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, 16 April 2010

Wordzzle # 105

oh, my aching bones, Spring has sprung, solitude, spearmint, platitudes, cardboard box, chimney, yogurt, shattered, flagrant

dragons are forever, jelly beans, practice makes perfect, asparagus, spelling bee

The Slumber Party Mystery
Chapter 50 - What the General Remembered (part 2)

Skittles had been keeping his eyes fixed at Adam, too, while the General spoke. And he heard the sigh that the doctor let out when the General fell silent again. Relief? Or what? He glanced at his colleague, but Matthew was busy unwrapping a piece of spearmint gum, feeling that he still had a bit of asparagus stuck between his teeth from lunch.

"So, doctor Challenge," said Skittles, "I guess it's up to you to tell us the rest, isn't it?" 

"What do you mean?" said Adam. "I already told you, didn't I? Yes, I drove up to the house earlier in the afternoon. I wasn't really sure what to make of that invitation card. So when I got here, I had second thoughts. It struck me that if it really was a party, I wasn't suitably dressed. So I went back to change my shirt." Repeating this very weak story, he was still not even sure himself why he stuck to it. But if the General had really been unconscious...  That meant there was no witness to details of what had actually happened; and no reason for anyone to dig deeper into Adam's past...

"Oh, my aching bones!" said the General, quite sharply. "What do you think this is? A spelling bee? p-l-a-t-i-t-u-d-e-s, spells platitudes! I have to say, Dr Challenge, you've just made a flagrant mistake that shattered all my remaning faith in you! - All gone now, like smoke up the chimney," he added, dramatically.

Adam felt himself blushing. "I'm sorry," he said, trying to keep his voice steady. "I don't understand..." But he did understand, and so did the others.

"You mean," said Skittles to the General, "that you were not completely unconscious after all?"

"No, I was not!" said the General. "I just wanted to give the doctor a chance to explain. But he didn't take it, so I will instead. But I think Bumblebee should be here for this, too. Diana, darling, will you go and fetch him? And tell him to bring some yogurt and my pill, too."

Diana rose without a word and went out the door. The General's eyes followed her.

"Light of my eyes, she is," he remarked. "Always makes me feel that spring has sprung!"

Skittles felt that he knew exactly what the General meant.

Silence fell. The General was obviously not going to say anything more until Bumblebee and Diana were back with them. Skittles and Matthew were both watching Adam, making sure he wouldn't try to make an attempt to run away. William was staring at the lid of the treasure chest, with its golden salamander. A phrase he couldn't remember the origin of kept ringing in his mind: "Dragons are forever." What was that supposed to mean? He put his hand in his pocket and found a little cardboard box of jelly beans which he had forgotten about. He thought of asking the others if they wanted some, but somehow it didn't seem quite right, so he just put a handful into his own mouth.  

They did not have to wait long. After just a couple of minutes, Diana was back with the butler. Without a word, Bumblebee put down a small tray with a bowl of yogurt and a pill next to the General, and then sat down on a chair by the door. The General swallowed the pill with a spoonful of yogurt, grimaced and then began speaking again:

"Putting yourself into this kind of trance, you do not really cease to be aware of what's going on around you. Practice makes perfect, you might say. It's much like what people sometimes describe as a near-death-experience - floating away from your body for a while, and watching it from above. How many stories like that haven't you heard about people seeing themselves lying on the operating table? Well, in a smiliar way I was watching myself lying in my deck chair in the solitude of my own garden. I also saw Dr Challenge coming towards me, across the lawn."

"Yes," he continued, looking at Adam. "You  came through the garden, doctor, not through the house. I could also tell it gave you quite a shock to see me lying there, and you lifted my arm, and started feeling for my pulse. Then there was a sudden noise - I know now it was from those sausages exploding on the grill - and for some reason that made you panic! I was still sort of out of my body, so I couldn't get my voice going. But I saw you run off, and I heard your car start again and drive down the road. Trying to understand what had happened brought me back, but I admit the transition is a bit blurry, I'm not sure how long that took. Then suddenly there was my faithful servant" - the General nodded towards Bumblebee - "pushing me out into the swimming pool!" He suddenly gave a chuckle. "Took me a while to get that bit together - why he was doing that I mean - because the one part of the whole thing which I wasn't aware of until later was the fire. But that, as I understand it, was put out by young William. So no real harm done." He gave the young man an encouraging smile; and William blushed, glad to finally get official appreciation.


  1. Well done! I do feel sorry for Adam. I hope it all works out for everybody. You make me care about your characters.

  2. OOh, the denouement is nearly here! Great use of the words and a really interesting set of characters. Looking forward to the enext installment now.