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Monday, September 23, 2013

                                                        Broken Leg

Broken Leg
Garret tossed back the cover. He climbed from his bedroll.
He pulled on his boots after he'd checked no animals had made their home in them during the night. His stomach grumbled from hunger. Garret rolled up his bedroll. He placed it with his gear then went to stoke up the fire to boil the billy. Cook some breakfast.
A kookaburra's laugh echoed from high above in an old blue gum. He welcomed in a new day. Wisps of smoke rose from the fire to mingle with the morning mist. A flock of noisy gullahs chatter away while they searched for feed. Pride. Garret's stallion grazed a short distance from the camp.
Another night spent out in the open. Garret enjoyed communing with nature. Garret smiled. He planned to be home by tonight for a long, hot shower. He been having dips in the cool, running water of the creek. He had been riding the boundary fence line for the past week. He loved going out on the long rides. To listen to no other sounds than that of nature. Listen to the birds chorus in the trees. Search for any changes to his property. He felt liberated from his daily grin of chores.
Garret saddled his horse. Stowed his gear to the saddle ready to move out. He patted his shirt pocket to be sure he hadn't lost his notebook. He'd recorded all of the places needed attention by his workers. The sun rose above the trees in triumphant splendour warning of a hot day.
Around noon. Garret crossed the river which divided parts of his great spread of land. He encouraged, Pride, up the bank on the opposite side of the river. Ambling along on the horse through the tall grass, Garret soaked up his surroundings. His mind drifted from what he was suppose to be doing. The tail of the horse flicked a tree. The flick sent a squadron of ants to rain down over both of them.
Pride whinnied from the ant bites. Garret tried to brush the ants from his clothes. Horse. And rider. Charged madly across the dry, dusty ground, trying to rid them of the biting pests. Trees brushed past at speed. Except speed. And wind didn't help. Pride bucked. Shivered when he reached open ground. Garret went sailing through the air to land heavily. And awkwardly. On the ground.
With all the will he was able to muster. Garret tried to stand. He couldn't put any weight on his left leg. He slowly dragged his body to a shady place to wait. He guessed Pride wouldn't stop his flight until he reached the homestead. He prayed someone would telephone for a search party. Or he'd be spending another long, painful night in the bush. Exhausted from pain. Sleep finally claimed him. The noise from a land helicopter woke him.
You should have taken that holiday,” his friend joked, Garret stared at him in confusion. What holiday. He hadn't planned a holiday. “What have you done to yourself?”
Broken my leg. Do you have any water?”
Sure. I'll grab it from the chopper.” The friend went away for the water. He radioed for help.
Here's some water. Don't drink too much.” Garret handed over the canteen. “Help is on the way. What happened?”
Ants. They took exception at being disturbed from their mission. Did pride arrive home safely?”
Yeah. He's in better shape than you.”

Soon another helicopter arrived. The men put a splint on Garrets leg before carrying him to the helicopter to be flown to the nearest hospital.

On one bus trip these tales were told.

Bus Driver: I ordered a crocodile sandwich the other day. I told her to make it snappy.

Second Story.

Passenger: We had terrible trouble with crows when we were on the farm. We were forever chasing them from the crops. Father caught one. He painted it white. Let it fly away to join the flock. The flock took off with fright. They didn't want a white bird with them. The white crow followed. The closer it came the faster the flock flew to get away. We were happy. The crows never returned.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

                                      Keep Pencils Hidden
I do declare.
How dare they.
Those people who borrow books from the library. Despoil them while they read. Are they. Bored. A closet writer wanting to escape.
Each time I borrow a book the pages have been marked by previous readers with their initials. At the beginning. Or at the end. Page numbers have been circled. Or underlined. A comment about the story written at the end.
There are other readers who edit the story by crossing out words. A word placed in the wrong place. Probably put there during the print set up. Or by the author rushing to meet a deadline. Didn't have time to check. Or the publisher didn't check the manuscript for errors.
May be those closet writers could join one of the local writing clubs. Write poetry. Or memoirs writing. Begin their own stories to see how difficult the work can be. How many hours the author of the work puts in to write a novel consisting of over one hundred thousand words.
Leave the books alone. By scribbling on the work you are spoiling the book for other readers. Taking away their enjoyment of the story. You are also desecrating an author's work. Keep your pencils out of reach when reading a library book.


