Catch a Ride for Free–The Hitch-hiker

The Hitch-hiker, Free…

[An excerpt…]

More silence as the Kombi trundled along Main North Road. Was this the trend for the road trip? Long awkward silences. Two brothers sitting side by side, itching to punch each other. Liesel itched to lay hands on Fox who squashed himself against the car door. And Minna opposite Günter, tried not to make too many calf-eyes at him, as well as trying her best to not nibble her nails. Was this what grown-up young people do for fun? Where was the excitement? The pillow fights? The Coca-Cola? Things go better with Coke, so the commercials say. And things in this mobile can did require better going.

A man dressed in brown walked on the roadside. He hunched over and stuck out his thumb.

Fox slowed down the van. ‘Oh, a hitch-hiker. Why don’t we pick him up?’

‘Are you crazy? No way!’ Liesel batted his arm.

Fox eased the Kombi to a stop. ‘He looks like he needs a lift. What the heck.’

‘What’re you doing?’ Liesel raised her tone.

But Fox continued to pull over to the side of the road.

***

Read the whole story.

For a free Kindle download,

Click on the link:

The Hitch-hiker.

Free until Sunday, January 15 2023

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2015; post updated 2023

More Holiday Reading–Free, Free, Free

Thumm Christmas (part 2)

The Ants Pants of Christmas

When the backyard was clear of interfering adults, Wally’s harassment of the girls, particularly Minna, intensified. It began with vicious name calling, progressed to pinching and poking, and then escalated into soda warfare. Wally collected an arsenal of soda bottles which had come courtesy of Dad’s Christmas present soda machine, and after shaking vigorously, he assaulted the girls with the sticky fluid that spewed forth. No matter where Minna and Holly ran to escape, there lurked Wally, and the spray of soda. Not even freshly laid eggs from the hen house collected by Holly, and catapulted so accurately at Wally, deterred him from his soda campaign. It only stopped when the soda ran out. Grandma was not amused. ‘Them was good eggs,’ she lamented. She didn’t care about the soda.

Then came the stoning with pebbles from Grandma’s driveway. Wally rounded up the troops, all male, and barely pubescent. They scraped up the gravel by the tee-shirt full and set about pelting their female victims with the stones. The war of the Thumms had commenced; boys against girls. Holly and Minna cowered behind the corrugated iron bins and used the lids as shields. Grandma’s garbage was no match for gravel.

As the girls weathered another stone shower in the warmth of the Christmas Day twilight, Holly looked over at Minna. ‘Are you thinking what I am thinking?’ Holly had an uncanny knack for reading thoughts, especially Minna’s.

‘Yep, I think you are, Holly,’ Minna replied, smirking.

‘Well, then, what are we waiting for. Let’s dack him!’

‘Good thinking, Holly. There’s just the technical details to work out. Right?’ Minna ducked as a hail of pellets descended on them. ‘So how?’

‘Well, we could…’ Holly was full of brilliant ideas, but had trouble executing them.

‘I know, John, I’ll get my brother, John on our side. He’s an expert at dacking.’

‘Yes!’

Moving together, Holly and Minna held onto bin lids and side-stepped across the lawn to where John was fielding in another eternal game of French cricket. A spray of stones followed. Annoyed John hollered at the culprit, Wally, ‘Hey! Would you cut it out!’

‘Do you want revenge, John?’ Minna asked.

‘I’m playing cricket.’ John snapped.

Holly batted the tennis ball with her shield. ‘Won’t take long.’

‘Hey, I could have caught that.’ John sniffed and rubbed a pimple on the side of his nose.

‘See that over-sized baby, over there. That excuse of a boy called Wally?’ Minna pointed towards Wally as he gathered up more of the driveway in his tee-shirt. ‘Doesn’t he remind you of your worst enemy? Here’s your chance. You could dack him for us.’

‘Dack him yourself! I’m playing cricket.’ John replied while Holly batted another ball away with her shield. ‘Hey stop doing that!’

‘Only when you’ve dacked the Wally,’ Holly said. ‘I mean, look what he’s done to the drive way! And think about when you next mow Grandma’s lawn.’

