Free—The Lost World of the Wends

[An Extract from my novel: The Lost World of the Wends]

Ghost in the Precinct

‘Why not?’ Adam pushed the gate. ‘I’m game if you are.’ He ran towards the historic church.

Amie hissed. ‘Get back here!’

Adam shouted. ‘But I want to see the ghost.’ His small frame blurred in the darkness.

‘You’re trespassing.’

Amie bolted past the open gate. She was trespassing too, now. She chased Adam’s retreating figure. ‘There’s no such thing as ghosts.’

She heard footsteps near the whitewashed walls of the church. She followed the footsteps and the yellow hair that shimmered in the moonless night. ‘Adam, this is not funny. Come back now!’

No answer.

Footsteps crunched on the gravel. ‘This is not a joke, Adam. Where are you?’

A cold rush of air barged past her. Hairs pricked up on the back of Amie’s neck.

‘Adam?’ Amie called. She traced her fingertips along the rough wall of the church as she worked her way to the rear. ‘Adam? Where are you?’

She thought she saw him by the little building behind the church. Was that construction a toilet block? Or did she hear someone, Walter perhaps. Was that building the morgue?

The pale stick figure drifted towards that little building and vanished into it.

The wind howled.

‘Adam! Get out of there!’

Amie quickened her steps towards the building.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Dingo on a Mission. © courtesy of S.O. Gross circa 1945

***

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More than before? And Free!

Read the whole story, for Free…

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Free Holiday Reading–The Lost World of the Wends

A Story where the past and present, and vast distances in space intersect…and Boris does what he always does…

Eastern Europe, 1848

Prussian War raged, and the Wends as a village, left their homeland, with plans to set sail for Australia. From the Eastern edge of Prussia, they journeyed on a barge destined for Hamburg’s port, where they hoped to catch a cheap fare in the cargo-hold of a ship destined for the Promised Great South Land.

These villagers, never made their Australian destination. No one ever noticed, nor missed them. The neighbouring villagers assumed they had arrived in the Great Southern Land, and considered them so far away, and too distant to maintain contact. In Adelaide, also, the city for which they headed, the inhabitants were blissfully unaware of their existence. Migrating Prussians had taken their place in the over-flowing cargo-hold and were sailing across the Atlantic to Australia.

On this barge, headed by a man, Boris Roach, the Wends sang hymns of praise to God for their liberation from religious persecution, and the war. They looked to the promise of prosperity and freedom to worship God according to the Word. Their hope that their children and their descendants may thrive in their faith in the Promised Land of South Australia.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

***

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

Free from 29 July until 2 August 2022

Just click on the link:

The Lost World of the Wends

Out of Time (14.4)

Fast Forward

Part 4

[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.

This episode, (14.4) around the time-honoured tradition of the Aussie barbeque Gunter learns of a change of plan and having to travel with people he doesn’t particularly like…]

BBQ time with Mrs. C

Out in the backyard Mrs. C tended the sizzling Bratwurst sausages. She wore a smug expression, as well as her pink floral apron. To Gunter’s mind, except for extra lines on her face, and her leaner build, she reminded him of one of the women folk in the Schwabian village he had come from. He mused whether she was some sort of Melbourne descendant of such a woman.

‘Ah, there you are! I was wondering where you got to.’ Mrs. C wiped her hands on her apron. ‘I hope you haven’t been gallivanting around town with some girl. You know I don’t like it when you do that.’

‘No, Mrs. C.’

Gunter loped up to Mrs. C and gave her a hug and then kissed her on the cheek. ‘You are the only one for me, Mrs. C.’

‘Flattery will get you nowhere.’

‘Mmm, the wursts look delicious; just like the ones we have in Bavaria.’ Gunter reached for one dark golden sausage. ‘I just can’t resist.’

Mrs. C slapped his hand. ‘Not until you wash your hands and set the table.’

Wilhelm strode out from the back verandah with the tossed green salad. As Mrs. C stared at him, her eyes narrowed, Gunter gestured and said, ‘Oh, Mrs. C this is my um, friend, from Tasmania, Wilhelm Thumm.’

Mrs. C placed her hands on her hips. ‘Oh, so this is who you’ve been gallivanting around town with. Hmmm?’

‘Yes, Mrs. C.’ Gunter grinned. ‘I’ve been showing him this fair city before he heads off to Canberra, was it?’

‘Adelaide, actually,’ Wilhelm cleared his throat. ‘Change of plans, mate. I thought we might take the Great Ocean Road, I mean coast and all that. Sailing in my sailboat, the fair ship, Minna, I mean. We could stay in Port Fairy along the way.’

‘We?’

Wilhelm nodded. ‘Oh, didn’t I make that clear? You’re coming with us. Boss’s orders. Anyway, you’ll enjoy the company; your dear mutti, my son Johnny and my wife…’

‘What? But I…’

‘Not negotiable, Gunter.’

‘Not going to happen, M-mate. Your wife, Frieda and I do not get along.’ Gunter shoved his hands in his trouser pockets and marched into the kitchen. There between the bright yellow painted cupboards, he paced. ‘No, I have to stay here. Letitia, she’s…’

‘Aber, mein Gans, Boris is there.’ His mother stood by the lace-topped table. ‘We need you in Adelaide where Boris is.’

‘No!’ Gunter raced out of the kitchen, pushing his mutti aside in his escape to the outdoors. Reaching the barbeque, he picked off a sausage and bit into it.

His mother followed, rubbing her shoulder. ‘Sorry about Gunter, Ethel. He just has these urges to eat Bratwurst sausages. It’s like he hasn’t had a decent fatty meal in centuries.’

‘No worries, Ella, dear. So glad you brought the sausages. Such a lovely idea.’

Gunter glanced from Mrs. C to his mutti.

Mrs. C dipped her head and then raised it. ‘Oh, Gunter, didn’t you know; your mother and I have been friends for, what, centuries. Haven’t we dear?’

Wilhelm glanced at his watch and then looked with raised eyebrows at Mrs. C.

‘What’s happening? Are we waiting?’ Mrs. C asked.

Wilhelm checked his Rolex watch. ‘Just a few more minutes. Maybe she’ll come to her senses and join us.’

Gunter snorted. ‘I do not think so. She will not come while I am here.’

‘Oh, Gans, do not be so hard on yourself. Why would Frieda miss meeting her mother after so many years?’ his mama said.

‘Frieda…that woman, hates me. Is not that obvious?’

‘But why?’ Mrs. C asked. ‘She hardly knows you.’

‘She knows that I worked for Boris; she blames me for all that has happened to her.’

‘How can she, son?’ his mutti said. ‘You weren’t there when she was kidnapped.’

Gunter wiped his face, with eyes glazed and red he looked at his mother. ‘But I was. Boris…he made me…and she remembers. I am sure.’ He breathed out, and trembling, looked away. ‘It is not just what happened to Letitia.’

‘Oh, Gans, do not let that cockroach spoil our sausages.’ His mother stood up. ‘Come, let us eat, drink and enjoy what Mrs. C has prepared. We will put a plate aside for Frieda when she returns to join us.’

Once Mutti had served the rest of the family in a more civilized fashion, and their host had given thanks to God for the meal, the four sat at the timber outdoor setting and ate their Bratwurst, bread and salad with a glass of Claret from the Barossa Valley.

‘We will be going to Adelaide,’ his mother said. ‘And we will be getting those precious boys back to their mother and at the right time. No matter what it takes, we will do this.’

‘I thought the IGSF were going to do that,’ Gunter said.

‘Pff! The IGSF, they are hopeless,’ his mother said.

‘Wouldn’t know how to organize a chicken meat raffle,’ Mrs. C added.

Mutti placed her hand on Gunter’s. ‘We will give the whole plan an element of surprise.’

‘Like you will put a bomb under the kidnappers, Mutti?’

‘Better than that.’ Mrs. C leaned back in her deck chair. ‘We have some resources. Let’s just say, from a recent war or two.’

Gunter sucked air between his teeth. ‘I’m not sure about this.’

‘It’ll be fine, you’ll see,’ Wilhelm said. ‘I dare say, we’ll fill in a few gaps. We’ll make sure the job gets done. Right, ladies?’

Both women exchanged glances, smiled, and nodded.

‘After all,’ Wilhelm chuckled, ‘that’s why we needed your brother Johann’s hard-earned cash.’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature photo: Real Aussie men do the BBQ © L.M. Kling 2015

***

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

An over-sized alien cockroach named Boris planned to enslave them.

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   

Out of Time (14.3)

Fast Forward

Part 3

[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.

This week, it became obvious to me that something had to be done with my time-travel mechanism in this story. Let’s face it, a black box is just a bit lame and over-used. Then the idea came to me, what about a box of chocolates? What assortment of adventures one could have with chocolates laced with the time travel microbiol mud from a cave on the *Pilgrim Planet? In this episode (14.3), I begin to explore how these chocolates might work. Unlike Forrest Gump’s famous phrase, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates…”, in Out of Time it is: “Time Travel is like a box of chocolates, you may not know when you’ll end up.”]

Meeting with Mutti

‘I thought you would never make it.’ A woman’s voice floated over his head.

He recognised that voice. ‘Mutti?’

‘Ah, Gans, immer spaet! (Ah, Goose, always late).’

‘What are you doing here?’

A slight woman, aged somewhere in her thirties, flaxen hair tied in a bun, locked eyes with him. ‘To rescue my future grandsons, naturally. Why else would I ask you to come here?’

‘Yes, I know.’ Gunter stood, dusted himself and sneezed. ‘But, I was expecting someone else…’

‘Have you got the chocolate box? You know, the time travel bon-bon thing. I left it here last time.’

‘Oh, Mutti! Always leaving your stuff wherever you go! We could trace you through time and space the trail of chocolate boxes and their wrappers you leave.’

‘Just as well I did, or I’d be lost forever.’

‘Ja, natuerlich.’ Gunter paced down the hall. ‘Let’s do it!’

‘Hey, not so fast.’ His mother caught his sleeve. ‘What do you think you’re doing?’

‘Saving the boys.’

‘Ja, aber, I have the matches and the bomb is all set up.’

‘Bomb? What bomb?’

‘The one to blow Boris into a million itty bits. You know, kaboom.’

‘But, but you can’t just go around killing people. Besides, a million itty bits would make a million itty Borises that would grow up into a million big Borises.’ Gunter shrugged. ‘Besides, look what happened to Letitia because of you.’

‘Hmph! What is she? Your papa’s second child? With that woman? Hmmm? How could he do that to me? Tossing me aside because I’m…I’m…’

‘I’m sorry, Mama, but we thought you were…’

‘Tot? (Dead?)’

 ‘So, then how is the bomb going to work?’

‘Oh, the bomb will work very well, indeed.’ She grabbed her son’s hand and dragged him out to a courtyard and onto a patch of lawn.

‘But, but, how are we going to save the boys, then? I cannot believe I will be the father of boys.’

‘Simple.’ She struck a match and tossed it onto the porch. The flame flared and then fizzled.

‘Yeah, right! And your point is?’

‘The point is, Gans, that the flame is a signal.’

Gunter stood scratching his head. ‘I don’t understand. I thought you were after your chocolates.’

‘Come on.’ His mother sighed and tugged at her son’s shirt. ‘You must get back to the house before they notice you are missing. I think Mrs. C is cooking you Bratwurst, your favourite sausages, you know, and fried onions on her outdoor barbeque.’

Gunter gazed back at the house. The weatherboard with its untamed cottage garden. The driveway concreted but cracked. He realized that since the flame throwing, the night had morphed into midday. A fine summer’s day. An afternoon southerly breeze cooled the air slightly. The smell of BBQ sausages wafted, making Gunter’s stomach growl.

‘How did that happen?’ Gunter asked.

‘Come,’ Wilhelm Thumm nudged him. ‘You can introduce me to the famous Mrs. C.’

As they approached the house, a slender blonde leapt from the Aston Martin parked in front of the boarding house. She slammed the door and marched down the street, away from the house.

‘Who is that?’ Gunter asked.

‘My wife,’ Wilhelm replied. ‘Frieda, remember her?’

‘She has not changed.’ Gunter stared at the gravel on the footpath. ‘She saw me, and she does not like me.’

‘Don’t be so hard on yourself.’

‘She blames me for what happened to Letitia.’

‘She’ll get over it.’ Wilhelm patted his back. ‘You’ll be friends, one day.’

 ‘Yeah, sure. Pigs fly, as they say here in Australia.’ Gunter locked eyes with Wilhelm. ‘And another thing, if I may ask, how did you…? Where’s my…?’

‘Don’t ask.’ Wilhelm burped and tossed a chocolate wrapper in the gutter. He flashed a shiny black box at Gunter.  ‘I’d offer you one, but, um, we need you here and now, not some random time in the future or past. By the way, do you have the money?’

Gunter nodded and handed Wilhelm the wad of notes. ‘I don’t see why you need so much.’ He watched Wilhelm toss the box into the front seat of his Aston Martin. ‘You look like you are…’

‘All for a good cause. Besides, that greedy brother of yours can do with a bit less. So, I hear.’

As they walked up the rose-lined path to the front door of the house, Gunter said, ‘Won’t they melt? The chocolates?’

‘They’re not that sort of chocolate.’

‘So then, where’s my mutti?’

‘Don’t ask.’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Chocolate Box © L.M. Kling 2022

***

*The Pilgrim Planet is where Boris takes the Wends, hoping to enslave them.

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   

Out of Time (14.2)

Fast Forward

Part 2

[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. I have worked on developing some of the other characters. In this episode (14.2), we obtain some character insights with the interaction between Gunter and his mother.]

Change of Plan

Gunter

Gunter sat bolt upright in his bed. He was determined and focused on what he must do. He tiptoed into his absent brother’s room to “borrow” some of his money, hidden in a jar behind his H.G. Wells collection in the bookshelf. Mrs. C down the hallway, was asleep; he could hear her snoring like a band saw as he passed by her room. He gritted his teeth and hoped that the door would not creak. It did.

With a fist full of dollars, Gunter slipped out of the boarding house and then pelted across the road, the solitary streetlight witness to his race. He paused as he reached the solid wooden doors of the local church. The suburb had paused to sleep at three in the morning, but Gunter’s heart was thumping. He decided that this front entrance was too risky, so edged around the side of the church until he found a side door. Actually, a metal gate.

He fumbled with lock. It was not budging. He groped around in his trouser pocket for old faithful, his mama’s hair pin. Mama’s pin had not let him down yet. With the pin, he poked around the keyhole until the click and the gate sprang open. In the moonlight, another door, challenged him.

Nervously he maneuvered the pin around the wooden door lock and hoped that it wasn’t a deadbolt. As if a mantra for luck, he chanted under his breath, ‘Dumkopf! Open!’ The words made him feel less anxious if nothing else.

The door fell away from him, and he lurched, then tripped, sprawling on the rug covering the jarrah floor. ‘Sheisse!’ he cried. He was sure that he had been found out and that his life was over.

‘I thought you would never make it.’ A woman’s voice floated over his head.

He recognised that voice. ‘Mutti?’

‘Ah, Gans, immer spaet! (Ah, Goose, always late).’

‘What are you doing here?’

A slight woman, aged somewhere in her thirties, flaxen hair tied in a bun, locked eyes with him. ‘To rescue my future grandsons, naturally. Why else would I ask you to come here?’

‘Yes, I know.’ Gunter pulled himself from the floor, dusted himself and sneezed. ‘But, I was expecting someone else…’

‘Have you got the chocolate box? You know, the time travel bon bons? I left it here last time.’

‘Oh, Mutti! Always leaving your stuff wherever you go! We could trace you through time and space the trail of chocolate you leave.’

‘Just as well I did, or I’d be lost forever.’

‘Ja, natuerlich.’ Gunter paced down the hall. ‘Let’s do it!’

‘Hoi, not so fast.’ His mother caught his sleeve. ‘What do you think you’re doing?’

‘Saving the boys.’

‘Aber, I have the matches and the bomb is all set up.’

‘Bomb? What bomb?’

‘The one to blow Boris to little pieces. You know, kaboom.’

‘But, but you can’t just go around killing people. I mean, look what happened to Letitia because of you.’

‘Hmph! What’s she? Your papa’s second child? With that woman? Hmmm? How could he do that to me? Tossing me aside because I’m…I’m…’

‘I’m sorry, Mama, but we thought you were…’

‘Tot? (Dead?)’

Gunter shrugged. ‘So, then how’s the bomb going to work?’

‘Oh, the bomb will work very well, indeed.’ She grabbed her son’s hand and dragged him out to a courtyard and onto a patch of lawn.

‘But, but, how are we going to save the boys, then? I cannot believe I will be the father of boys.’

‘Simple.’ She struck a match and tossed it onto the porch. The flame flared and then fizzled.

‘Ja! And your point is?’

‘The point is, Gans, that the flame is a signal.’

Gunter stood scratching his head. ‘For what?’

‘Come on.’ His mother sighed and tugged at her son’s shirt. ‘You must get back to the house before they notice you are missing. I think Mrs. C is cooking you Bratwurst and fried onions on her outdoor barbeque.’

Gunter gazed back at the house. The weatherboard with its untamed cottage garden. The driveway, concreted but cracked. He realized that since the flame throwing, the night had morphed into midday. A fine summer’s day. An afternoon southerly breeze cooled the air slightly. The smell of BBQ sausages wafted, making Gunter’s stomach growl.

‘How did that happen?’ Gunter asked.

‘Come,’ Wilhelm Thumm nudged him. ‘You can introduce me to the famous Mrs. C.’

‘How did? Where’s my…?’

‘Don’t ask. By the way, do you have the money?’

Gunter nodded and handed Wilhelm the wad of notes. ‘I don’t see why you need so much.’ He clocked the Aston Martin parked in front of the boarding house. ‘You look like you are…’

‘All for a good cause. Besides, that greedy brother of yours can do with a bit less. So, I hear.’

As they approached the house, a slender blonde leapt from the car, slammed the door and marched down the street, away from the house.

‘Who is that?’ Gunter asked.

‘My wife,’ Wilhelm replied. ‘Remember Frieda?’

‘She has not changed.’ Gunter stared at the gravel on the footpath. ‘She saw me, and she does not like me.’

‘Don’t be so hard on yourself.’

‘She blames me for what happened to Letitia.’

‘She’ll get over it.’ Wilhelm patted his back. ‘You’ll be friends, one day.’

Gunter locked eyes with Wilhelm. ‘Yeah, sure. Pigs fly, as they say here in Australia.’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Stain Glass windows, Notre Dame, Paris © L.M. Kling 2014

***

Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out of Time (14.1)

[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. I have worked on developing some of the other characters. In this episode (14.1), we get to see inside the younger stolen boy’s (Liam’s) head.]

Fast Forward

10 Days before Murder

Saturday 28th of January 1967

Barbeque Battles

Liam

Liam remembered sourly the call that changed everything. One minute the fourteen-year-old was blissfully ignorant; aware only that his father was almost no-so-unhappily widowed, that his mum had returned but with that smelly character Boris, and two ratty kids, that there is no God and when he died, that was it, no accountability. The next minute, the phone rang and his whole world view was cracked. That minute there was a Jemima on the other end of the line demanding to speak to his father. It was then as this intruder insisted, demanded and hollered on the line, that Liam began to change his mind about God. Liam remembered considering, “How dare this lady invade my space! There has to be a God and my parents have to be accountable to him! This is too much! I can’t handle any more! What right had she to interrupt my life?!”

Liam clutched the telephone receiver in one hand and fended off Jemima’s advances with firm “Nos” and lies that Dad was not home at present. He could hear the rising beat of his heart, punctuating Jemima’s whiney protests. Clueless he was, how to combat this woman.

‘What do you mean he is not home?’ Jemima persisted.

‘He’s just not,’ Liam fibbed. He watched his Dad slink behind him, his old clothes high on manure.

‘But he said he would be home,’ she said.

‘Well, he’s not.’ He fanned the pungent passageway air. ‘Poor, Dad, you stink!’

‘Ha! Did I just hear you mention your dad in conversation?’

‘No.’

‘I did,’ Jemima, now a smug Jemima, ‘you said to him that he stinks.’

‘I never.’

‘You did.’

‘No!’

‘Look, Liam, dear, it is very important that I speak to him. He said, he promised that he would be home. Your father, he keeps his promises. He’s a man of his word,’ she spoke in a softly and evenly.

‘Yeah, right!’ Liam remarked cynically. ‘Like he promised us a holiday in Tasmania but all we got was mum going off to Antarctica and getting herself…’ He paused unsure whether he should be passing on classified information. After all, his mum had returned, wearing kaftan and beads in her hair, in possession of a new Kombi Van, and unscathed. Liam had been delighted to acquire a new cool van, but not so pleased to have his mother back. Of course, the novelty of kaftaned mother and new Kombi wore off when the van broke down and had to be towed away for repairs. S

Still, Liam couldn’t complain. Just before the recent, yet brief escape up north to Alice Springs, his dad had bought a new Holden Premier. Liam was pleased with his art of persuasion as he had convinced his father to purchase this icon of motoring history. Well, so a recent Wheels magazine had recommended.

‘I know! I know!’ Jemima cut in. ‘He told me all about it. Isn’t it obvious why she did that?’

‘Nup?’ Liam bit his nail. Jemima’s argument was advancing into areas that were uncertain. ‘She won a prize, a competition.’

‘Who are you talking to?’ Dad’s voice boomed in the background.

Liam had to think quickly, but Max who was passing by was nimbler. ‘A girlfriend. Ha! Ha! Liam has a girlfriend. What a loser!’

Liam covered the mouthpiece. ‘Yeah! So?’.

Meanwhile the Jemima intruder had come to her own conclusions. ‘He is there! You liar! Put him on! Now!’

Liam had had enough. ‘No!’ he retorted. ‘Go away, you freak!’ with that he slammed the receiver down. He then picked up the phone and hurled it towards the bookcase at the end of the room. A few unfortunate ornaments, namely Max’s prized “Lord of the Rings” dragon figurines crashed to the floor.

‘Oi! What do you fink you’re doing? You could’a smashed the tele,’ Tails yelled.

Max emerged from preening himself in the bathroom. His face turned red, and he pulled at his hair. ‘My dragon! You killed my dragon! How could you do that?’ He cradled the broken bits of ceramic dragon in his hands. ‘They are so hard to get in 1967.’ Then, with teeth bared, he cried, ‘Why, I’ll get you!’ With one swift move, he lunged onto his younger brother and began to throttle him.

‘Oi! Oi! Stop that you boys!’ Dad tore the fighting youths apart. ‘Right, that’s it! no tele or suppa tonight for you lads! Go to your rooms! Bof ov you! Right! I’m pulling out the plug to the tele, now!’ Tails marched both protesting Liam and Max to their rooms with as much strength as his fatherly muscles could muster.

Meanwhile the phone chirped, unheeded and ignored.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature painting: Kombi from the Hitch-hiker © L.M. Kling 2015

***

Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out of Time (13.1)

[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

Part 1

Frieda

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.

‘Mummy!’

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.

Frieda gasped.

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.’

Ella

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

***

Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out of Time (12.4)

Time In-Between for the Queen

Part 4

[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…In this episode (12.4) Once her most annoying visitor has gone, Letitia gets down to work…]

A Time to Work

With Monica absent, Letitia trawled over the mess, room by room, section by section in the vain hope of finding the elusive keys; the ones that worked. As she hunted, she systematically dusted, wiped, sorted and cleaned. She was sure that the owner would not recognise the place when he returned. ‘I hope they don’t curse me,’ she mumbled.

Three o’clock and Letitia had progressed to scrubbing the shower alcove, followed by hospital grade disinfection regime on the toilet. The tiles in the shower were so coated with mould that their original white was no longer visible to the naked eye. She used a full bottle of Ajax toilet powder on the toilet bowl before she was satisfied that the brown streak down the back of the bowl was scrubbed away.

At four in the morning, with the home unit sorted and sparkling, and the bathroom overloaded with the smell of bleach, Letitia flopped onto the main bed of renewed clean and ironed sheets, to sleep. She still had not found the keys. With a cool breeze flowing from a slightly open window, she sank into a satisfying dreamless slumber. After all, she figured, If worse comes to worse, I will be able to climb out the window.

Rest only lasted a few micro-seconds, however. As soon as Letitia was still, she became cold, very cold. Groaning from stiff joints and aching back, she hoisted herself from the bed and edged past the bed end to close the window. The wind howled. Moments later, a flash of lightening and a loud bone jarring bang of thunder. She peered outside through the curtains. A bolt of lightning hit the unit at the end of the driveway and accompanying that was the clap of thunder.

Letitia jumped. Heart thumping. Goosebumps rose on her skin. ‘Goodness, it’s like an Antarctic blast,’ she said. ‘Need to find more blankets.’

She tried the lights. They wouldn’t work. In semi-darkness, with the first shades of morning light beginning to seep through the cracks of deep-purple brooding clouds, she could see just enough to stand on the bed and reach for the top shelf of the built-in robe. ‘I hope there’s a blanket there, maybe a torch.’

Success! Letitia touched something soft but scratchy; something very blanekety. With a sense of achievement, she pulled the blanket from the shelf and onto the bed. A thin piece of paper fluttered to the floor. She picked it up and tried to scrutinize it in the non-existent light. A brief lightening flash lit up the images. They appeared strangely familiar. But all too soon, the light was gone, and the picture became indistinguishable. She placed the photo on the bedside table and nestled under the itchy woollen rug. The sky was putting on a show, but she was too weary to enjoy it. Comfortable at last, Letitia fell sound asleep to flashes of lightening and rumbles of thunder as the storm travelled over Melbourne.

Meanwhile in Tasmania, the grass was dry and the weather about to heat up for the start of school.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Hello Storm! © W. Kling 4 February 2009

***

Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out of Time (12.3)

Time In-Between for the Queen

[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…In this episode (12.3) While flat-sitting in Melbourne, this most unexpected and frustrating visitor wears out her welcome…]

Part 3

A Time to Rest?

Letitia revisited the radiogram. Still hissing. Twiddled the knob and watched the needle swing from left to right while the hissing, though louder then softer, remained infernal hissing. ‘Maybe it’s not on,’ she said. Her finger searched for the control panel, but was at a loss to find the on-off switch. ‘How did I switch it on? Did I switch it on?’ Her hand waved over the knob-challenged panel in search of a switch or knob. After removing the tapestry cover (German looking), and folk-art decorated box, she lifted the lid of the radiogram. Well, look at that, a record player. She lifted the arm and watched the table spin. ‘At least I can listen to some music. It must be on if the table spins.’ Next, before getting down to the business of cleaning, she resolved to put on some music. ‘Now, where would a Walter Wenke put records?’ she muttered.

Peace reigned for only a few seconds. While Letitia hunted for unscratched records, scratching started in the laundry. She ran there only to discover, Monica adding to the pile in the way she obviously knew best. And it stank! The baked beans had done their magic and the putrid mess was running down the sides of the litter tray as if the mountain had suffered a virtual volcanic eruption.

Letitia scrambled to the kitchen and grabbed some paper bags, and a wad of newspaper, before entering the room of suffocating stenches. She raked the rank rubble onto the newspapers, wrapped it briskly and crammed it into the paper bag. The bag, being paper, and for the purpose of carrying dry groceries, rent the inevitable hole at the bottom and Monica’s muck excreted through the gap oozing all over Letitia’s hands. Letitia dumped the useless bag on the fruit and vege section of the newspaper advertisements and with disgust ran her hands under the tap in the laundry basin. Monica joined in the excitement, trying to butt her head in above Letitia’s hands and take licks at the running water.

Even when Letitia had turned off the tap, Monica continued to catch the drips with her little pink tongue. She left the moggy to her amusement and wrapped the putrid disaster in more wads of The Sun News Pictorial. Then with resignation, and washed hands, and remembering that the backdoor was deadlocked, Letitia walked to the front door, and turned the handle. The door refused to budge. Also deadlocked. ‘Just my luck the keys are on the other side and Monica will decide to start a fire,’ she said.

Letitia was contemplating climbing out of the kitchen window when she trod on something cold and hard. She lifted her foot and found the clutch of keys on the green and white tiled floor. She plucked them up with renewed enthusiasm and began jabbing them, one by one into the deadlock. None obliged to work. She tried them repeatedly with no success. Attempted the lock on the back door. That lock too would not budge. With a sense of doom, she lifted the cat door open and squeezed the ball of putrid paper through and into the porch of darkness.

No sooner had she stood up from this almighty effort, than the mass of white fur vanished through the hole and into the night. She detected a faint rustle and squelch as paws landed briefly on the mess that she had created. Letitia gazed at the swinging door flap. Even after all Monica’s antics, she did not have the heart or fortitude to lock the cat out. So, left the door swinging, open to allow Monica to freely come and go as she pleased.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Oshin © L.M. Kling circa 1995

***

Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out of Time (12.2)

Time In-Between for the Queen

[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…In this episode (12.2) While flat-sitting in Melbourne, Letitia entertains a most unexpected and frustrating visitor…]

Part 2

Time Out

She arranged herself again to the tune of intermittent mournful mews that wafted from the depths of the laundry. Still, if Letitia had to choose between the meows of discontent and being kneaded to shreds, she would choose meows most days. She was persistent that puss, though. Letitia thought after a certain point, Monica the moggy would curl up in defeat. However, not this cat.

Letitia calmed herself and concentrated on listening to the radio. Was the radio incredibly soft? Or had the whining from the laundry escalated? She could hear the door being scratched. Letitia pulled herself up from the couch, shuffled to the radiogram and placed her ears by the carved-out section of timber with cloth behind it. She assumed that inbuilt part of the radio’s equipment was the speaker, but all she heard was hissing. Then beyond, in the laundry, crashing and smashing.

‘How much fuss can a cat make?’ Letitia said as she ran to the room.

She flung open the door. On the limited span of chipped and cracked tiles, an entire box of laundry powder was dumped. An insolent pool of methylated spirits lurked in the corner. Some other toxic powder, probably borax had landed neatly in the cat litter covering a pile of poo. Monica perched herself on the top shelf, her paw precipitously playing with a plastic bottle of turps.

Letitia shook her fist at the cat. ‘You would, wouldn’t you!’

‘Meow!’ the puss gazed at her, paw hovering behind the turps.

Letitia lunged, catching the toppling turpentine before it too was due to splatter on the unforgiving tiles. She placed the bottle in the sink and from the safety of the passage carpet, groped in the laundry sink cupboard for anything resembling a banister brush and pan. True to the absent Walter Wenke form there was nothing of the cleaning variety. Not in the laundry. Not in the kitchen. Nor the toilet. Not that she looked long enough to see in the loo of disgrace. The stink of months of neglect and lack of sanitation determined Letitia to hold on.

However, in her quest for the elusive cleaning equipment, she found a hoard of cat food. The sink cupboard was loaded with packets of dried food and can upon can of cat’s meat. The bottom cans were rusted, while the stash of the dry food was mouldy and soggy from recent assaults of a leaky sink drain.

Returning for a second look, Letitia stuck a tentative toe in the middle of the small room. Monica had not moved from her station. This menacing moggy crouched, peering down at her, ready to strike. There was a tall narrow cupboard with long slatted doors at the far end of the small square laundry room. The room so cluttered the doors had no space to open. She shoved the mop bucket with mop glued to one side and opened one slatted door. The banister brush tumbled out. Letitia then ferreted through the wads of plastic bags for a dustpan.

She found no dustpan but did find a tin of copper pennies. She collected the mess into one pile and began the search for the dustpan or anything that could pass for one. Along the way, she picked up several scratched records, a plate of dried spaghetti, a vacant can of spam (sharp edges still attached), a shrivelled-up slice of pizza, a homeless telephone receiver, an odd shoe, a mouldy sock, and a bagful of stamps. None of these items, even came close to being useful as a dustpan. Although, she did consider using a scratched LP record, but decided against it. Frank Sinatra? Nah, let him do it his way.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Show-off, Holly © L.M. Kling 2006

***

Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling