Snow Dogs Part 1 & 2

The leader

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 1

‘I could do with a change of scenery’ Luna decided.

For the last two hours they moved at a nice steady pace but she was tired. Too much racing in my life, was her verdict as she trudged along. April was a month she loved, snow plentiful but the sun was warming up, adding a glossy glamorous touch.

‘I could do with lunch’ the idea landed in her head hours before lunch was due and it wouldn’t budge, ‘it’s probably bloody chicken stew again.’ That certainty didn’t stall her longing for lunch, it made it harder for her to concentrate on the path ahead of her.

Snow swirled gently about her face. Luna never thought of stopping. Stopping was a sign of weakness and that would never do. Today’s team leader was two years older. His gruff manner hid a gentle heart. He was the most experienced of the team.

Like a soft veil snow speckled her face and body. Luna lowered her head, hunched her shoulders and plodded on. ‘Hopefully this will get worse, we may have to stop.’ She smiled. Then lunch would be early. A rest would be appreciated.

On they went. Snow was kicked up as they sped along searching for a place to shelter. At last they heard the cry, ‘Stop, here will do.’

It wasn’t too soon for Luna as with head bowed and tongue protruding she stood panting, waiting for the mushers to come and release her and the rest of the team from the sled.

Part 2

It was near the end of the second day of sled racing. Luna was upset she wasn’t lead dog again. But today’s lead dog was a sheep in disguise in her mind.

‘If that eejit slams on the brakes once more I’ll ram into him.’  Luna cast a wary glance back at their Australian Musher. Rob’s face was hidden but from the set of his broad shoulders she knew he was not pleased. Yesterday they were leading, today they were struggling to keep third place.

‘And it’s because you put butt face in front of me. I should be leading.’ Hunching her narrow frame she leaned into the wind pulling on with the rest of the pack as her mind mulled over the problem of how to get that useless lump to pick up his pace.

When they stopped for the night, they were right beside the leading race team. Luna couldn’t believe her luck. Her blue eyes sparkled in the firelight as she talked loudly to Ollie beside her. He opened one eye and closed it again wondering why she was talking rubbish about Bandit’s fear of a mascot.

‘Bandit is scared of everything,’ Ollie thought as he fell asleep.

Luna prayed the team of dogs listening to her were as stupid as they looked.

It was a cold crisp morning as they set off at four o’clock. The first place dog team left minutes before Rob’s team. The prize money was big but the prestige for the winning team would be huge. There was a cold glint in Luna’s eye as Bandit pranced by her whispering, ‘guess I must be doing something right to have stolen the lead dog from you!’

Lunar turned her head and with a brisk shake of her coat snow flew in his direction.

They set off at a gentle pace. It was apparent Rob was putting in more effort than Bandit. ‘If I had my way, you wouldn’t be on this team,’ he roared in frustration wondering what had led him away from golden beaches and luscious babes to this frosty wilderness. Bandit was the owner’s pride and joy. Everyone else believed the dog to be useless.

Luna’s eyes were fixed on the path before them. The snow was soft. The first place team tracks were right in the middle where it was softest. Bandit had some sense and was on the higher hard packed snow.  ‘Good, ‘ she thought, ‘they won’t be able to make much progress. We will gain some ground here.’

Rob was shouting encouragement and abuse at Bandit in an effort to get him to move faster.

Rounding the next bend they spotted the back of the first teams sled. With a howl of rage Bandit woke up. The other dogs had trouble keeping up with him. Snow was shooting from the side of the sled as Rob applied the brakes every now and then in an effort to keep the sled on the track. ‘Are you a lunatic or what? Why now?’

They were closing in on the winning team by the second. She and the others in the team could see the reason why. They would have been howling with laughter but they were too busy huffing and puffing as they attempted to keep up the pace.

 

It was a surprise to the lead team when Rob’s team came charging by them on the downhill run into the finishing line.  There was only two individuals who were fully aware of the reason for the chase, one was Luna and the other was Spats, the fat ginger cat who was the other teams mascot who for some peculiar reason had sat at the back of the sled instead of under the covers at the front.

Ollie congratulated Luna when he was able to breathe again. “You are one smart dog. I thought you said, Bandit was afraid of cats.”

“I did and lucky for us those dumb dogs believed every word I said.”

 

 

 

Maria’s – A Muddled Fairy Tale – Part 2.

Scrumptious Witch.  My side of the tale.

When those three moaning, tiresome knights, kept knocking on my door asking for favors I could not give, I became a little sick and tired of them.

After all when a  pretty, blonde and intelligent witch is trying to snag a Prince Charming having three dolts hanging around her hut is not exactly saying “come and get me” to every available prince, is it?

They were following me or so it seemed. Everywhere I looked there they were. Even when I nipped out late one evening to find come beetle juice there they were: one hopping on his armor the other moaning about being beaten and the third stemming the flow of blood from another self-inflicted injury during a jousting match.

I pretended to brush my hair while sitting not to far away and listened to them. It was apparent they were useless. They would always be moaning and groaning. Something drastic had to be done.  If I was to push them onto another witch I would need help or a really sneaky spell.

I decided if I solved their problems, I would be rid of them but that might make me famous. And then I would have every ruddy knight on the planet camped outside my door.

If the path to a hut containing treasure (me) is blocked by a mountain of knights it would not be enticing to a handsome Prince.

My solution was simple. It happened in a moment of  blinding revelation. I needed to stash them somewhere safe. And in return for their removal I would give them each a gift.

This last bit took some time. Gifts are not something to be bandied about, and this is what I came up with:

Lazy whose armor was always the grottiest would be transformed into an ultra clean cleaner, seeing dirt where no one else could.

Grouchy’s temper would vanish. His anti social side would morph into a person who loves to entertain.

Sleazy lack of interest in everything would turn around. He would become a person needing an answer.

So the spell was cast. I took my time and put them in a deep sleep, they would only be awakened when the world was in need of knights big and small once again.

Unfortunately for me while I was doing the spell that big-headed oaf, Always-Right-Knight stumbled upon me in full moon light dance and chant mode. He wished to join me so he too joined their party. But I was cautious.  I removed him a distance from the others and decided not to meddle with an already arrogant overbearing idiot.

In my defense we were in need of three good solid supports for the bridge and guess who found them?

Yes. Me.

Hopefully the future world will be an amazing place where knights will be true honest and happy.

Bob’s Diary: I am in this chapter: Moving On. Chapter 2

2. The Meeting

A shout of delight announced the arrival of the third place team across the finish line. Ally noted his happiness and could appreciate how well he had done. She suspected he would have preferred to finish in first place. Taking a deep breath she walked forward in her usual energetic bouncy manner towards Steve. She decided to disregard her stinging hand. She couldn’t prove he had intended to hit her.

Hand outstretched she congratulated him. He ignored her offered hand, saying, “You were lucky this time.”

Ally nodded at him and turned away. She had expected no more from him. She could see the third prize winner breathless and smiling making a fuss of his dogs. He was new to racing but she had the odd sensation that they had met before.

Steve’s next words brought her attention hurtling back to him.”Racing is no place for a woman, but if you were looking for attention to get your dogs noticed. It worked. I’ll take your lead dog off your hands. She is the best of an okay lot. ”

She acknowledged his words with a cool tone in her reply. “I’m not asking for anyone to take any one of my dogs, off my hands, as you so sweetly put it. And they are much better than okay.”

His next words put a chill racing through her, “I’ll wait, you will be glad of the money soon enough but I won’t make as generous an offer the next time. It was a lucky win. You and I know that.”

With his comment swirling in her head Ally said, “Hmm. I suppose it was down to luck that I walked the route earlier and got thoroughly soaked. You should know conditions can change in a few minutes depending on weather and how many races are run before ours.”

His expression became sterner. He moved closer. He towered over her as he began, “now look here.”

He got no further because a smooth warm voice interrupted Steve saying, “I didn’t realise this was a contact sport. If you are looking for an opponent, next time please make an appointment with me. I’d be happy to knock some sense and manners into you, Steve.”

Ally watching Steve’s face recognised the dangerous gleam in his eyes. She looked at the newcomer. She wasn’t prepared for the cold calculating look in his eyes. Turning to Ally he said with a warm smile, “She’s one smart, fast dog and you handled your team like a professional. I, on the other hand, made a mess of the last kilometre especially that bend.”

Steve looked at him and grunted, “Great Tom. You know nothing. Just you remember what we talked about before.” He turned on his heel and left them.

Shoving his sunglasses to the top of his head the man before her said, ‘Now the oaf has left let’s start again. Thanks for a great race. I’m Tom Lynch and I really enjoyed that. It was exhilarating.’

Her cold hand was enfolded in his large warm hand. As they shook hands a ripple of energy coursed through her causing her to let her hand drop from his. Looking up at him Ally discovered she was being watched by the darkest pair of eyes she had ever seen.

“I look forward to racing you again and I hope it will be soon.” Tom said leaning towards her.

Ally felt she might be swallowed up by those eyes. She opened her mouth but didn’t get a chance to reply because the moment was lost as she was surrounded by a group of older men who were loudly congratulating her on her win.

She was aware of Tom standing to one side listening to the murmurs of, ‘well done Ally love,’ and “you have done Sam proud. Good girl.”  Then she forgot everything. The mention of Sam’s name brought tears to her eyes. Ally noticed some of the men wiping their own eyes as they turned away. Ally’s dad, Sam, had been respected and loved in this racing world. She missed him, but racing brought his memory closer to her.

“May I offer my sincerest sympathy?” Tom’s voice was soft but she jumped when he spoke, for a moment she had forgotten him.

The warmth and sincerity in his voice got to her. Ally blinking furiously to dispel the further rush of tears, nodded her head. “Thanks. He got me into this mess in the first place.” All about them people were busy, shouting instructions to others or to barking dogs.

Tom kicked at a tuft of grass at his feet as he said, “Me too. I came to watch a race and met Sam. His enthusiasm encouraged me to pull Mac off the sidelines. He gave me a lot. Tips, advice and his time.”

As he spoke his team had her attention. Ally chewed on her bottom lip waiting for a break in conversation to give him the bad news. She managed to suppress a grin when she saw two of them chewing through their shiny new harness. Her words sharper than she intended, “I think you should rescue your gear. They appear to like the taste.”

Tom glanced behind him and groaned. He was moving towards them as he said, “Thank you and again, I’m sorry about Sam. Watch out for us next time. I’ll be looking for you.”

Ally dripping mud and water looked towards her team who were in a mucky but happy state.  She walked over to them. After giving each dog a hug and praising them Ally became aware that one was missing: Bob.

She hadn’t seen him sitting at the finish line with Bill, her father’s best friend. Puzzled, Ally went in search of her team cheerleader. She discovered he had ditched Bill. Bob was sitting under a golf umbrella, with a lady. Ally noting her grey hair and twinkling eyes and gentle way of speaking to the dog, groaned. He had gained another fan.

The lady was enjoying a drink and a sandwich. Bob, Ally noticed, was being very attentive and appreciative. A sandwich was placed before him. He carefully inspected it, nudging aside the top layer of bread. Thin slices of cucumber and ham were swallowed in a hurry when he saw Ally thundering his way.

“I told you not to go around begging. Bob, what am I going to do with you? Can’t I leave you for a moment? Bill was minding you, what happened?” Ally paused to glance at Bob’s hostess.

“I’m sorry. It’s my fault, I fed him. You look tired and wet. Would you like some tea?” Bob’s new friend sounded concerned.

“No, thank you.” Ally gritted her teeth and reminded herself to be polite. After all, this lady knew nothing about her wayward dog’s love of begging.

“Bill had a job to do. He asked us to keep each other company. I do think you are being a bit hard on Bob.  He has been great fun while my son deserted me to chase some woman or dogs. You know what men are like, always chasing something.” She smiled at Ally. With a flick of her thin wrist she apologized, “Bob reminds me of him. So handsome that you can’t refuse anything he asks. Please don’t scold Bob. He’s a child; look at those soulful sad eyes.”

Ally remembered her manners. “Thank you for minding him. However he’s a bold child. We must go. Come on Bob, up and at ’em.” She didn’t have to say another word, the dog got to his feet with difficulty and lumbered after her. Ally turned to him and said, “I hope the cucumber gives you trouble. You deserve it.”

His loud belch ended the conversation.

Moving On is now on Sale on Amazon.

Bobs Diary: Searching

We set off in hot pursuit, Breeze the Ogre was spotted in the Wood.

bobs looking

We found

ipp

his seat.

I have to admit it is a pretty neat seat.

bob peepingellie on ogres seat

Then we found what could be the secret entrance to his section of the wood.

ipp

But Dinner called, so we returned home.

Don’t worry I’ll be back.

ipp

 

 

No Monsters Allowed.

Jessie was hiding under a chair. A shadow was chasing her.

“The monster can’t crush me here,” she whispered.

“‘Yes I can.” He roared.

Jessie raced into the kitchen shivering.

“Come on Jessie let’s go to the park.” Granddad said. Bob, her dog,  began to jump and bark.

“Wait till I put my coat on, Bob,” Jessie whispered looking around, searching for the monster. She didn’t want to be crushed.  A tear rolled down her face. Bobs sloppy tongue licked it off making Jessie giggle.

Bob walked with Jessie close to Granddad and Granny.

In the park Granddad went to get ice cream. Granny sat in the sun.

Climbing into the playhouse, Jessie felt safe. Bob was sitting beside her so there was no room for a monster.

“Jessie are you ok?” Granny asked.

“Yes. It’s nice here, try it Granny!”

“I’d get stuck in the door. Then you and Granddad would leave me.”

Jessie peeped out. “Oh Granny, I’d never do that.”

Granny smiled, “You might not, but Granddad would”

Granddad walked up to them carrying icecreams. He said, “One for you, Granny, and one for me.” He scratched his head, ” Was someone else looking for an ice-cream?”

Jessie giggled. Climbing out of the pipe she said, “Me, Granddad.”

“Who is this me?”

Skipping over to him she said, “Jessie.”

Bob was drooling. Great lumps of blob were hanging from his mouth.

“Thank you Granddad. But Bob is sad,” Jessie said. She stuck her finger in her ice cream and Bob licked her finger.

“It’s ok Bob. I have one for you.” Pulling a tub of ice cream from his pocket Granddad placed it on the ground. Bob looked at Jessie.

“Eat it up Bob.” She said. He did.

Jessie noticed a shadow looming behind her.

“You are tiny. I could swallow you in one gulp,” the monster shouted. He was huge, blocking out the sun. Jessie began to shake.

Bob was barking. Granddad said, “Stop, Bob.”

Huffing and grunting Bob moved closer to Jessie. She bent down to him and sat with her hands about the dog’s fluffy neck.

Later that afternoon Granddad handed Jessie a packet of crayons. “I am going to draw fairies and pixies but not leprechaun’s. They frighten me.”

“But, you are not afraid of anything, even spiders.”

Granddad said, “Do you want to know a secret? I’m afraid of lots of things especially nasty leprechauns.”

“Why?” Jessie asked.

“They want to take me away but I have a secret weapon – it’s a magic circle locking them out.”

“What is it Granddad?”

Granddad said, “Love! Leprechauns don’t understand love because their world is nasty. They don’t have you, Granny and Bob to love them.”

Jessie thought about all the nice things the monster couldn’t understand.

Granddad showed Jessie his drawing.

She laughed. “You drew funny coloured shapes Granddad.”

“They are fairies sprinkling butterflies everywhere. What did you draw?”

“You, Granny, Mum, Dad, and lots and lots of Bobs,” she whispered.

“Who will we bring to the park next time?” Granddad asked.

Jessie smiled and said, “We will, Bob and me. But no monsters allowed!”

 

Flash Fiction: The Hungry Polka

“I don’t know! Don‘t look at me like that. I just don‘t know, alright?”

The words hung in the air between teeth clenching mother and bored looking daughter. They turned and stared at the fabric.

Reining in her frustrations Gabby reminded herself she should be patient with her teenage daughter. “Well do you like it or not?” Gabby asked gently.

Chewing gum smacked about in her mouth as Ann considered her answer. She was tired of this hunt for the perfect fabric for the perfect dress and all for the perfect day.

The perfect day – her mum’s wedding. Ann tried not to think of it. She would prefer to run, from the house, from their perfectly planned lives and most of all, at this moment from this flaming tweedie shop.

With a shrug Ann said,  “Yes, sort of.” Silently she thought, it looks like the type of fabric that would drive a person dotty. The words made her smile and she repeated them in her head.

Gabby ignored the nit picking irritation created by the “sort of.” Instead she concentrated on the positive, the only positive word spoken by her daughter today.

They floated home on a cloud of relief via the number nineteen bus. Once inside their front door, they parted company.

Ann to her room. Gabby to the kitchen where she filled the kettle. Tea was needed immediately to help her recover. The fabric lay on the counter.

It was spotted by Martin. “Nice dots!” he commented.

Gabby grimaced remembering the work it took to overcome her daughters objections.

Martin  rubbed his hand across the fabric. “Reminds me of a haunting Polka tune I learnt at school.  He left the room whistling.

Gabby draped the fabric over the banisters that evening. Gabby insisted, inspiration for the cut, shape etc would happen if she kept it there.  Martin was continually whistling that tune. She found it irritating. He said it was comforting.

She woke at three in the morning. The room felt chilly. She got up to investigate.

The light on the landing drew her out of her room. She could hear the trace of dance music rising to meet her. She crept down the stairs. Curiosity forced her on, even as she saw the dark shadow on the stairs. Her heart pummeled in her chest, her ears were filled with the loud swoosh as anxiety raised her blood pressure.

Martin stood clutching  the fabric as he muttered softly to himself. The music played on. Gabby wondered where it was coming from. She looked at Martin, in fact she couldn’t take her eyes from him. His eyes were alight but his face was pale as he said over and over again…”Polka dot. Dot. Dot. Polka dot.”

The doctors insisted it was a stress related breakdown. Gabby didn’t know what to think or believe. Martin was no longer her Martin. He was a shadow of his former self, all he did was hum that blasted tune day in and day out. If he wasn’t humming he was singing about dots.

Ann offered her opinion. “Pre-wedding jitters and stress has turned his brain to mush!” With a pop of her gum she left the room.

The Impudent Tattoo

I’m staring at my arm. I blink. Blink again, in the hope I will wake up. I pinch my arm to check if I’m dreaming. The expensive, painful, carefully drawn dragon has vanished.

This morning, while showering I noticed the ink was fading. Soap trickled into my eyes as I attempted to solve the puzzle. Had I been conned? Money taken for a cheap tacky job. No, I couldn’t call it either tacky or cheap. It hurt.

The tattoo was to mark the turning point in my life. I was free from my husband. I suppose it was an incredibly stupid act of rebellion but  I did it. I got a tattoo, at thirty eight years of age.

Once dressed I decided to return to the scene of the crime – the tattoo shop. It was small, crowded and busy. Despite the recession, many of us are escaping age or misery by acquiring a tattoo.

The door bell jangles as I enter.  The artist looks up. He scowls, then flicks the chewing gum from his mouth into a waste bin by his side. The current victim sitting in the chair is young, pale faced and clutching a tin of alcohol. I grimace, turn from the boy.
“Lo. You’ll have to wait.” He grudgingly acknowledges my presence and waves his implement of torture in my direction.

“I.” Clearing my throat I start again. “We have a problem. The tattoo you gave me is disappearing.”

He smiles. This is not a pleasant smile. It is a horrific metal smile. Cool and ugly. His voice canons into me, “I want whatever you are on.”

The boy in the chair glances at me,  “Can I have some? Does it make the pain go away?”
I ignore him and focus on the artist who is staring at my arm. I glance down. Disbelief washes through me because I have a tattoo of a dragon on my arm.
“I think you should go for a sleep and relax. It looks like a nice clean job, swelling has already vanished. You will be fine.” He dismiss’ me.
I feel the blood drain from my face. ” It’s back.” I whisper ignoring the giggles from the boy.

I leave as quietly as I can.
However two minutes later, cutting through the park, I glance down. No tattoo. This is madness. I head for a park bench.
“I must be crazy.”

“You are not but I wouldn’t class you as being un-crazy either.” The voice is elderly but pleasant. I look around and see nothing. Not even a cat lazing in the bushes or a bird tweeting in a tree.

I feel a tweak of heat on my arm and I glance down. The dragon stares up at me. He is approximately three inches tall and is breathing fire at an amazing rate.
“Please don’t do that.”

“Why? I’ve lain amongst the pages of that blasted book for ever and now that I’m free, why not?’
I shrug my shoulders and think. I can understand that. “But it’s my arm and I would rather not be burnt.”
He smiles at me . “I’m George, by the way.”
I lean over and pluck a leafy twig from the nearest shrub. “Try this.”
He does and is happy with the result. A black shriveled mess.

To prove his happiness he begins to dance, tap dance if I’m not mistaken all the way up and down my arm and along the seat I am sitting on.
A shadow looms above me and I look up. The park keeper is standing glaring at me. “Why would you do that?”
“Do what?”
“Set a twig on fire.” He has yanked off his cap and is mopping his brow with a white hanky. His bald head is a shining example of cleanliness.
“I didn’t..” I begin.
“It was me.” George explains as he jumps onto the arm of the bench. To reinforce his point he releases a bellow of fire that catches the end of the park keeper’s hanky. It goes up in smoke. He looks at me and at George. He faints, landing on the ground with a nice soft thud.
Standing up, I step over the keeper saying, “George, this is interesting.  Would you like to meet my ex husband?”
George smiles and I leave the park with him sitting on my shoulder.

Harry, The Fairy Princess and Me. Part 2.

“Ah for feck’s sake. What now?” I asked as I ducked down.

“Got someplace better to be?” His voice was husky.

Sexy eyes, husky voice a woman would have to be crazy to ignore him. I stopped thinking, as I saw a man wearing a balaclava walking down the aisle towards us. The gun he was carrying did not appear to belong to one of the toy soldiers now lying in disarray on the floor.

“Over there join the others” he barked.

“Might as well do as the nice man with the gun suggests,” brown eyes said.

“Why?” I, stubborn to the last, had to ask.

“Because if you don’t, I will shoot.” The rifle fired. Ceiling plaster descended on us. We moved. Like sheep herded into a corner, we joined three others.

“Cosy this, isn’t it?” Brown eyes cooed at me.

“Cosy as hell!” I retorted.

“Got some place better to be?”

“I’m getting tired of you asking that. It implies that you just came here to pick up any woman you could get your hands on.”

“Don’t think I’m that desperate yet that I’d resort to this, Honey.”

“I’m not your Honey.”

“Ok then tell me your name, or Honey it will be.”

“Gillian.”

“Gillian, honey would you mind letting go of my hand? Or if you like you can hold my left hand? I am getting pins and needles.”

“No! You let go first.”

“You are awfully sexy when you are mad. Perhaps we should count this as our first date?”

“Not if you were the last man on earth.”

The air was frizzling about us when a cool light voice interrupted.

“Ah, I’ll take him if you don’t want him. “This was from the young man in white on my left.

“You are welcome, just as soon as I pay for this doll and he lets go you can haul him away.”

The twinkle in his eyes was dazzling.”No offence intended mate but I prefer women. Petite women who know when to let go!”

I hate to admit it but I was turned on, right there and then in the middle of this exploding, gun toting toy store. However, I would not admit it to him if it were the last thing I ever did. So I chased the butterflies from my stomach and reminded myself why I was here in the first place.

“I think you two are kind of cute together.” The man beside me said.

“Like fire and water.” I agreed with a nod.

“No, like coffee and cream,” he suggested. The look I threw his way should have frozen his brain.

“Sorry.” He muttered.

“She loves me really,” brown eyes told him.

I stood on his foot. “Ouch, you’ve got awfully big feet for a woman.”

“Something else about me, for you to dislike then.”

“I don’t dislike you; it’s just this doll thing. Can we agree on flipping a coin, best of three?”

“Whose coin?”

The sound of a siren interrupted us. There was banging on the front door and then gunfire, more gunfire. Having bullets whistling by your head does not exactly encourage or promote tossing coins.

We were now lying flat on the floor.

He opened his mouth, “My name is Harry by the way. I always like to be on at least first name basis before I get my woman horizontal.”

“I’m nobody’s woman.”

“Ah, that’s sad, particularly at your age.” Our companion said. “You should take Harry up on any offer he makes.”

“Yes you should, I agree with,” Harry said.

“Sam, how do you do.” He shoved his hand between us and Harry almost, almost let go of the doll.

“I’m doing ok.” Harry drawled. “Beautiful woman in my arms, doll between us, it’s a real gem, three in a bed situation, don’t you think? Gillian Honey.”

“I’ll Gillian Honey you, if you make any more smutty insinuations about us.”

“And what sort would you make?”

“Absolutely nothing.” I was lying of course. I was way ahead of him on that one. It involved a huge fire, nice king size bed and nature taking its course.

“Just my type of woman, wearing nothing, insinuating nothing and letting things progress at their own pace.”

“Look buddy,” I prodded him in his chest and stopped. It was hard and my finger hurt. “Is there anything at all soft about you?”

“Absolutely nothing” He grinned and winked.

“Typical smutty man.”

“If you say so, but please call me Harry, buddy is not very appealing.”

“Good, great. Now give me the damn doll. It looks as though the police are about to break in here, we can say goodbye, happy Christmas and never meet again.”

“Fine if you do as you say. Give me the doll.”

Events stopped us in our tracks. The gunman reached down and yanked me to my feet. I still had a hold of the doll.

“Right lady, come with me. ” He said moving away and yanking me after him.

We didn’t budge. Funny how odd bits of knowledge spring to mind, like for every action there is an immediate re-action.

Then it happened Harry let go of the doll. Like an elastic band being released I was careering across the very nicely polished floor on my ass with a large man in a balaclava, in hot pursuit,  shouting abuse and struggling to find his gun.

Harry jumped nimbly over me and landed squarely on the gunman’s stomach. The small crowd of onlookers, all gave an, ‘Ouch’ or ‘ooooh’ in sympathy. I lay there mesmerised as Harry began to get familiar with Mr. Balaclava’s face.

Ten minutes later, we were rescued, including the battered gunman. There was a line of policemen behind Harry asking for his autograph. I was still a little dazed. Never had anyone come to my defence in such a Hollywood swashbuckling manner.

I said so to Sam. He smiled at Harry saying, “If this was Hollywood you would pick her up and carry her off into the sunset.”

“I am there before you Sam, ” Harry bent down and swooped me up into his arms, as he turned for the door.

“Aren’t you forgetting something?” I asked linking my hands about his neck.

“Sorry,” he muttered and lowered his lips onto mine. Minutes or it could have been days later I opened my eyes to see Sam sneaking out with the Princess.

“Thief,  he’s stealing my Princess, stop him!” I yelled.

Sam fearing a Sumo style tackle from Harry, came towards me saying, “I was just dusting her off.” He held her out to me. I grabbed her and scowled at him.

Clutching her to my chest I said, “She’s Harry’s.”

Smiling at me he said, “No, I’ve got my princess, Joanna can make do with all the other stuff I bought her.”

I frowned.

“My niece.” He told me with a grin. “You can meet her later.”

“Later?”

“After we make sure everything is in working order!” He told me as he carried me out.

Harry, The Fairy Princess and Me.

 

Christmas Eve, twenty minutes to closing time. Traffic is dense; people are filling every space on the footpath. Need I say more?

I am a woman on a mission. Being a godmother is something I take seriously, considering my older sister is someone whom Superman would never mess with. Milly, my goddaughter is heartbreakingly cute which adds to the pressure of not disappointing her.

I am, chasing up and down the aisles looking for this doll, Princess Fairy Gumdrop, a doll that will save my universe. I am frantic. I spot it.  I lunge and meet a large warm hand.

Glancing up my blue eyes meet the sexiest pair of brown ones, a woman could ever dream about.  I blink. Focus, I tell myself, remember Gillian you are a woman on a mission.

“Hands off the Princess fairy!” I growl at him.

“Don’t call me a fairy!” His voice is suave, smooth and sexy.

I try to ignore his attributes. I am a woman with a mission, I silently chant. Aloud I say, “Don’t change the subject, hands off, she’s mine.”

Brown eyes do not waver. He breaks out this sunshine of a smile. Gritting my teeth, I remind myself this is a life or death situation.

“What is it? You don’t like men!” He softly purrs.

I am not immune, or stupid. “‘Course I do, but not at this moment when you are throttling the life out of my goddaughter’s present.”

“I would not know how to, ” he begins. Then it happens.

The world implodes. The earth moved, really moved, not because of this hunk rattling my hormones. The floor shook, the shelves began to shake and shiver. I did not let go, neither did he.

“This way,” he yelled tugging me and the canny princess along as if we had any choice in the matter.

“Let go!” I shout grabbing a wobbling shelf.

He stared over my shoulder.  His voice changed, wavered as he said, “Move now or you will get hurt.”

I turned to look. I moved. A domino effect was coming our way. The boxed dolls looked scared as they danced off the shelves toward the floor and us.

We ran. All about us there were screams and sounds of people being hit by dislodged toys. “‘Can this get any worse?” I muttered. Trust me to open my big mouth. It did.

There was a loud bang followed by a hiss.

“Gas.” Voices screamed. “Gas. Run!”

We did. “It’s not gas,” he panted.

“What? Are you an expert?”

He smiled in a very Hugh Grant manner.

“No but you could say I am an expert in life. Besides if it was gas we would be dead.”

He stopped. I tumbled very neatly into his broad solid frame. “What are you a wall?” I moaned as I rubbed my shoulder.

“Close, rugby player.”

“Typical I can’t meet a nice puny guy who would step aside and say; go ahead please, be my guest and take the last doll. No. I meet a hulking great hunk who decides chivalry got left behind on Noah’s ark.”

“Ah, so you think I am a hunk. How high do I score? Ten, eleven, twelve?”

I scowled. “Minus twenty two.”

“Your brain score I take it.”

“No. I’m just stating a fact; I am immune to everything bar this doll.”

“Ditto.” He lowered his face to mine. He was inches away; I could smell his peppermint breath and could not look away from those brown eyes. The world stopped for one tiny second. Neither of us could tear our eyes off the other.

Then all hell resumed once again as we heard what sounded like gunfire…….

part two will be posted tomorrow.

Backwards

Lives were ruined. We both knew this even as we ran. We were now officially on the run.  That last image of Jay was ghastly.

The copius amount of blood splaying from his head needed no words.  Jay was dead.  Sharon had stepped back  from him saying,”It was an accident. It was an accident.” She turned white. “But, no one will believe us – run.”

“No they will. We simply have to tell the truth.” My voice sounded weak.

“How?” Her voice was a screech. In the background police sirens got louder and louder.

I didn’t wait for her hand to grab mine. I was moving.  We stopped when we found a drainage pipe sitting in a disused building yard. We hid behind it.  I spoke aloud, ” how did we get to this? No how did I get to this?”

But I knew.  “We had tried to reason with Jay. He demanded our money. We didn’t have any. Truth is we had been lying to him from the start. Our scam had failed. Worse he had been running a higher grade scam that had caught us in his trap.”

Sharon smiled and then sighed. It was a good plan. “A honey trap.” Sharon called it.

“Stupid me, desperate for money went along with it. How did I let you talk me into this?” Even as I wondered aloud she worked her magic.

Wrapping her arms around me she smiled, “You know I can talk anyone into anything.”

We held the look between us as instructed earlier.

The loud voice intervened, “It’s a wrap. ”

This morning we had started early. Joe had come to me and whispered. “Only one scene to film today and with any luck we can call it quits tonight.”

There was a moment’s silence. The air filled with applause. Technicians and camera men stepped back, happy they could get home early for a change.

Then everything went wrong, when the stunt man playing Jay lay there, not breathing blood splayed about his body.

This post is the result of the weekly challenge:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/writing-challenge-backward/