

Sandy and her husband, Geoff, had not long arrived home from church, when Geoff went to the study to put his Bible away. Sandy was preparing lunch when the telephone rang. with her hands in water, Sandy let Geoff take the call and kept working. 

Honey, its your sister列arrie. 

Gingerly Sandy accepted the phone. Carries taunts echoed in her head宇hey still hurt.

Sandy squeezed her eyes shut and tried to focus. Hello.

Sobs and hic-cups muffled the words. Sandy多ic Marsha gave me your多ic number. Whats your address? I need to see you.

Sandy’s eyes sprang open. Carrie, where are you? Whats wrong?

“Stans left me圩or another woman多ic地gain. But多ic thats not why I called多ic. Please, Sandy.

Sandy gave Carrie their address and hung up. Geoff knew of Sandy’s years of her sisters’ relentless insults. There was nothing Geoff and Sandy didnt share. She admitted mixed emotions about seeing Carrie and Geoff prayed for wisdom and peace. Sandy was so afraid she would be wounded again.

Carries arrived shortly before two oclock the following afternoon. She talked non-stop and seemed genuinely happy to see Sandy and Geoff. Her frail figure worried Sandy though. 

Carrie, are you okay? You said yesterday that Stan had left you,” she paused. “Youre also looking守nwell.

Carrie burst into tears. Geoff left the women alone. Sandy wasnt sure if it was Carrie’s bawling which made him feel awkward; as it did her, or if he thought it was best for the sisters to sort it out themselves. They were still talking when Geoff returned a few hours later.

Geoff, Sandy said quietly. Please sit for a moment.

Carrie filled him in on some general pieces of conversation before Sandy continued. Geoff, Carries kidneys are failing,” she said her voice quiet. “Without a donor, she could die. Marsha, Eleanor and Sophie, arent compatible and shes asked me to be tested. We do have the same blood-type. What should we do?

Geoff took his wife’s hand. What do you think you should do, Sandy? Its your call.

Sandy searched his eyes, trying to see his thoughts, and then turned to see Carries tear-stained face. Sandy took a deep breath and looked into her sister’s pleading eyes. She felt her anguish. I think its time for wounded hearts to heal.

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.

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 by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

 

Faith’s Adventures

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
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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 by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

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 that 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.

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Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

 

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 by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

 

 

Faith’s Adventures

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
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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.

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Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Stellas Plight Chapter Three

Chapter Three

It didnt take long for the coroners report to come through. Ryan died from a burst aneurysm in the brain. His funeral was held a week later and he was buried beside his Uncle Rick. The uncle who left him the property. Stella added for Teresas benefit. The next day I was called to our solicitors office for the reading of Ryans latest Will. It was straightforward enough. The property and house were to be left to me. Everything except for the few head of cattle he had been breeding. Apparently, they were on loan from Uncle David so Ryan could breed and start his own herd. Unfortunately, there had been only four calves born at the time of his death. Once they were old enough to be separated from their mothers the loaned cattle had to be returned.

Why wouldnt this uncle David leave them a little longer so you could have an income?

Stella was about to answer when she noticed a man through the window of the doors leading to the next carriage. He was leaning slightly forward speaking to one passenger after another.

I think Sarah needs her nappy changed. Stella stood to retrieve the bag she had put in the overhead storage earlier.

At the same moment the guard came through the rear door. Theres a small table in the guardroom if you would like to use it and a microwave. I wont be using the cabin for a while.

Thank you, she smiled and let him pass before reaching for the baby.

She had only just closed the door of the guard cabin when the man entered her carriage from the other end. She stepped aside and peered through the stripped security screen that allowed the guard to see out but no one could see much if they looked in. Muffled voices kept her alert. Sarah stirred. Stella rocked her gently. Ssshhh奸ittle one.

Stella risked a glanced through the window. She drew in a sharp breath. David?

Finally, David moved out of the carriage and Stella could see him move from the next carriage through the door at the other end.

Lets get you cleaned up, Stella cooed at Sarah her big blue eyes gazing back.

Minutes later she returned to her seat. I should have bought a baby carrier before I left Sydney.

Theresa stretched out her arms. That would only make things more difficult for you.

Once settled back into her seat, Stella looked up to see Teresa looking straight at her.

What was that about? Teresa asked directly.

What was what about? Stella replied before looking away. Sorry. That man was Ryans Uncle David. She turned in her seat slightly to face Teresa. I was about to tell you what happened after David came for the cows.

Stella kept her voice low even though there were only two other passengers at the front of the carriage since the train stopped to embark and disembark passengers at Katoomba. The bull Ryan bought was lame after stepping into a hole in his enclosure. I had only been filling the food and water troughs through the fence since Ryan died. I was no way going to go in there, pregnant or not. I was about seven months along by then and Ryans only income was from the land he leased out to another property owner. David said he would pay to have the bull treated by a vet and then buy it from me at a fair price that included the vet fees. That was fine until the bull up and died. David demand his money back after I had already spent it on feed for the calves.

That doesnt seem fair, Teresa interrupted.

Well, I dont know much about whats fair but Kath, Davids wife, was upset over his treatment of me. She had come to stay with me after Ryans death until after the funeral. Shes a real sweetie. Anyway, from what I heard over the radio gossip line and in town that David beat her and she up and left him. I didnt see her again until I came to Sydney a month ago. I was having problems with fluid around my ankles and Doc Stone insisted I go to Sydney until after the birth. Friends from another property offered to look after the place until I returned.

Stella was tired. She hadnt slept properly since Sarah was born and the gently movement of the train made her sleepy. She almost dozed off when Teresa spoke.

How did you find Kath, or did she find you?

Stella squeezed her eyes closed before blinking repeatedly. Kath found me. Her voice cracked. Doc Stone told her where I was. She asked him not to tell anyone else, not even David, because she thought I was in danger. I guess he believed her because of what happened to her. She turned to Teresa; tears streaming down her cheeks. He broke her arm and her nose for standing up to him – for me.

Teresa sat quietly and looked out the window for a few minutes. Her heart broke for Stel and her baby. She lifted Sarah and kissed her forehead then turned to Stella. That man just now, your Ryans uncle, he asked if I had seen a woman with a baby. Im sorry色 Her voice drifted off.

Stella sat up straight and looked down the carriage through the door. What did you say? I dont understand. Why didnt he stay or go into the guards cabin?

Teresa turned back to Stella and gazed into her eyes. I knew something wasnt right. I answered him in German, my second language. I knew it would come in handy one day. She winked. I didnt lie. I couldnt lie. I wont, but he had no idea what I said and he just left.

Stella stared at this beautiful woman that had befriended her. She didnt know whether she should laugh or cry. After a few moments, she smiled. Thank you.

So, tell me what happened in Sydney.

After a long sigh Stella continued.

To be continued.

穢 Chrissy Siggee – 2019

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 by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Stellas Plight Chapter Two

Chapter Two

Stella began her story from the day her life changed forever. She had awoken early New Years Day with a dry mouth and covered in sweat. Nothing unusual for this part of the world but what was different was that Ryan wasnt in bed and there was no evidence that he had. A wonderful husband of three years and a baby on the way, Stellas only longing was for a relief from the heatwave and yet another drought.

Peeling back the damp top sheet Stella sat up on the side of the bed; her head groggy from a restless night.

Making her way down stairs she headed to the refrigerator for the jug of water she had place there the evening before. She peered out the kitchen window and noticed the door of the tractor shed was open. Thats strange. It wasnt open before I went to bed. Maybe Ryans tinkering with the engine, she spoke into the empty room.

Stella looked around the kitchen for a sign that Ryan had eaten breakfast early. Nothing. Heading to the back door she pushed opened the fly screen door. Ryan often left the back door open to allow any breeze that might stir in the sweltering night air.

It wasnt until she reached the tractor shed that she realised how quiet it was. Ryan, where are you?

Flo, Ryans Blue Cattle Dog began to bark. Stella turned to see that Flo was still in her fenced off area near the house. Since a recent pack of wild dogs had been seen roaming the surrounding properties at night, Ryan had made sure Flo didnt wander and so the dogs couldnt ambush her. No way would he leave Flo in there if he were here.

A sudden chill rushed through her. She stood in the wide doorway. Ryan! There was no reply except for Flos constant bark. She approached the tractor and looked around. Where are you? It was then she noticed a dull glow of light coming from the small doorless room at the rear of the shed where Ryan used as an office of sorts and to clean small tractor parts.

Stella felt like she was walking in a dream only for the constant barking from Flo. There sitting on a stool slumped over a newspaper that lay open on the wooden bench was Ryan. A moment of relief that Ryan must have dozed off while working past through her. The lantern was struggling to keep alight. With no power to the shed, Ryan had kept an old kerosene lamp ready in case of an emergency.

Placing her hand gently on his shoulder she jerked it back. It was cold, an impossibility in this heat. She moved to where she could see one side of his face. His left eye looked back at her. Ryan! She gently shook his shoulder but he remained silent and cold.

Stella heart pounded as she ran back to the house. Letting the screen door slam behind her she rushed straight to the radio in the front room. She forced herself to concentrate on the user instructions. Even though Stella used the radio on occasions, it was Ryan who usually operated it.

Almost immediately the operator came over the line. Youre on air early, Ryan. How can I assist you? Over.

Maggie its Stella, she sobbed in relief. Over, she finally remembered and released the button.

What is it, Stel? You sound panicked. Over.

Its Ryan. I think hes dead, she blurted out and released the button without the over.

Calm down, Stel. Doc Stone is over at Davids place visiting Ryans grandmother. Ill contact him there. Stay calm. Over.

Stella gulped down air. Ill try. Tell him to hurry, please. She sat staring at the radio and took long deep breaths until she heard Maggies voice again.

Stel, Dr Stone will be there in about twenty minutes. David is driving him over in his off-road utility. Over.

Thanks Maggie. Over.

Ill call you later, Maggie signed off.

Flos yapping was beginning to annoy her so she went back out to the shed and closed the door but not before looking in the direction of back room where she could barely see Ryan through her tears. Then she let Flo loose, giving her a long hard hug.

Oh Flo安hat will we do without him?

It took less than twenty minutes for Doc Stone to arrive but to Stella if felt like hours. She had managed to change into a cotton house dress that had seen better days but she didnt seem to notice.

David, who was also Ryans Uncle, raced ahead of the doctor. Where is he? What happened?

He was full of questions but Stella could only point. She was shaking and her eyes hurt from rubbing away the constant tears.

Hes in the tractor shed, she finally blurted.

David put his arm around her shoulder and tried to soothe her. Im sure hes fine. Lets go with Doc and see what he says.

By the time David and Stella had reach the shed, Doc Stone had already squeezed through the door so Flo wouldnt follow.

David, I cant go back in there.

OK, stay here and hold Flo. Ill see what Doc has to say.

Moments later David and the doctor returned to where Stella waited. They both looked sad and pale.

I think hes been here since possibly late last night. What time did you find him, Stel? The doctor asked gently.

It was just after five this morning. I woke on Ryans alarm and headed to the kitchen for a drink. I guess it was only five minutes later when I noticed the shed door was open. She finished in a sob. What happened to him, Doc? she pleaded.

The doctor gently turned Stella back toward the kitchen. Youre in shock.

Shes shivering, David added running ahead to open the door before heading into the front room for a throw rug.

After the doctor gave Stella a mild sedative, he sat beside her at the kitchen table while David brought glasses of cold water.

Stel, Doc began quietly. ‘From what I can ascertain without an autopsy,’ he coughed apologetically. It appears to be a natural death.

But hes only thirty-four, Stella gasped.

We have to wait on the coroners report. He sipped from the glass that David had placed in front of him. I need to use your radio.

David pointed to the front room and the two watched the doctor leave the kitchen. Stel, Ill get Kath to come over. She can stay as long as you need.

Oh David, she has too much to do to bother with me.

You forget I make enough money to pay for a housekeeper to help my wife. He sighed heavily. Look, I know I havent been close to Ryan since. since my brother left the property to him instead of leaving it in my fathers family. To me匈m mean, Im sorry.

Stella looked up as if she didnt hear him correctly.

Only hearing bits of what Doctor Stone was saying in the other room, she waited. Her shaking had eased but she couldnt stop the tears.

Another few minutes passed before Doc came back into the kitchen. The authorities will be here as soon as they can. Theyll question you. Its routine but Ill stay until they take Ryan away.

David rose from his chair and gulped down the rest of his water. Ill head back and send Kath over in the Jeep. You can use the Jeep Doc until I can get to town to collect it. I need to get those antibiotics you prescribed for mother anyway.

The doctor nodded and sipped at his water.

The train lurched as it rounded a curve in the rails. Stella sighed. I can remember that morning like it was yesterday, she said looking over at her baby asleep in the arms of Teresa. Teresa had become a comforting traveling companion. You know, I didnt even ask how Davids mother was. She died a few months later from complications after a long illness色 Her voice trailed off.

Im so sorry to hear that you went through that. So, the little one is fatherless?

Stella nodded sadly. Thats only half of it, she whispered before continuing her story.

To be continued.

穢 Chrissy Siggee – 2019

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 by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Stella’s Plight Chapter One

Chapter One

Stellas thick black hair momentarily obscured the unpaved footpath. Another April gusty breeze sent the fringe in the other direction but not in time to avoid the muddy puddle. Conscious now of a stain that would ruin her best pantsuit she avoided looking down. She wouldnt have been able to see much past the bundle in one arm and the heavy khaki carry bag over the other anyway. Can my day get any worse? she mumbled.

Oblivious of the people bustling around her, Stella again focused on one thing宇o get onto thattrain; her only escape.

Entering a short, almost empty tunnel the clicking of her heels on the concrete floor motivated her to walk faster. She dared a quick glance over her shoulder. Feeling only slightly easier, she turned a sharp right onto a crowded platform. Side stepping suitcases and groups of passengers that chatted and laughed, she kept going until she found an empty bench seat at the far end of the platform where she would be able to embark closest to the guards carriage.

The bundle stirred as Stella sat and eased the heavy bag from her sore shoulder. Not long now, little one. She reached into the bag for a pacifier. Sucking was instant. Stellas attention returned to her surroundings.

In a few short minutes, everyone had hushed and turned to face the approaching train. Returning the bag to her shoulder she stood carefully so not to lose grip of her precious bundle. Once the train had stopped completely, she stepped forward to board the carriage. Someone touched her elbow. Panic filled her until she realised that it was a short, pump woman dressed in very plain old fashion clothing. Around her neck hung a chunky cross on a simple chain.

Let me help with that. The woman took the bag without waiting for an answer.

Thank you, Stella answered as calmly as she could before she stepped across the gap and followed the woman to a seat at the rear of the carriage. Thank you, she said again before sitting beside her.

Stella moved the baby to the other arm to relieve the ache that had reached the point of stiffness and also to let the kind woman see her baby. Thank you, she said, knowing she had repeated herself again.

The warm smile made Stella feel more relaxed than she had been since the day before but still kept alert of what was happening around them.

Im Sister Anna Teresa, but you can call me Teresa. Its actually what my father called me.

Its good to meet you Teresa. Im Stella or Stel for short, she added with a smile.

Such a sweet baby. The words were tender.

Would you like to hold her, Stella asked.

Oh, could I? Teresa handed Stella the bag and reached over to accept the baby. Shes so tiny. Must be a newborn.

Stella searched the bag for the items she needed to prepare a bottle. Yes吁arah is a week-old today.

A whistle blew and the train began to move.

Teresa watched as Stella mixed the powder. Such a shame色 she said. I mean色

Thats all right. Im fine about not being able to feed her myself, was Stellas simple reply. Would you like to give her the bottle?

Teresas huge grin was all Stella needed to hand over the little bottle and remove the pacifier. She watched as Sarah sucked furiously bringing laughs from both women.

Looking up, Stella saw the guard making his way through the carriage. She closed her eyes and sighed heavily.

Do you have to travel far? Teresa asked carefully.

As far as the train goes, Stella answered without thinking. I mean匈m heading back to Bourke.

Such a long trip on your own with one so little. Her eyes now fixed on Stellas.

In that awkward moment she leaned forward and looked down at the blotchy brown marks at the hem of her slacks. She cringed slightly and studied the other passengers in their carriage. Some were involved in conversations, reading or preparing for a snooze. Stella took a deep breath and released it slowly before making an effort to respond. I am alone, she whispered. Its a long story.

We have plenty of time and Im a good listener夷f you want to share.

With a sense of relief, Stella slowly began her story.

To be continued.

穢 Chrissy Siggee – 2019

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 by Chrissy at Riverside Peace