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.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Raven's Wordzzle Challenge # 97

Raven's Wordzzle Challenge # 97

teflon, idealistic, marshmallow, opportunistic, kittens, beef, sawing logs, slapped, tickled, scissors
ripen, shelve, laminate, goofy, Siamese

The Slumber Party Mystery
Chapter 43 - The Return of the Brigadier General

Clouds were gathering in the sky above them. Looking up, Diana sad: "Might be time we moved indoors anyway, it looks like it's going to rain." Just as she said that, there was a sound like sawing logs somewhere in the background that seemed to confirm her suspicions.

"Oh, I hope we'll have a real thunderstorm!" said Diana. "I'm getting this urge to roast marshmallows over the fire in the library later on. Come on now, I want to show you those bones."

The men rose slowly, feeling a bit heavy still after the beef they had been served for lunch, and neither of them really all that keen to look at some dusty old bones that the General might have shelved among all the rest of his weird collections.

Entering the library, they found a surprise waiting for them. The room was not empty. In one of the armchairs sat the Brigadier General,with two kittens on his lap. The General tickled them, and the kittens every now and then slapped at the old man's hand, but otherwise seemed rather content.

Skittles felt his mind taking in the details but then they sort of slided right back off again, he couldn't get anything to fit together.

The only one seemingly not surprised was Diana. She went straight up to her grandfather, kissed him on the cheek and said: "Glad to see you back!"

"Hello my dear," said the General. "I just sent Bumblebee to fetch the scissors and that machine from the study, I'd like you to laminate some labels for me to put on those boxes over there." He nodded towards some obscure corner of the room; and then also towards the three men. "I hope our guests have been well fed? Where is Adam?"

"I expect Adam to come round later. I didn't ask him to come to lunch because I suspected that he might turn down a direct invitation, but I have a strong suspicion that he will show up for afternoon tea anyway."

This reminded Skittles of having seen a glimpse of the doctor outside the church, but then at the sight of Diana he had completely forgotten about him. He really must be getting teflon syndrome.

Matthew, having come along as an outsider and observer, was not feeling quite as stunned as his friend. Looking at the kittens, he said to Diana: "Excuse me, but I was under the impression, from something John mentioned, that your cat had got run over by a train. Are these her kittens?"

"Oh no," said Diana. "That was Puddles. She was a Persian. A bit to curious for her own good. Idealistic in her nature, you might also say. But she never had kittens. These belong to Goofy, the Siamese. More of an opportunistic character. I don't know where she is at the moment. Seems she left the kids to granddad to babysit." Matthew found himself beginning to emotionally understand how one's fascination with this girl might ripen fast. Conversation with her just never seemed to take the route that you had planned.

In an attempt to get back on track, he turned to the General and introduced himself. "Pleased to meet you, sir," he said. "I'm Matthew Turtles, colleague of Police Lieutenant Skittles here whom you have already met. I understand you had a bit of an accident on Friday. I hope you are feeling better now?"

"Ah," said the General. "Another police officer. I did wonder where you came into the picture. Am I suspected of anything?" He looked amused rather than surprised or worried.

"No, sir," said Matthew. "Your granddaughter was just kind enough to invite us for lunch. Then just now she mentioned something she wanted us to have a look at in here..." He broke off, suddenly actually feeling a bit suspicious. Maybe that whole thing about asking them to look at some old bones had just been Diana's way of getting them to go inside.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Raven's Wordzzle Challenge # 96

Raven's Wordzzle Challenge # 96

Badger, roll out the barrel, amazing, a lovely cup of tea, pressure, frozen, Gandalf, pixies, top gear

smelly, politician, favourite, token gesture, garden

The Slumber Party Mystery
Chapter 42 - An Invitation for Afternoon Tea

Adam had been sitting at the very back of the church during the service. He was surprised that neither Diana nor William nor Skittles seemed to take any notice of him at all, neither when they came in nor when they went out. Yesterday morning Skittles had been giving the impression of looking at Adam as if he were a smelly politician, and Adam had been feeling under some pressure fearing he'd have the police lieutenant at his heels like a badger over the next few days.

Outside the church Adam found himself trapped for a while in conversation with Mrs Anderson, who gladly seized the opportunity for chat with her favourite doctor. Meanwhile, some children kept running round and round them like little pixies.Just as Adam was beginning to feel irritated, one little girl came up close to him, gave him a wink and put a piece of paper in his hand. Adam made polite excuses to Mrs Anderson and withdrew to read the note.

For a moment Adam stood like frozen to the ground."Amazing," he said to himself. "Is this supposed to be some kind of weird token gesture?" Because what he was holding in his hand was another one of the Brigadier General's cards, with a message not unlike the one that had got him to go up to the General's house on Friday afternoon. It read:

If you have the possibility, please join us in the garden this afternoon for a lovely cup of tea.

The card was not signed. Adam supposed Diana must be the sender, but then who did she mean by "us"? Wasn't her grandfather still in the hospital?

"Hm," thought Adam. "Before I put in the top gear and roll out the barrel this time (he hardly knew himself what he meant by that), I think I'd better check up on how old Gandalf is doing..."

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Raven's Wordzzle Challenge #94

Hi everyone
I was very late catching up with Challenge#93, which I did not get round to posting until just before this one today. So if you have come here directly from Raven's Mr Linky for Week#94, here's a link to the previous episode in case you would like to read that one too.

Raven's Wordzzle Challenge #94

space cadet, silver lining, wood, turtle soup, minaret, ice, grease, sales, mandala, mug
broken bones, slide rule, garbage, Chinese, sanguine

The Slumber Party Mystery
Chaper 41 - An Invitation to Lunch

To Skittles, the pastor could just as well have been speaking from a minaret, or trying to explain in Chinese how to use a slide rule. All he heard was a distant mumble, while staring at the back of William's neck, trying to decide whether the young man hand actually put grease in his hair to achieve that spiky hairstyle, and wondering whether Diana approved of that.

Every cloud has a silver lining, though. After the service, both Diana and William turned around to greet him and Matthew, and Diana gave them a dazzling smile.

"John, I was hoping you'd come!" she said. "Who is your friend?"

"This is Matthew," said Skittles. "Another space cadet - sorry, internal joke. Police officer. And Matthew, this is Diana Haven."

"Matthew Turtles," said Matthew, shaking hands with Diana, and then looking inquiringly at William.

"William Wood," said William. "I'm in sales."

Since Skittles had already informed Matthew in a whisper during the sermon who the young man next to Diana was, pointing him out as "the delivery boy", this remark almost caused Matthew to choke, but he managed to collect himself.

"I warned Bumblebee I might be bringing along one or two guests for lunch," said Diana. "Perhaps all three of you would like to join me? Only..." She looked hesitantly at Matthew, who raised his eyebrows, not knowing what to expect next. "I'm sorry," said Diana, and now he saw that it was she that was nearly choking with laughter. "I really can't help it. It's just that old B suggested he could make turtle soup... I do apologize, if I had known who John would be bringing along, I would have asked for another menu, but..."

Luckily, Matthew was of sanguine disposition, and laughed as heartily as Diana at this joke, which lifted some of the general tension for all of them.

After the main course following the turtle soup, they had ice cream and coffee (served in mugs) out on the terrace, and Diana then brought up a discussion of the sermon they had been listening to - or were supposed to have listened to. Skittles suddenly wished he had been paying more attention. All he remembered was that it had been something to do with avarice.

"I mean," said Diana, "that reference to the mandala was really brilliant, wasn't it. Here today, gone tomorrow, and then you have to start over. I do wish Grandpa had more of that attitude." She turned to Matthew. "My grandfather collects things," she explained. "All kinds of things. Even old broken bones!"

"But Diana," said William. "Those bones are ancient relics, aren't they..."

"Well, so he claims," said Diana. "They look to me as if they could have been dug up from any old garbage bin!" She turned again to Matthew and John. "Would you like to see them? You're police officers, maybe you can tell the difference!"

Raven's Wordzzle Challenge #93

Raven's Wordzzle Challenge #93

spaghetti, woe is me, mythology, avarice, windy, pathetic, paper towels, water, all my children, books

best deals of the week, Nobel Peace Prize, sleep deprived, cauliflower, practice

The Slumber Party Mystery
Chapter 40 - Avarice and Jealousy

The church bells started ringing, and Diana was already half way up the stairs, shaking hands on her way with the group of ladies that had been waiting outside. It was a windy day, which made Diana's skirt move in the draught.

"I'll introduce you afterwards," said Skittles to his friend. "Or maybe we can get a seat next to her. Come on!"

"You're a pathetic coward, that's what you are," said Matthew, in a teasing tone of voice. He followed his friend into the little church, and looked around curiously. As he did not live in this village, he had not been inside before. Skittles, too, felt a little lost and out of practice - it was some time since he had last been to church.

Just inside the door stood a sleep deprived-looking woman in a hat shaped like a cauliflower, handing out hymn books. They each took one, but just as they were proceeding down the aisle, something wet hit Matthew in the neck. He turned around to see what it was, and saw that a couple of kids were throwing balls made of paper towels dipped in water about.

"Hey, you stop that immediately!" he said in his most official voice, showing his police badge. The kids gasped and disappeared through a door to the left. A young woman smiled appreciatively at him.

"You almost deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for that," she said. "I apologize, you must be getting a very bad impression of our church, but I assure you not all my children are as naughty as those two. At least it wasn't spagetthi this time." She disappeared through the same door as the kids.

Skittle's attention was directed elsewhere. He had just caught sight of William sitting next to Diana, and he managed to squeeze himself and Matthew in on the bench right behind them.

"Today's subject is avarice," said the pastor, turning a leaf in the Bible.

Skittles heard William muttering something about "best deals of the week", which made Diana laugh and whisper something back in his ear - the word "mythology" was all he could catch. She and William seemed very friendly with each other; something which Skittles found himself not liking the idea of.

"... woe is me..." the pastor continued reading, and Skittles tried to turn his attention back to the sermon. If avarice was a sin, then in all probability, the same applied to jealousy.