[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…Now, being a project of sorts, over the summer holidays, I have pieced together the story from beginning to end, and then revised it. A main thread has evolved. Something to do with murder and Letitia’s unfortunate involvement in it. Characters such as Frieda have been developed. Plus, characters, like Ella, have emerged from the shadows of past backstories that never before have been in print. In this episode (13.1) we have the meeting of these two characters…]
An Untimely Visitor
Meanwhile in Tasmania, the grass was dry and the weather about to heat up for the start of school.
The first rays of dawn filtered through the lace curtains of Frieda’s bedroom. After glimpsing the start of a new day, she turned over and settled back into a deep sleep.
Frieda groaned. ‘Go back to bed Johnny.’
‘Mummy!’ Johnny pushed at her back, rocking her. ‘There’s a funny lady in our good room.’
‘What’s she doing there?’
‘I let her in, Mummy,’ Johnny sighed. ‘She says she’s my “Cross-mother”.’ Another sigh. ‘But she doesn’t look like a “Cross-mother”, she looks too young and pretty to be cross.’
‘Now you are making me cross, Johnathon, dear. Go back to bed. You must’ve been dreaming.’
Johnny tugged at Frieda’s hand. ‘No, Mummy, she’s a real cross-mother. You must see her. You must!’
Frieda rolled her eyes and gulped down a rising sense of seediness. ‘Oh, alright, if I must.’
Mother and son pad down the stairs and into the lounge room.
A petite figure dressed in a blue dirndl stood gazing at the panoramic view of the Derwent.
She turned and flicked a platinum plait away from her face.
The stranger smiled, her deep blue eyes twinkling. ‘Beautiful view. I love it when the sun rises over the sea. Don’t you?’
‘Who are you?’
The woman stepped towards Frieda and took her hand. ‘Come, sit down. There’s something I need to explain.’
‘What?’ Frieda asked.
The German lady paused.
‘Well, don’t just stand there. Tell me.’
‘You need to sit. It’s important.’
Frieda exhaled and shook her head. ‘Fine, then, I will sit.’
She perched on the edge of the couch. The German lady sat beside her and caressed the frills on her baby blue dress.
‘I’m sitting,’ Frieda said.
‘So, you are.’
Johnny peered into the German lady’s blue, blue eyes. ‘Why are you cross, lady?’
‘I am not cross.’ The lady smiled. ‘My name is Ella and I am a friend of your mother’s.’
‘I find that hard to believe.’ Frieda leaned back and studied this strange woman called Ella. ‘You must’ve been a very young friend, my mother died during the war. So did my father. I am an orphan.’
‘To tell the truth, Frieda, your mother is very much alive. She is living in Melbourne now. You see, you were not an orphan; you were kidnapped.’
‘Really? All this time, since I was a child, I have believed I was an orphan, Lebensborn, they called me. Bred pure for the Reich. And now you tell me my mother is in Melbourne?’
‘Yes. Are you not happy about that?’
‘Ecstatic!’ Frieda scoffed. ‘And how long have you known about my mother and me?’
‘Um…’ Ella shrugged. ‘A little while.’
‘And why did it take you such a long while to come over to Tasmania to tell me?’
‘I have been elsewhere…on business. Out of…’ Ella touched Frieda’s arm. ‘But I am here now telling you. And she wants to see you. She wants you to come to Melbourne and for you to meet.’
‘And how exactly are we to travel to Melbourne?’
‘You have a sailboat, don’t you?’
‘Yes, but…I can’t…’
‘But I can.’
‘But my husband Wilhelm won’t…’
Ella’s eyes twinkled. ‘Don’t worry Frieda, I have been in close contact with your husband. In fact, I met him in Melbourne recently. One of the reasons he went there, to meet with your mother. And yes, he has agreed to lend us the boat.’
‘Not too close, I hope.’ Frieda frowned. ‘You and my husband.’
‘No! Not at all!’ Ella laughed. ‘We go way back, Wilhelm and me. Just old friends, to tell the truth.’
Johnny danced on the spot. ‘Are we going on a sailing trip, Mummy?’
Frieda nodded. ‘Yes, my darling boy. And you are going to meet my mummy, your grandma.’
As Frieda and Johnny packed clothes and essentials into a suitcase, Ella sipped a cup of tea that Frieda had prepared for her. Ella watched them and while the pair were busy packing, she chuckled. I remember Gunter, my youngest at Johnny’s age, she mused. So sweet, so innocent.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022
Feature Photo: Morning on Derwent, Hobart, Tasmania © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016
More than before?
Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…
Click on the link to my latest novel, The Lost World of the Wends
Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker
And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling