A Secret Mission

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The last customer walked out of the diner and Cara turned the sign to “Closed” and locked the door.

“I think you missed a spot.”

Tippner mumbled something under his breath and mopped the spot that Cara pointed to.

“And don’t forget to get behind the table.”

With a loud groan Tippner finally finished up. He was bent over like his back was hurting when he handed the mop and bucket to Cara.

“Maybe next time you will think twice before walking on my freshly mopped floor with dirty shoes.”

Mason came out from the back smiling, and handed some money to Tippner.

“Well done Tippner! Here is $20 for you.”

“$20! You are paying him for mopping the floor??” Cara asked, shocked.

“Of course, I just took it out of your paycheck, since he did your job.”

“Thank you kindly, sir!” Tippner straightened up, his back, suddenly not hurting anymore.

Cara didn’t say a word, but her eyes did! She would remember this.

“I am so glad you clowns are leaving tomorrow. Will have some peace. Who knows, perhaps I will totally change the menu around while you are gone.” She gave a coy smile.

“Have fun on your North Pole excursion. You guys are crazy, you know. “

Mason and Tippner simply nodded their heads. They couldn’t tell her the real reason they were going to the North Pole or she really would think they were crazy.

It had been a long trip and they were exhausted, not to mention shivering.

“How long is it going to take them to pick us up? I think my hands are going numb.” Mason complained. He had lost his thick pair of gloves on the flight and had his hands buried in his coat pockets.

Anxiously they looked around them to see if a sleigh was coming their way, but all they saw was snow.

Tippner started doing jumping jacks and Mason joined in. It helped to get the blood flowing.

“I see it! They are here.”

Within a few minutes two elves pulled up in front of them. Something looked strikingly familiar about them.

“Hi and Welcome to the North Pole! Sorry we are late, Snowball had kitchen duty and had to finish mopping the floor. I am Alabaster and this is Snowball. We are so glad you are here. Climb in and.we will take you to meet Santa.”

Tippner and Mason climbed in and felt excitement run through them. They were going to meet Santa!

Alabaster looked back at Mason as Snowball drove. “You must tell me how you manage to get your hair looking like that. Its all poofy in the front, like a bouffant.”

Tippner gave Mason a friendly punch in the arm. “See, I told you that you would look good in a bouffant.”

Mason smiled. “Yes, you did, Amanda really liked it too. Guess you were right.”

He smiled, feeling pretty proud of his hair. Right then they ran over a hill too fast and Mason flew out of the sleigh, landing in the snow.

Snowball was apologetic and Tippner couldn’t hold back his laughter. “Your hair kind of lost its poof now.”

Soon they arrived and waited for Santa’s assistant to show up and take them to meet Santa Claus

“Oh wow! Look at that cat.”

“Hi! Welcome! Santa is anxious to meet you and get you started working. I am Candy Cane and this is my cat,Peppermint.”

“Such an unusual cat but beautiful. I am Tippner and this is my friend Mason.

“Ahh! Tippner the Super Star Bicycle Repairman. We really appreciate you both coming and hope you can help us.”

Tbey stopped in front of a cottage that must belong to Santa. The red and white cottage was was so cheerful looking on the outside.

The time was here. They were going to meet the one and only Santa Claus. CandyCane rang the doorbell and Peppermint ran between their legs as the door opened. Running into the warmth.

(To be continued…)

A Priceless Gift

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Belinda had almost finished looking around. There were some things she was considering bidding on, but unfortunately nothing had really grabbed her. She had hoped to find a masterpiece.

Her passion was art and she had collected some amazing pieces over the years. Belinda let out an almost inaudible gasp. That was it! This was her diamond in the dust. Her heart was soaring like a hot air balloon. She needed that peacock!

The auction was soon ready to begin and Belinda was ready. Nothing would  stop her from getting the masterpiece.

The auction started and Belinda sat in her chair watching. She wasn’t bidding on anything besides the Peacock, saving her money for that.

At last the time came and Belinda felt a rush of adrenalin. Almost holding up her number before the auctioneer had a chance to say the starting bid.

Tbe price was climbing, a lot of people were bidding and Belinda was trying to calm her nerves. She held her number high in the air as others started to fall. The ones bidding grew less and less, Belinda was hopeful.

You could have heard a feather fall, the room was so quiet. Tension and excitement were heavy in the room. This was the highest thing so far that had been bid on. Apparently someone wanted the amazing peacock as much as Belinda did!

People continued to drop out, Belinda was feeling smug. The peacock masterpiece would be her’s. Then she spied him. The one person still bidding against her.

If Belinda would have spotted him across a crowded restaurant, sitting alone, maybe things would have been different. But…

This wasn’t some sappy romance novel. Yes, he was dark and handsome but, she only saw him as a competitor. Well she may have noticed bis deep brown eyes as well.

UGH! He kept raising his number high She tried to shoot daggers from her eyes , but he ony smiled back.

The crowd was enraptured watching the showdown beteeem them. It was like watching a tennis match as their heads moved back and forth between Belinda and the dark, handsome, man. Her face was flushed.

She was screaming on the inside at Mr Pompous! He was calmly nodding his head when asked if he would go higher. Meanwhile she was dying by trying to keep up with him. She would probably have to take out a second mortgage on the house! Was she crazy?

“$550,000 , going once, going twice”, the crowd waited with bated breath, would she give up?

“SOLD!”

Her heart sank, but she knew she had done the right thing. Things would have been a financial mess for her if she would have continued. She would go home and sulk but be better by morning and still have money in the bank.

Jordan was brimming with joy. He had done it! The peacock masterpiece would finally be restored to its rightful owner.

He couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for the poor woman who had been bidding against him. She obviously really wanted the peacock artwork but he couldn’t let it slip through his hands, not after this long.

“Happy Birthday Grandma!” Jordan handed her the large carefully wrapped gift.

“Oh Jordan! Where? How? OH!” His grandma’s hands trembled as she tore off the last of the gift wrap. There were no words. Jordan’s mom hugged him so tight with tears in her eyes. His grandma’s shoulders shook, but the light in her eyes shined like a thousand fireflies lighting up the sky.

He embraced his grandma and she clung to him. “Thank you, Thank you so much for bringing this back to me! I never thought I would see it again.”

His grandma was the most courageous woman he had ever met. She and his grandpa had been taken from their home by the Nazi’s. Their home was ransacked, all their personal treasures stolen and they were taken to Concentration Camps. His grandma survived. Sadly his grandpa hadn’t. He had never met his grandpa but he knew he had been a gifted artist.

Jordan looked at the peacock. Yes, a gifted artist indeed!

Trouble in the Kingdom

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Moving to tbe Kingdom of Golden Blossoms was the best decision that Rayanna had ever made. It was beautiful here and life was as carefree as a little child running through a sprinkler.

Today she was sunbathing amidst the golden blossoms until it was tea time with the Queen of Diamonds.

The Queen of Diamonds shined with a brilliance like no other on the outside, sparkling with diamonds. Her heart shined bright too. She was the one who made the Kingdom of Golden Blossoms so perfect.

After a little while Rayanna got up and walked back to her cottage to get ready for tea with the Queen.

Jack was standing at the castle door when Rayanna arrived. She was happy to see him and by the look on his face the feeling was mutual. Would he soon ask her out on a date? Oh how she hoped.

“Good afternoon Lady Rayanna,” She loved when he called her Lady. Made her feel special.

“You are looking lovely today.”

“Thank you Jack.” She gave a shy smile. Was working up the courage to say something more to him when chaos broke out. Ace, who often thought too highly of himself was trying to club some troublemakers.

The thing is they weren’t real troublemakers.

Jack looked at  Rayanna as he opened the door to let her in. “Excuse me please, my lady, I have to go.”

Rayanna nodded and watched him go, hearing him shout before the door shut. “Ace leave them alone, you know they are only jokers!”

Rayanna shook her head. Poor Jack, he  often had his hands full with Ace of Hearts. He was the troublesome nephew of the Queen. His mom had been the Queen of Hearts, the Queen’s sister.

Eversince he had come to the Kingdom he was turning it upside down.

When Rayanna entered the Queen’s tea room, she was shocked to see the Queen looking weary and frazzled.

“What is wrong?” Rayanna touched her shoulder gently.

“My nephew is out of control. He goes around yelling, “Off with your head.” and cutting off all our blooming golden blossoms. He is so much like his mom. I had hoped that he would learn from his mom’s mistakes but…”

She buried her face in her hands. Everyone knew the story of the Queen’s sister, the Queen of Hearts.  She terrorized a young girl named Alice and was an angry, mean Queen. So unlike her sister.

Her mean streak eventually got the best of her and her knights turned against her. She had said, “Off with your head”, one too many times, and they saw to it that she was the one who lost her head.

Her nephew was sent to live with his Aunt, the  Queen of Diamonds and it wasn’t going well. The Queen also got her sister’s Cheshire cat, who seemed eerie at times with its glowing eyes.

Lifting her head she wiped her eyes, “He runs through the palace creating havoc. My servants are threatening to quit. Soon the only servants I will have left are my sister’s two servants, Tweedledee and Tweedledum.”

The mention of those two brought a smile, they were so likeable and their names alone made one smile.

Rayanna got up to fix the tea and pour a cup for the Queen. She needed something to calm her.

In silence they sat sipping their tea and thinking how to solve the problem of Ace.

“I got it!” Rayanna shouted. “I know exactly what we can do. I have heard about a certain white rabbit that is helpful in situations with those who think too highly of themselves.”

The Queen’s face brightened, “Do you think he really can help?”

“I do. I heard of a success story recently with some guy named Neil. Let me explain exactly what the white rabbit does. He takes those who need help to a castle where they work as a servant for a strict Queen. They learn how to behave pretty quickly. She is strict but no fear, she isn’t a terror. No danger of him losing his head.”

The Queen of Diamonds was quiet thinking about what Rayanna told her. She did love her nephew, could she really do this to him? But she didn’t want him to become like his mom.

CRASH!! They both looked at each other and ran into the hallway, what had happened?

Ace was runnimg down the hallway with a sword, yelling, “Off with your head’, knocking the heads off of statues.. One of the knight’s was running after him yelling for him to give back the sword.

Turning to Rayanna with firm resolve in her eyes sbe said, “Yes, contact the white rabbit and make arrangements as soon as possible.”

Three days later late at night the white rabbit showed up.

Jack let him and Rayanna in, but he looked strangely at the rabbit. Rayanna would have to explain later. They walked back to the Queen’s tea room and the white rabbit made himself comfortable on the table.

“Queen of Diamonds meet James the 21st.”

James bowed down, “At your service ma’am.”

They didn’t take long, the Queen wanted to get it over with. Ace of Hearts was carried out of bed by TweedleDee and TweedleDum. He had been given a strong sleeping pill, for the journey to the castle.

The Queen gave him a light kiss on the cheek, she hoped she was doing the right thing. He looked so young and angelic when sleeping.

“He will be okay, right?”

James nodded his head. “The Queen will keep him safe, as long as he doesn’t try to wander away from the castle.”

Alarm sparked in the Queen’s eyes, “What will happen if he does?”

Rsyanna shot James a warning look, hoping he would get the message. She hadn’t told the Queen about the dragons

“Look at the time,” James looked at his watch. “I must go, I am going to be late for an important date.” Soon they disappeared from the Queen’s sight.

“An important date?? This late?” The Queen gave Rayanna a puzzled look.

Rayanna shrugged, “I guess rabbits have to keep late hours. Think of how long it must take to get all of their children to sleep.”

“Oh, yes … I guess.” She still had a rather confused look in her eyes but she was sleepy, and said, “Goodnight Rayanna and thank you! I hope your plan works.”

Rayanna breathed a sigh of relief, it was over. The troublemaker was taken care of. Things could go back to being pleasant and peaceful in the Kingdom of the Golden Blossoms.

Falling at Her Feet

This is the continuation to Formulating the Plan!

Neil was feeling better. He napped some, followed by going to his local steakhouse. Now he was home again and thinking about calling Sandra, the first girl in his little red book.

He had decided that.James the 21st had been a figment of his sleepy imagination. A talking rahbit, like there really was such a thing. “Totally ridiculous!” He said outloud.

“What is ridiculous?”

Startled, Neil dropped his phone  and looked behind him.

“HI! Are you all rested up now?” James  the 21st looked up at him.

Sitting down on the closest chair Neil put his head in his hands. He was really going crazy! Well … he may as well make the most of it and find out what all James could do for him. May not be too bad having a lucky rabbit.

“Since you don’t seem to be going away , what exactly is your plan?”

“To match you up with a young woman. You need help in that area.”

Neil held up his little, red book with a smug grin. “I have all the help I need, right here!”

James rolled his eyes. “Oh yes, the book that helped you so much before. Lets see first there was Sandra. She cancelled three dates because her three sweet grandmother’s died, three weeks in a row. Then there was Dolly, who had a pet squirrel who died the exact night that you all were supposed to go away for a weekend together. Oh, and Tiffany,  whose 4th cousin died. Are you seeing a pattern here at all?”

James snatched the little red book out of Neil’s hand. “You have no need of this.”

Neil glared at James, the know-it-all rabbit. He was beginning to think that rabbit stew would taste good.

“I have the name of a lady who would be enamored with you the moment she sees you. One whose feet you will fall at.”

Neil was quiet, thinking over what James the 21st said. James impatiently tapped his foot, waiting for a response. 

“Is she rich?”

James gave him a cold stare. “You really are an idiot, aren’t you.”

Neil bristled, “I resent that!”

Ignoring him, James continued. “Be ready at 3pm sharp tomorrow and I will take you to her.” With those words, James vanished, once again.

Stupid rabbit, thought Neil, he didn’t answer his question about being rich. Could Neil help that he longed to walk on the sparkling floors of  a castle which he was the head of.

At 3pm sharp the next day James appeared once again out of the thin air. Neil had to admit that this time he was rather excited to see James. After all he was going to take him to meet the lady whose feet he would fall at.

Neil would rather she fall at his feet, but he was sure she would in time. How could someone resist someone as handsome and charming as him! He still couldn’t see what Jennifer saw in Kevin. But it was her loss, she could have him, he was going to a castle.

“A real castle? I will live at a real castle?” Neil was thrilled, as he talked to James.

“Yes, you will walk on its sparkling floors and make the castle shine …”

“With my presence!” Neil interrupted, holding his head up high with his hand on his heart.

“”That is one way to look at it,” James muttered.

They started walking up the hill behind Neil’s house and Neil kept talking.

“Only the finest foods will be served, right?”

“Yes, you will see to that.”

“Of course! For I will be the head of the castle, will I not, oh James I think you should stick around. I like you. You could live in the back yard. I would make sure you have plenty of carrots and fresh water daily.

“As tempting as you make it sound I think I will have to pass.”

They continued walking and Neil was curious. “I have walked up this hill numerous times and have never seen a castle before.”

“But you have never walked with me before. Look…”

“WOW! Fantastic!” Neil could not believe his eyes as he stared at a grandeur castle. A castle beyond his imagination.

“You are the greatest James! I can’t wait to meet my love.”

“Well … about that. There is one small detail I may have left  out.”

Neil patted James shoulder. “Its okay, maybe she isn’t gorgeous … I have this amazing castle, I can allow her some imperfections.’

James closed his eyes for a brief moment trying not to puke. He couldn’t get away from James fast enough. The guy was so full of himself.  

Neil rang the bell. A haggard lady answered the castle  door. Spying James, she smiled. “So glad to see you! Its been crazy here without Maxwell. Come in, Lady Felicity will be here soon.”

Neil was spellbound looking around. It was so spacious and mirrored walls. He could see himself all the time.

His eyes bulged, the most absolute gorgeous woman was coming his way. When she got closer he did fall at her feet, like James said he would.

“Arise, I am Lady Felicity, I do appreciate your show of  respect.” She gave James a wink and he muffled his laughter. Neil couldn’t take his eyes off of her.

“I trust that James filled you in about your responsibilities, making the floors sparkle and the mirrors shine.”

Confusion lit up Neil’s face. “Mirrors,  floors?”

“Well yes, you are taking Maxwell’s place, aren’t you? He was a faithful servant. You will also be responsible for serving meals. Follow me and I will show you the kitchen.”

Turning towards him, she smiled her dazzling smile. “Thanks again for coming, I am so happy to have you here. Enamored with the fact that we have found a replacement for Maxwell.”

“Enamored” … thought Neil, James had said the woman would be enamored with him. Oooh where was James! He looked around as Lady Felicity kept talking about his duties. James was nowhere to be seen!

If James thought he was going to stay here to be a servant, he could think again!

“There is one extremely important thing I must tell you.” Lady Felicity said and Neil paid close attention.

“You were able to walk up to the castle door because you were with James and the dragons know him. You didn’t see them, but they see everyone who walks outside the castle.

James comes often bringing us servants. We pay him rather well! The dragons don’t know you, if you have plans on leaving, I wouldn’t advise it. The dragons are wary of strangers.”

In a flash Lady Felicity’s face grew serious and almost scary. Her intense gaze unnerved him. Within minutes she was smiling again as they continued walking,  but Neil wasn’t. He was thinking of rabbit stew.

Formulating the Plan!

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A month had passed and the sting of embarrassment and rejection were fading. He still had become pretty much of a recluse, didn’t want to have to see the condescending pitiful stares from people. Or see them whispering about him.

How could she have done what she did? What had she been thinking, he had loved her! Well, he thought he had loved her. To be honest he was beginning to realize that he had been more in love with the idea of being married. Plus knowing that she had a hefty inheritance played a big part in his desire for her.

The thought of losing all that money still twisted his stomach into knots, but she was gone. What was done was done. He would need to get busy finding another wealthy heiress.

That night Neil went to bed going through the list of girls that he had in his little black book. Well it was actually a red book, but served the same purpose.

Neil woke up with a start when he saw the time on the alarm clock. Why hadn’t his alarm gone off? He was going to be late for work. The one place he makes himself go to. Stumbling out of bed he grabbed his jeans from off the floor , threw his shirt on and ran down the steps.

He was making some coffee when he glanced at his phone and saw the date. It was Saturday, what was he doing? Ugh! He should go back to bed.

“Good Morning Neil!’

Neil turned around looking at his breakfast table. There was a rabbit with glasses sitting on his table! Did that rabbit speak to him?

“I see that I have surprised you and perhaps rendered you speechless, as you stand there with your mouth agape. While you gather your wits I will introduce myself.”

“I am James the 21st. I have lots of siblings. You are probably wondering why I am here, I will explain. Feel free to take a seat and close your mouth anytime. Maybe drinking coffee would help you relax.”

Neil sat down with his coffee but still staring wide eyed at James the 21st.

“I am your lucky rabbit. It’s been brought to my attention that you badly need one. I must say that anyone who suffered the terrible embarrassment that you have, must…mmm….” James stopped talking for Neil’s cheeks were reddening.

“Well anyway, you know. So, here I am, to try and turn your luck around.” James smiled at Neil and he did look charming with his studious glasses.

Finally Neil found his voice. “You are wearing glasses?”

James the 21st shook his head. “You seem surprised. Let me guess, you believe that carrots are good for eyes? Veggies are good for you, but carrots don’t guarantee great vision. Trust me, I have digested numerous carrots in my time.”

Neil kept shaking his head in disbelief, a lucky rabbit? “I have heard of a lucky rabbit’s foot, but not a lucky rabbit.”

James made a face. “How can a rabbit’s foot be lucky? Humans are so strange. Let me assure you that ALL of me is lucky, not only my foot. It is your lucky day for I am at your service. I am going to try to straighten out the mess you made!”

Neil looked disgruntled, “Me! I was the one who was left at the altar! Do you know how much money I spent on her ring?? Not to mention the amazing honeymoon resort I had booked. She left me, even with all of that! Why?”

James the 21st gave Neil the condescending look that he hated. “Why? You ask. Because you are an idiot!”

Neil’s face flushed, now he was getting mad. A talking rabbit called him an idiot. What luck was he bringing him?

“What do you know, you are only a rabbit. Why am I even sitting here conversing with you?”

“I am James the 21st , your lucky rabbit who you will treat with respect. If not, I will call my friend and have her show you what happens to disrespectful people or animals. She has a low tolerance for idiots, let that be your warning.”

Neil shook his head, feeling like he had stepped into an episode of The Twilight Zone or some strange show. Was this really happening? Spontaneously he reached and touched James fur. It was soft. James was a real rabbit, sitting on the breakfast table, like it was a perfectly normal thing to do.

“We have lots of work to do but I can tell you are feeling rather overwhelmed, so I will give you a few hours to relax. When I come back, we will discuss the plan!”

And as sudden as James the 21st had appeared he was gone. Neil kept shaking his head, he most certainly had to go back to bed. More sleep and all would be well.

(To be continued…)

Through the Eyes of Love

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Tbirty minutes. Thirty minutes left before she walked down the aisle.

“Jennifer can you at least try to smile? You don’t at all look like you are about to be married … you look like …”

“Like I should be attending a funeral? Perhaps I should wear black instead?”

Her mom rolled her eyes, “Girl, you always were such a drama queen! Neil is not a bad guy and he adores you.”

“BUT MOTHER I DON’T ADORE HIM!”

Jennifer rose to her feet and looked her Mother in the eye. “I tried to tell you numerous times, but you listened as well as he did! You both pressed on with planning a wedding that I wanted no part in!”

There was a knock on the door. “That is probably our cue, its time to go..”

“Come in!” Jennifer interrupted and when the door opened her mom gasped.

“Kevin! Wha-what are you doing here?”

“I came for my bride. Shall we go?”

He put out his hand and Jennifer felt she could breathe again. He had really come to save the day. Her knight. Taking his hand in hers, her face was all aglow.

“You look radiant, sister.”

Her sisters hugged her and gave her a kiss goodbye. They had dreamy looks on their faces. “The perfect fairytale ending.” They said, amidst their mother’s groans.

“Mother dear, you better sit down hefore you faint. Don’t worry I will send you a postcard when we are on our honeymoon. Farewell, for now. I am sorry, but you gave me no choice. Kevin is the man I adore, whether you like it or not.”

“But…but…what do I tell everyone …?”

“Let them eat cake! The extravagant one you ordered is plenty big enough.”

Jennifer almost felt bad for her mom, she looked so fretful. “Cheer up Mother, there is plenty of wine as well, which you made sure of.”

Placing a kiss on her mother’s cheek, Jennifer and Kevin walked out the door. Her heart pulsating with love. True love can’t be snuffed out.

In time she hoped her mother could see beyond Kevin’s outward appearance, and into his heart. See him for the amazing guy he was.

Before going down the back, hidden staircase Kevin took her into his arms and she lost herself in his passionate kisses. Coming up for air, he said in a breathless voice, ” We must go, the Justice of Peace is waiting.”

Hand in hand they quickly descended the stairs, for the honeymoon suite was waiting as well.

The Old Man and the Sky

Time was moving at a snail’s pace once again. Hans was bored. Why did he have to be the one to watch the sheep? He could think of a hundred things he would rather be doing and none of them had anything to do with sheep.

His friends were playing baseball or fishing at the river and lucky Hans was watching the sheep.

What was that? He thought he heard a sound. His heart beat a little faster. Had the wolf come back? It took two wee lambs last week. Hans hadn’t meant to fall asleep. The cries of the little lambs still haunted him in his sleep at times.

After a bit he sighed with relief, there wasn’t a wolf around. But he couldn’t deny the feeling that he was being watched.

He wasn’t spooked easily but the thought of someone having their eyes on him, unnerved him. How he wished for the time to come where he took the sheep back to his farm, safely penned in for the night.

One of the sheep anuggled up to his leg. The runt of the litter, little Sassafras. Hans called her Sassy. He didn’t typically get attached to the sheep but little Sassy was endearing.

Sassy’s ears perked up as she abruptly lifted her head off of his leg. She was looking straight ahead. Did she see something or someone ?

His body was prickling with goosebumps again. Ugh! All this time spent watching sheep must be droving him crazy! He thought he had caught glimpse of someone’s beady eyes.

Oh No, it was happening again! He was seeing the old man.

Who was it? Was it old man Tucker? Why would he be watching him? There it was again! He knew he saw someone’s eyes this time!

“Come out! I see you. Your game is up, you have been caught.”

Hans waited. There was only the sound of the bleating of some of his sheep. Soon carried away in the wind.

It had finally happened. He was losing his mind. Had to be!

There it was again. He rubbed his eyes hard, trying to get the illusion to go away. Thats what it was. It must be. The only logical explanation. He was only seeing an illusion. But oh it was as plain as the nose on his face. It was the old solemn man again, who only stared at him. What was he doing? Why didn’t he speak?

“Hans. Hans. I brought you lunch. How are you?” His mom stopped in her tracks when Hans turned around to face her.

“Oh dear! You look pale, are you okay?”

“Do you see him? Do you see the old man’s face straight ahead?

His mom felt his forehead. “You don’t have a fever but you need a rest! I think the heat must be getting to you.”

“Look Mom! Are you sure you don’t see him? His nose is long and he has a white moustache.”

Now his mom looked concerned as she stroked Sassafras, who was lying beside him. Even Sassy looked a little worried.

“Son, you need to come home, and get some rest! We will take the sheep back. When you brother gets home, he can bring them back out.”

Hans started to protest, and say he was fine, but was he? His mom didn’t see the old man who appeared to be hovering about. Never smiling, wearing the same stoic expression. Hans agreed to go home with her.

Soon they were back home and Hans was sent directly to his bed. He heard his mom talking to his Dad in low tones.

“Seeing things…delusional…Dr?”

Great! She thought he was crazy. He pulled the covers up around his neck. Maybe he was all ferhoodled in the head, but his stomach was full of good food. His mom let him have a bigger piece of pie than usual. His brother was watching the sheep and he wouldn’t have to do his evening chores. His mom wanted him to rest.

Hans smiled. Seemed to be a winning situation for him. Smiling, he soon succumbed to a peaceful slumber. No old man disturbed his dreams.

Fun at the Falls

Pinterest image of Niagara Falls

The water cascaded down with the power of a herd of horses thundering down a mountain.

Zoey’s eyes were huge as she watched the waterfall. “This is the best trip ever!”

Jordan put his arm Zoey, “Tomorrow we will go for a boat ride near the Falls. What do you think of that?”

“Yay!!” She danced around in circle. Trisha smiled at the sparkling joy in her little girl’s eyes. This was turning out to he a fabulous trip.

Later that day they decided to walk over the bridge to see the Falls on the American side. The American border patrol agent greeted them and asked for ID. Jordan and Trisha handed theirs over.

A moment of panic washed over Trish, they didn’t have Zoey’s ID. Surely the agent wouldn’t ask for a 5 year old’s ID! They didn’t ask for it when entering Canada.

“What is your name, little one?”

“Zoey! Do you like my new dress?” She twirled around.

The border agent cracked a smile. “Can you tell me who these people are?” He pointed at Jordan and Trish.

Zoey, who was usually a chatterbox didn’t say a word! She gave the agent a puzzled look. Who knew what was going through her little mind. It was as if time stood still. Zoey’s lips stayed sealed and a knot started to form in Trisha’s stomach.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, Zoey ran into her Mama’s arms, yelling Mama. All was well!

While admiring the Falls, Zoey got hungry. “Daddy I want a hotdog and fries, please!”

Jordan saw the food truck. There was a long line, but he was hungry as well.

“Okay honey, I will get you a hotdog.”

Zoey insisted on going with him. “Stay with Daddy!” Trisha called out to her as Zoey skipped along beside him.

The line was long and Zoey was bored. Daddy was talking with someone else and Zoey decided to slip away and explore.

She walked a little bit and suddenly there appeared a moo-cow in front of her. Zoey loved cows. Her parent’s had told her that the first time she laughed it was at the neighbors cow.

Zoey looked back to see her Daddy but she couldn’t see him. That’s ok, he would find her.

“Hi!” Zoey said to the cow who smiled at her.

“Hi Zoey” Zoey was excited! The cow knew her name.

“Daddy is getting me a hotdog, do you want some? I can share.”

Betsy was touched by Zoey’s offer. She nuzzled her under her chin and Zoey giggled.

“Zoey!!” Jordan grabbed her and hugged her tight against him. “You can’t wander away like that. You know better.”

“But I was bored, Daddy and I was okay, I found a moo-cow and she knew my name! See her…Hey, where did she go?”

“Its okay honey, I am glad she was watching you.” He tried to catch his breath.

“Lets go back to Mommy now, okay. Want to ride on my shoulders?” He was not letting her out of his sight again! Seeing her near the steep embankment scared him half to death. She could have easily fallen!

“Yes!” She loved riding high and feeling tall.

Betsy had disappeared as soon as she zaw that Zoey was safe. Her mission was finished. She was only watching her until her Daddy got there. She knew Zoey would be disappointed that Betsy didn’t say goodbye but Betsy had to keep moving. She had places to be. Being a special cow kept one busy.

“Mommy I saw a moo-cow!”

“A cow, near the Falls??”

Trish looked at Jordan, who thought it best to change the subject. “Who wants to hear a joke?”

It was late. Tippner was never at his bike shop this late and he was sleepy. But he had to finish the customer’s bike. The customer was picking it up first thing in the morning. After another half hour he had it completed. Now he was ready for bed and dream land.

He stepped out of the door and SQUISH! Tippner had stepped into a big pile of something soft and squishy. His foot sank the whole way in. He looked down and yelled , “BETSY!”

Oooh that was it! That stupid cow, she had done this on purpose! The other day he was having a barbecue, hamburgers on the grill. Betsy walked by and gave Tippner the evil eye. He didn’t let her scare him, but he should have known.

Cara had tried to warn him, she knew Betsy well, but he just blew her off.

UGH! Sometimes it was hard having such a special cow in their town. Thinking she was all that and more. Hmmph!! He half stomped and squished down the sidewalk heading home. He was sure Betsy was laughing at him. She was probably watching him at this very minute.

“Hey Betsy! Mason ate hamburgers too, and he said they were good.

Squish,Stomp,Squish…!

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Blue Skies

Here is the next part to Second Chances!

This wasn’t where Kolby thought he would be. What kind of magical cowbell was this? Why would it bring him to a bospital, of all places!

He wanted to go somewhere grand, somewhere full of adventure.

Instead he was in a room wirh people hooked up to machines. There were two older men and one woman. The one man scowled but the woman smiled at him.

Kelly smiled at the cute little boy. He must be lost. His big, dark eyes looked so somber. She hadn’t noticed him walking into the room. It was almost as if he had appeared out of nowhere!

Whoosh! The pink and purple smoke filled the room. Kelly’s eyes almost popped out of her head. Old Bob and Bill, the men who had been scowling before now looked frozen with shock. Kelly would award them the best “deer caught in headlights” expression, if this was a contest.

The smoke faded away and no one spoke, the luttle boy was gone.

Kolby was seriously disappointed. Stupid bell! It had brought him back home. He was standing in the kitchen. His Dad had been there earlier for mail was all over the table. Oh, there was a letter on the floor addressed to his Dad. Picking it up he laid it on the table.

He sigbed, realizing that he better call his Dad. Kolby guessed that he and Katharine were probably filled witb worry looking for him. He figured Cassandra was plotting of ways to hurt him for taking her cowbell. Well, she could have it back. He was going to start looking for another cowbell, his would take him to somewhere amazing.

Melvin sunk into the chair with relief, when he got off the phone. Kolby was safe! He was at their house waiting for him. There wasn’t any news that could be more exciting to his ears, right now. Flying down the road, daring a cop to stop him, Melvin drove home.

“Kolby!” The front door flew open and Melvin ran to his son, picking him up in a bear hug. Kolby still wished that he would have been able to go somewhere exciting and grand, but he had to admit, it felt good to be in his Dad’s arms again.

Later that night Melvin was sitting in his favorite chair, holding Kelly’s letter in his hand.

His emotions were all over the place! Kelly had spilled her heart out, over the pages filling his heart with a mixture of joy and pain. He sat in his chair reflecting over the past and pondering the present.

As the clock struck midnight he knew what he would do. He would ask if Katharine could watch Kolby for a little while, he had something important to take care of.

Melvin ran his hand over his shirt one more time smoothing out the imaginary wrinkles. With each step he took the more nervous he became. Deep breath in, you can do this, he said. He felt like he had been talking to himself non-stop. Why were hospital hallways so long?

The Dr entered Kelly’s room, his face shining. “We found a match!”

Kelly would have jumped out of bed if she would of had enough strength. “Thank you Lord!” Her heart sang, she was getting a second chance at life!

“Thank you so much Dr Macmillian.”

“Don’t thank me, thank this gentleman who was insistent on being tested.”

The Dr opened her door and Kelly gasped. He had come! Melvin was here, he still cared. She had no words.

The room was charged witb emotion and Dr Macmillian took his cue to leave and let them have privacy.

Silence had never been so loud to Melvin. He could hear the pounding of his heart in his ears.

“I brought you something.” He handed a drawing to Kelly that she had made for him long ago. She had a talent for art.

Kelly’s eyes filled as the memories ran down her cheeks. She read the words on her drawing, “You will always color my sky!”

“We haven’t forgotten you Kelly, we couldn’t. Kolby is the cutest kindergartener. Here is the latest photo of him.”

The lump in her throat grew bigger. It was him. It was the little boy that she had seen before. He had been in the dialysis room one moment and gone the next. She had been so weak and tired her mind must have been playing tricks on her. Would she get another chance to be his mom?

Melvin held her hand. Neither one was sure as to what the future may bring but for now, their blue sky was shining bright.

Second Chances!

This is the conclusion or maybe only another part to Coloring the Sky

The box of tissues was almost empty. Kelly felt like someone had turned the faucet on and she couldn’t stop the flow of water running down her cheeks.

Why, why, when she seemed to finally be getting her life together. When it felt like life was beginning, did it actually have to be ending.

Maybe the Drs were wrong. Perhaps they would find a kidney in time. But she felt the life draining out of her, she was getting weaker. Her one and only kidney was failing, unless … should she even dare to hope?

If she had been in Melvin’s shoes and he had abandoned her and Kolby, would she ever want to see him again, much less give him a kidney?

Her Dr didn’t know about Melvin. As far as he was concerned they had tested everyone she knew. She had refused to think of him as a possible donor, all she wanted was his forgiveness. That was a big enough gift.

Alisha knew about Melvin and tried to get Kelly to ask him to be tested, but Kelly could be stubborn when she wanted to be. Alisha was her psychologist and Kelly respected her but she couldn’t suddenly appear in Melvin’s life and then say, “Oh, by the way, can I have your kidney?”

Kelly bit her lip staring down at the letter, three pages both sides. Taking a step back, into the “snail mail” era. Here she was taking the easy way again. She had left him a note when she left him three years ago. She always had been better at expressing herself through writing than talking. Especially when deep emotions were involved.

Though she couldn’t say that she did a good job with the note she had left him. Telling him the spark had died and she needed to find herself. She hadn’t sugarcoated anything. UGH! She had needed help, that’s what she needed, but she wouldn’t have listened back then.

When she sealed the letter, the wave of overwhelming sadness came again. But she couldn’t deny the peace that filled her. Would Melvin forgive her? It would hurt if he didn’t, but at least with this letter she had been able to get a lot off her chest. She had thrown out the olive branch, now it was all up to Melvin.

It was a rainy day and Kolby was bored. Cassandra had gone shopping with her mom. They had invited Kolby along but he emphatically said NO! Why would he want to go to a clothing store?? Now if they were going to a zoo that would be different!

The zoo was his favorite place to visit. That had been the last place he visited with his mama. His mama’s face was growing more dim as the years passed but he still remembered her.

Papa said she had to go away but that he.hoped she would come back one day. Kolby did too. Especially now that he was in kindergarten and he saw all the other mommies with their kids. That made his belly hurt sometimes. Why didn’t his mommy come back?

The rain was slowing down, maybe it would stop and he could go outside. That was it! He got an idea, this would be so cool! Jumping off the couch he ran upstairs to Cassandra’s room.

Melvin pulled into his driveway. He had needed to stop at home and check the mail. They would need to come home soon, now that Kolby and him were both well, but they really were enjoying their time at Katherine’s house. They would indeed be back to visit her.

He laid the mail on the table, bills, bills, his heart stopped. He still recognized her handwriting. She had sent him a letter? He hadn’t heard from her in three years!

His hand shook as he held it. How long had he pined for her, wishing every day for a letter or phone call, but nothing. Nothing, day in and day out, until now. What did it mean?

Well he would never find out if he didn’t open it, he told himself. His phone rang. Looking at the letter he wanted to ignore it, but what if it was an important call?

“Hello.”

“Melvin, this is Katharine, you need to come back right away. I don’t….I don’t…I am sorry…”

Confusion etched Melvin’s face. “Katharine what is wrong?”

“It’s Kolby, he is gone!” Melvin couldn’t breathe! He tried to steady his voice. “He is probably hiding, you know how he likes to play hide and seek.”

“We searched all over….and…and…Cassandra is all upset saying he could be anywhere. Her cowbell is gone.”

Melvin didn’t say a word, the enchanted cowbell, Katharine didn’t teally believe in it, did she? But yet …

“I am on my way!” He ended the call and ran out of the house, leaving Kelly’s letter lying on the kitchen floor.

(To be continued…)