Samuel Takes a Trip – Conclusion

Samuel Takes a Trip – Part V – Conclusion

“Hum,” Jeremy looked thoughtful. “That might give us enough time. Now get your dumb tiger and let’s take a walk.” Jeremy scribbled a note to his mom to stick on the fridge. Eagerly Samuel jumped up and grabbed his tiger. He stuffed it into his backpack and the two boys slipped out the back door.

                                                 #
Over the next few hours, the boys took turns practicing with the tiger and trying to transport various items like the hardball and the mitt from place to place. They discovered that the tiger only responded to Samuel but that he could pull Jeremy along with him if they were touching. Samuel had to clearly visualize where they were going to go and pop! They were there. The tiger was not as sophisticated as the portal created by their Uncle Al. The one he was using to transport garbage in the Pacific Ocean.

Tired but satisfied with their results, the two boys got home in time to help set the table for dinner.

“Where have you been?” Alice Beans asked them with a slight frown.

“I left you a note, Mom. On the fridge, said we were at the park.”

Alice stepped over the notepad on the refrigerator. “So, you did,” she nodded. “Please go wash your hands first and then help me.”

Jeremy and Samuel scooted into their bedroom, dropped their backpacks. Samuel carefully placed the tiger back in the bedside drawer and closed it. The two did a knuckle bump and headed to wash up.

Later, as they were turning in, Samuel turned to his brother. “Jer, when do you want to do it?”

“Do what, Samuel?” Jeremy was perplexed.

“Go get Alex.”

“What!”

“Yeah, go get Alex. That was what we were practicing for, right?” Samuel asked, screwing his face up.

“Well, I guess so.” Jeremy settled back into his twin bed and pulled up the covers. “I just didn’t know you wanted to do it so soon. I mean…Jeeze.”

“Ah, Jeremy,” Samuel whined.

“Come one, let me think on it a little, will you?” Jeremy’s muffled voice came from under his pillow followed by a snore.

Samuel gave a little sigh. He pulled open the drawer where the tiger lay and stroked its side. “Night ‘ol thing,” he whispered and soon, he too was asleep.

Things were to unfold rapidly that would change their minds.

                                                 #

The following day, Jeremy and Samuel rode their bikes home from school as usual and walked into the kitchen to find Jane sitting at the kitchen table. She was being comforted by their mother and once again was crying. The boys tiptoed past and went put their backpacks down. Reversing direction, they both came back to get drinks out of the fridge and stopped, leaning against the kitchen counter.

“…and they are going to move him and won’t tell us where. The State Department won’t agree to their demands. I don’t know what….” more sobbing.

“Jane, I am sure they are doing everything…”

“They are doing nothing!” Jane exclaimed. “They don’t care a bit. I heard one man call him a liberal loony.”

Alice Beans looked shocked.

“He did, he did. I heard him.” Jane’s head was down and her shoulders shook with emotion.

Jeremy sipped his Gatorade and jerked his head at Samuel. Samuel followed him out of the kitchen and back into their room.

“Well, I guess we are going to have to do this thing,” Jeremy said with some resignation.

“What does that mean, ‘they are going to move him’? Samuel asked.

“It means they are moving him from that prison that he has been in, the one in the photograph.”

“Oh,” Samuel said his eyes getting big.

“And, if I get this right, to use your little tiger, you have to be able to see the location in your head, pretty much.”

“Yeah,” Samuel said, “that’s right.”

“So, in short, they move him to someplace else, no photo, we don’t know where he is and you won’t be able to see the new place in your head.”

“Ah,” Samuel said, understanding.

“So, tonight or nothing right?”

Samuel nodded and they did another knuckle bump.

That evening Samuel and Jeremy both turned in early. “To be ready for soccer practice tomorrow,” Jeremy told their parents with a little finger wave. Alice and David nodded and went back to watching their TV show.

They went into their room and got ready for bed but left their street clothes on. Jeremy turned off the bedroom light. In about an hour, Dad came by and opened the door to check on them, then closed the door. They both jumped up.

They grabbed backpacks that already had water, snacks and sweaters inside. Each boy stuffed pillows under the blankets to look like bodies. Jeremy got the tiger out of the drawer. Samuel had the newspaper article and stared at it hard. Jeremy held onto Samuel’s backpack strap and Samuel said “Take me to Alex.”

There was a whirling, sucking sound and both boys could feel themselves spinning. It lasted a few moments and they landed hard on concrete flooring. They staggered up. The area was dark and felt cool and almost damp, like something underground. The floor and walls were dark green cement, peeling in places. There were old halogen lights placed every few feet that flickered dimly. Distant sounds of conversation could be heard. Samuel had the tiger tightly held in one hand. Jeremy began to creep toward the sound and motioned Samuel to follow.

The conversations they heard were coming from jail cells around the corner from where they landed. There were dozens of cells with men in each. The men talked to each other in Arabic.

Samuel felt panic. How were they going to know which was which?  His mind raced.

They hung back and just listened.

Then they heard “How many times do I have to ask you butt heads for water? I’m thirsty here!”

Jeremy turned to Samuel and smiled. They nodded to each other. Jeremy peeked around the corner. There was a guard at the far cell, pouring some water into a little bowl the man held out. “Alex,” he mouthed to Samuel.

Looking again, Jeremy saw the guard leave. He motioned to Samuel. They crept around the corner and then ran together toward the last cell.

“Alex, Alex,” they both whispered at the same time.

An incredibly dirty Alex Smithers turned toward them. “Jeremy, Samuel? What the hell? How did you…?” The men in the other cells started to yell at them. 

Jeremy grabbed Samuel’s wrist with the tiger and said “Grab the tiger.”

“What? I don’t understand…” Alex was stuttering.

There were sounds of boots running toward them.

Samuel looked over his shoulder. “Jeremy, they’re coming.”

Jeremy took a quick look back and blanched. He looked forward “Grab the tiger.”

“What…?”

“Grab the tiger!” Jeremy screamed. Alex reached out and grabbed hold of the tiger. Samuel pressed his eyes together tightly just as a bullet whizzed past his ear.

There was the sucking sound and spinning feeling and the boys landed on white linoleum. It was early evening and they were in Uncle Al’s laboratory.

Uncle Al’s assistant, James, was sitting at a lab table staring at them.

“Jeremy, Samuel….what? And who’s that?” the young man looked stunned.

“James, great!” Jeremy tugged on Alex’s dirty jacket and pulled him over the mystified lab assistant.

“Where did you…?” James was still staring at them.

“James, this is Alex. Alex this is James.” The two young men nodded to each other. “James, he will tell you all about it. The only thing is,” Jeremy whispered in James’ ear, “this has to be all Uncle Al’s doing. Not us. Kay?”

James was open mouthed but slowly nodded up and down.

“Alright then. We got to get home before…” he looked at Samuel. “You know.”

Samuel nodded. He held the tiger out, Jeremy grabbed the tail and Samuel pressed his eyes together and imagined a house in the suburbs and two twin beds.

                                                 #

A week later, Samuel and Jeremy were out in the front drive of their house. The garage door was closed and they were practicing a little pick-up with the baseball hoop. As the orange ball did a rat-ta-tat on the cement, Alex Smithers casually strolled down the street and into their drive.

“Can I watch?”

“Alex!” Samuel ran over and gave him a hug. “You’re back!”

“I am and in one piece. Thanks guys. Don’t know what you did or how you did it…”

Jeremy passed the baseball over to Alex. “Our little secret Alex, ‘kay?”

“Okay by me. And, for the record,” Alex made a basket. “What I did was pretty stupid. Scared my mother half to death.”

Samuel and Jeremy exchanged glances.

“How ‘bout this, Alex,” Jeremy grabbed the ball, “maybe you don’t do it again.”

“You are on buddy!” Alex gave them a lopsided grin and ran for the ball.

The End

Read more of Courtney’s writing in:
https://sites.google.com/view/webbywritercom/page-5?authuser=0

Samuel Takes a Trip – Part V

.

Samuel Takes a Trip – Part V

One week later, David and Tyler Beans were busy fiddling with their new security system at the backdoor. They were running back and forth testing the box and yelling commands at each other. Jeremy and Samuel were in the kitchen doing dishes. It was early Indian summer and the weather had not made up its mind for the day. Heavy clouds hung in the air, threatening rain. Bits of blue sky kept peeking through as the clouds moved lazily across the sky. The cicadas had stopped their summer hum, monsoon season was definitely upon Arizona.

Alice Beans was finishing her coffee, reading the Sunday paper. There was a knock on the door leading to the garage. The garage door was open and people frequently came into the house that way instead of through the front door.

“I’ll get it,” Samuel raced around the counter top to the door. He pushed the door open and Jane Symthers, Sean’s mother, from down the street was standing there.

“Samuel, is your mom home?” she asked. Samuel pointed inside.

Alice looked up and put down her cup. “Jane?”

Jane came in looking frazzled. Her eyes were red rimmed and she had a handkerchief stuck in one hand. She kept dabbing at her eyes with the soggy thing. In the other hand, a copy of the Tucson News! could be seen.

“What is it, Darling? Oh, come have a seat.” Alice showed Jane to a kitchen chair and sat her down. “Jer, would you get Jane a cup of coffee?” The boy raced to comply.

Putting an arm around her friend’s shoulder, she gave her a little pat. “What the heck….?”

Jane started to cry. “I know I shouldn’t…it’s too early…it’s just…”

Alice Beans looked confused but waited. The woman accepted the hot cup and took a sip and seemed to collect herself a bit. She pushed the paper over to Alice and tapped a photo. “It’s Alex.”

Alice read and her eyes got wide. The article read ‘Alex Symthers, of Tucson, Arizona, has been captured by the army in Syria. The young man, twenty years old and a student at the U of A, had gone to help assist the Kurd forces in that country who are fighting for their independence. He had gotten into the country on a humanitarian mission for Kurdish refugees and apparently decided to join the fight. It is unknown at this time…’

Alice had a finger on the article and said “Oh, my,” and looked up at Jane. “So, what…”

“Oh, it’s so stupid.” Jane took a big gulp of air. “He was only supposed to be there for two weeks, humanitarian thing for the refugees, you know. ‘I’ll be back before you know it, mom. You won’t even miss me.’ And Jim encouraged him.” She started to weep again. By this time Jeremy and Samuel had both put down the dishes and had drifted over to the table. They sat, staring at Jane, mouths open. Even David and Tyler had slowed down their mechanical endeavors to glance over.

“What happens now?” Alice made some frantic ‘come here’ motions to her husband.

David meandered over, grabbed another cup of coffee and took a seat.

“We contacted the State Department. They told us he was on a temporary visa and was only supposed to be there a short while and the visa has expired.”

“So, what does that mean?” Alice asked, a hand over her friend’s hand.

“It means he is now there illegally. Plus, he was told over and over not to go there to begin with, to stick to his group and come right back. They’re saying there’s nothing they can do. He is not military, he was not there for them or any American group. So, they won’t try to find him.”

“The humanitarian group?” Alice asked.

“It was a group out of Scotland, Alex got involved with when he was there last summer taking some classes. You remember that, right?”

Alice nodded. She had been a little jealous that her friend and her university professor husband could afford to send their kid on such a great trip.

“It’s just a group of do-gooders. They don’t have any money. And now, the Syrians wont even let us into the country. They say we’re a risk.” Jane started crying again.

Alice looked over at her husband. He raised his eyebrows and gave a shrug.

“I’ve got to get back,” Jane took another big breath. “Jim’s at home waiting to get a phone call. He is trying to get help from some friends he knows in the Middle East. I just don’t…”

Alice got up with Jane and smoothed her back. “I’ll talk to David and see if there is anything…”

“Oh, thanks, Alice. You two have always been such good friends. This is just so stupid.” The women continued out the garage door and on outside.

“Wow,” said Tyler in an understatement. “That really sucks. For him, I mean,” he looked at his father.

“Yeah, it really does suck, for him,” David Beans took another sip of coffee, “and them. Let’s get this darn thing finished, okay Ty, wanted to get to the park and toss a few.”

“Yeah!” Tyler jumped up and ran to get the security system fully armed.

Jeremy got up and went to finish the dishes. “Too bad for him, I guess. Wow, and I always thought Alex was the smart one.” His head bent over the dishwasher.

“Yeah, too bad.” Samuel still sat at the table and slid his hand over to the newspaper article Jane had left. He pulled the black and white picture toward himself and looked at it more closely.  It was clearly a picture of Alex Symthers. He was holding up a newspaper and the writing was in

Arabic. The date on the paper was from a few days ago. “Yeah…” Samuel got up slowly and took the picture back to his bedroom. Alex was the older brother to Sean, Samuel’s best friend. Yeah, it was really too bad.

                                                            #

For several days, Samuel got up, got dressed and went to school on his bike with his two brothers as he always did. He had started putting his special gold tiger into the drawer of the table next to his bed. Since he had realized the tiger was another portal, he decided to handle it with more care. He discovered that he didn’t have as many bad dreams this way. He couldn’t understand why in the world this was, but as much as he loved the tiger, he liked to sleep too.

On the third day after Jane’s visit, he was riding home. Sean was next to him on his bike and Jeremy had pulled far in front.

“…and my mom is so upset and my dad too. They won’t even go to work now. Just sit around at home, waiting for phone calls. My mom never stops crying.”

Samuel nodded his head sympathetically.

“My brother is such an idiot!” Sean finally said in a resentful tone. “He is always going off and doing something dumb, like this. I hate him!”

Samuel jerked his head around and almost tipped his bike over. He had never heard his friend talk like this.  

“Always thinks he is so special. Top grades, top classes, top everything and now this!” Sean’s eyes were angry narrow slits.

Samuel was surprised again. He had always thought Sean was proud of his big brother. This was something new. They got to their street. Samuel had planned to ask Sean in to finish homework and watch TV. But now…

“Ah, got to go, Sean. Mom wants me to do some stuff. See you tomorrow, ‘kay?”

“Sure,” Sean responded with a surly tone.  The kid yanked his bike in the direction of home.

A thoughtful Samuel rode into the driveway and got off his bike. He walked it into the garage. He was thinking. “Mom, I’m home,” he yelled as he came in and dropped his pack. There was no response.

He immediately went to the fridge to pull out a drink and a snack. A little post-it note read ‘Back by dinner time, XOXO, Mom.’

“Humpt,” he intoned and opened the green Gatorade and started to slurp it down. Tearing open a package of rolled fruit, he started to stuff the Berry Delight! into his mouth. He meandered down the hall to his bedroom and flopped on his bed. The newspaper article was still there. He stared at it a long time. An idea started to form in his brain. What if? He pulled the tiger out of the drawer and stared at it and then back at the picture. What if it really works, all the time?

Samuel wanted to test out his new theory but was afraid to do it by himself. What if something went wrong? Where was Jeremy?

Impatiently he waited for his older brother to come home. Soon, he heard shouting from the drive and Jeremy was yelling goodbye to his friends. The back door opened and closed and Samuel could hear the sound of the fridge opening again. He got up and went to the door.

“Jeremy? That you?”

“Who else would it be, Freddie Kreuger?” Jeremy appeared around the corner of the hall, also gulping Gatorade and eating nuts. He saw his brother’s face. “What?”

Jeremy motioned him into the bedroom and then closed the door behind them.

“You won’t believe this.” Samuel told his brother all about the tiger, the dreams and what he now thought the tiger really was. “See, that is why those guys, in the dream, wanted it so badly. They knew what it could do and they were willing to do anything to get it.”

Jeremy nodded his head slowly. “Okay, I’m seeing your point. Now…?”

Samuel grabbed the article about Alex and tapped it with his finger. “What if, what if …we can get him back?” He was almost breathless with excitement.

It took Jeremy a moment to comprehend what Samuel was saying. Then, “Oh, no, Samuel. Not the portal again! I thought we were done with all that, since the last time on the boat, with Uncle Al and all that…” He swigged his drink. Jeremy was referring to the adventure on Uncle Al’s ocean rig where a so-called employee tried to steal Uncle Al’s working portal.

“Jeremy,” Samuel kept tapping the picture. “You heard what Sean’s mom said. They won’t let him out. Who knows what will happen. They might ki…”

“Hold on, Partner. I doubt very much anyone will do that. They probably want to ransom him or something.”

“I know, Jer, but he’s…our friend.” Samuel stared at the picture again.

Jeremy swigged more Gatorade and thought. “You don’t even know if this tiger of yours really works. It was just a dream, right?”

“But it so, so real, Jer. So, real.”

“Tell you what.” Jeremy sat his drink down. “Why don’t we do like real scientists and run an experiment? That’s all. Just an experiment.”

Samuel nodded his head eagerly.

“Where’s Mom?” Jeremy asked.

“She left a note. She’ll be back for dinner.”

“Hum,” Jeremy looked thoughtful. “That might give us enough time. Now get your dumb tiger and let’s take a walk.” Jeremy scribbled a note to his mom to stick on the fridge. Eagerly Samuel jumped up and grabbed his tiger. He stuffed it into his backpack and the two boys slipped out the back door.

Continues to VI

Read more of Courtney’s writing in:
https://sites.google.com/view/webbywritercom/page-5?authuser=0

Samuel Takes a Trip – Part IV

Samuel Takes a Trip – Part IV

You know, if murder wasn’t against the law…but, it might be justified in this case. What have you gotten us into this time, big brother?

                                                            #

Miles away in a large medical research lab, a man was working on Sunday, by himself, deep in his lab. Bent over a microscope he carefully lifted particles out of a small vial and placed them between twoglass slides. Once that was done, he place the slide gently onto the microscope platform and started to look at the bits. Someone walking by in the hallway would see a light burning in that lab. On the door, a metal plate read ‘Reverse Engineering Department’.

Later that week, Samuel went to bed. As usual, he pulled his little gold and black striped tiger out from underneath his pillow and talked to it before nodding off. He would tell the tiger about his day in the third grade and how things were going. He felt somehow, the tiger understood. The green emerald chip eyes almost seemed to glow at him. Clutching the tiger in one fist, he fell asleep. He started to dream.

Again, he was back in the desert, it was hot, the sun was up and he could feel the heat. But wait, where he was right now was cooler. Much cooler. Yes, it was down, underground, with thick mud brick walls on every side. He was back with the little boy. They had been running and hiding. That was it. The riders. Gosh. Those riders on big black horses, white turbans, and swords. Swords in their belts. They wanted the boy. Wanted him very badly. Samuel was not sure why. But he just knew they had to escape. He had helped the boy. They were in this crypt, hiding from the men. Samuel was so frightened, frightened of the men and what they would do if they were caught. His heart thumped dully.

He could hear them overhead. They were in the village, searching, searching everywhere and shouting to each other. He could hear two of them come into the little building that was over the crypt. They stomped around in their big boots but didn’t find anything and then thankfully, stomped out. Luckily, they didn’t come around the podium and find the entrance to the crypt and the ladder going down. He could hear more shouting and cursing. The horses pounded the hard earth and the men rode away. Samuel let out a long sigh of relief. He sent up a little prayer of thanks, the way mom always told him to do. Gradually, he pushed himself out of his dirt crypt and cautiously made his way to his small companion. He felt for the boy. He rested a hand on the boy’s shoulder and gave it a little shake but the boy was sleeping so soundly, he wouldn’t wake. Samuel sighed again. He could really use some food.

Creeping upstairs, he could see that dusk was falling. Delicious smells pulled him forward. His stomach rumbled. He snuck forward and came to a little house on the edge of the village. A woman left a tray of baked breads on the ledge of a square window to cool. Samuel reached up a small hand and grabbed two pieces. One for him and one for his companion. Quickly, he darted through the shadows and returned to the little church place.

He went down the ladder and back to the boy. The boy was still asleep. Samuel slid down the wall and ate the bread. It was actually a triangular folded piece with meat in the middle. He ate ravenously. It was with great difficulty that he didn’t eat the second one. He drank some water and realized the water was getting very low. He retraced his steps and found some standing water in a bowl outside one tiny house. It looked maybe rainwater. Samuel opened his pouch, tipped water in and repositioned the bowl. He returned to his church and curled up on the floor, close to his little friend and went to sleep.

The next morning, Samuel awoke and stretched. He drank some water and splashed some on his face. He had really expected his young friend to be up and awake but there was no movement. He got up and went over to his friend and touched him on the shoulder. Samuel pulled his hand back in surprise. The boy was cold. 

“Hey, hey. You got to get up. They’re gone. We got to go now,” Samuel said in urgent tones to his friend. Still no response. Samuel felt suddenly clammy. He wondered if this was the same thing as what happened to his hamster when it accidentally drown. Maybe so. Hot tears started to leak from his eyes. He wiped them away. I really want to go home, he thought.

He sat back and pondered his situation for a few minutes. A thought occurred to him. The boy had been clutching a small leather bag and wouldn’t let go of it for anything. I wonder, thought Samuel. He reached over the boy’s shoulder and found the bag. It was still clutched firmly in both hands. Samuel touched the bag but couldn’t get it lose. He tried again and stopped in frustration.

What was in that bag? Curiosity was killing him. He would give it one more try and then leave this dreary place. He slipped his hand over the boy’s shoulder one last time and touched the bag. As he did, he thought, Man, what I wouldn’t give to just be home right now.

There was a sudden popping sound and Samuel felt himself getting sucked forward. He closed his eyes and when he opened them again, to his amazement, he was right back home, in his own room, on his own bed. He couldn’t believe it! He hugged Ted Bear and danced around the room. Wait ‘til he told Mom about this!

The dream stopped. Samuel Beans woke up and sat up in his bed. He stared around trying to see where he was. He was in his own bedroom. He looked down. The tiger was in his hand. He tried to remember his dream, bits came back. “Oh!” he said out loud and looked at the tiger. The light dawned and wonder overcame him. The tiger was a portal!

                                                            #

Read more of Courtney’s writing in:
https://sites.google.com/view/webbywritercom/page-5?authuser=0

Samuel Takes a Trip – Part III

Samuel Takes a Trip – Part III

A few minutes later, the two came back and sat down. Samuel’s face was washed and some hair had been plastered down with water. But, he still looked tired and there were circles under his eyes. David looked at his wife and gave a little shrug. They all sat down to eat.

After breakfast, they were cleaning up. Jeremy was loading the dishwasher and stopped with a bowl mid-air.

“Where’s Beamer?” he asked.

“What?” Tyler looked at him.

“Beamer, you know, Tyler, our dog.” Jeremy rolled his eyes.

“Yes, I know we have a dog, you Dork….”

“Stop, Ty….I don’t want to hear….”

His dad interrupted. “Why are you asking, Jeremy?”

Jeremy’s head swiveled toward his father. “Cause he always sleeps on my bed and he wasn’t there this morning. If he goes out, he always comes back for breakfast.”

“Hum. I’ll go look,” a shadow of concern passed over his father’s face.  He pushed back from the table. Jeremy started to follow. “No, no, you two finish the dishes. David Beans did a loop around the living room and dining room and then went to the back door and out. He came back in a few minutes holding Beamer in his arms. He gently put him down on the family room sofa.

“Beamer!” Jeremy and Samuel both ran to the dog. Alice came hustling over.

“What’s wrong with him, Dad?” Jeremy was stroking the dog. Samuel started to tear up.

David Beans got close to the dog and pulled back one eyelid. An amber eye looked at them. He put two fingers on the dog’s neck.

“He’s okay, just, I don’t know, sort of knocked out. I don’t understand it.” He shook his head. Alice Beans was hovering and Samuel leaned against his mother. “Alice, has he been sick or acting funny?”

Alice shook her head. “Nothing, I don’t think.” She looked at Jeremy.

“He was fine yesterday, same as always,” Jeremy answered the unasked question.

“Well, gee, it’s a Sunday and I knew we said we were going to go to the park and hit some balls around. Still, maybe we need to take him to the vet,” David said. There was a collective nod around the group.

“I’ll get the phone number,” Alice said.

“I’ll drive,” Tyler volunteered.

“I guess I get to hold Beamer,” Jeremy sighed.

Alice Beans made the phone call and told her husband they could see the dog at the clinic in forty-five minutes.

“Okay, you two,” he nodded to Tyler and Jeremy, “get the car out of the garage and wrap him in a blanket. He’ll go in the backseat. The brothers nodded and ran off in different directions. Samuel stayed with the dog, stroking his head.

“I really don’t understand this,” he said again to his wife. She shrugged and shook her head. “You going to stay or go?” he asked her.

“I think I’ll stay and try to figure out what’s going on with him,” she yanked her head toward Samuel.

“Hum…okay, sounds like a plan. I think I’ll check outside once more.”

David Beans went out to the back yard where he found the dog. There was nothing there in the grass to give any sign of how or why this had happened. He got down on his knees and stroked the grass with the palm of one hand. Nothing. He was perplexed. Looking around the yard, his eyes came to rest on a little bunch of dried leaves behind the maple. Jeremy must have missed those when he was raking up, he thought to himself. He got off his knees and went around the other side of the tree. There the small bunch of leaves were pushed up together. He bent over and looked more closely at the dirt. There was a faint impression of a shoe in the dirt. It looked like the front part of a boot where someone had crouched, leaning forward. He cautiously laid his shoe next to the print. It wasn’t his size, but it definitely wasn’t a child’s size either. He frowned and went back inside.

“Tyler, Jeremy.” Two heads peeked around the corner. He waved at them and stepped outside.

“Yes, Dad,” they said simultaneously.

“Jeremy, you raked the leaves out here, right? And Tyler, you mowed the grass, yes? When?”

They both stared at him.

“Ah, last Saturday. It was before baseball practice,” Tyler looked at his brother. “I mowed and Jer raked the grass and leaves. Right?”

Jeremy nodded. “Yeah, last Saturday. The last game of the season. I remember. Why?”

“Ah,” David scratched his head. “Um, just checking on something. You guys ready to go?” They all headed for the car.

Two hours later, the trio came back with a perkier Beamer and laid him on the sofa.

“He’ll be okay,” David told his wife. “Somehow,” he glanced at his sons who were now comforting the   dog, “he got hold of some tranquilizer or muscle relaxant. The vet wanted to know if we left stuff like that out where he could get into it. Do we?”

Alice Beans started. “Muscle relaxants? I think I have one bottle for when my back goes out, but it’s in the bathroom cabinet, up high. I don’t think…”

“Could you check, Honey, just to be sure. I got the idea the vet thought we were being very careless with our animals.”

She trotted off to the master bedroom and bath and came back in a few minutes.

“You find it?” David had started to read the Sunday paper.

“It’s right where I left it in the cupboard. I even counted the number of pills. You know, how they tell us to do at the parents meetings, just to check and be sure…”

“Right.” He tapped the newspaper with a finger. “You feel like a Starbucks’s?”

“Well, it’s almost lunch time and I wanted to make sure Samuel had some soup…”

“No problem, this won’t take long. Tyler!” He shouted. Tyler showed up from the backyard tossing a hardball into a mitt.

“Yes, Dad?”

“Mom and I are going to take a little drive. Back in a few. See that Samuel gets some soup. Right?” He looked over at his wife.

“Oh, right. Tomato, Ty. It’s in the pantry.” Alice Beans smiled at her oldest.

“Okayyyyy,” Tyler looked with curiosity at both parents but no further explanation seemed to be forthcoming.

“We’ll be back soon.” David got up, grabbed the keys off the hook and pushed his wife out the back door.

At the local Starbucks, Alice sat with her favorite Thai Chi and David had another coffee, black.

“So, what’s all the mystery?” she asked with a grin.

David took a pull on his coffee. “I don’t know how to say this except to say it.”

She frowned at him.

“Someone was in the backyard last night.”

“Someone, what?” her mouth fell open.

“Yeah, and I think they shot the dog with a tranq gun.”

Alice’s eyes got big. “Beamer?”

“Yeah, Beamer.”

“Why?”

“Probably so he wouldn’t bark.”

“Well, I, I…”

He put a hand out on her arm. “It’s okay, Alice. We’ll figure this out,” he said in his best calming voice.  “Did you notice anything funny, anything at all, this morning?”

She sipped her Thai Chi and thought a moment. “You know…”

His eyebrows shot up.

“When I came out this morning to make coffee…”

“Yes?”

“It was so silly,” she said. Her husband waited patiently. “I got this really weird feeling like someone had been in there.”

“Where?”

“The kitchen, the dining room. It wasn’t that anything moved or anything, it was just…a sense…like maybe a slight smell or something. But, that’s silly, who else could…?”

David nodded soberly. “Yeah, I thought so.”

“Thought what, David? You’re starting to scare me.” His wife looked alarmed.

“I’m starting to scare me a little too.” He patted her arm. “Remember that home security system we talked about before?”

“Well, yes. But wasn’t it really expensive?”

“Yes, it was,” David replied. “It was but I think maybe we need to buy it now.”

“Ah, David, there goes our vacation,” she looked at him glumly.

He gave her a little sympathetic grimace and sipped his coffee some more. Thank God I put that flipping portal in the study safe. Cripes, who knows what’s next? He thought a moment about his older brother, Al, the scientist who had gifted them the portal. He got his car keys and lead his wife back to their car.

You know, if murder wasn’t against the law…but, it might be justified in this case. What have you gotten us into this time, big brother?

                                                            #

Read more of Courtney’s writing in:
https://sites.google.com/view/webbywritercom/page-5?authuser=0

Global Warming, air pollution and unstable weather.

Global Warming – Environmental Decay – Unstable Weather

In the last thirty years in the USA, manufacturing has moved ‘off coast’ with a majority of factories being established in China, India and other Southeast Asian countries. The result is the CEOs and owners of these companies are in general making an indecent amount of money, Americans are increasingly on the dole and the world is facing global warming and unstable weather in dimensions never seen before.

After doing a very small (barely scratching the surface) amount of research, I have identified just some such companies starting with shoe manufacturers. Pull up any screen on the factory workers in China and you will be deluged with warm, pithy stories about how these hard-working people now have stable lives because of jobs they can depend upon.

What you don’t see is the environmental pollution reports that come from these same manufacturers and the numbers of people in China dying from cancer related to pollution exposure. The real beauty for our American CEO’s (lest we forget) is that we are dealing with the Chinese government and there is no transparency. We get to believe whatever they choose to tell us or not tell us.

This is just a baby list and certainly anyone who makes an effort can expand the list. I would suggest that the people on this list take their salaries, divide them by a factor of two, and give the second half to environmental protection agencies who are working around the clock to save us (and the world) from global warming and cataclysmic disasters. And, various CEO’s, if you don’t believe this, go live in Shanghai or Beijing for a while and see how you like the air. Oh, I know, let them eat cake, right?

Steve Madden Shoes:

Amelia Varela, Pres –  annual salary  $1,815,635                                                                                                             CEO Awadhesh Sinhu  $1,197,020     …….CFO Arvind Dharu $667,917

Sam Edelman Shoes – Sam Edelman  $270,000 year (is that really his salary?)

Hush Puppies – Greg Tunney, Pres.  $526,000 (base salary)

Let us then go to the Walton’s, owners of Walmart and America’s favorite family. Importer of shoes and all manner of goods from China.

Rob Walton – $10 million salary per year.

Jim Walton – $10 million per year.

Alice Walton, heiress to the family fortune and worth 64.6 billion dollars.

I recently attempted to buy a pair of shoes ‘Made in the USA’ and was very hard pressed to find any at all or any I could afford (see Frye boots – approx.. $300 a pair and up.) Too bad we have so few choices these days.

Oh, and back to the Let Them Eat Cake alleged quote from Marie Antoinette. The French kings were very good at spending the money of the peasants and working class. However, they did leave a few things behind that people today can go and see and admire (Versailles). Our modern ‘monarchy’ have left us all something to admire, a complete and total global mess. Thanks guys!!!

_______________________________________

https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2020/07/beijing-and-shanghai-s-air-pollution-problems-result-in-49-000-deaths-in-2020/

Since the start of 2020, around 49,000 people have died in the cities of Beijing and Shanghai due to air pollution, according to a new study.

The report from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) found that the deaths resulted in around $23bn in economic losses and occurred despite improvements to air quality during the coronavirus lockdown, albeit only temporarily.

Shanghai reportedly had worse concentrations of hazardous PM2.5 particles than Beijing, although Shanghai registered higher rates of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.

Samuel Takes a Trip – Pt II

Have to do, he thought hurriedly as he followed the boy down. They got to the bottom; Samuel led his small charge deep into one of the corridors. He found the farthest cubicle and gestured to the boy to crawl in. Seemingly, with no argument left in him, the kid obeyed and went in, feet first, still clutching his bag.

Samuel went back to where the torch hung and listened intently. His heart was in his mouth when he heard the unmistakable sounds of hooves on the ground above and the shouts of the men who had been chasing them. Suppressing the urge to cry, he instead backed up in the dark corridor and did the same sweeping motion with his tennis shoe to cover any footprints. However, the dirt here was very hard packed and seemed to leave no trail. Quietly he made his way back to where his young friend lay. He was about to make a shushing motion with his hand when he realized the boy was already fast asleep again.

Samuel found another crypt further down. He took one last swig of the water bottle and scooted, feet first into the crypt, gently moving the bones there to one side. Then he lay quietly and prayed.

                                                                        #

Back at the Beans household, the dark clad figure slipped over the slump-stone fence and landed lightly on the wet grass. Crouching low, the figure slipped behind one of the large backyard trees. Putting one black gloved hand into a pocket, the intruder pulled out a small mechanical gadget and clicked a button. He pushed it in front of the tree. The device started to emit sounds that sounded exactly like two male cats circling each other, getting ready to fight. The low guttural sounds continued and occasionally rose up in crescendo and then back down to low growling.

Inside, Beamer stirred on Jeremy’s bed and finally jerked awake with a snort. He looked around and paused, hearing the sound. He pushed off the twin bed, padded over to the bedroom door and pushed it open with his nose. His toenails clicking on the kitchen linoleum, he made for the dog door that led to the backyard. He dashed out the door and ran for the sound. The intruder was ready with a dart gun. As the dog advanced and right before he began to bark, there was a shooting sound and a thud. Beamer slumped over in a lump. The black figure crept forward, yanked the dart out of the dog’s neck and placed it into a fanny pack. He leaned over and checked the dog briefly. Crouching, the figure approached the backdoor. There was a slight ‘click’ sound and the door opened. He slipped in, softly closing the door.

Taking a small round light from the pack, the intruder shown the light systematically around the kitchen, the cupboards, counters and walls. He then moved into the dining room and repeated the process there. The living room followed. Apparently, not finding what he was looking for, he slipped down the bedroom hallway. Pausing at the master bedroom, he leaned next to the door. Soft snores could be heard coming from inside. Moving down the hall, the door to David Beans’ office was open. The intruder went in and carefully examined the entire office. Moving back into the hallway, his eyes were caught by the open door at the end of the hall. The carpet flooring helped muffle steps as he entered Jeremy’s and Samuel’s bedroom. Both boys were fast asleep on their twins. Again, the dim light shone around the room. It paused over Jeremy’s desk. The man went forward and shown the light on a spot over the desk. There was a very faint outline on the wall where a square object had hung and had left some dust marks and residue. The figure pulled out a tiny vial and popping open the top, pushed little bits of residue into the vial and replaced the top. The vial went into the fanny pack. The intruder retraced his steps through the house. He turned the lock on the kitchen door and closed it with a tiny ‘snap’.

Running now, he launched himself over the stone wall and disappeared into the night. In a few minutes, the low sound of a car engine could be heard. David Beans grumbled and turned over in his sleep.

                                                            #

The next morning, Samuel staggered out of bed and wandered into the kitchen. His older brother Tyler was at the stove, making oatmeal.

“What’s wrong with you? Looks like you wrestled a bobcat in your sleep,” Tyler commented with a laugh. Jeremy emerged with a jug of milk and bowls.

“What?” he asked Tyler who was still laughing.

“Look at his hair,” Tyler waved a stirring spoon at Samuel.

Jeremy put the bowls down and looked at his younger brother. He smiled.

“Dude, your hair is positively retro. With some spray, you’d have a Mohawk!” He grinned and looked at Tyler and they exchanged silent laughter.

With a sigh, Samuel slumped down at the kitchen table. His chin resting on one chubby hand. Alice Beans bustled in, bent over and gave him a little peck. She attempted to smooth down his hair.

“You okay, honey?” She asked, concern wrinkling her forehead. She placed a hand on his forehead. “No fever. Hum?” She bent down. Samuel gave a shrug. She arranged napkins around the bowls Jeremy set out and straightened the sugar and butter. “Why don’t you go wash your face, and you’ll feel a little better. We’re going to eat in a few minutes.”

Without response, Samuel slumped off the chair and wandered back to the bathroom. There was a  sound of water running. David Beans came out, tucking his shirt into his chinos and gave his wife a peck.  He looked at her. “Problem?”

“I don’t know….Samuel.” She raised her eyebrows and titled her head toward the sound of running water.

“I’ll look at him,” David told her. He grabbed a cup of coffee and headed back to the bathroom.

A few minutes later, the two came back and sat down. Samuel’s face was washed and some hair had been plastered down with water. But, he still looked tired and there were circles under his eyes. David looked at his wife and gave a little shrug. They all sat down to eat.

(Continued in Part III)

Read more of Courtney’s writing in:
https://sites.google.com/view/webbywritercom/page-5?authuser=0

Samuel Takes a Trip – Pt I

(Chap 5 of The Jeremy Beans Files book)

The Beans’ household was sleeping.

David and Alice Beans snored gently in the master bedroom. Paws, the cat, slept close to Alice’s feet. Tyler Beans, aged fourteen, sawed logs in his long twin bed in his own bedroom. He dreamed of

walking up to the podium and accepting the first prize in the national science fair. He posed for pictures with his mom and dad. Samuel and Jeremy tried to get into the picture but Tyler shooed them away.

Jeremy Beans, aged twelve, snored gently and dreamed of catching a long fly. He caught it and the crowd went wild. His teammates ran to him and pounded him on the back. He turned over in his twin and pulled at the orange and brown plaid bed cover. He disturbed Beamer, the dog, sleeping at the foot of the bed. Beamer lifted his head a moment and then laid it back down with a grunt. 

A bright moonlight shone on the Beans’ back yard. It shown on twinkling dewdrops covering the grass and two large maple trees in the back. All was silent and still. A dark shadow appeared at the back corner of the slum-stone fencing. The shadow came over the wall silently and dropped to the grass in a crouch. The figure paused, listening.

Inside, Samuel Beans, almost eight years of age, tossed and turned in his sleep. His dreams were restless and intense. He clutched his gold and black metal tiger in both hands. At one point, he even cried out a little.

“No, no. Not him!” he said softly to the air.

A battle raged on in Samuel’s brain. He was back in the desert. It was like the one where they had been before. Where he had gotten lost one time with Jeremy. When they landed in the wrong location through the portal. A portal given to Jeremy by his uncle Al.

Samuel dreamed on.

The sand whirled around and it was hot. The sun was dropping but it was still hot in the desert and Samuel was frightened. He was with a little boy, a few years younger. The boy was small and skinny, and also very sick. Jeremy was trying to help him. They desperately needed to hide. Jeremy was frantically trying find a place and it seemed hopeless. They were in a small village with lots of sand and few buildings.

They had been eluding the men on horseback for two days. But, the men were strong and the horses were fast. They would be here in no time at all. Jeremy wanted to weep with frustration. The little boy with him needed rest. They both needed water and a place to sleep.

Toward the outskirts of this very tiny village, Jeremy spotted something different. It was a small house. Or was it a house? He hustled the little boy toward the structure. A house? No, there were no people living there and there was no real door. Just an opening with writing over the entrance. It was in Arabic so Samuel had no idea what it said. He went inside dragging the boy behind him. It was immediately cooler here and the wind stopped. He pressed his face to the thick plaster wall. It felt cool and inviting.

The Arabic boy shivered even with the heat, goosebumps on his arms. His large brown eyes looked sunken in his small, pointed face. His black scraggly hair was plastered to his head with sweat and his lips were dry and cracked. Samuel looked back at his companion again with concern.

If we could just find a place to lie down, maybe he’ll get better, Samuel thought to himself. Half of him believed it.

He took out his precious reserve of water and had the boy sit down. Then he squeezed some drops from the leather pouch into the boy’s mouth. The kid swallowed gratefully and closed his eyes. His hands still clasped a smaller leather pouch tied around his waist. He had kept one hand on the pouch their entire journey. Samuel had wondered many times what was in the pouch and why the boy clutched it so tightly. He allowed himself some drops of water and rolled them around in his mouth before swallowing. They weren’t going to last if they didn’t get more, he thought desperately to himself. 

Samuel left the boy and got up to explore the small building. There was more writing, in Arabic, on the walls. In the front, there was a small platform, like what they had in church back home. Samuel wondered if this was a church of some kind. He went and touched the platform, it too was cool; done in a black and white streaked marble.

Fingertips trailing along the edge, he felt his way to the back of the podium. It was not a lot taller than he was.

Geeze, these people must be short, he thought. Not like those guys on horseback. Man, they were huge!

Samuel thought of the men on horseback, all wearing turbans, black leather belts and curved swords stuck in their belts. Frightening.

Behind the marble podium, Samuel stared into the gloom. Was that a hole in the floor? He went overand stared down. It was and there was a rough wooden ladder leading down. He thought he could see a flickering light at the bottom. Cautiously, he turned around and went down the ladder carefully so he didn’t miss his step, like Jeremy always told him. He dropped to the bottom and thunked lightly on dirt floor. There was an old torch stuck in a holder in one wall. He went forward and saw dim corridors going off in two directions.

What the heck? He thought to himself. This very much reminded him of someplace else he had been. On another adventure with Jeremy and Uncle Al. It had been a crypt with a lot of skeletons. Was this the same? On tiptoe he went forward and saw carved into the hard packed dirt, squarish cubicles. There were a couple that were empty, further on he found the bones. There were rows of dead people. Mostly skeletons that were bones with some cloth hanging off them. There were two that were a little fresher; he averted his nose. Further in, they were just very old bones lying on their backs.

He had an idea. Yes, they could hide here. Who could find them? Who would think to look? Hustling back up the ladder, he went to retrieve his companion.

“Kid, hey kid.” he shook the little boy’s shoulder. The boy had fallen to sleep where he sat, curled up in a ball. Samuel had a moment of discomfort. “Kid,” he didn’t want to shout or make too make noise.

Slowly the boy opened his eyes and focused on Samuel’s face. “We got to go. Get up. Please.” Samuel made upward motions with his hands. Wearily, the boy let Samuel pull him up to his feet. He was very weak now. Samuel placed one skinny arm over his own shoulder like they learned in camp and pulled the boy toward the podium.

“You got to climb down,” he pointed at the ladder. The boy slowly shook his head no.

“You got to, they’re coming.” Samuel pointed back at the door. He knew the kid couldn’t understand the language but the gestures were pretty clear. The boy’s big eyes rolled back to the door and he sighed. He turned and put one foot on the ladder and then another.

Samuel hung onto the back of the boy’s cotton shirt until he was down several steps, then he

started to go down himself. Suddenly he stopped. His stomach lurched. They had left some

footprints in the dirt on the church. Sweat popped up on his upper lip. They can find us, he thought. He let go of the boy’s shirt and went back into the church. He flecked the dirt and dust around until the footprints were pretty well gone. Have to do, he thought hurriedly as he followed the boy down.

(Continued in part II.)

See more of Courtney’s writing on:

https://sites.google.com/view/webbywritercom/page-5?authuser=0

Millie and the Seance

Millie and the Séance  (A chapter from the Telephone for Carolyn Keene, Telephone – C. Webb)

Millie Augustine Wirt was at the Toledo County Public library. The year was 1939. It looked very much like war was in the air as the great depression dragged on and on.

            It was a Saturday and she was taking time off from working on her Nancy Drew books for Stratemeyer Syndicate. She liked working on the series but the publisher was demanding and she felt like she needed a breather. She was becoming increasingly annoyed with the constraints put on her writing style by Harriet Stratemeyer, the daughter and new editor of the Syndicate. Having less vision than her father, Edward Stratemeyer; Harriet kept insisting that Nancy act and talk more like a ‘lady’ than the tomboy that Millie had created.

            “Might as well go back to finishing school,” Millie mumbled to herself as she poked through the stacks. She loved libraries, one of her favorite places to go. She loved books especially mystery writers. However today, it needed to be something…different. A fresh perspective. Something…she stopped at one of the display tables just past the front door. It was a collection of different Arthur Conan Doyle books. Millie fingered the display.

            Of course, dead center was the forever favorite, Sherlock Holmes. Millie had read every last story at least once. Then there were some other books she was not familiar with: The Lost World, Professor Challenger Series, and The White Company. Then toward the back – what was this? A History of Spiritualism (1926.). Milly picked up the book and browsed the contents. Hadn’t she heard that Doyle had come to the States a few years back to give talks on the subject? Something about fairies?

            On the same table were books about Franz Mesmer and his hyponosis technique and Andrew Jackson Davis and his view on spiritualism.    She was curious and leafed through the books.

 It was probably a bunch of bunk, she thought to herself. Still….she grabbed more books and trotted to the front desk and presented her library card. The young lady behind the desk carefully stamped the return date on the paper card attached inside of the front covers.

            “Hunting for ghosts, Mrs. Wirt?” the girl asked playfully.

            “Well, not so far, Doris. But you’ll be the first to know if I find any,” Millie responded with a smile.

            The girl giggled and Millie hurried home. She needed to get dinner started for her family so she could have some time to dig into the books. “Doyle first,” she said to the air as she trotted home.

            Two weeks later, Millie was standing in the foyer of their home and pulling on her long coat and adjusting a scarf.

            “Are you really going to this thing?” Asa, her husband asked.

            “I really am,” Millie replied.

            “But this is so crazy,” Asa replied, “it’s nothing but a bunch of nonsense!”

            “Asa, I am a reporter. A reporter investigates and gets the facts. Think of this as another investigation.”

            “Are you paying this woman?”

            “Yes, five dollars per head.”

            “Five dollars,” he complained, “that would pay for a dinner out!”

            “Oh, poo,” she told him, “you lose that amount playing golf with your golf buddies.” He looked guilty. “And don’t bother telling me you don’t. I see how much money you leave on the dresser at night.”

            Asa looked like the kid caught in the cookie jar.

            “Are you going to drive me or not?” Her shoulder bag was on her shoulder and her hand on the front door knob.

            “Alright,” he sighed, “let me get my jacket.”

            They drove to another part of town and found the address. Asa stopped the Ford so Millie could get out.      

            “It should take an hour and a half. You can stay if you want or just come back.”

            “Nah,” he waved at her, “not wasting my time.”

            “Okay,” then she responded, “I’ll see you at 9 pm.”

            Asa nodded and waited until Millie got up the steps, rang the doorbell and someone answered. When she went in, he shook his head and drove home.

            The tall, thin man at the door was dark-complexed with slicked down black hair. He was wearing a black suit, white shirt and black tie. He had a clipboard in his hand.

            “And you are?” his pen was posed above the paper.

            “Millie A., just Millie if you don’t mind. I’d rather my husband not know much about this…what we…what we are doing this evening.”

            The man nodded and checked his list. “We understand completely,” he answered with a deep, melodious voice. He bowed. “If madam will follow me.” He turned and Millie followed.

            She wasn’t exactly sure who the ‘we’ was here but, still, the house had a nice feel to it. An old fashioned clapboard affair with big rooms and a faint scent of …what…old roses she decided. Large fat candles burned in nooks and cranied everywhere. The man led her through an arched doorway into what must at one time have been the family dining room. The light in the room was dim, the fragrant scent of roses was even stronger here but Millie found it pleasant. The light was from a series of candles lit around the room. A low fire crackled in a far wall. The room was cozy warm but not stifling. The man pulled out a padded chair with embroidered roses on the seat and she sat down.

            Millie looked around the room. It was a comfortable setting with some old portraits on the wall. She couldn’t tell if they were real oils or not. Whatever she thought. This is so comfortable, I might even close my eyes and she did. She felt herself start to doze when, with a little bounce of cooler air, two more people entered with the tall man and he seated them also. Millie could hear chatter at the front door and three more people came in and sat. What a crowd! She thought, surprised.

            The tall man appeared soundlessly at her side. She jumped a little. “Would Madam care for some water?” he held out a silver tray holding short water glasses. She accepted and took a sip and put it down. The other patrons were still talking to each other but in much lowered voices. She looked around at the guests. There was what looked to be one middle-aged couple, two youngish woman and an older woman who might have been a mother or aunt and then, herself. The others shot glances her way but didn’t engage her in conversation.

            She turned to the middle-ages woman next to her. “So, who are you here for?” she inquired quietly.

            “Oh, me you mean?” The woman put a hand on her chest. Millie nodded.

            “Oh, my father. The old goat died without a will and my step-mother is trying to get her hands on everything. Trying to figure out where he put the thing so we can stop the bat from taking it all.” The man next to her nodded.

            “I’m Sarah,” the woman offered her hand,” and my brother Bill.” Millie nodded to the brother.

            “And you?” Sarah asked.

            “Oh, I lost my grandmother a couple of years ago. I really miss her and would love to speak to her again.”

            Sarah nodded with understand. Millie was about to say more when Madame Sophia entered the room.

            The woman was short and dark of an indeterminant age. She wore a multi-colored scarf horizontally around her head. In addition to large gold hanging earrings, she had a multitude of bangels around both wrists and her neck. She practically glittered with shiny jewelry. Millie smiled to herself. Just like the fortune teller at the county fair. Maybe Asa was right all along, a bunch of hocus-pocus. The woman had enormous brown eyes ringed with black.

            The woman sat and closed her eyes. Millie was on the verge of giggling when the eyes opened and stared at the couple next to her.

            Madam Sohpia spoke, “He is in the room. What do you wish to ask him?”

            Millie went quiet and listened.

                                                            #

            Later she was back home and taking off her coat. She hung it in the closet.

            “What did I tell you. A bunch of nonsense, right?” Asa smiled at his little wife indulgently.

            “Well,” Millie made her way to the kitchen. She wanted a mint tea to get ready for bed. Filling up the kettle with water she said “Sophia told me my grandmother was very proud of me for my writing. And,” she put the kettle on the gas burner, “that I would be well known one day.” She turned to her husband. “How would she know that, all about my writing?”

            Asa frowned and scratched his head. “I dunno, she looked you up somewhere, talked to someone.”

            “How? She doesn’t know my name, I listed myself as Millie A. She doesn’t know my full name, where I live, that I write articles for a paper. I mean,” she turned to put tea leaves into her cup, “I would be honestly surprised if these people even read a newspaper.”

            “So, what? You think she’s for real, 100% on the level. A true psychic?” Asa sounded unconvinced.

            “Well it’s like this, the couple next to me wanted to find their dead father’s will. She told them to look everywhere, really everywhere in his study and bedroom. That he was watching over them and they would be able to ‘feel’ when they got close. So, how difficult would that be to figure out?”

            Asa shrugged his shoulders with an “I told you so’ look.

            “Then the two girls were sisters and wanted to know who they would marry?”

            “So?”

            “So, the one girl was really pretty and her sister had a face like a mud fence.”

            “And?”

            “And she told the one she would marry well and have money and the other, well, that she would have to settle for less than she wanted but she would be happy anyway.”

          “Okay, so really not genius stuff here,” Asa replied as the water came to a boil. He pour some into Millie’s cup and got out one for himself too. Milly put tea leaves in his.

            “Yes, okay, right. But when she came to me, it was like her voice changed and she gave me such a stare! It was almost frightening and then all that stuff about my grandmother. Jeeze, I felt like someone was walking on my grave.” She shivered a little.

            Asa gave her a hug. “Mrs. Daring-do you are. Sounds like stuff for another one of your books. Man, I am ready for bed.”

            Millie followed her husband and turned off the kitchen light. She had a thoughtful almost sad look on her face. She had not told Asa about that last thing Sophia had said.

            “You have a man in your life, yes?”

            “Yes,” Millie nodded.

            “Ah, so sad, so sorry, Madam.”

            Millie started.

            “I see great sickness in the future for this man. My regrets.”

            Millie was stunned. She was not to know that a year later, Asa was to have a massive stroke that would incapacitate him for the rest of his life.

            She sipping her tea going to bed. I don’t think I need to mention this. Who knows? Might be no truth to it anyway.    

Read more about Millie Wirt Benson, the original author of the famous Nancy Drew Series.

https://sites.google.com/view/webbywritercom/page-5?authuser=0