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

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).

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

***

Read the full story—

Join the ride with The Hitch-hiker for free from today (Halloween) until Friday November 4.

Available in Amazon on Kindle.

Click on the link: The Hitch-Hiker

Choice Bites–Minna

As I developed my characters from the War against Boris series, stories began to emerge. Here’s one of them.

THE CHOICE: MINNA

One of those summer days doused in grey…I ride my bike to the beach to collect shells. As I comb the surf-soaked sands, a man’s voice snaps me out of the zone.

‘Found anyone interesting?’

‘Nup, no bodies,’ I murmur.

‘That’s a shame, a nice looking lady like you.’’

I fix my sight on shards of shell and ignore him. Hate those pickup lines.

‘Oh, what’s your problem? I’m not going to bite.’

I glance at him—had to see what creep I’m dealing with. Pale, pock-marked face, thirties and just a little taller than me at 165cm. In a grubby white t-shirt and brown trousers. “Never trust a man who wears brown trousers,” my school friend Liesel always said.

‘Come on, dear, just a little conversation. Tell me, what do you want more than anything in the world.’

I shrug. ‘To leave me alone.’

‘Tell you what, you tell me and I’ll leave you alone. Deal?’

I push my bike faster trying to escape this man, but he follows me.

‘I promise, I’ll leave you alone—just tell me.’

Hopping on my bike I announce, ‘I don’t talk to strangers.’

‘I’m not going to hurt you. I bet, I bet you’re one of those girls who wants to get married, have a family. That’s what you want more than anything.’

‘If you say so, now leave me alone,’ I say and then speed from the creepy little man with his creepy questions.

‘Your desire will be arranged,’ he says as I splash my wheels through the water. He then shouts, ‘But, I might add, there will be a price.’

‘Sure, sour grapes,’ I mumble. Then pumping the pedals, I sail along the damp-packed sand where the waves meet the shore.

Then, near the ramp and having to cross sand too soft for bike wheels, I glance behind before alighting.

The man in brown trousers is gone…

A short story from another project relating to that alien cockroach, Boris, “Choice Bites© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016, updated 2022

Painting: Sellicks Beach—where Mission of the Unwilling begins © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2015 [Mixed media]

***

Want More?

More than before?

Read more on the war against the fiend you love to hate; an overgrown alien cockroach, Boris.

Click on the links below:

The Lost World of the Wends

The Hitch-hiker

Mission of the Unwilling

Tuesday Thoughts–On Writing

[Again, COVID, that uninvited guest has thwarted my visit to Carol’s. This time although she’s well, she’s a close contact and must isolate for 7 days. Meanwhile, I have been working on my writing and have been reflecting on what I have learnt makes for a good story.]

Unbelievable to Believable

Unbelievable, that’s what they said about my novel. Unbelievable. Is that why my first novel, Mission of the Unwilling has failed to thrive? Why there’s no feedback? Or is it a case of someone who’s not a Young Adult, and just not into Sci-Fi?

Whatever, I consider this feedback valid and believable. Over the next few months, I plan to revisit Minna’s world and her adventures at the mercy of Boris and learn from my venture into self-publishing. Nothing is wasted. The take-away from the most recent honest feedback—make my stories believable.

What does this mean for me as I refine the craft of story-telling?

  1. My characters are real to the reader.
  2. The setting is authentic, so that the reader can step into my constructed “world” suspending all disbelief.
  3. The audience buy into the journey they take into that world.

But, what does “suspending disbelief” mean. I mean, really? I mean, when I revisit my stories, to me, the characters are alive, the setting an on-site movie set, and I gladly invest in the tale told. Not so for some of my readers, apparently. In truth, I’m too close to my work to view it objectively. I need and appreciate feedback from others. I’d go as far as to say that most writers benefit from a second, third, fourth or umpteenth pair of eyes to make their work the best it possibly can be.

Photo: How believable do you find Sherlock Holmes? © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2014

So, from the perspective as a reader, that extra pair of eyes on other works, here’s what I’ve learnt that suspends disbelief and do some unpacking of techniques that make characters, setting and journey more believable.

  1. Believable characters: Someone with whom you connect. You know that person. You’ve met them. You’ve had lunch them. You’ve admired them. They’ve annoyed you with their quirky habits. They’re those people you see across a crowded coffee shop and already you’ve constructed a whole story around them, by observing their posture, expressions and gestures. You invest time following what they’ll do, what will happen to them. Believable characters don’t have to be human, but they do need human qualities and personality for readers to relate to them.
  2. Believable setting: Best woven into the forward-moving action of the story. The writer describes the setting with the five senses, what you: 1) see, 2) hear, 3) touch, 4) smell, and 5) taste. And for the world to be memorable, the author picks up something unique or odd about the place. For example, I may write of Palm Valley in Central Australia, ‘Ghost gums jut out of the tangerine rock-face, and a soft wind rustles through the prehistoric palms.’
  3. Believable Story: You need to convince your readers that such a sequence of events can happen. A skilful writer uses the technique of cause and effect. The character makes a choice, and their actions result in consequences often leading to dilemma that must be resolved. Readers are more likely to engage with proactive characters who influence their environment and others, and who make active choices to change and grow, rather than the passive characters who have every disaster happen to them, and their problems magically solved.

Yes, pile on the misery, pile on the challenges, don’t be afraid to get your characters into strife; that’s what the reader’s looking for. But remember, the chain of events must be believable. An article by Laurence Block, Keeping Your Fiction Shipshape*, describes the relationship between storyteller and audience is like enticing readers onto a cruise ship, keeping them there, and delivering them back to port with a good satisfying end.

It’s the skill of the storyteller to convince the audience. If the characters are believable, the setting is believable, and the action believable, your readers will enjoy the ride and complete the journey you, as the storyteller, takes them on.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2022

Feature Photo: Line up for Notre dame Cathedral © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2014

[Why Notre dame? Victor Hugo, the author of Hunchback of Notre-Dame, spent the first three-quarters of the book describing the setting. Useful if you visit Paris, but does nothing for moving the story forward.

Also tourists willing to invest in the journey to climb Notre-Dame by waiting several hours in the long line that stretched the length of the Cathedral. What will they see? The gargoyles (characters), a view of Paris (setting) and a climb and walk through the Cathedral (the journey).]

*Reference: Laurance Block, “Keeping Your Fiction Shipshape”, article in The Writers Project Handbook of Novel Writing © 1992

***

Read more, and lose yourself in this tale where the nineteenth century meets the twenty-first…

Click on the link,

To download my novel

The Lost World of the Wends

Or…

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Bonfire on the Beach (2)

Bonfire on the Beach

Part 2

[Tuesdays with Carol is on hold as a certain virus has accosted a close family member and so, we are in isolation. By the way, Carol, when I informed her, was most thankful her godson (my son), needed my assistance as mum’s taxi for some shopping last Thursday. If he hadn’t, I would’ve visited her that Thursday afternoon potentially putting her at risk.

Anyway, here’s the conclusion of Bonfire on the Beach where the murder mystery begins…]

Hit and Run

With a hip flask between best friends, Fifi and Lillie slipped away, gliding along the shore and up the ramp to the road. Kangaroo-skin blanket wrapped around them, the girls perched on a seat overlooking the miniature party scene. The orange glow of the revived bonfire danced in the cove below them. While they gossiped, topic of conversation focussing on Wally, the crisp air carried the beat of The Doors and Sven’s Ford Falcon XB rumbling up the ramp.

Lillie rubbed notches in the seat. Four lines scratched into the backrest. ‘What does this mean?’

‘Some local stud’s score, I reckon.’ Fifi traced the lines. ‘Fox’s probably.’

‘Not much of a stud, then,’ Lillie scoffed, ‘Geoffrey Fox must’ve had more than four conquests. Surely.’

A roar ripped through their conversation.

‘Excellent! A drag race!’ Fifi said and tore the blanket from Lillie.

Fifi waddled to the empty patch of bitumen.

Shivering, Lillie followed and peered down the peninsula. As the headlights approached, a dull thud and a torso, arms and legs flying, altered their curiosity. One headlight wobbled; its radiance extinguished.

Fifi tottered towards the action. ‘What was that?’

‘Probably just a roo.’

‘And what roo has two legs and arms? I definitely saw two legs and arms. I’m going to have look.’

The girlfriends reached the spot. Motorbike shattered on the pavement. Body tangled around a pole, eyes glassy, staring into eternity.

Lillie’s gaze fixated on the human wreckage; mutilation mingled with man’s frailty into her memory.

Fifi dragged Lillie down the ramp. ‘Come, we can’t just stand here. We better tell the others, someone.’

Fox reclined by the fire hypnotised by the flames.

Jimmy, through a mouthful of crisps, said, ‘A good thing that Wally wasn’t there otherwise he would be raving about the grisly details till morning.’

‘It was Wally,’ Lillie said and wiped her dripping nose.

‘Oh,’ Jimmy said and popped a large curly crisp into his mouth and munched.

Unimpressed Fifi yanked at Lillie’s arm. ‘Come on, Lillie. We better see what we can do for the poor bloke.’

A group of pensioners hovered over the blood-stained sheet. Leaning up against the warped pole, a man with black rimmed glasses and bulging nose wagged his head. ‘There was nothing we could do.’

Wrapped in a lavender quilted dressing gown, a woman, hair in rollers, gawked. ‘Poor fellow. What a waste!’

Blood splatters glinted in the streetlight. Acid brewed in Lillie’s stomach. She held her throat and gulped. ‘I don’t feel so well. Let’s go back down.’

‘If you insist.’ Fifi trailed after her friend, hanging back, stopping as the ambulance arrived, watching as it ferried the latest statistic towards the red glow of Adelaide.

Back at the bonfire, Lillie nestled up to Geoffrey Fox. She didn’t want to be alone.

Later, Fox’s Kombi became the couple’s refuge and passion Lillie’s comfort.

Morning: sea watery blue, translucent. Sven emerged from his Falcon. He leant against the bonnet and nursed a jagged dent in the fender. Lillie watched banter between Sven and Jimmy through her flickering sleep-salted eyes.

‘Guess what!’ Jimmy’s mouth frothed with stale left-over beer.

‘What?’ Sven did not look up but continued to stroke and inspect a cracked headlight.

‘Some hoon killed Wally up there.’

Sven shrugged and then adjusted a pair of chipped Polaroid sunglasses on his fine pointed nose.

Crawling out of the Kombi, Lillie hobbled over to the Falcon. ‘Hey, just wait a minute. What’s Wals – How come you’re wearing Wally’s shades, Sven?’

Sven surveyed the placid blue sea. ‘Dunno, they were there, I s’pose.’ He rubbed the damage to his bonnet, frowning as flecks of red paint floated in the breeze. ‘‘Sides he wrecked mine!’

‘And your car? How did you get that dent?’

‘I dunno. Can’t help it if that stupid fatso gets in the way.’ Sven wiped his faded jeans, blotched greasy and brown, purging his hands of sand. ‘It’s what I do to people like Wally and dirty old men.’

‘What do you mean?’ Lille caught her breath and stepped back. ‘Have you done this before?’

‘Ha! Ha! Fooled you!’ Sven tossed his head back and laughed. ‘Geez, sis, you’re so gullible.’

Her brother then climbed into his Ford, spun the wheels, and flew over the firm damp shore, shrinking into the distance, towards Aldinga beach, then returning.

Lillie kicked sand into the ashes. ‘I feel sick. What are we going to do?’

Fifi squirmed in her sleeping bag. ‘Huh? What do you mean?’

‘Last night. Wally. You know.’

Poking her head from the hood, Fifi faced Lillie and narrowed her eyes. ‘Last night? Nothing happened, okay? Nothing happened. We were at Dee’s party – If anyone asks. Okay?” She turned her head to the others and enunciated each syllable. ‘Isn’t that right.’

Jimmy charged his stubby and nodded.

Fox poked his head out the Kombi’s open window. ‘Yep, Dee’s.’

‘But – but…Dee’s my worst enemy. No one will believe that I would’ve been at Dee’s,’ Lillie said and heaped more sand on the coals. ‘We can’t just – they’ll know. And the old people…up there…they saw us.’

‘Look, Lillie,’ Sven said, ‘the police are up there right now investigating. No one has come down to interview us. So, leave it alone.’

‘Look, Lillie, I’ll figure something out. Okay? Anyway, we didn’t see anything. It’s not our problem.’ Fifi scrambled from her bag and smoothed sand with her foot over the campsite. ‘Now, we better disappear.’

Sven dusted his hands of sand. ‘Best we don’t get involved.’

In silent haste, the group joined Fifi’s efforts to erase all evidence of their existence there.

As the golden orb of sun peeped over the barren slopes, the red Ford Falcon and orange Kombi made a slow procession, tyres treading with respect over the shards of glass, then pelting on the highway North to the city.

A young traffic constable Dan Hooper admired the sleek red Ford Falcon as he made his way down Main South Road towards the fatal accident scene from the previous night. Reminded him of the Mad Max film he had watched on a video player at Dee’s party the previous night.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Fire © L.M. Kling 2008

***

Free till Thursday April 21

In the mid-nineteenth century, a village of Wends, on their way to Australia, mysteriously disappeared…

Who was responsible? How did they vanish?