John rolled his eyes. ‘Alright! But you owe me, cousin!’

Minna spotted Wally, again lurking, this time in the shadows, by the side of the house. She whispered to her big brother, ‘He’s just behind you, John.’

As Wally raised his hand to hurl stones on their unprotected bodies, John swung around and with one graceful and swift movement, drew Wally’s trousers, ants pants underpants revealed. Simultaneously in that split second, a flash lit up and interrupted the cricket match.

‘Yes! Good one!’ Minna congratulated John on his skill.

‘Thanks boys, that will make an excellent photo.’ Aunt Sophie announced, oblivious to the R-rated nature of her snap.

‘Yes!’ Holly sang. ‘Revenge is sweet!’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2018; updated 2023

Feature Photo: Christmas in Australia means cricket and beach © L.M. Kling 2007

***

Treat Yourself to Sci-fi Adventure this Holiday Season

Want more? More than before? Don’t just listen to the rumours of the war on Boris, read it for yourself. Find out how and why this war began.

Check out my novels on Amazon and in Kindle. Click on the links below:

The Lost World of the Wends—Free on Kindle until tomorrow January 3, 2023.

***

Discover how this War against Boris all began in

Mission of the Unwilling (2nd edition)

The Hitch-hiker

A New Year’s Gift–The Lost World of the Wends

Roast Cockroach

[An extract from my novel, in the War Against Boris series: The Lost World of the Wends]

The seven sat around the dining table in silence. The roast steamed in the centre. Candles either side guarded the meal. Thunder rumbled over the hills and mountains. Lightning flashed.

Boris nursed his ray-gun hand and then he placed it beside his knife; a reminder in case any member of the group chose not to cooperate, Joseph assumed.

‘Oh, I’m going to enjoy this,’ Boris purred. ‘Thank you, Herr and Frau Biar, for inviting me. I do apologise for not being at the service this morning. I had a little business to take care of.’ With an evil twinkle in his eye, he glanced at Amie. ‘How was the service?’

Amie gulped.

‘Boring,’ Friedrich said in a sing-song voice.

Frau Biar and Herr Biar tightened their mouths. They frowned at Friedrich and shook their heads.

Wilma piped up. ‘Joseph and Amie are in love.’

‘I know,’ Boris looked at Herr Biar. ‘Well, aren’t you going to do the honours? Cut up the chicken. I’m sure you’re all dying for the roast.’

A black bug crawled out of the chook’s orifice. Everyone watched as it meandered across the tablecloth.

Boris drummed the table. ‘Come on! I’m hungry!’

Herr Biar sighed. He sharpened his knife and sliced off some chicken breast.

‘No! No! A proper cut! Cut the chicken open!’ Boris rose and stood over Herr Biar.

Herr Biar jabbed the knife in the centre and flayed the roast.

Cockroaches teamed from the cavity and over the plates, cutlery and vegetables.

Joseph flicked them as they sauntered over his plate. Amie shook them off her dress.

‘Come on! Cut the meat up Biar!’ Boris raised his voice. ‘We want to eat.’

Herr Biar served portions onto the plates. Boris helped. He scooped up the black stuffing and slopped a spoonful on every plate. The stuffing reeked of a rancid stench that filled the room.

‘Now, the vegetables,’ Boris said. ‘Frau serve the vegetables. We must have our vegetables.’

Frau Biar lifted with fork and knife, the roast potatoes garnished with cockroach entrails and plopped them on the plates. Then she added the steamed peas and carrots mixed with bugs.

Six stunned people studied their portions of festering food, not daring to touch it. Boris presided over the group. He grinned from ear to ear, imitating the Cheshire cat from “Alice in Wonderland”, as he poured lumpy gravy over the chicken on each plate.

‘Go on, eat up,’ he urged. ‘Oh, and by the way, Amie and Joseph, I have your families—just where I want them.’

Joseph tracked a couple of roaches tumbling in the gravy.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

     Feature Photo: A good spread © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955

***

A Gift for the New Year…

Travel to The Lost World of the Wends

For Free

From today December 30, 2022 until January 3, 2023

Click on the link to my new novel,

The Lost World of the Wends

Tis the Season–Hurry Last Few Hours

Christmas, Thumm-style Down Under

[A Christmas special as a spin-off from my novels The Hitch-hiker and

Mission of the Unwilling.]

Christmas was encumbered with a monumental family gathering. Every family member imaginable plus a few ring-ins congregated at Grandma Thumm’s for the occasion. What was a logistical nightmare for Minna’s parents, aunts and uncles, was joy for Minna as her favourite cousin Holly visited from Switzerland. But she cringed on spotting Wally. (Grandma had felt sorry for his mum and her older teen charges Wally and Monica). That sense of pity didn’t extend to Minna as that dreaded ring-in, and one time school bully, scowled at Minna. Monica had escaped the Thumm Christmas. Home with a migraine. So, without Monica to protect her, Minna avoided Wally, and concentrated her attention on Holly.

Aunt Sophie, Holly’s mother, rounded the Thumm troops for the traditional family photo in the back garden in front of the grapevine. 

The camera got Minna thinking. I wonder…She became quiet and gazed up at the cobalt cloudless sky.

‘Is something wrong?’ Holly snapped her out of sky-gazing, then chuckled. ‘Oh, I know! You’re thinking of some boy.’

‘No!’ Minna shouted. ‘Not boys!’

‘Dinner time!’ Mum called. She rang the bell.

Like lemmings the Thumm clan trooped into Grandma’s kitchen.

As the elders settled around the antique 100-year-old oak table, with a spread of roast turkey, silver and the best china on white linen, Aunt Sophie beckoned to John, Minna’s older brother, ‘You can sit with us, dear, I want to hear all about that telescope you are making.’

Minna sighed, and followed the kids to the “kindertisch” on the back verandah. ‘My luck I’ll end up next to Wally’, she muttered to Holly as they heaped their plates full of the crispiest baked potatoes in the southern hemisphere.

Minna’s words came a reality as she perched on a foldable deck chair at the “kindertisch”. The only seat available for Wally, was next the hers. When he approached the table, paper plate laden into a V-shape from piles of poultry and potato, all the other kids had closed the ranks with their chairs, ensuring no Wally-sized gap existed. Minna, who had been busy discussing the method of making crunchy potato with Holly, had failed to register the Wally-approach. Too late, Wally squeezed his frame between her and Holly. Minna cringed. She would have preferred two Grandmas with wings on either side of her than to be seated next to him.

Wally spoiled what would have been a most pleasant Christmas dinner. As he hoed into his potato salad and smacked his lips together, Minna remarked, ‘You know, you remind me of Gomer Pyle! Where’re you from? Cornball Mississippi South?’

‘Shut up buck tooth Loch Ness Monster!’ Wally replied spraying a mouthful of spud over her plate.

‘Oh! Yuk! Creep germs!’ Minna cried. With that, she tipped the tainted contents over his lap.

‘I’ll get Boris onto you. Or better still, his cockroaches. Ha-ha.’

‘Whoever Boris is. Anyway, you’re one big cockroach.’

‘You dog!’ Wally scraped up a wad of potato and flicked it in her face.

‘How dare you contaminate me!’ She knocked her cola over his trousers. ‘Oops! Looks like someone’s had an accident. Ha! Ha! Wally’s peed himself!’

All the cousins laughed.

‘You cow!’ Wally squealed. His voice cracked and squeaked as if he were a pig.

‘Come, come! What’s going on?’ Grandma poked her head out the back door.

Wally pointed at Minna. ‘The dog did it!’

‘Now, now, that’s not a nice thing to say about your cousin.’ Grandma chided. ‘Dear me, what happened to your pants, Wally?’

‘It was an accident.’ Minna chortled. ‘Wasn’t it, Holly?’

Holly nodded and giggled into her napkin. She had no time for the loathsome Wally either. ‘Yeah, Gran, he had an accident, he peed himself.’ She guffawed.

‘What? Minna threw the drink on me!’ Wally yelped. He brushed the stain with his holly decorated napkin.

‘Now, now, Wally, calm down!’ Grandma reasoned. She waddled her wide-girth body to the table and put an arm around Wally’s shoulder. ‘You must treat girls with respect. You don’t go calling them names like that. Now you say, “Sorry”.’

Wally scowled and muttered, ‘Sorry!’

Satisfied, Grandma went back to her job of hosting the adults who were by this time popping bon-bons and laughing out loud at the lame jokes discovered inside them.

Holly and Minna tittered as they observed Wally move away and seat his slimy self all alone at an extra tiny card table. The paper hat sat crookedly on his greasy scalp.

Minna giggled and said, ‘Hey, Holly, with that salad bowl hair cut and pasty complexion, he looks like the dork from Oz.’

‘Shut up!’ Wally menaced as the girls continued to snigger. He hurled the bone at them. The girls dodged the missile and it landed with a plop in dried up plant pot.

‘Oooh!’ Holly jibed. ‘Respect the ladies, didn’t you hear what Grandma said?’

‘You’re no ladies,’ Wally mumbled.

His mother poked her nose out the window. ‘Wally?’

‘Nothing,’ her son muttered, and with head down, he played with a chicken wing on his plate.

 […to be continued]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2018

Feature Photo: Christmas Table © L.M. Kling 2006 

***

Treat Yourself to a space adventure this Holiday season

Want more? More than before? Don’t just listen to the rumours of the war on Boris, read it for yourself. Find out how and why this war began.

Check out my novels on Amazon and in Kindle. Click on the links below:

Mission of the Unwilling—Free for the next few hours.

***

Or check out Holly’s adventures in

The Hitch-hiker 

Mission For Free–A New Beginning

A New Beginning

Where to start? That is the question and challenge for every author as they embark on writing that “Great (insert your country of choice) novel”.

For years my first novel, Mission of the Unwilling has languished on the virtual shelves of Amazon mostly unread, unloved. Why?

So, I asked the team at Indie Scriptorium to have a look at the story and give feedback. Elsie commented that some scenes were too confronting and caused her to have nightmares. Boris can have that effect.

Mary apologized and said that I needed to rewrite the first chapter as there wasn’t enough information to keep the reader engaged.

So, for me, the work began…and a new chapter, a new beginning evolved. Oh, and some of the more “silencey of the lambs” bits were toned down. It worried me that Boris might be giving my readers nightmares.

Anyway, it will cost you nothing to download a copy of Mission of the Unwilling (second edition). It’s free on Kindle from today (23 December) until Tuesday 27 December.

[Extract from Mission of the Unwilling (2nd Ed)

PREAMBLE

ABDUCTED…ALMOST

October 1986

Minna: reflections from her diary

One Friday night in late autumn, I ventured up the dimly lit path of the university grounds to North Terrace and waited to cross at the lights. The air, although well into spring, October, in fact, still had a bite in it. Not that the chill deterred me from wearing a cotton plaid mini dress that I had discovered in my mother’s wardrobe. I often dipped into her 1960’s collection of fashion icons, especially when she’s away on one of her frequent business trips. I like the 1960’s. Although I’ve flirted with the buffed up and permed hair of current fashion, I’ve reverted to my natural long straight blonde locks. Günter likes my hair “natural” as he puts it.

I glanced at my watch. 6:00pm. The car traffic was at its peak, but the university student mass had begun to peter out. I smiled. That’ll be me, next year.

As it’s Friday night shopping, I anticipated the shops in Rundle Mall to be open. A chance to scout around the city’s dress and record shops before heading home and then off to a night at the movies with my friends from youth group, Monica and Liesel.

I sighed. The only problem with movies is that we can never decide what to see. As almost graduating high school students, Liesel and I would be hankering for a racy adventure or science fiction and Monica, who’s four years older than us, would be the ultimate wet blanket wanting to see only soppy love stories.

To my right, a voice with a distinct German accent, ‘Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?’

Ah! Günter, I thought. Voice doesn’t sound familiar, though. Not Günter’s warm deep voice.

I turned abruptly intending to give my standard closed response, of a sharp “No!” However, on closer inspection, this owner of the lame line appeared familiar. But who? Dressed for power. Styled in an Italian-made dark business suit, up and coming, right and ready for money-making, and to impress the ladies in town. The finely cut features of his face and neatly cut ash-blonde hair made him an ideal candidate for a fashion magazine or David Jones catalogue. I gathered the impression that this familiar man was trying to be the world’s most eligible bachelor. However, despite all the familiarity and fine appearance, something about him was not right. I was suspicious. But not so suspicious to be unfriendly to him.

‘Now isn’t it amazing that we should meet, on a day, in a place at such a time as this,’ the model man said.

‘Perhaps,’ I replied whilst staring straight ahead. The pedestrian lights turned to “walk” and we strode over North Terrace to Pulteney Street.

‘We must have coffee and catch up. Why, I haven’t seen you since, um, since um…’

Instead of saying, “No, I have to go,” like a lamb to the slaughter, I meekly followed him down below street level into a nearby wine bar. The atmosphere was neat, clean, and the lighting dim. Although near Rundle Mall, I sensed a seedy darkness, as if downtown Hindley Street.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Sellicks Beach © L.M. Kling 2017

***

Continue to feast on this story over the Christmas season.

A treat for all my friends and followers.

Download for free (from December 23-27) from Kindle

Click here on Mission of the Unwilling (second edition).

On a Mission–Refined and Revamped MOU2

There’s this WP prompt here to list my top 5 grocery items. So, here’s mine: Sour dough bread, milk, super berry juice, crackers, and chocolate. No need to buy meat, we buy it bulk, and have it delivered straight from the farm. And vegetables we grow in our garden. Eggs come from a friend who has chooks.

Now, when I’m not shopping for bread and milk, I’ve been working on the second edition of my first novel, Mission of the Unwilling.

If you are tired of the mundane and are wanting space adventure, and the mischief and mayhem that alien cockroach Boris creates…

A Taste from Mission of the Unwilling (2nd Edition)

Avoiding Monica’s Playroom, (I thought Maggie might be lurking there), I headed for the Driver room. Would Günter zap back to a Grey and be piloting there? Or would just his apes be in the Driver room? I approached the junction where the right passage led to that room of monitors and Günter. I sensed someone sliding along the wall behind me and looked back.

A lump lodged in my throat. Not the Grey Nurse again!

‘Where is he?’ She tugged at my collar choking me. ‘You go to him—get him. I want him.’ Does she ever give up?

‘If you’re that desperate, find him yourself.’ I veered the other way, ducked around the next corner, and lost her.

I headed for the Engine room. I had to see John and talk to him about all my troubles. And warn him Boris might be back. What I liked about John was he didn’t talk much; he just sat there and listened.

I entered the maze of towering machines, pumps, and raw veins of bound wires. Anxious, at every sound of a swish behind me, I checked my back. Every wheeze, and I slammed myself up against the closest engine cowling, flattening myself for cover. I reached John’s small office and lurched through the entrance.

Hands gripped around my eyes. Darkness, even darker.

‘We must leave here,’ a deep voice said. ‘Now.’

‘Why?’

‘It is not safe; there has been an accident.’

‘Günter, is that you?’

He pushed me, guiding me. Something oily underfoot made me slip. He held me. Then carried me out.

In the light of the corridor, I blinked. Günter appeared pale. His forehead was covered in beads of perspiration. And as he held me, he trembled.

My shoe stuck to the floor. I lifted my foot. On the tiles, a bloodstained shoe print.

‘W-what’s going on?’ I asked.

‘I-it is J-John…’ Günter rasped. ‘I-didn’t want you…to see…’

‘John? Is he…no, not John…he can’t be…’ I moved to enter the engineering room.

‘No danger.’ Günter pulled me back. ‘He is…he is gone.’

Günter cradled me in his arms as we both wept.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Mission of the Unwilling cover © L.M. Kling 2022 (UFO © Liz Maxted)

***

Continue to feast on this story over the Christmas season.

A treat for all my friends and followers.

Download for free (from December 23-27) on Kindle

Click here on Mission of the Unwilling

Wednesday Wandering–Time Paradox

[As the year comes to an end, a reflection on the passing of time…Especially since I’ve noticed time slipping away from me and feeling like I accomplish less each day than I used to.]

WARPED TIME

An argument broke out between two members of our family over time—threatening a war that would rival the epic war of the Time Lords from the Dr Who series.

‘You better allow at least two hours to get from Zurich Airport to Wattwil,’ a member of our family who came from Switzerland warns.

*[Photo 1: Zurich from above © L.M. Kling 2014]

‘What? According to Google Maps, it should only take an hour,’ another family member shows their relative the map on their computer screen. ‘See? It’s only sixty kilometres—and we’ve got the freeway.’

*[Photo 2: Countryside near Wattwil © L.M. Kling 2014]

And so, a joke endures in our family that time speeds up in Switzerland, perhaps owing to the mini-black hole created by the Large Hadron Collider.

Fast forward to Zurich Airport August 2014…and we witness not time, but our relatives, fresh off the plane, stand still for an hour and a half, debating where to change Australian dollars into Swiss Francs. Is this what our relative meant when they said all goes slower in Switzerland? For them, perhaps, not us. Up until then, the only impediment to our timekeeping was a wayward Tom Tom who prefers scenic routes to the more expedient ones, and road works—the bane of summertime in Europe.

*[Photo 3: Destination Badenweiler, Black Forest after scenic tour into France © L.M. Kling 2014]

So, maybe it wasn’t the mini–Black Hole after all, but I have observed time does speed up or slow down depending on the place and activity. You may have heard the old adage: “Time flies when you’re having fun”. When I’m painting, I’m in the zone, and hours melt away, and a whole afternoon disappears into night. My son will come to me and ask, ‘When’s tea?’

‘Soon,’ I say. ‘Just need to do a few more dabs.’

Another hour slips by and my husband comes and says, ‘It’s nine o’clock, when are we eating?’

Fine then. I put down my brushes and admire my work…for another half an hour.

*[Painting 1: Somerton Beach summer sunset © L.M. Kling 2018]

Yet there are places where time slows and stretches almost into eternity. My mother and I are convinced that Magill, a suburb east of Adelaide city, is one of those places. We love our “Magill time”—a leisurely lunch, then a slow snoop at the Salvos, then the bookshop, and still time to do the grocery shopping before we pick up my son from his guitar-making workshop.

However, for my son, “Magill time” doesn’t exist. For him, the time spent on his craft vanishes into the sawdust—much like when I paint, I guess.

My son theorises that time is relative to age. When a person is young, say, one year old, they haven’t experienced much time so the time they have lived seems a long and drawn out. But for an eighty-year-old, one year is one of eighty and thus seems short in comparison.

*[Photo 4: Timeless, Morialta Falls just a few kilometres from Magill © L.M. Kling 2013]

I guess there’s something to be said that time is related to energy. Young people possess a greater amount of energy; they pack so much more into a day, and still don’t tire. Have you noticed, as you get older, young people speak faster? Or if you are younger, you wonder why older people speak so slow. What’s going on there? Young people complain about being bored and needing to fill in each minute of the day, so as not to waste time. Screen time fills in the gaps when “nothing” is happening.

*[Photo 5: Screen time Christmas © L.M. Kling 2016]

In contrast, I believe there is a phenomenon called “older people’s time”. I observed this with my aging relatives. They complain time speeds up, but from my point of view they are just slowing down. They compensate for their slow movement in time, by preparing in advance for events, and arriving early so as not to miss out. It’s not unusual for the older generation to arrive at a venue an hour early so as to be on time.

*[Photo 6: Grandpa Nap time © L.M. Kling circa 1978]

And in contrast to their youth, older people prefer to sit for hours pondering, their memories perusing their past. For them, days blend together, years vanish into a succession of Christmases. ‘Oh, dear, how time has flown,’ they say. Some think they’ve lived so long, they experienced the pre-Industrial Revolution. Not sure what’s going on there.

*[Photo 7: The good ol’ days way back when… Christmas on Mission in the Cameroons © F.W. Basedow circa 1899]

I guess at the end of the day, as in Psalm 31:15a, David says, “My(our) times are in your (God’s) hands”. We are encouraged to use our time on Earth wisely, loving and building each other up in goodness and thanking God for the time He has given us.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2020; 2022

*Feature Photo: Seacliff Sunset © L.M. Kling 2013

***

Virtual Travel Opportunity

Download for free from Thursday, December 15 until Monday December 19

Click on the link and download your kindle copy of my travel memoir,

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari. (Australia)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (United States)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (UK)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (Germany]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [France]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (India)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Canada]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Mexico]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Italy]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Brazil]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Spain]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Japan]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Netherlands]

The Hitch-hiker, Last Day Free

[An excerpt…]

More silence as the Kombi trundled along Main North Road. Was this the trend for the road trip? Long awkward silences. Two brothers sitting side by side, itching to punch each other. Liesel itched to lay hands on Fox who squashed himself against the car door. And Minna opposite Günter, tried not to make too many calf-eyes at him, as well as trying her best to not nibble her nails. Was this what grown-up young people do for fun? Where was the excitement? The pillow fights? The Coca-Cola? Things go better with Coke, so the commercials say. And things in this mobile can did require better going.

A man dressed in brown walked on the roadside. He hunched over and stuck out his thumb.

Fox slowed down the van. ‘Oh, a hitch-hiker. Why don’t we pick him up?’

‘Are you crazy? No way!’ Liesel batted his arm.

Fox eased the Kombi to a stop. ‘He looks like he needs a lift. What the heck.’

‘What’re you doing?’ Liesel raised her tone.

But Fox continued to pull over to the side of the road.

[Read the whole story.

For a free Kindle download,

Click on the link:

The Hitch-hiker.]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2015; updated 2022

Take a Free Horror Ride: A Halloween Special

THE HITCH-HIKER

[An Extract]

Johann glanced back at the bug of the man settled on the tucker box. ‘Cup? You want a cup? Be my guest, they’re in the tucker box, I think.’

I sidestepped that idea and ran to the Kombi. The coke bottle, I’d use the coke bottle.

After emptying out the icky liquid, I raced to the other side of the van. I reached as far as I could on tippy toes. No use. I was just too short. I jumped. I tried climbing up the roof rack. Failed. No footholds to launch me up. I slumped on the edge of the road and cried. No one cared that we were in danger. Liesel had given up without even trying. She didn’t care. And worse, I didn’t matter. Me, a nobody. Thirsty and no one bothered to give me a drink. Aware that I was all alone, I sniffed. Nothing could make me happy, not even the smell of kangaroo steak wafting under my nose.

‘Oh, little girl, why so sad?’

I looked up to see Boris in his grey skirt towering over me. I was sick to the stomach, like I had eaten a cocktail of worms and cockroaches.

‘What is wrong my pet?’ he asked.

I shuddered but refused to answer.

‘Maybe I can help you.’

For a price, I thought.

‘Just tell me what you want more than anything in the whole wide world.’

I glared at him. Over my dead body. What is this man?

Tears blurred my view.

He extended an arm to me. ‘Anything, anything at all.’ his arm seemed so skinny; more like a tentacle than a limb.

I rubbed my eyes.

It crouched beside me. ‘Come on, you can tell me. You can trust me. I can grant you anything, any wish you have.’

I blinked.

Beside me perched a man-size cockroach. Its oily armour glistened in the golden rays of the risen sun.

‘I don’t think I need anything, Sir.’ I tried to stay cool and resisted the urge to recoil.

Its antennae twitched. ‘Anything. Just say the word. Your wish is my command.’

‘I want you to leave me alone,’ I said. All thoughts of thirst evaporated.

