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.

Help me, Eric.

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色

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 and 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 wasnt 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 Children & Teens at Riverside Peace

Faith and Blue Eye!

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

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

‘So what does that mean?

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

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

Faith licked her pup.

Thanks for coming around, Luke. Much appreciated.

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

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

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

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

The two laughed and shook hands.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shield! Thats enough!

At Kens pointed finger, Shield returned to his enclosure.

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

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

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穢 Chrissy Siggee 2019

This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dog Faith all other characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

 

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 donuts?’

‘Sure.’

Daisy handed me the coffee then bagged the donuts 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 way. 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 donuts. ‘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 donut.

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, Thomas, you cant go like that.’ I pointed him to the tiny bathroom and told him to strip and have a sponge bath using the tiny 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 widow.

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. ‘I can help, 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?’

‘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.


Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Faiths Discovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come on, Faith. Lets get moving.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faith began to walk in circles sniffing the ground.

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

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

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

Anyone here? Ken shouted.

Hello, Mandy and Steve called in unison.

Faith barked.

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

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

Steve nodded. All right. Be careful, Ken.

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

Hear anything. He stood beside her and waited.

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

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

Nope, Steve sighed.

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

Faith?

She looked over her shoulder at Ken and woofed.

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

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

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

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

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

A flower pot? Mandy gasped.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ken?

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

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

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

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

穢 Chrissy Siggee 2019

This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dog Faith all other characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

 

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 in five minutes.’

Carl Preston’s an okay boss I suppose, Eugene thought,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 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 twelve-by-twelve 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 Iwill 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 sixmonths 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 teamEugenesone-man team,’ he mumbled.

Prestons tone became serious. ‘Its a take it or leave it offer, 44.’

‘Okay, okay. 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,’ Preston 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.

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Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Its Time to Grow Up!

Simon! Dad called from the back of the house. Come and fix this mess!

Uh-oh…

Simon stopped at the door of the laundry and watched as bright red foamy bubbles spewed from the family washing machine.Oops.

Oops is right and youd better clean it up before your mother returns with the groceries. Then, you had better deal with that car of yours. The windscreen looks like the aftermath of a locus plague.

The unusually quiet son entered the kitchen later that day and watched his parents move about to prepare for the evening meal. Steak, onions and potatoes sat ready for preparing. He sat in a chair to watch. Simon was always fascinated and somewhat proud of how they worked together. Being the youngest of five, and at almost twenty-three, Simon knew it was time to give his parents a break and move out on his own but…

Hey, Simon, his mother interrupted his thoughts. Are you going to the young adults Bible Study tonight?

Yeah… Ive even completed this weeks study questions, he grinned.

Dad looked up from chopping onions. Tears ran down his cheeks. Really?

Simon grinned at the voice that didnt match the tears, which were thankfully not related to this latest bit of news. Um…yeah. Were studying Hebrews chapter five. Im守m…finding it quite interesting.

His mother wiped her hands and approached the table. May I ask why?

Dad continued to chop and sniff.

Ill show you. Simon left the room and returned a few minutes later with his New International Version of the Bible. He opened it to where it was bookmarked.

You see, he began, last weeks topic was about “Warnings Against Falling Away”. Verses 11 to 15 says: We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Dad wiped his eyes before joining them at the table. What do you think these verses are saying?

Well, he began thoughtfully. Its like eating.

His parents laughed in unison.

Yeah, I know. Everything with me is related to food, he grinned. But its like the verse says, we have to stop just drinking milk and get in to the steak and potatoes of life地nd onions, he finished with a chuckle.

Dad reached across, pulled the Bible to him and turned it around. Yes, youre right. We need to grow and mature in His grace. He paused and turned over a few pages. Hebrews 10:25-27also says: Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one anotherand all the more as you see the Day approaching. If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.’

Pretty heavy stuff, Simon sighed. But I think Im beginning to understand this whole adulthood stuff. I mean, Im no longer a child, or a teenager anymore. Im supposed to be an adult. Right? Not just as a person, but as a Christian. I cant rely on you and Mum all my life to feed me or clean up after me. In the same way, I need to get into the Word and grow up.

His mother smiled. Even us older Christians need to grow. We can never outgrow the need to grow. But, youre right, Simon. You do need to do this for yourself. She reached out and touched his hand. Is there more to this conversation than impressing us?

Simon took a deep breath. Well, I like my job and doing church stuff, but…

But what? Dad asked, a hint of worry in his tone.

This weeks Bible study has had me seriously praying about a few things. Im ready to put away childish things. Ive decided to start adulthood properly. Im going to attend Bible College. I believe thats where God wants me to be.

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.