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends   

The Lost World of the Wends–Free

The Lost World of the Wends

In the Morgue

[An extract from my novel, The Lost World of the Wends on Amazon Kindle and in print.]

A crack and a flash. Then everything went dark.

Friedrich was sure it was his fault. He was always getting smacks or the belt from his father—usually for not polishing his boots perfectly. Or for spilling milk on the floor. But when he saw the blue line in the air, the urge to escape, was too great. This was not the first time he’d ventured beyond the thin blue line under the outhouse. He just had to go through the light—for Wilma…

Then bang. Everything went black…

Friedrich put out his hands and shuffled forward. He groped for a wall, a surface, anything to orient himself.

He tripped over some bulk. He fell onto it. It groaned.

Friedrich scrambled to his feet. His mouth went dry. It was like his heart, lungs and guts were in his mouth. Oh, no! I’m on an alien world without light and with groaning monsters.

The thing at his feet moaned. It sounded like a man.

Friedrich gulped. He knelt down. He held out his shaking hand. He touched something soft and greasy. Was that hair under his fingertips?

‘Who are you?’ he asked in his Silesian language. ‘What’s your name?’

The man-thing with hair moaned again and then mumbled what sounded like forbidden words in another language. He’d heard Joseph use such words when angry.

‘My name’s Friedrich,’ the boy said. ‘And you?’

‘Oh, the pain! The pain!’ the man-thing said in that strange language. It did sound like the tongue Joseph and Amie used. They spoke using similar sounds when they were together.

Friedrich presumed the man spoke English. But he knew few English words, so he still hoped the man understood his native language. ‘How are you?’

‘Oh, the pain! My stomach! My head!’

Friedrich traced the head, the shoulders, arms and distended stomach. ‘You’re a man, aren’t you?’ He patted the spongy surface in the middle.

The man groaned and squirmed.

‘You’re a sick man,’ Friedrich said using the word in his language “krank”.

‘Too right, I’m cranky!’ the man straightened up. He grabbed Friedrich’s wrist. ‘And who the heck are you?’

‘Huh?’

‘What?’

‘Huh? What?’

‘What? Huh?’

Friedrich shook his hand free from the man. How was he to make sense of this man in the dark? How was he to make this man understand him? Joseph and Amie could speak his native tongue, Silesian, but this man couldn’t, apparently. Friedrich rubbed his hand.

‘Who are you?’ the man asked. ‘Where the frick are we?’

What was this man saying?

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Bat-Man © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955

***

Take a Free Trip this Easter Holiday to

The Lost World of the Wends

Free on Kindle

From Sunday 17 April till Thursday 21 April (US timezone)

To download,

Click on the link,

The Lost World of the Wends

Or…

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Sunday Story–Bonfire

Bonfire on the Beach

Part 1

[I first wrote this story over thirty years ago in response to a newspaper murder mystery competition. Upon completing the story, I never submitted it for scrutiny. Since then, the tale has endured several edits and reworkings, the latest being just last week.

The story is pure fantasy but is based on real life events from my youth. Over the last 30 years the characters have evolved to become on the whole, fictional.

Note, bonfires are no longer permitted on beaches near Adelaide. However, cars are still allowed to drive on the sands of some beaches south of Adelaide, such as Sellicks Beach.]

The Uninvited

The five friends huddled in the firelight, reflecting on the ritual burning of Lillie’s matriculation Modern History textbooks and the year past. The Doors boomed in the background.

A sand-splattered blood-red Ford Falcon XB and a bright orange Kombi-van, guarded Geoffrey Fox and Lillie Hughson, Lillie’s older brother Sven and her best friend Fifi Edwards and Fifi’s brother Jimmy from any unwanted intruders.

An old man on the cliff top waved an angry fist, his threats carried away by the sharp November breeze. Sven returned the gesture shaking his fist with menace at the old man.

‘Sven!’ Lillie slapped Sven’s arm. ‘Behave yourself! You might be a brickie, but you don’t need to act like one.’

‘Nothing wrong with brickies, Lillie. Anyway, that old man, he’s probably calling for Wally,’ Fifi said while rubbing her nose. The sea air icy and stung with salt. She had moulded into Sven’s embrace. ‘Hey, Sven, you’re so cool, yet so hot.’

A burst of laughter. The tape came to a climactic end and petered out.

‘Hey, hey, have you heard this?’ Fifi wet her lips. ‘Six o’clock. The whole street was quiet, not a sound was heard. Except the occasional croak of a cricket as night fell.’ Mesmerized by the lapping waves and rhythm of Fifi’s voice, the others listened. ‘All was calm, then out of the darkness, a cry pierced the air.’

Jimmy, Fifi’s older brother shovelled a handful of salt and vinegar chips into his mouth and crunched. Lillie glared at him. He paused, chipmunk cheeked, and glued his attention to his sister Fifi.

“Wally! Wal-Wal-Waaalee! Dinner’s ready!”

The five young people roared. Jimmy’s potato chips sprayed out and fuelled the coals. Fifi pouted mimicking Wally’s mother, Mrs. Katz. Lillie joined her. Jerking her legs as if in a Monty Python sketch, Fifi broke free of Sven’s hold and walked a Wally walk, while Lillie jumped from Geoffrey Fox’s embrace and flailed her arms and danced a Wally dance.

Sounds of puttering filled the cove. ‘Who could that be?’ Lillie craned her neck over Sven’s leather clad shoulder to see bulk roaring wheels.

The girls froze, and in unison uttered, ‘Oh, no! Wally!’

More chips spluttered from Jimmy’s mouth and fuelled the coals. Sven rolled up his sleeves. Admiring his wiry yet powerful form, Fifi preened her blonde perm and sighed. ‘Just when we’re having a good time!’

Sand plopped in the flames and their faces. With a grunt his Kawasaki bike scudded, throwing Wally towards a rocky outcrop.

Wally picked himself up and dusted grains from his blubber. He advanced towards the group laughing, ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’.

With his thumbs inserted in his tight pockets, Sven stepped towards the Wally. ‘Who invited you?’

‘Gate crasher! Gate crasher!’ Lillie and Fifi cried, hurling abuse and wads of sand.

Sven pitched his cider bottle. ‘Go home to your mummy, Wally!’

Wally dodged Sven’s missile. ‘Hey, I just wanna good time.’

‘You are not welcome here. Go away.’ Sven plucked up a rock. ‘Move it!’

‘Why not? I have every right to be here.’

‘Are you thick or something?’ Sven shook his stone-wrapped fist.

‘Did you call me thick? Did you call me thick?’

‘Yes, you moron! Now, go home!’ Sven spat and then hurled the stone, crashing it into Wally’s helmet.

‘Hey! That’s my head you hit!’ Wally raised his fists and leered at Sven. ‘You wanna fight?’

‘Be my guest, fool!’ Sven jabbed Wally’s rounded shoulder with his right fist.

‘Oh, cut it out boys!’ Fifi marched to the stoushing males, splitting the two cocks sparring in the shadows.

Uneasy truce, Wally one side of the fire, in the smoke, Sven and the rest of the group crowded on the other side. Waves crashed, the sea’s beat interrupted by the rare plop and thud of dead conversation.

Fifi nudged Lillie. ‘This is boring!’

Lillie rubbed her hands over the glowing coals. ‘Mmm. Why doesn’t Wally take the hint?’

Jimmy munched through his third bagful of chips. Chicken, this time.

Wally coughed. Wally spluttered. Wally blew his nose into a grimy handkerchief and inspected the contents. Wally sidled out of the smoke, closer to the group.

‘Oh, no you don’t!’ Sven poked the embers emitting brief flames. ‘Too crowded over here with you, Wally.’

‘Why not! I’m choking over here,’ Wally said and then cupped the rag over his mouth and insisted edging to the smokeless side.

‘Are you dense?’ Sven lunged at Wally, forcing his boot into the glowing coals. ‘Go home, Wally.’

Wrestling, the rooster and the sumo teetered at the rim of fire, toppled onto the sand crushing beer cans, steam-rolled one on top of the other singeing leather pants and denim jacket, rising from the ashes in a slow dance of boxing and fists and cuffs, and culminating in Sven’s $50 Reflecto Polaroid sunglasses flying into the fire. They melted on impact.

‘My shades! You’ve destroyed my shades!’ Sven clutched Wally’s throat. ‘Get outa here before I kill you!’

Fox who had been hanging back and watching the action, stepped up to Wally. ‘You better go Wally. Nothing personal. But you better take the hint and go.’

Fifi patted Sven on the back, ‘Come on mate, that’s enough fighting for one night. It’s only sunglasses.’

Sven loosened his grip and sauntered towards the boulders, silhouetted by the cliff-face. Wally skulked back to his bike and with a departing roar, pelted sand over the dying coals.

[continued on Tru-Kling Creations…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Sellicks Beach, one afternoon in September © L.M. Kling 2015

***

In the mid-nineteenth century, a village of Wends, on their way to Australia, mysteriously disappeared…

Who was responsible? How did they vanish?

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends