Here’s another piece from my writing course, edited from the original.
Credit: Greg Raines via Unsplash
Jordan revs his motorcycle for the third time. He drops his helmet, running fingers through his hair. His motorcycles’ roar and grumble soothe him, as he taps his fingers against the handles, waiting for Jessica to hurry up and get her ass out the door.
The door slams and Jessica fumbles her keys, locking the front door. He rolls his eyes as she teeters down the sidewalk in red stilettos.
“You’re so stupid, Jessica. You need to wear descent boots on a motorcycle, or those heels are gonna grind off on the road.”
She punches his arm. “Screw off. I can wear what I want. Mom said you have to give me a ride to class on Thursdays, for as long as you’re living at home again.” Jessica eases a helmet over her hair. “I hate wearing helmets on this thing; it ruins my hair.”
Jordan plunks his on, revving the motorcycle to drown Jessica’s whining. He slips on leather gloves and zips down the street, off onto the freeway and towards his sister’s university.
She’s still talking to him, but he can’t hear her. He grins as her shrill voice fades. Despite her shouting and poking his side, he makes the ride to her school as jerky and frightening as possible.
At the university’s fine arts building, he pulls into a tight parking space, removing his helmet. Jessica takes hers off, hair flying from static. She scoffs.
He peers back at his dyed-blonde dunce of a sister. “You need to wear a helmet, Jessica, because I drive fast. Your head could crack open like a watermelon.”
She screws up her face, prepared to yell, but he cuts her off. “I have a job I need to be back for on time. I can run out and pick you up, but you need be ready, Fluffs.”
She attempts to smack him, but he catches her hand. “I wouldn’t if I were you. If you still want rides, keep your hands to yourself. You can do your makeup and hair at school too.”
Jessica hops off the motor cycle, placing her hand on his shoulder, digging her almond pointed fingernails into the base of his neck. Jordan swears as she balances on her stilettos.
“Don’t call me Fluffs, *sshole. I hate that nickname.”
“I’ll call you what I want. Fluff is all your heads made out of and why you’re getting a BA in Fine Arts, not a useful degree.” He throws his sister’s Kate Spade at her.
Surprising him, she catches it. “I’m an artist. Stop being such a prick, Jordan. It’s what I’m good at. My brain has more creative juice than yours will ever have.”
She pushes him hard, and his motorcycle tips. He catches it. “Grow up, Fluffs.”
It wouldn’t surprise him if she fell over and cracked her skull from wearing those whore-red stilettos. Shaking his head, Jordan speeds to work.
His divorce was through, and he needed to find a new place. Jordan was tired of dealing with Jessica. Like his ex-wife, she was a spoiled princess.
Last week’s FFftAW is hosted by Priceless Joy. Also, this is not the recent music challenge but the previous one, Music Challenge #19, with the song “Ordinary World” by Green Day Featuring Miranda Lambert.
“Ordinary World” by Green Day Ft. Miranda Lambert
Gemma was furious, she strode to the back yard, grabbing her keys from her purse, sputtering off in her old Toyota. She heard her parents both yelling as she squealed away. She exited onto a highway, then into New York, the city of shining lights.
At sixteen she desired her own apartment downtown, near the train and whichever university fit her design passion. A place where her mom didn’t search through her stuff. She had collected a great deal of buried treasure for her future apartment. Gemma was extraordinarily intelligent and had the marks to attend any university, with a full scholarship, even at age sixteen.
The sunrise blinded her as she drove past the downtown core. At dawn, she got out at her favorite park with the tree with twisted roots. Here she had met Ethan. Together they existed in an Ordinary World of small dreams and endless moments. He supported her but convinced her time and again to return home only for another two years.
When she came home after her advanced high school classes, she was besieged by her mom and dad. She gazed apologetically at their worried faces, trying to find the right words. She knew they had big plans for her. They didn’t want her to be ordinary like them, but it was what she wanted most.
Goodmorning and welcome to my biweekly interview series. Today I have the honor of sharing with you the writing and blog ofIan Kelly. He’s a talented guy who has recently published a book of short stories. You can find Ian’s blog here: Ian Kelly Writing.
1. Hi Ian, Please Tell Us About Yourself?
Hi. My name is Iain Kelly and I’m from Glasgow in Scotland. I have lived here all my life and it’s where I write my blog from. My blog is called: Iain Kelly Writing.
Telling about yourself is always the most difficult question to answer, so I’ll keep it simple! I work as an editor of television programs for BBC Scotland. I’m married with two-year-old twins who take up most of my time. After work and family if I have any time left I like to write.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
I first started my blog six years ago and spent a year doing film and book reviews. I neglected it for a couple of years and then took a fiction writing course online.When I had finished that I had a few short pieces that I liked and decided to share them on my blog. From there I have kept writing new short stories and flash fiction.
“After work and family if I have any time left I like to write.” – Ian Kelly
3. What Does Writing Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
When I was much younger I wrote stories. I have always enjoyed coming up with characters, letting my imagination wander with them and see what stories resulted.I used to play football (soccer) and would write stories about fictional football teams and players. As often happens, life gets in the way of dreams.
I went to university and studied English Literature, Film, and Television. My career took me down the path of television. Eventually, I’ve found the writing bug again. Writing is a chance to escape everyday life and I love being able to imagine the lives of many different people in places around the world. I enjoy thinking of the stories that could happen there.
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
I tend to write fiction based on real life, or perhaps a fictional future world rooted in reality. I don’t tend to write fantasy or science-fiction specifically. My inspiration comes from the world around us. It could be something happening in the news, events, politics, but also from looking at everyday people, the struggles and/or laughter they share with each other. My motivation may come from wanting to try and comment on events that are occuring. Writing is a way to turn frustration into something creative or to attempt to cope with a situation in life.
“Writing is a chance to escape everyday life and I love being able to imagine the lives of many different people in places around the world. I enjoy thinking of the stories that could happen there.” – Ian Kelly
5. Is There a Time of Day You Prefer to Write?
My time available to write depends on my work schedule and my children. When the kids have gone to bed in the evening I try to fit some time writing in. Or if the twins go for a nap during the day sometimes I have a chance to write. The main thing is that I have to find the opportunities to write when I can!
6. What Are Your Most Current Writing/Blogging Projects? Any Hopeful Projects for the Future?
At the moment I am working on my first novel-length story. I would say I’m about a quarter of the way through the first draft.I have the characters and the main story figured out, so the next couple of months will be dedicated to getting my head down and finishing the story.
After the first draft is finished I will re-write and edit. I’m aiming to have a finished novel by the end of the year and then decide what I want to do with it –- if it’s worth sending to a publishing company or self-publishing the novel.
Alongside that, I will continue writing short pieces for my blog. It helps to take a break from a long novel and focus the mind on something different every so often, before going back to the main project.
“At the moment I am working on my first novel length story. I would say I’m about a quarter of the way through the first draft. I have the characters and the main story figured out, so the next couple of months will be dedicated to getting my head down and finishing the story.” – Ian Kelly
7. Can You Tell Us About Your Recently Published Book?
At the start of this year, I self-published a collection of my short stories from my blog in a book calledCollected Sketches. I decided to do this at the end of 2016. I realized I had a lot of stories, some with similar themes and dealing with similar issues, that I thought were quite good and worth collecting together as a compendium.
The other benefit of publishing theses stories was that it gave me a chance to try self-publishing out for myself which I hadn’t done or considered doing before. I’m pleased with how my book turned out. It’s available to a global audience through on Amazon: HERE, which is an amazing thing to happen to my writing. You can find out about Collected Sketches by Ian Kelly on my blog or through Kindle on Amazon.com
8. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process that You Went Through To Publish?
I used Createspaceonline to self-publish. After looking around at a few online resources I went for this one mainly because it was free to do, and also it allowed me to do everything myself. Other sites offered help in editing and formatting and design, but at a cost.
If you’re confident to do these things yourself then Createspaceis excellent.With the novel I am currently writing, I plan to try the traditional route of sending it to agents and publishers. But it is good to know that if all else fails I can self-publish and still have my novel out there into the world. Here is the link to CreatespaceHERE.
9. What Is Your Writing Process Like?
I think I’m still figuring my writing process out as I go through this novel. Most writers advise that the best thing to do is write the first draft as it comes to you.Whatever happens, keep writing! So I’m following that advice.
I already know there is a lot of it I will return to and completely rewrite but this way allows the story, plot, and characters to spill out and take form, freely. I will go back and finesse that raw material. I enjoy the editing part of writing probably more than the initial writing.Doing flash fiction short stories is great practice for that.
“I already know there is a lot of it I will return to and completely rewrite but this way allows the story, plot, and characters to spill out and take form freely. I will go back and finesse that raw material. I enjoy the editing part of writing probably more than the initial writing.” – Ian Kelly
10. Do You Have Certain Genres You Prefer to Write or To Read Books In?
I tend to stick to everyday drama or real world stories. But I also love to read and write spy stories, war fiction, and crime fiction. I might occasionally try other things too.
I spend a lot of time reading. Favorite authors would be John Le Carre, Martin Cruz Smith, Agatha Christie, James Ellroy, Ian McEwan, William Boyd, Ian Fleming, and Terry Pratchett –- to name a few. I also like to try and go back and read the classics every so often such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and I love Alexandre Dumas and The Three Musketeer novels. I think that comes from my days as a student of English Literature.
11. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers? Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs You Like To Follow?
Just keep writing and getting your work out there into the world for people to read. Ninty-Nine Percent of people will be kind to you and give constructive criticism and feedback. If you love doing it, keep doing it. And read lots too.
I follow loads of great fiction writers out there so rather than trying to pick from them I will pick three alternatives:
One for writing prompts is a relatively new flash fiction challenge called‘What Pegman Saw’ which uses Google Maps as a prompt each week to give a location to inspire stories. It’s a great idea and means I learn a lot about various places around the world, as well as writing stories.
I don’t really do film reviews anymore, but one of the best blogs that I follow for all things film-related, including reviews isThe Snooty Ushers at which one of my friends from University days contributes to. Great reviews and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Finally, Joanne Kelly Art and Design. I am biased but my wife Joanne has her own blog. She is a graphic designer and artist and has started creating works both by hand and on computer software.Some great stuff, so I hope people will check it out.
14. Can You Please Share With Us A Few Links From Your Blog?
Flash Fiction, I have always liked this one, to sum up being a writer:
“The Writer’s Spiral”
By Ian Kelly
Mark met Bob from Accounting at the bottom of the stairs.
‘Another Monday morning,’ said Bob, as they began the trudge up to the office. Mark grunted in reply. Bob began every Monday with the same conversation.
‘Don’t you ever feel like we’re hamsters in a wheel, going round and round and getting nowhere?’ Bob continued. ‘There must be something more exciting in life than this.’
As Mark prepared to answer, the lights went out. Out of the window, they saw bright orange beams cut through the air. Aircraft buzzed around them, firing at one another. Buildings exploded as aircraft and missiles crashed into them. The sky darkened as a large spaceship loomed over the city. Mark ducked as a piece of debris crashed through the glass next to them. It caught Bob and sent him plummeting to the ground below.
The writer paused and read back what he had just typed. It all spiraled out of control too quickly. He sighed and pressed Ctrl+A and Delete. The cursor on the blank screen blinked at him. He started again.
Mark arrived at work at the same time as Bob from Accounting…
Here Are Some Of Ian’s Longer Pieces he wrote and favorited:
Thank you so much, Ian, for wanting to be interviewed I enjoyed your answers and you seem to have a solid idea of what you’re doing as a writer and how to achieve your set goals. Best of luck with the novel and future endeavours.
If you would like to be interviewed please reach out to me on my contact page. I would love to tell your story as a writer or if you blog for a cause, I can also interview on that as well. See you in two weeks!
In their years of friendship, Alise and Janelle never fought except over Chaz Monroe. He dated Alise in high school causing a huge argument between the girls.
“I liked him first you know that Alise,” Janelle had said. “Why are you still seeing him?”
“We’ve been going out three-years Janelle. We’re planning a life together.” They’d been drinking vodka and Janelle threw hers on Alise.
Then Chaz left for university and broke up with Alise. He dated another girl and Alise and Janelle reconciled over their disgust of Chaz’s tart.
Ten- years later, Chaz came back to town. He was still handsome and Alise and Janelle had both secretly been in contact with him.
Chaz visited Janelle first but when he came to Alise’s he told her, “I missed you so much, Alise. I’m sorry I ever broke up with you. Would you consider giving us a second chance?”
Alise agreed, she loved Chaz. But when Janelle found out about Alice and Chaz she invited her friend over under false pretences of congratulating her.
Janelle mixed neat vodka’s for them both and threw candied cherries in their drinks. Alise took a few sips, choking on the weird tasting cherry. She was shocked to see Janelle slumped over dead as she too succumbed; Janelle had poisoned them both.
They had always been bestfriends except when it came to Chaz Monroe.
(I truly meant for this to be Flash Fiction, but the story just developed. Sorry about the way – over word count.)
Grandma June huffed at Natalie, her granddaughter visiting her at home.”You’re not getting any younger, you’re thirty-eight. You can’t barely have babies anymore!”
Natalie rolled her eyes at Grandma June,”Gran, I’m an elementary school teacher. I like going home and not having to worry about kids.”
June sighed,”It was that man, you were supposed to marry. He’s a thief and stole your heart; I’m right aren’t I?”
Natalie ignored June’s question. She hated when her Grandma or anyone, talked about Christopher. She’d never admit he was her one.
He hadbeen since she was in grade ten and Christopher an attractive senior in high school. It was when he had first asked Natalie out. They’d broken-up, having had incompatible lives with Christopher away at university soon after.
Then, seven-years-ago, they’d ran into each other and started talking and dating again. Natalie had convinced herself this was finally it. Sadly, a few weeks before the wedding, Christopher had disappeared; the memories were agony for her.
Two-week’s later, Grandma June called Natalie up to invite her to a wine and cheese night she was hosting for her neighbours. She had tried to decline but June was adamant Natalie attend.
She arrived at her Grandma June’s surprisingly lively wine party, in jeans and a white t-shirt. She had barely bothered to apply makeup as Natalie had come from the gym and was worn out.
“Oh you came,” Grandma June said excitedly, approaching Natalie as she let herself inside. She hugged June and kissed her cheek, as June poured Natalie a large glass of red wine and filled her plate with bread and cheese. She winked at Natalie and left her alone in a small sitting room to rest before joining the other guests.
“Natalie?” A deep voice said. She turned on the sofa towards the sitting room door. Christopher’s voice shocked her, she had almost doused herself in red wine. His familiar timber filled Natalie with great pain. She peered up at him feeling raw, as if he’d only left her yesterday without explanation.
Tears began dripping down Natalie’s cheeks; she was crying and couldn’t stop herself. Christopher immediately sat down on the sofa beside Natalie and pulled her close; he wiped her tears away with his thumb. She tried to jerk out of his arms, but he wouldn’t let her move.
“I’m not letting you go, ever again,” Christopher swore.”I can’t explain much about why I had to leave you, only that I didn’t have a choice.”
Natalie shoved him hard, “You have nothing more to say, nothing at all?”
Christopher was noticeably upset, “I told you I worked as an IT consultant. But I could never tell you or anyone who I worked for until recently. I worked for Special Forces in the army and I was called out to a job. It’s the only thing I can’t about. The job lasted years, and I wasn’t allowed to contact anyone. We saved countless lives, but it was awful what I did to you and being without you. I’m sorry.”
Natalie rubbed her swollen eyes, “You’re a liar Christopher. You could’ve mentioned something, anything. What do you want now? To stay for a while and then leave?To rip me apart again?”
Christopher buried his face in his hand, before gazing up at her: “I’m out now Natalie. I swear to you I work for regular businesses now, nothing to do with Special Forces or the army. I’ve no more secrets other than experiences of war and blood. I came back here for you, I even moved into a house on your Grandma June’s street. I hoped somehow, you and I could be together again. I love you.”
Natalie made a sound of frustration. Emotions of both anger and feeling relieved assaulted her. Despite her anger at Christopher, Natalie knew inside, there would never be another man for her but him.
To Christopher’ surprise, Natalie moved to sit in Christopher’s lap and be closer to him, to breathe in how delicious he smelt.
“Marry me now and we can do whatever celebration our families want later. I’m still mad at you Christopher but you’re it for me. I’ve always loved you and always will. If you can be with me and never leave me like that again, I can forgive you.”
Christopher nodded at Natalie, saying: “I promise.” He held Natalie tightly and kissed her lips hungrily.
Suddenly, there was a loud knock on the sitting room door and Grandma June walked in, a smile on her face. June’s boyfriend Nigel was with her and so was the local United Church minister.
Natalie looked at Christopher, “Did you do all this?”
Christopher shook his head, squeezing Natalie tight and kissing her cheek. He pulled out a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring set from his pocket. He slid the engagement ring on Natalie’s finger, and Grandma June handed Natalie a ring which had been her Grandfather’s wedding ring.
June smiled at Natalie and Christopher, a gleam in her clever blue-eyes. All was at it should be, she thought as her and Nigel witnessed her granddaughter’s wedding ceremony.
Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting last Friday’s music prompt challenge. The song this week is: “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter.
“Bay Day” – Daniel Powter
Thomas needed a job. It wasn’t okay to do nothing anymore. His Masters Degree was finished and he had incurred a debt of student loans over the past eight-years. He had recently received his MA in History and he was choosy concerning where he would work — that had been six-months ago.
Thomas had figured he had six-months worth of savings to live on before he had to payback his loans. He knew there wasn’t much luck for him finding a job in academics. His marks weren’t high enough for him to teach or pursue a PHd.
He also felt he required a change, something different in life. Thomas had had his head stuck in history for the past eight-years; he had forgotten so much about the modern world around him. For this reason he spent six-months sleeping as long as he liked, drinking, picking-up girls, restablishing old friendships, and meeting new people; he took life easy after working so hard on his studies– perhaps too easy.
Thomas was facing his first payment on his mountainous student debt and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could pay rent from savings, afford food, or have WiFi. He didn’t want to end up working for Starbucks or some place like that. He wanted a real job; a career which incorporated history.
Yet, Thomas had one terrible interview after another. One older woman interviewing him commented: “You don’t seem to care about anything Thomas. Not your appearance and not your career goals. You say you love history but you have no passion or drive in life. Try applying for other positions in our company when you find your moxie.”
Many employers didn’t want a scruffy looking guy in ill-fitting dress clothes such as Thomas, who didn’t know what he wanted out of life. Either that or they said he could start in a low-paying administration job. No guy with an MA wanted to be a receptionist or work in the mail room.
Now Thomas wished he had taken a job as some guy’s receptionist. He had been too proud and if he didn’t nail his next interview, he wouldn’t be eating soon.
He had spent some money ensuring he was groomed perfectly, hair cut trendy and face shaved clean. His brother’s old suit he had tailored and he bought a fashionabl coloured tie. His black shoes were old but still in and polished, glinting in the sunlight.
The past six-months had been one long badday. Thomas was tired of being hungover and of girls who only wanted him to buy drinks and never wanted any type of connection the morning after. He loved his friends but he knew he had to stop being so proud. Any job which would pay the bills right now was fine.
When Thomas arrived at his interview he tripped over the door as the receptionist led him into the interviewer’s office. There was a burning pain on his forehead where he had rug burn.
The middle-aged guy sitting at his opulent desk chuckled as Thomas sat down across from him.”It’s alright. I’ve tripped plenty of times walking over that doorway. I guess we really should get that ledge fixed,” the man said.”I’m Greg, I’m the owner of this company,” the man said gripping Thomas’ hand and shaking it.
“Oh, its fine. I’m just clumsy. Sorry,” Thomas said nervously and stretched out his fingers after Greg’s mammoth hand shake.
Greg smiled and asked Thomas: “So who are your favourite sports teams? Did you play any sports in university? You look as if you did?”
Thomas had practiced several interview questions and situations with his sister so he was prepared: “I’m a Seahawks fan and love the Seattle Mariners of course. I didn’t play football or baseball but I did golf on the university team. Did decently too.”
Greg grinned at Thomas. He’d won Greg over with simple sports talk and the fact Thomas was great at golfing. The owner continued peppering Thomas with more questions which were typically relayed to work habits. The interview questions were standard and easy enough for Thomas to answer.
“When can you start?” Greg asked after a half-an-hour had passed.”We could use someone to start from the bottom up. Learn the administrative ropes and move into a Junior Account Manager position and beyond. We need a guy who’s willing to stay and learn about the company and grow with us. Are you our guy Thomas?”
Thomas grinned trying to contain his enthusiasm and excitement. Finally, a job he was interested in and a business owner who thought like him.
“I’m most definitely your man Greg. I love history, especiallysportshistory and working for a network that broadcasts hockey and football games and also, looks back on bygone moments in sport’s history is exciting to me. I’m happy to start whenever you need.”
They negotiated a starting salary and Thomas would begin work in two-weeks. He was so relieved to have a job, even though he would begin on reception. Doing a job centred around sports, interested Thomas. It was the end of his bad luck and days spent worrying.
He was so happy, Thomas didn’t notice the car pulling out in front of him in the parking lot. He broke his arm on impact in the crash but luckily, being in a parking lot, the accident was no fault for either driver. Thomas though injured, had the most contented smile on his face. Life was turning around.
Time stood still as Garig ran his hunter’s knife against Chad’s throat. He waited for the moment it would finally slice through his skin, but the moment never came.
Garig was hit multiple times in the back whith bullets and Chad watched as Garig’s albino eyes went wide with shock.
Then there was blood on Garig and on the bedding around Chad. He watched Garig gaze at his hands covered in his own blood and then turn his head to see both Tom and Sam holding large guns, ready to shoot again; there was no need, Garig fell forward on Chad dead.
“Get him off me, get him off me.” Chad yelled.
This time the blood soaking into Chad’s bedding and even dripping on his face didn’t disturb him. He’d become indifferent to this monster who had made his life and his family’s life a hell.
“It’s alright,” both Sam and Tom told Chad.
They removed Garig from him, as he still lay in bed. Chad didn’t waste anytime getting up, although, due to his recent surgery, he moved carefully.
“Whose house is this?” He asked.
“It’s Marrion’s Chad. She’s been taking care of you. We’ve had guards posted at her house. I don’t know how Garig snuck past them,” Sam said.
“He’s a deceptive B$&@(?d; Garig was a terrible man. He’s the reason I’ve been stuck in Russia your whole life. I know you thought I was your Dad.” Tom said.
Chad smiled, “It’s okay Uncle Tom. I never knew you as Dad so calling you UncleTom isn’t a stretch.”
“Uncle Tom, Garig told me he’d been in touch with Mom all these years, but that he murdered her.”
Tom’s eyes went dark. “I’m sorry Chad. We’ll both miss her. I’ve known for a while Mona’s been tipping Garig off. I communicated with Mona often. Garig had her tricked; but she always loved you.”
A stray tear leaked down Chad’s cheek.”Is Marrion okay? I’d like to thank her. I think she likes you Sam, er Dad.”
” She was out when Garig came, thank god. I like her too Chad. I have the time to be with her now if that’s okay with you?”
” It’s great Sam . . . I’m not sure I’ll get used to calling you Dad.” Chad said and Sam chuckled.
“What’s next?” Chad asked.
“Well, this term, you won’t be able to start university but I think in the winter term you can go to school.” Sam said and Tom nodded.
Marrion came into the bedroom checking Chad’s wound, “Your healing fast,” she said. She got up and snuggled under Sam’s arm to his surprise.
Chad, Bastion, and Uncle Sam, had taken a flight to Amsterdam after the house in the mountainside of Switzerland, turned out to be a death trap. After finding one of Bastions ‘safe’ houses, Bastion slipped away to do business.
Sam had ruffled Chad’s hair. “You’ve still got your gun on you? Just in case, keep it close.”
They began to walk on the opposite side of the street, away from a flower market. When Chad’s Uncle paid for two tickets to the medieval torture museum, Chad begged, “Please not in there. . .”
“It’s for secrecy and privacy Chad. I’m going to answer your questions about your Dad.” Sam said chuckling.
They walked into a room showcasing a few racks. Uncle Sam and Chad pretended to look at the torture devises.
“There was fight between your Dad’s squadron and an enemy squadron. Tom was undercover and to most of his fellow marines, it appeared as if one of their own had turned. Tom wasn’t expecting to run into his own squad.” Uncle Sam said softly.
“Your Dad was loyal. Only a few marines who ranked with him, knew he was undercover. Bastion knew and so did a man named Garig; the three were close friends in school.”
“Somehow, Tom was shot; it took the rest of his squadron too long to figure out, he wasn’t the enemy. Your Dad knew who among his squad was actually working for the enemy before the encounter.”
“So who was it?” Chad asked.
“Well, Tom talked to me a day or two before he was sent undercover. He was sure he knew who the traitor was then; he had proof.”
” It’s not Bastion,” Sam said quickly. “Tom suspected Gerig because he had been disappearing for long periods of time. Gerig had also been jealous about your Dad marrying Mona; Gerig was in love with your Mom. He also had other information he couldn’t tell me . . .”
” Tom said he had proof Gerig was the enemy, that he was betraying his friends and squad.”
“How could Dad know? And why is Gerig chasing us?” Chad mumbled.
“What Gerig was involved in . .. It’s on your body and proves his guilt.” Uncle Sam said.
“Well, yeah. Who gets their kid a tattoo at six-months-old, Chad?” Uncle Sam whispered.
“It’s a Bambi cartoon of an actual seal; I hated it in gym.” Chad muttered.
“You have to read it the right way to retrieve the information. Only, the right technology can read it.”
“Like 3D glasses?” Chad asked.
“No, I’m afraid not . . ” Sam couldn’t finish his sentence; he heard screams and people talking noisily.
Running towards the clammer, Chad and Uncle Sam gazed up horrified, as the body of Bastion hung from the noose of a medieval execution scene.
Chad shivered. “It’s Garig. He knows.” He turned around in a circle, wondering if Garig was here.
The palest eyes, nearly white, stared through the crowd at Chad.
Uncle Sam dragged him away, “The pale-eyed man, it’s him. Chad wake-up. Do you want to die?”
Chad narrowed his eyes at Garig but inside, his stomach began to twist.
“Fatty fat. You’re so fat you break the ice,” the popular boys and pretty girls taunted her. Shanna ignored them, or at least tried.
Every year at school the snow would melt in spring and the melting snow would pool, causing small lakes of water.As the temperature dropped over night, the pools of water would freeze on top.
The children played a mean game. The kids who were not chubby, could walk on the ice without breaking it.But the chubby kids such as Shanna, would carefully, walk on the ice, only to have the ice top break like glass; the popular boys and girls teased her endlessly.
In the spring, the children played another game, called spin-the-bottle, on the grassy and now dry field.
None of the boys wanted to kiss Shanna. They only kissed the pretty girls; the thin ones. The boys insisted they only give Shanna a kiss on the cheek, which was all she was allowed to give them. No boy wanted to kiss a fat girl or have her kiss them on the lips.
Years later, Shanna was all grown up and finishing her History degree. Her friends and her went to their favourite pub, The Blue Whale, whenever they were able.
One day, two of her guy friends brought a a guy named Wren with them. Shanna had admired Wren from some of her History classes. He was hot; built but appeared studious with sexy glasses he wore at times.
Wren and Shanna easily fell into conversation. He was fun, smart, and in touch with what was going on in the world.
When Shanna’s girl friends dared her to kiss Wren, sparks sizzled and Shanna and Wren couldn’t stop kissing. Her friends tactfully wandered off when the kissing went on longer than they wanted to see.
At university, Wren and Shanna kept running into each other. They talked and Wren often asked where Shanna and her friends were going to dance, so he could go there with his friends at the same time.
A smile was always on Shanna’s lips as she began to date Wren; he made her day brighter and made her happy. She felt cared for with Wren.
The boys on the university hockey team stared at Shanna as she passed their table in the cafeteria. Many of them thought she was pretty. Her large eyes were stunning and her body curvacious but athletic; she was often in the gym when they were.
Shanna didn’t talk at the gym and she maintained a serious expression, concentrating on her weight-lifting.
Presently, Shanna’s lips were full-on smiling. The hockey guys who liked her, had never seen her look smile like this before. Her eyes sparkled. Shanna was all the more attractive because she was genuinly happy.
The girls who followed the hockey team around were sick with jealousy, wondering what certain hockey players saw in Shanna.
But when Shanna’s stunning gaze turned the hockey team’s way, she looked past them to Wren.
He smiled at Shann softly, her placed saved at a seat beside him. Wren bought her yogurt and and cut-up fruit for lunch. He knew Shanna’s eating habits well.
Shanna thought back to the days the boys and skinny pretty girls called her fat and how the boys would only let her kiss their cheek.
Times had changed. Shanna knew of several guys who would like more than a kiss from her now; yet she cared only for Wren.
Shanna had wisely, claimed the best guy for herself; the one who liked her especially, when she ate as much ice cream as she wanted to eat.
“So why exactly did you choose Loddington House Hotel, Uncle? The shipyard view is not a nice one.”
“I like the view.” Chad’s Uncle Sam mumbled.
“Errr, I guess it grows on you . . . What’s that you’re peering at through your binoculars? I think people would be creeped out if they saw a guy looking through his hotel window with those.”
“Well, I’m not a peeping-Tom. It’s the surveillance van. It arrived when we got here exactly and only leaves when we leave.” Uncle Sam muttered.
“Well we’ve hardly left at all. I thought you wanted to come with me to see the University I’m going to be attending. You know, like my Dad would’ve done had he been here.”
“Chad, there are bigger things going on. The same people who killed your Dad are watching us. What I don’t know, is why?”
“Your Dad was in the Marines Chad; it must have to do with him. But what do they want nineteen-years-later? And what are they trying to accomplish by not hiding their van in plain sight?” Uncle Sam wondered.
Chad’s eyes went wide; his face went pale. He had a feeling their troubles were only beginning.