In The Park

Angie positioned on the bench in the park, watched the double handful of gosling waddle behind their mother toward the edge of the lake to go for a swim. This was the peaceful hour of the early morning. To swim among the reeds to forage for their breakfast.
Alexander. Wrapped warmly in a rug sat in his pram. He chuckled. Clapped his hands. Pleasure sparkled from his bronze coloured eyes. His pleasure turned to pain when the gosling disappeared from his vision. Tears dribbled down his toffee coloured cheeks. Angie leaned forward to lift him from the pram to console him. She wiped away his tears with the edge of the rug.
Frank sat on the ground beneath a huge tree watching all the early morning people commune with nature. He doubled over with pain in his gut. Pain from the cancer in his body was like a tapeworm making its way through the cells turning his brain to mush. Frank wished the end would hurry so there was no more suffering in his life. He tried to focus his mind to overcome the havoc cancer caused his body. He leaned back against the tree his thoughts returning to the past when his body had been clear from pain. Free of cancer.
Cam. Not wanting to see his father suffer through another day, armed with a battery of high powered solicitors waving writs, marched up the steps of the family home. A couple of policemen were with them to make sure not one of the group took the matter of the law into their own hands to make Frank go into hospital for treatment. Cam paced the porch between knocks on the door while he waited for his father to come to the door.
Trinkle. Frank's other son didn't possess a legal mind. He lived by his wit. He'd advised his father to go out before the troops arrived to badger him into changing his mind. With his mind on other projects, Trinkle, was never sure where he was suppose to be. Or what he should be doing. He left the house not long after his father leaving Cam to cool his heels.
Wind gushed in from the bay. Sails whipped on the masts of the ships. Angie listened to the singing noise caused by the wind lulling her for a moment. The moment of silence was broken by a loud noise.
The noise approached the park The sound rose in volume from the whining noise of a motor bike. Chuck revved the engine of the motor bike to jump the gutter on the edge of the street to reach the park. He didn't know why he'd picked the park to release his pent-up emotions. In agony of the words Cole had used, Chuck had to admit his friend had used hard love to explain how he saw the problem. His boss at the science lab had voiced the same opinion. Now. The Day of Reckoning had come. He had put this in action several months ago. His boss had forced him to take a very long holiday. Everyone had warned him about, burnout. He hadn't listened. He thought he knew what was best for him.
Chuck didn't know his fatal decision would end like that. What had he done wrong. But that was the way his life would be from now on. The memory of what had happened would stay with him forever.
The lack lustre voice of dull, old Seaforth, glided into their minds like a tide of slow moving molasses. There he stood on his soapbox droning on about drugs. In verse. To listen to his version about love no one would attempt to fall in love. The world was a horrible place to live according to his expressions of love. Death. War. Everyone were sinners sucking all the energy from life. Seaforth's glazed eyes told their own story. He was stoned out of his mind taking all the colour from the universe.
Every where was dark. Darkness. Seaforth lived in a black hole. To him. He had no option but to sink further in the stinking mire till his life ended. He'd then be at peace. He'd no longer have to try to surface above a dead man walking.
Angie stiffened imperceptibly at the words spoken by this man. He didn't witness this because his sight didn't see much further than the end of his nose. She felt sorry for him. She prayed another mother wouldn't have to listen to this man sprout words in the future. Her son, Alexander, she hoped, would travel along a different brighter path.
Lily made her way across the path. No make-up. Only strong black, long lines where her eyebrows once had been. Her back ridged. Her face stern. Her body moved gracefully telling of better days. Lily's countenance cold but quite beautiful even without make-up. She was a complicated person. Always busy searching for objects to make her deserted tunnel a home. Was needy for money to pay for her food, and clothes. She presented more like a onion than a banana. She wore many layers of clothes so no one could steal them. Her personality also like an onion but she clammed up tight when people asked about her past.
Finn, lay on the grass. He hadn't been home. His stomach rumbled to reminding him he hadn't eaten since last evening. He had waited in the lounge room for Joyce, a laden platter of fruit, and cheese, arrived to be placed on the coffee table. Before his sweet orange-coloured tea had a chance to cool he'd set to nibbling on the food. His mind else where. On Joyce in the shower. Finn imagined her smoothing fragrant soap over her body. The froth, and bubble, clinging to her skin. He had wanted to be with her in the shower standing naked beneath the flow of the water. His hands moving over her slippery curves. Thinking in this vain, Finn remembered the dark-eyed gypsies he had watched dancing around the camp fires in Romania. His hands burned with want along with the rest of his body parts. He'd been bitterly disappointed. And frustrated. Their night didn't end to his expectations. She came from the shower to tell him to leave. She showed him to the door. Wished him a good night before she closed the door.
He looked introspectively into his mind to find the reason why his night out with the luscious, hot, Joyce, didn't go to plan.
Edward. Are you listening,” Finn grumbled to his friend who sat beside him. “What did I do wrong? She brushed me off like last week's breadcrumbs stuck to her jumper.”
That's women for you, my friend. I've learned to expect nothing but the unexpected. That way. You don't take their refusal to heart when the door is slammed in your face.”
I think I'll pass in the future. Women don't know what they want. They have you panting. Tonguing. Then they cut you off at the knees.”
I watched what happened to my father,” moaned Edward. “The poor bugger. The light went out of his life when mum walked out on us. He drank whiskey day, and night, to try to forget. But still a hazy vision of mum floated beyond his reach.”
How come we ended the night in the park?” Finn sat, to look around.
I always come here when I want to fudge out. Look to see who may be worse off then me. I haven't seen the woman with the baby here before today. Wonder who she is.”
Angie wore a dress the same colour blue of her eyes. This dress reminded her of the one her father had brought home for her from San Francisco. She had taken her son to visit his grandfather for the first time. Her father had disowned her when she had fallen pregnant. He refused to let either of them enter his home this morning.
She bundled Alexander into the pram. She stood to walk from the park. She had waited long enough for her father to change his mind.
Angie.” Finn looked puzzled.
Who is Angie? Where is she?” Edward searched for a beautiful, young woman.
Finn stood. “Angie,” he called louder. He walked faster to catch up with her. “Angie.”
Angie stopped walking believing her father had changed his mind. She looked into Finn's puzzled face.
Finn.” She turned the pram away from Finn. Shocked to see him. Angie didn't believe she'd ever set her eyes on him ever, again. Except in the features of her son.
I thought I recognised you. Are you babysitting?”
No. This is my full tine job.”
You've become a, nanny?”
No. I've become a mother.” She swung the pram to face her son toward Finn. “Meet Alexander. Our son.”
Finn stood gasping like a fish out of water. He looked at the son he didn't know about.

