9 June, 2010
Somehow I seem to have fallen out of fictional inspiration lately, having difficulties finding the time and inspiration to focusing my mind on it.
It is still my hope and intention to some day get back to the Wordzzle game and finish off The Slumber Party Mystery story.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Raven's Wordzzle # 59

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?


  1. Your story just gets more and more interesting.
    I can hardly wait for next week.
    I have so many questions.
    I guess a good story does that to you.
    Like a Soap Opera in print.

  2. Now we dragons have to wait for the next exciting chapter. Your writing is great but we hate waiting. We like to know now.

  3. I'd like to know, too! But first I have to spend some time with my dictionaries and Google. Raven is not making it easy for me... ;)

  4. I am a huge fan of this Dr. Challenge series. Nice twist. Just one grammatical point - please change the line Diana had hanged to Diana had hung. Sorry, I know I'm picky, but it stuck out when I read it. Again, great story and keep it coming.

  5. I really enjoy this series as well. I am very anxious to see what happens to Diana. This is a wonderful series :)

  6. I am also enjoying the stories.

  7. Thanks for all encouraging comments. I also appreciate language comments. English is not my first language, and I probably also sometimes mix up British and American usage. Basically I speak/write British but we get a lot of American TV shows so one picks up things from both. Some of the expressions in the wordzzle challenges strike me as American rather than British which makes it an extra challenge for me to try and use them right.

    Richard: In the case of hanged/hung though, the choice of word was deliberate, because in my mind - or at least in Adam Challenge's mind - Diana "hanged" that scarecrow rather than just "hung" it in the tree. That is, what I want to imply is that in the doctor's opinion, Diana had either been pretending that she had executed someone by hanging; or she wanted someone else to get the impression that a real person had been hanged or had hanged himself. Adam did not believe that she had just hung the scarecrow in the tree to scare away birds. Whether his opinion of Diana is 100% correct, is another matter. But in Challenge's mind, the scarecrow, in spite of never really having been alive, had been "hanged".

    American Heritage Dictionary:
    "In the sense of 'put do death by hanging', *hanged* is used as the past tense and past participle of *hang*."

  8. Diana is a minx! This was a great instalment, I am eagerly awaiting the next one! :)