Its beady eyes bored through me into my soul trying to suck out all my goodness, my life. ‘My dear girl, I’d beg you to reconsider. With the gifts you possess, the universe is your oyster—if you follow me.’

I gulped. A cold breeze cut through me and as if I’d faced death itself; the Grim Reaper. I pushed myself up, and staggered from it. ‘No thanks, I’ll have none of what you offer.’

It reached out a spiny hand. ‘But you’ll—’

‘None at all.’ I dropped the bottle, and bolted to the campsite.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2015

Photo: Night Drama Flinders Ranges © Lee-Anne Marie Kling © 2000

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Some Thoughts on a Sunday–Lost Sheep

[This Sunday morning’s sermon tackled the parable of the Lost Sheep, Luke 15;4-7. I recall an ancient post I had written way back when I first began blogging in 2015. Then today, the parable’s meaning was reinforced when I spent all afternoon searching for a document vital for our tax return. Strange how items vanish…We gave up on the paper and were able to retrieve a copy from the relevant website.

However, each person is unique. If a person goes missing, you can’t just replace them by copying them. Every year in Australia, around 38000 people go missing. Most are found within few weeks, but 2600 remain missing after three months.

The following post is a re-blog of the one I published in 2015.]

Lost Sheep

A fellow writer criticized the Mission of the Unwilling saying, ‘How can so many people go into space without others missing them on Earth?’

Good point—and I duly corrected that detail. As a part of the Intergalactic Space Force, each recruit had their explanation which they gave to family and friends why they wouldn’t be around for a while. Yes, fixed that…but—just wait a minute—did I have to do that to make the story believable?

Thousands of people around the world go missing every day…and if I think about it, I know people who have.

Sure, there’s the famous cases. Yes, Adelaide, South Australia, my hometown, is known for a few of those strange cases, both unsolved and solved. I remember as a child told not to talk to strangers…remember those children ‘round the corner? Never seen again.

But then there’s the willing missing—the ones who for whatever reason drop off the radar, leaving behind family and friends, to start their lives afresh. And they might have good reason to disappear if they’ve been the victim of an abusive relationship, or they’re a witness who needs protection.

Each community and clan deal with this jump off the radar differently. As is evident from my own observations of this current society, they are not all like my fellow writer who would make a beeline for the nearest police station when a loved one of theirs goes missing. In fact, there have been recent examples in Australia where the missing persons have met untimely permanent pushes off the radar from perpetrators who have then pretended, through text messages and the use of their bank accounts to deceive family and friends into believing their missing loved one is alive, but just doesn’t want contact. And in some cases, family and friends have believed these lies for months, years.

Isn’t this a cause for concern? Has our community become so disconnected, so focussed on the rights of the individual, we consider it a “social crime” to intrude on another’s privacy? Is society so fragmented, that when we receive a text or internet message from a loved one, saying, ‘Leave me alone,’ we accept it as gospel, as coming from the loved one, and sit back and leave them alone? Is there a problem these days speaking face to face, and treating people like they matter? Is it possible some people go missing because they feel no one cares; that they don’t matter?

In the parable of the Lost Sheep Luke 15:4-7, the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine sheep to search for the lost one. In this society, such a person who goes looking for the lost, the “Black Sheep” of the family, is labelled “crazy”. But in God’s Kingdom each person is precious. Our world may not value these “lost sheep”, but God does, and His people do. I guess in the world’s eyes, God is crazy; He loves and values every human being. And the thing about lost “sheep”, they may not know they are lost, they may not want to be found, they may feel invisible in the sea of billions of “sheep”, but God knows who they are. I reckon there’s a bit of “lost sheep” in each of us. When we make others visible, treat them like they matter, and care for each other, this is community; we find the “lost sheep” and God finds us. This is our challenge, to value and love one another and treat each person with value and respect because they matter.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather others label me as “crazy” because I care and want to relate to real people, rather than be considered “sane” and thus disconnected, living my life only virtually through a screen.

 © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2022

Feature Photo: Sheep in the green paddock © L.M. Kling 2009

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