Monday, September 2, 2013

House of Many Doors

Goosebumps covered all of my body.
A streak of yellow spread down the entire length of my spine.
I approached the dark, scary building with many eyes peering out from the creeper which grew over all the walls. A house my long, lost great aunt owned. She had walked away from the bosom of her family many years ago to seek fame, and fortune. I recently received a letter for me to attend my great aunt at a place named Snotter's Hill on Jasper Lane west of the town of Spooks Rest.
I can feel many, and varied eyes, burning into my goose bumped back. I stared at the long, brown grass. The over grown, bushy shrubs, with their intermingled branches. Who. Or what. Owned the eyes keeping a close watch on me. The owners watched I didn't stray from the worn, narrow path from the old wooden gate. It was held open by rusted hinges. And by the creeper, intertwined between the former holes of the wire fence.
I reached the rickety steps. The steps looked like they would disintegrate the moment both my feet stood on the bottom one. The sagging hand rail falling to pieces from years of exposure to the elements. The sun. Rain. And snow. I could hear the termites feasting on the timber. Chomping away. Enjoying their meal.
Slowly. I sneaked my first foot on to the left side of the bottom step. Didn't want to chance placing my foot in the middle. The sides looked more solid. I thought the sided area would hold my weight. I slowly moved my other foot to the next step with a prayer. Though by sneaking, I would not disturb anything. Didn't want to cause the timber to crack. And crumble under my feet. The timber complained. I crept my way steadily toward the very intimating, mossy front door.
My shaking hand reached out to use the gong. Tapped it against the door. A loud noise echoed. Vibrated through. And around the building. I looked around to see if the roof was about to collapse on me. I'd have to scamper for my life I saw a suspicious movement. I didn't want to be squashed beneath a pile of termite infested timber. The noise didn't seem to disturb any of the inhabitants.
The sinking sun had reached the front door on its way to bed. I stood shivering. Waited for someone to come open the once sturdy door. The door looked to have seen better days. Days of attention, and love, of many years past. Now. Stood neglected of loving care, and attention. No one to clean it. Give it some oil to protect the dampness from seeping in. Dampness that had moss breeding. Growing. Clinging to the wood. Rusting hinges.
The wind howled making the house groan. The chill seeped through to my bones. I pulled the collar of my coat tighter around my neck to keep out the weather chill. Didn't want the weather chill to mingle with my scared chill, to send me leaping from the porch to reach the warmth of my car.
Feeling the fear bubble reach to the surface. With a shaking hand I reached out to what resembled the shape of the door knob. I shuddered from the feel of the yucky stuff. I turned the knob. The yucky stuff landed on the floor with a dull thud. I quickly moved to the side of the door in case the door fell from the rusty hinges. The knob lay on the floor.
A blustery, gale force wind forced its way down the path rustling the grass. The bushes on the side of the path on the way to the door. The wind caused a creak. A moan. The door cracked slightly open. The second gust forced the door back against the wall. When the wall stopped shaking, I looked around the edge of the opened doorway to spy flickering candles on one side of the long passage way. The candles were placed in candle sconce’s set in the wall. The flickering light cast shadows which moved over the floor.
Moving through the doorway to get out of the wind, my eyes searched the room for anyone to have come to investigate the noise. I tried to close the door to shut out the howling wind. Didn't want the wind to blow out the candles. Darkness would hinder my progress. I pushed the door closed. I grabbed the nearest object handy. A feeble chair. I didn't give it much hope on holding the door closed. But I had to try. I shoved the chair against the door. The wild flickering of the candles stopped. Some shadows kept moving across the floor, and ceiling.
I made my way slowly down the passageway. Watching for what made the shadows keep moving. Most of the wind had been blocked out. Advancing further. The red eyes of mega spiders hung from thick webs. Each watched me when I moved forward brushing aside some on the lower, thin webs. I didn't want them sticking to me.
The walls were dank from water stains in places. There hung dusty portraits of long dead heroes from past family. Non of them resembled members I had known. Ones I had been forced to view at all family gatherings. More were added to each collection every year. The family expanded. Grew to be able to have a town all to themselves. I was forced to sit there, and listen to stories of who had recently become married, engaged, or had new babies, adding them to the photo collections. Most of the mothers crowed their daughters had married wit beautiful families of their own. I pretended I didn't hear the snickering behind my back. The way they all discussed I wasn't good looking enough to catch myself a worthy, exciting, rich husband. Had to think of something other than the eyes watching me while I advanced down the passageway.
I opened the first door. I was startled by the scene which greeted my eyes. There in the distance was an erupting volcano with ash, and flames, spitting into the air. The crackle of the flames. The heat enough to melt an iceberg. In horror. I stepped back. Quickly closed the door. Took a few deep breaths to calm the nerves to carry on with my search to find my great aunt.
I slowly opened the next door. I didn't want to receive a shock like with the first door. A deep throated roar was the first to grab my attention when I peered through the cracked opening. On a grassy knoll under the shade of a tree lay a huge Bengal tiger playing with a cub. In the distance stood a deer unaware of the danger waiting to befall her. A blood curdling scream ripped the tranquil scene of moments before the female tiger had fled. I slammed the door. Closed my eyes to blot out the scene. My warning scream for the deer was still blocked in my paralysed throat making breathing hard. I leaned against the wall for support. Time passed. My heart pumped hard in my chest blocking out the sound. When more calm. I proceeded down the passageway.
I missed a few doors. I advanced slowly praying I wouldn't hear any more blood curdling screams. Other doors I opened didn't frighten me like the first few. My heart in my mouth with the opening of each door. Any more scary rooms and I'll be racing toward the door. Probably knock down the door in my haste to leave. Trample on the termite riddled timber to crush to dust.
I felt a bit more calmer when I reached the next door. This place was long, and wide. This puzzled me. All the places I had seen had to be a fallacy. The house didn't look big enough to compliment all the places. The doors must come to an end, soon. I no longer could see the front door. If the wind blew open the door the candles would be extinguished. I wouldn't be able to find my war back to the door in the complete darkness. Probably fall over the junk scattered across the floor.
With a trembling hand, I wiped some more cobwebs from my hair. I had turned white like I'd aged about fifty years since I had entered the front door. I'd probably frighten the first human I came across in the outside world. Opening the next door, the first sound to greet me was the whistling of birds chirping a happy song. The echo of water falling over the edge of a cliff into a pool of water at the top of a river. Water flowed from the pool to the river. I pushed the door wide open. Pleased to see there were nothing there to frighten me. Attack me. Kill me. I had found a peaceful place to rest. Relax enough to go to sleep. I went further into the room. I found the tree where the birds were perched. Making myself comfortable on the ground at the base of the tree I closed my eyes to listen to the musical notes of the bird song. I eventually, went to sleep.
Unbeknown to me, a tall, dark handsome, distinguishably dress man crept into the scene where I slept. He sat beside me. Waited for me to wake. My relaxed body slid in his direction with my head coming to rest on his shoulder. I tried to find a more comfortable position like I did if I was in bed. The pillow didn't smell like the one on her bed. The picture in my head was the one I opened my eyes to. My eyelids opened a crack to survey where I was. The first thing my eyes focused on was a pair of expensively dressed legs. My eyes wandered still further to reach a very tough set chin. Then lovely green eye smiled at me. Where was I/ What was I doing with this hunk of a man. Never been this close to any male who looked like a movie star. I had never rest my head on such a specimen. And he had a comfortable shoulder. One a girl would die for.
Ah. You have finally decided to join us.” He looked at me with a twinkle in his eyes. “I was thinking about kissing you to see if that worked, Princess.
I lifted my head. Shook it to try to clear the cobwebs of sleep from my foggy brain. Tried to work out what was happening. Looked around to see if I was still in the same room I was when I fell to sleep. Everything was the same. Except for the gorgeous guy who sat on the ground beside me.
You weren't here when I came into this room. How come you are in my great aunt's house?” Things like this didn't happen to the old maid of the family. My family would laugh at me. Tell me I had been having a dream of better thing while taking a nap in an old house. I'd be laughed out of my family home. I'd be the butt of all their jokes.
I've been waiting for you,” was his smooth reply. “We didn't think you'd make your way this far into the house.”
What do you mean? We,” I screeched. I had not seen any evidence my great aunt live here. Or anyone else. The crumbling building looked like a decaying pile of rubble from the outside.
He pointed toward a pile of rocks on the other side of the waterfall. There perched on a rock was an elderly woman dressed in the most beautiful rose pink, long dress. Her hair silver with age. She looked familiar. The look of her grandmothers side of the family. She had to be my great aunt. Standing. I moved over to where she sat. She smiled at me.
So you have finally woken.” Mischief shone from her eyes.
From the smile I'd say I had passed some test she had laid out for me. I had passed. She didn't look disappointed like most of my family did.
The rest of my family would have driven off the moment they had seen what condition the house was in. The selfish lot can go jump. They will rue the day I was cast the black sheep of the family for what they though I had done. I'm pleased you stayed to collect the prize.”
Prize. What prize,” I asked, surprised written on my face. I thought she was sick and wanted to see me before she died. But a prize. My aunt didn't even look sick. A bit pale. But she wasn't at deaths door.
Seymore will take us to my castle where all will be explained.” Sill puzzled. I followed them out out the door of the beautiful room. Out another door to a waiting limousine to be driven to my great aunts home.
At the end of a short drive to the castle, my eyes were shocked to see the beautiful place where she lived. The castle was surrounded by a wonderful, well attended garden. Every where looked clean, and tidy. This was a different world to the one she had first visited. This was a world where money was in supply. Money knew no bounds. There objects in the castle some people only dreamed of seeing let alone own.
When we were seated in the lounge room in front of a fireplace to keep warm after the chill of the other place. I wonder when I'd be filled in on what had happened to me from when I arrived at the other place. The place where my great aunt was suppose to live. Something smelt rotten, here. Things didn't seem to add up. About time I found out what was being planned which concerned me. I look over to where they were seated to find them watching me. I could see the cogs which worked in their head. I could do with a long soak in a hot bath to be rid of the dust, and cobwebs, from the other place.
Will one of you mind telling me what's going on,” I asked. I watched them closely for some tell tale reaction on their face. “What was the other place where I was. Why wasn't I given this address.” A joke was a joke. But had gone too far where she was concerned. “Was anything real?”
Yes. And no.” I looked puzzled at the answer. “It is an old movie set. Made to make things look real,” answered Seymore.
Why all the drama,” I asked. It had been a long drive to reach there. I want to curl up somewhere to go to sleep. Hope. The nightmare had disappeared by the time my eyes opened.
Sure you wouldn't like a bath to clean away the dust,” asked my great aunt. I shook my head. I wanted to hear why she had sent for me. I was in two minds. Wanting to go back to a hotel. Or stay to hear the whole story. Seeing my determination she continued on.
You are, now, my other heir.” This news made me sit straighter in the chair where I had been lounging, restless. “But there is a proviso. A condition.” I was all ears waiting to hear what was to come. I knew there had to be a catch here somewhere. No one gave me anything unless there were a few strings attached.
I'm waiting,” I said, when the silence went on too long. Waited for the penny to drop. Or the axe was about ready to fall. Take away the dangling carrot which they had dangled in front of her nose.
You have to marry Seymore.” The two of them watched her. Waited for an explosion from me. I was too stunned to talk. Could make the words pass my throat. This was worse than I had expected. I kept shaking my head. The idea didn't sound any better when the words played through my mind.
Can't he find his own woman,” I asked. What was wrong with him that he couldn't find his own wife. Was he gay. He didn't look, gay. Looks can be deceiving, though. Too well dressed to be a criminal on the run. “Okay. I'll bite,” suspicion had me standing from my chair to walk around the room searching for a quick exit if I needed one.
I only have a certain amount of time left. I'm putting my affairs to rights. Don't want there to be too many fights when I've left,” she explained. She expanded on her decision while I kept pacing the room. I had to become engaged to Seymore by tomorrow. We had to be married within the month. Seymore had agreed to the plan because he was in from the planning stage. He'd been shown a photo of me. A photo which had been take by a private detective who been sent to find me. Se how I lived. Where I worked. Whether I had a permanent male friend. “You can sleep on the idea. Give us you answer in the morning.”
Well. If that is all the time I have I'll need a ride to my car. I need to check into my hotel,” I explained. With hope I'd be able to escape this mad house. My plan was thwarted.
No need. Your things are here.” Shock played across my face. My skin turned paper white beneath the dust. I was like a rat in a sinking ship surrounded by water. Going down for the third time. I went down. The light were turned out in my head.
I was picked up from the floor. Seymore carried me up the stairs to a beautiful bedroom where I was to sleep. A wet cloth was placed on my forehead to revive me. I was shown to the shower when I came around. Put to bed after a maid had blown dried my hair. I was in a land of dreams while awake.
I woke the next morning, refreshed. Dressed. Fed. Then the situation was explained to me in more detail what was expected of me. Before I had a chance to escape. Or say I'd changed my mind. A had a tray of engagement rings placed in front of me to make my selection. I prayed this dream would soon pass. I waited for the thump when I returned to reality. But the dream seemed to gather more speed. The ring was placed on my finger by Seymore. He drove me home to meet my family. Explained to them we were being married to everyone's astonishment. Surprise. They didn't believe I'd found a man who wanted to chain himself to me. Let alone, this hunk, who had brought me home. A rich hunk who no could sway from his decision.
My great aunt watched the wedding from a distance where the family wasn't able to see her. Her illness had progressed for the worst over the past few weeks. She now, had to use a wheelchair. At the wedding breakfast, everyone enjoyed themselves until the place went quiet, when an old lady was wheeled in to the brides table. She handed an envelope to me. I was shocked to see how much she had changed. Or had she been made up to hide her suffering from me.
I rose to my feet with a glass in my hand. “I would like you all to raise you glass in a toast to great aunt, Sarah. Without her guidance we wouldn't be here celebrating this marriage. To great aunt Sarah.” I raised my glass high. I took a sip from my glass.
There cam a crash. My grandmother fainted. She had never expected to see her elder sister, again. She hadn't seen her for a very long time. Not since the day she had walked away from her family. While gran was being revived, great aunt Sarah was taken from the room back to the hospital.
Seymore, and I, left the reception taking gran with us to visit her sister. We were too late. Sarah had passed from this earth on the way back to the hospital. She ha lived long enough to witness her plans were sealed for the future of her favourite great niece. Sarah left this world with a self satisfied smile on her lips even though her face was lined with pain. I heard a giggle when we left the hospital. Then a voice whispered in my ear. “Let the games begin.”