Wordzzle #59 at Raven's Nest
Ten Word Challenge: prefix, art festival, income tax, chicken noodle soup, jump rope, Dutch Treat, flowering plum tree, bats in the belfry, diamond earrings, tigers
Mini Challenge: book club, organic tea, the cow jumped over the moon, paragon of virtue, wench
This week I'm mixing all 15 words into one new chapter of my ongoing story.
The Slumber Party Mystery
Chapter 5 - More about Diana
Back in his office, it began to dawn on Dr Adam Challenge how utterly stupid his panic reaction up at the Brigadier General's house had been. He also suddenly remembered the General having mentioned in passing recently, that his granddaughter Diana would be coming home for a weekend soon, to help him sort out some income tax problems. He looked at the invitation card again. Of course! While an invitation to a "slumber party" was quite out of character for the General, it would be Diana's idea of a joke…
Diana had been around 10 years old when she first came to live with the Brigadier General and his wife, after the tragic death of her own parents. She was as wild as her grandparents were strict. Adam remembered the shock he had had on his very first visit to the general's house, seeing what he thought was a dead body hanging from the flowering plum tree on the front lawn. It turned out to be a scarecrow that Diana had hanged there using her jump rope. Another time he had found her chasing the cats around the garden, pretending to be hunting tigers in the jungle – using a real bow and arrow from her grandfather's collection of various weapons. But the little wench's most renowned prank was probably the time when she managed to convince some of the elders down at the church, that they had bats in the belfry, and they took it very literally. A group of male church members had climbed up into the belfry to investigate, but of course found nothing. When they came down again, Diana had said, giggling: "Sorry, my mistake! Seems all the old bats are still down here…"
Among the "old bats" she probably included her own grandmother. This grand old lady, always wearing big diamond earrings, had been considered by the whole town to be a paragon of virtue, always organizing art festivals for charity and chicken noodle soup lunches for the homeless, and serving organic tea at the book club meetings held at her own house.
Diana despised her grandparents' lifestyle, but at the same time remained a spoiled child, never really showing any consideration for other people's feelings. Pranks continued to be like a prefix with her, even as she grew older. For example, if she invited someone to have lunch with her at a fancy restaurant, and encouraged them to choose the most expensive course on the menu, she would suddenly spring it on her guest when it was time to pay the bill, that she had intended it all along to be a Dutch treat. It had nothing to do with money, she just enjoyed watching other people squirm.
Yes, Adam thought to himself, if Diana set her mind to it, she'd soon have you convinced that the cow jumped over the moon… And now it seemed he had fallen for one of her tricks again. Inviting him to a slumber party in the General's name, and then arrange it so that he would find his host asleep when he arrived – that would be Diana's sense of humour in a nutshell. He suddenly began to doubt himself. He had not been able to feel the General's pulse, and had thought him dead – but what if he wasn't? And either way – how could he, a doctor, have just run away from the scene the way he did, just because he suddenly felt haunted by ghosts from the past? At least the fire, and his reaction to that, could not have been staged by Diana – or could it?
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