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Easter01's Short Stories

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Easter01
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PostEaster01 on Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:51 pm







A Painter's Vision

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A Little Bit of "Stardust"

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Morning Run in the Park

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The Lady in Blue

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Wigeon and the Witch

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Last edited by Easter01 on Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:47 pm; edited 7 times in total




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PostEaster01 on Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:55 pm


A Painter's Vision
by Joanne Easter
(c) 2008



The man driving the dusty Ford Explorer slowed his vehicle and eased to a halt beside an old wooden building in the empty town, long weathered to silver gray under the desert sun. He let the engine idle for a moment, his foot on the brake, and then shifted into park and turned the ignition off. He looked over at his eighteen year-old son, who was still steaming about being coerced along on this trip to the middle of nowhere.

"What do you see, Sean?" Brian Taylor asked his son.

"I see a bunch of old buildings that should have been burned down a hundred years ago. This place is dead, there's nothing here." Sean replied with icy disdain. Then he relented, and sighed. "Look, Dad, I know what you're trying to do. You brought me out here for a 'parental talk' about college. That's not the life I want. I'm not going to the Art Institute. I have my own plans, which DO NOT include burying myself in a bunch of books and crap." Sean opened the door to the Explorer and stepped out into the dust. He jammed his hands into the pockets of his jeans and strolled away, stopping to kick an old oil can out of the road.

Brian shook his head and looked up into the cloudless blue sky. His son had such a gift for art, yet was just going to cast it aside like a joke. He looked at the old weathered buildings, lining the single street on both sides, few over two stories in height. The whole town was a relic from the mining era, abandoned when the veins of lead ran out and people moved away to scratch out a living somewhere else. Sean was so wrong about this place. The town wasn't empty, wasn't dead. It was filled with history and alive with memories.

"Do you think he'll be able to see it, Brian?" came a familiar voice from a patch of shade beneath the balcony of the nearest building.

"I don't know, he's pretty stubborn," Brian said, stepping out of the vehicle and walking over to the porch. He climbed the few steps to join the old man sitting on a bench, leaning against the wall of the building.

The old man chuckled. "Comes by it honestly, doesn't he?" His wrinkled face was creased with a big grin. He looked about the same as when Brian had last seen him, years ago, as ageless as the hills that rose in the distance behind the town. His hands and clothing were spotted with dabs and blotches of color.

"So, Gramps, you still keeping yourself busy?" Brian asked, sitting down on the bench beside him. He pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and dabbed at the sweat on his forehead. "And how is your lady? Finished with her yet?"

"Oh, she's just grand, Sonny, just grand," the old man beamed. "Come on upstairs and see for yourself."

Brian followed his grandfather through the open doorway, pushing at the sagging door to make just a bit more room. The single remaining hinge creaked loudly and then snapped, dropping the door onto the floor. A cloud of dust billowed out. The old wooden stairs protested loudly as they walked carefully up to the second floor of what was once a boarding house. At the first door on the left at the top of the stairs, the old man fished an ancient iron key out of his pocket and opened the door. They walked inside.

The walls were covered with paintings, most in oil, some in watercolor, all of scenes from the town and the surrounding countryside during the time when it was a prosperous inhabited place. There were landscapes in glowing colors, the desert painted by the setting sun, the hills and buttes starkly silhouetted. There were pictures of life on the street, of men in Stetson hats holding the reins of horses, at work and at play, of ladies in carriages, of laughing children with golden curls. There were portraits of stern-looking business men in bowler hats, old women in high collars with their hair pulled back, encircled by children. Paintings in various stages of completion leaned against the walls. On one side of the room were shelves covered with brushes and cans of paint and stacks of canvas. In the center of the room, placed just so to catch the morning light, was an easel on which rested a half-completed portrait.

"There she is," the old man said, touching the edge of the canvas lovingly, like a caress. Brian walked around and inspected the painting. It showed an elegant lady with laughing green eyes and chestnut brown hair spilling down onto her shoulders, dressed in a white blouse with puffed sleeves and a ribbon around her neck. Her lips were slightly parted as though she was just about to smile, or to speak, and Brian caught himself unconsciously smiling back at her. It captured the soul of the woman far better than any photograph.

It would be a master work when completed, but there was yet an empty space where her hands should be, folded in her lap.

"Still not finished, I see," Brian said.

"I just can't get the hands right," the old man said. "Your grandmother's hands were so delicate..." He sighed, and then picked up a brush and began to sketch in an outline of the hands, working with such concentration that he seemed to forget that Brian was at his side.

Brian watched him for a moment and then stepped over to the dirty window and looked out on the street.
On the opposite side, about six buildings down, he saw Sean exiting a one-story building - the sheriff's office, he recalled - and then go next door to the hotel, the tallest building in town at three stories high.

He felt the old man's presence at his side, looking out the window with him. He turned and saw that he was wiping a brush with a cloth, the smell of paint thinner strong in the enclosed space. Brian looked back at the painting, and saw that his grandfather had covered over his most recent effort with a new layer of white paint, ready to start again sometime soon.

"How long do you think it'll take before he sees it?" Brian asked the old man.

"Hard to say. Remind you of anyone you know?"

"I remember," Brian said quietly, watching his son squeeze through the boards that were nailed across the doors of the General Store.

Brian looked at Ben, "You know, he has more talent than I did at his age. Hell, he has more talent than I ever dreamed of having, he has the gift..." His voice tapered off as he thought about the years he struggled just to achieve a small success. His art gallery was finally doing well. Not as well as he had hoped, but he was able to make a living doing what he enjoyed most in life, painting western landscapes.

"Look, he's going into the old saloon," Ben said, bringing Brian's thoughts back as he saw the broken saloon door swing slightly.

Both men waited for Sean to come back out, each lost in their own thoughts.

Suddenly Sean burst out of the saloon and ran toward the Explorer. He yanked open the rear door of the vehicle and pulled out his paints and easel.

"He found it! He found it!" Brian said excitedly.

"It didn't take as long as it took you, now did it," the old man said, poking Brian in the chest with his paintbrush.

Brian looked at his grandfather and smiled, remembering the joy of the day he found his own painter's vision, the sense of things under the surface which only an artist can see.

Brian walked over to the door, to go down to his son. He stopped at the threshold, and turned back to look into the room. The old man was gone, as were the paintings on the walls and the portrait of the lady, his grandmother. In the corner of the room was a pile of old rags, and some pieces of a broken table, and some cans of long-dried paint. Everything was covered with a thick layer of dust, the steady accumulation of many years.

His grandfather had, in fact, finally gotten the hands right. The painting of his grandmother, that beautiful and elegant lady his grandfather had loved so much, had been hanging in his living room now for more than thirty years.

As he left the room, he heard the faint echo of a ghostly chuckle.




(c) 2008 Joanne Easter. All Rights Reserved.

Credits:

ghost town pic - from: pinterest.com/pimpinbiscuits/old-west-ghost-towns/

poker pic - bottom of page - from: Drawing Poker, American West, American Painters,
Westerns Art, West Saloon, Art Prints, Andy Thomas, Defaul Wwwcartelpokercomt, Wild West




Easter01's The Father Michael's Saga can be found: Here

Easter01's Short Stories can be found: Here

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Postszanne7000 on Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:09 pm

Awwww, Easter...

...that is really wonderful. <3

Thank you for sharing this with us :D



Thank you, Crissi, for my beautiful signature <3
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PostSamantha61 on Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:53 pm

I read this one as well..did you move things around..this story gave me goosebumps lol


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
~hugs and smiles my dear, dear BFF's~
I am so proud of all of you..
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PostEaster01 on Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:12 am



A Little Bit of "Stardust"
by Joanne Easter (c) 2008


The cool breeze cut off abruptly as Pam closed her bedroom window. She shivered, and hugged herself. It wasn't the chill of the night air, that didn't bother her; it was something else. What it was, she did not know. It was something in the atmosphere of the room, something surrounding her. It didn't feel dangerous, didn't feel threatening, just...different.

Oh, nonsense, she thought. I'm just being silly. She sat down in the recliner and picked up a book about the American Roaring 20's, a book filled with gay laughter and smooth-talking dandies, bathtub gin and gangsters, flappers in short skirts and the irrepressible optimism of Art Deco.

As Pam read about speakeasies and swing music, she began to yawn. The hour was late, she knew, but this was a really good book! Tom, her husband, was already asleep, burrowed deeply under the covers in the king-sized bed across the room. Finally, as the mantle clock struck the midnight hour, the book fell from her hand onto the carpet and she slid into the welcoming darkness of sleep, her head tilting against the side of the chair.

"Hey!" someone said. Pam was awake in an instant, and jumped up out of the chair, blinking the last remnants of sleep away. She gasp in astonishment. This was her bedroom, but it had changed! What had happened! All the furnishings were different, they all looked like antiques. Her hand brushed her side, and - so silky! She looked down. She was wearing a long satin robe that she had never seen before.

"Why aren't you dressed, doll?" She started at the sound of her husband's voice and looked up. He was standing by the doorway dressed in a snazzy suit; she noticed that his bowtie was crooked. Bowtie? He grinned at her. "Lillian Hardin and Louis Armstrong are playing at the Cotton Club tonight, and these dogs are ready to dance."

Louis Armstrong? Cotton Club? Pam thought, and then saw, laid out on the bed, a gorgeous red beaded dress and a feathered headband.

If this was a dream, it was way cool, she thought, and walked over and picked up the dress. She walked over to the mirror and held the dress up against her body, admiring the look. She touched her hair: Wow, a bob-cut with bangs!

"I'll bring around the jalopy while you get ready," he said, giving her another one of his big handsome smiles.

Pam waltzed over to him and touched him on the nose with a fingertip. "Your tie is crooked," she said, and danced away.

He was waiting, somewhat impatiently, when she came down the stairs. "Come on, Pam. We don't want to miss the show," he said.

Pam reached for her wrap and stepped out onto the porch thinking about the wonderful music of Louis Armstrong. She took a deep breath of the night air and said, "Well, Hello Dolly!"

"Who's Dolly? her husband asked.

Pam and her husband, Tom, danced the night away at the Cotton Club in New York all night.

In the early hours of dawn Pam woke with a start, feeling disoriented with the room and its furnishings. She looked over at her husband, Tom, who was turning over on his side as he slept. What a dream, she laughed softly, picking up the book that must have fallen to the floor when she dozed off.

She looked down at her blue terricloth robe and made a mental note to buy a long satin robe like the one she was wearing in the dream. She remembered loving the feel of satin against her skin.

"Pam, come to bed. It's after midnight," Tom moaned, shielding his eyes from her reading lamp.

"Yeah, I'll just wash my face and come to bed," she said, glancing at the clock on the nightstand which showed 12:06 a.m.

That can't be the right time, she thought, replaying the wonderful dream of her and Tom dancing at the Cotton Club, the flappers in short skirts, the sound of jazz music with the rich voice of Louis Armstrong.

"Pam," she said to herself, looking into the mirror, "it was only a dream." She turned out the bathroom light and walked back into the bedroom and climbed into bed, snuggling close to her husband.

Slowly, Pam drifted off to sleep.

Draped on a chair in the corner of the room, unnoticed by Pam in her haste to go to bed, a gorgeous red beaded dress and a feathered headband twinkled briefly with a soft glow of stardust, then faded back into the shadows...

... of dreams.



(c) 2008 Joanne Easter. All Rights Reserved.




Easter01's The Father Michael's Saga can be found: Here

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Samantha61
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PostSamantha61 on Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:04 am

I remember this one as well..it also gave me goosebumps..but I love it..job well done Easter happybounce


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
~hugs and smiles my dear, dear BFF's~
I am so proud of all of you..
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Postszanne7000 on Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:54 am

What a dream!!!

(...or, was it?)



Thank you, Crissi, for my beautiful signature <3
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Postanidup on Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:38 pm

Read and loved both stories! They are brilliantly written and I am so glad you share them here Easter!
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Easter01
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PostEaster01 on Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:37 pm


A Morning Run in the Park
by Joanne Easter ©2015

Part 1



Jill inspected the drawings on Callie's desk while she waited for her friend to finish getting ready for their morning run in Central Park.  She picked up one drawing that had caught her attention and studied the different pencil colors that were skillfully blended together to form the face of a happy little girl.

"Hey, you're really very good at this," Jill called out.

"Oh, you found my drawings!  What do you think?" Callie said, walking into the living room wearing a pink running suit with white running shoes. Jill was outfitted more sedately, in gray sweats.

"Callie, you are wasting your time working as a waitress.  You need to visit a few galleries and see if you can show these," Jill said, as she laid the drawing down. "Who knows, you might even be able to sell some of your work. Wouldn't that be great!"

As Callie headed for the door of her small apartment, she called over her shoulder, "And, who would pay my rent while I walked all over New York trying to find a gallery willing to show my work?"

Jill walked out into the hallway and waited while Callie locked the apartment door.  "I understand, but you've really got talent. It's just a shame not to do something about it."

They took the elevator down to the first floor, walked across the street, and then took the stairway down to the subway platform, where they waited for a train that would take them to Central Park. As the train creaked to a halt, Callie and Jill pushed and shoved their way aboard with the crowd. As usual, there were no seats available, so they hung onto the rail and swayed with the motion of the car.  This morning was no different from any other morning; the New Yorkers aboard were silent, indifferent, and sometimes downright rude.  

Both women were glad to escape the crush when they finally exited the subway and crossed the busy street to enter the park.  Jill watched, leaning against a bicycle rack, as Callie walked over to a grassy area and started her warm-up exercise routine. "You really take this stuff seriously, don't you? Running, I mean."

"It's how I stay in shape," Callie said, bobbing up and down in a series of toe-touches. "I'm glad you decided to come with me today. Come on, Jill, loosen up! Got a sudden case of the lazies?"

Jill laughed and joined her friend on the grassy area. She had just started her own set of warm-up exercises when Callie started running in place. A few minutes later, the two women started down the path.

"I usually do five miles, but out of respect for your frail condition, we'll just do three today." Callie said, as they passed several other runners out for their morning exercise.

Jill was beginning to breathe a little harder. Frail, she said. “Humph! Three miles....Are you nuts?"

"No...come on," Callie said, and actually picked up the pace.

Jill frowned in exasperation as she watched Callie drawing ahead, and put both hands around her mouth to shout "Not...repeat...not!...running...three miles!"

"Can't hear you!" Callie called back, laughing, and continued to run.  

This was actually pretty great, Jill thought. Now that she was into the pace, it wasn't too hard. It was a beautiful morning, the trees were glorious in their fall colors, and the air was still cool.  It was a perfect day for a run, she thought.  

They left the other runners, who were older and out of shape, far behind, and were now alone on the pathway. All that could be heard was the slap-slap of their feet hitting the ground, and birdsong in the background. They ran in and out of patches of bright sunlight. Callie caught sight of their marker and turned her head to see that Jill, through a determined effort, had almost caught up with her again. "One mile!" she called, "Two to go!" and heard Jill groan, "Mercy!"

Callie began to ease up a bit, allowing Jill to come up beside her, and they ran together for a while, silently concentrating on the run.  As they neared the marker for the second mile, Jill glanced over at her friend and began to ask, "Did you see those..." Suddenly she was falling, flinging out her arms to break her fall, lurching into Callie so that they both went down in a heap together in the grass beneath an ancient oak.  

As soon as she could catch her breath, Jill gasped, "Ohhh, that hurt!" There was no response from Callie. Alarmed, Jill rolled away and sat up. Callie was curled up in a ball, her face down in the grass. She reached over to give her friend's shoulder a shake. "Are you okay? Callie, are you okay?" she asked anxiously. Suddenly there was a strange muffled sound that began to increase in volume, and Jill realized that Callie was giggling into the grass. Jill slapped her lightly on the top of her head and sat back. "Girl, what are you trying to do, give me heart failure?"

Callie sat up and began to flex her legs tentatively. "Ow," she said.

"That was real dignified," Jill said. "I think that's what they call a pratfall."

"Very funny. You came out of it without a scratch, I bet, because you landed on top of me!" Callie said, inspecting the green stains on her outfit. "Remind me to never to buy a pink running suit," She pulled up the legs of her sweats, one at a time, to inspect her knees for damage. The left was slightly reddened, but the right knee was rather badly abraded and already starting to swell.

"Oh, that doesn't look good. I think our run is over for today," Jill said, sympathetically. "Let's rest for a few minutes.  That was quite a spill you took.  There's some benches right over there. Do you need help getting up?"

"No...I can manage...," Callie said, but groaned as she stood up. Jill took her arm and helped her to hobble over to the bench. Callie sat down with evident relief and pulled her hair back out of her eyes with both hands.

They watched a squirrel playing peekaboo with them, circling around the trunk of a tree on the other side of the path. After a moment, Jill cleared her throat and said, "Uh, Callie...do you recognize this place?"

Callie looked around and then craned her neck to peer upward toward the sky. "Jill.  Look at these trees. They're huge! I've never seen anything like this in the Park." They were seated in what appeared to be a section of some primeval forest. The massive trunks of ancient monarchs, thicker than the height of a tall man, covered with mosses and lichen, rose straight into the air, branches so entangled that there was no hint of the sky above. The ground beneath was so densely shaded that only scattered ferns grew, in patches here and there.

They both turned as one to look directly at each other's face. "We've run this path several times each week for the last couple of years," Jill said, slowly. "I know every turn, practically every tree. I've lived in New York all my life, and I don't know just where we are, but I do know, this ain't Central Park."





A Morning Run in the Park
continues with Part 2
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Last edited by Easter01 on Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:29 am; edited 1 time in total




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PostSamantha61 on Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:10 pm

I know this is one of your short stories..but was wondering you know it ended like it could have a few more parts/chapters..have you thought of that..that would be soooo cool.. :Spring2

Your Biggest Fan winner


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
~hugs and smiles my dear, dear BFF's~
I am so proud of all of you..
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PostEaster01 on Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:17 pm

Hi Sam,

Yes, this is an older story that has four parts.  I'll try to post the second part today or later tonight.

Thank you so much for all your wonderful encouragement and comments.

Easter01

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Samantha61
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PostSamantha61 on Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:07 pm

I read them all didn't I before..didn't you have them on here before???

Girl like I said I am your biggest fan..your up there with Twilight, The Hobbits, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and all of them lol.. :Spring2


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
~hugs and smiles my dear, dear BFF's~
I am so proud of all of you..
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PostEaster01 on Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:37 pm

Sam,

omg! Wow!!! What a wonderful thing to say, especially, to a relatively new writer.

Yes, this story was posted earlier. I removed it so I could divide the album into two parts.

Big Hugs!!!

Easter01

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PostSamantha61 on Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:40 pm

I told you a long time ago when I first read your stories I was your biggest fan lol..and all of the ones I said are my main books I read over and over again..oh another one is..Jean M. Auel..Clan of the Cave Bear..series..I have 2 of those books falling apart..and have one with electrical tape on it and the other one the pages are falling out lol..


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
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I am so proud of all of you..
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PostEaster01 on Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:27 am


A Morning Run in the Park
by Joanne Easter ©2015

Part 2


They nearly jumped out of their skins when a nearby voice said, "Ah, Callie, you're here, Excellent!" Turning about, they saw an elderly man with long white hair, arm in arm with a handsome woman about the same age, approaching them across the grass from the path. They were dressed rather quaintly, in what appeared to be formal clothing from the eighteenth century. The couple halted before the bench, and the man doffed his hat and made a sweeping bow. "Hans Zimmerman, at your service." Covering his head again, he introduced the woman as his wife, Maria.

Maria tugged on his sleeve. "Hans, dear, there are two of them."

He blinked. "Eh? Oh, yes, you're quite right. Callie, who is your attractive young friend?"

Both women were momentarily stunned, but Callie was the first to recover. She frowned and said, "Excuse me, have we met?"

Zimmerman opened his mouth to reply but was interrupted by an angry voice before he could say a word.

"No, no, this is all wrong! Who is this person? There's only supposed to be one of them!" A young man with long tangled hair, wearing a long khaki coat that must have had at least a hundred pockets, stepped out of the darkness beneath the trees and stood beside the older couple, his hands on his hips. He glared accusingly at the two young women, looking back and forth between them. Jill stared in fascination at this apparation. The pockets of his coat were bulging with all sorts of mysterious items, some of which appeared to be trying to escape confinement. What seemed to be a Slinky dangled from one pocket and jiggled as the young man bounced up and down in his agitation.

Callie started to get angry herself, and pointed a finger at the frizzy-haired young man. "Okay, and just who are you?" She gestured to include all of the strangers, and said, "Who are you people? Did you escape from some asylum, or what? How do you know my name...and...just where in the world is this place?"

Zimmerman cleared his throat noisily. "Please, everyone. Ah, this is my youngest son, Hector. He is our space-time engineer."

Hector was still obviously agitated. "Look, father, it's not my fault," he said before either Callie or Jill could respond. "I had everything set up perfect. It's not my fault if someone else stumbled into the extra-dimensional net."

Jill raised a hand. "Hey! Jill here!" She pointed at Callie. "I'm with her.  What's going on? Are you all crazy, or what?"

The older man spread his hands in an apologetic gesture. "Ladies, if you will allow me to explain." In an aside, he said, "Hector, calm down and be quiet. No one is blaming you, what's done is done and we'll just make the best of it."

Turning back, Zimmerman said, "Callie, Jill. Let me assure you that we are all quite sane, although we may seem a little odd at times. As to where you are...well, that is a little more difficult to explain." He sighed. "My son could probably give you a technical explanation, but the short and simple version is that this is a very special place. Actually, this is no place and no where. It exists outside of space and time." He pulled himself up straight and extended a hand. "I am the Master Toymaker. Welcome to Toyland."

His hand remained extended as the two women glanced at each other and then simultaneously burst into laughter. Jill gasped out, "I had it right the first time...all of you are crazy!"

Maria now walked forward, gently pushing her husband out of the way. "Please. Certainly this must seem hard to believe, but why don't you just humor us for a moment? Come, walk with us just to the edge of the trees. There is something you should see."  

Callie and Jill looked at each other again, and shrugged. They might be lunatics, but at least they seemed to be harmless. Why not humor them for a moment. They followed the Zimmermans through the trees for a few paces and, to their astonishment, came out of the forest to an overlook atop a high cliff, protected by a wooden railing, Off in the distance, but soaring so high into the sky that they had to look up to see the top, was a huge and fantastic castle that appeared to be made of pure crystal. Around the base was a village of small thatched cottages.

Callie grasped the railing with desperate strength and swayed in shock, scarcely able to comprehend what she was seeing. Beside her, Jill whispered, "Callie, this sure ain't Central Park."

With mild satisfaction, Hans Zimmerman softly repeated, "Welcome to Toyland."

There were benches on the overlook platform, and they all sat down together, taking in the amazing sight of the crystal castle. Maria sat between Callie and Jill and took one of their hands in each of her own. "This is where the best toymakers in the universe learn their craft. In a way, dears, we are talent scouts. We search for those persons who have a true vocation to create the finest toys, clothing, furniture, or artwork for children. Those who come here already have the talent; we just teach them to touch their imagination."

Hector scuffed his feet on the stone beneath the bench. "I'm the one who locates and brings the talent here. We've been watching Callie for several weeks, and I set up the extra-dimensional net to scoop her up on one of her runs." He hung his head. "I didn't mean to pick you up too, Jill. Didn't know you were there. Sorry." Hector perked up at a sound from behind them, hooves crunching on the graveled pathway. "Oh, here's our transportation!"

A little while later, seated in a white carriage pulled by a matching set of four white horses, Callie and Jill watched the scenery go by as they descended the mountain into the valley of the castle. Neither were able to utter a single word, but their eyes were wide as the carriage came ever closer to the crystal structure. Seated across from them, the Zimmermans smiled knowingly, understanding their amazement. Soon they were passing among the first of the cottages surrounding the castle. With their thatched roofs, and all the people in colorful garb, it all looked like something out of a medieval fair, Callie thought. Or maybe, a fairytale!




A Morning Run in the Park
continues with Part 3
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Last edited by Easter01 on Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:06 pm; edited 1 time in total




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szanne7000
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Postszanne7000 on Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:50 am

Oh, Easter - you have to post the rest!!!

Great story, greater imagination <3



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PostEaster01 on Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:04 pm


A Morning Run in the Park
by Joanne Easter ©2015

Part 3



At last the carriage pulled up before a cottage that was slightly larger than most, but still built in the same rustic style. "Ladies," Hans Zimmerman announced, "this is our home. We would be pleased if you would join us for our noon meal, and we can answer some more of your questions."

Maria added,  "I have stew simmering on the fire and yeast bread still warm from the oven."

Everything was delicious, and their heads were buzzing, but out of respect for their hosts Callie and Jill put off any questions until after the meal. At last, Maria poured them each a cup of hot tea, and they sat and sipped, trying to figure out just where to begin.

"Mrs. Zimmerman?" Jill asked at last. "I know why you wanted to bring Callie here. She has a real talent for art. But what about me? I don't have a talent like that. What am I doing here?"  

"Please call me Maria," the older woman said with a friendly smile. "Callie is a born Toymaker. She has an extraordinary gift. Here she will learn to bring her imagination to new heights.

"We had not intended to bring you here with Callie. We did not know anything about you at all." Maria closed her eyes and breathed in the aroma of the tea. "But I believe that nothing happens by accident."

"Jill, close your eyes and touch your imagination.  Perhaps you belong here, after all."

The Zimmermans had been true to their word.  They had answered every question Callie and Jill could think to ask about Toyland and its residents.  In fact, Hans Zimmerman included details in his answers that gradually put their minds at ease.

"Tomorrow we will take you on a tour of Toyland," Hans continued, as he stood and walked over to a table against the wall and started shuffling through some papers.

"Tomorrow?" Jill blinked. "We are staying?" She exchanged a glance with Callie.

Maria stood up and started to clear the table.  "We do have a small guest house in town but we would be delighted if you would stay here with us."

"Ummm...just how long were you going to keep us here?" Jill asked, this time with a little more concern. "When do we get to go home?"

Maria put the teacups in the sink and sat back down at the table.  "Jill, it takes about two weeks for the gateway to regenerate its energy after Hector brings a new toymaker to Toyland for their first visit. That will give you enough time to learn more about us, and to know whether you belong here, at least for a time."  

Jill was upset. "Two weeks? No, no, I have a job.  A darn good job, and I don't want to lose it,"

"Dear Jill, there is no reason for you to worry." Maria smiled reassuringly. "You must remember that this place is outside of time. Hector will place you back in your own world only moments from the time you left it."

"At the pre-cise moment!" Hector chimed in.

"Cool..." Callie breathed.

"Ah, there it is!" Hans said with satisfaction, looking as though he had found a lost treasure.  He walked over to the table and unrolled a parchment, placing a sugar bowl on one end and a salt cellar on the opposite to restrain the paper from curling back up.

"This is the map of Toyland showing all the shops and residents.  Tomorrow we will visit this area here, which houses the woodcrafters," he said, indicating a cluster of shops closest to the castle. Rapidly, he went over the map, pointing out all the different guilds and schools that they would call upon over the next few days.  

Callie leaned forward to get a closer look at the map.  "Can we see all this in just two weeks?" she asked, with excitement in her voice.

"Hans, remember that Callie has an injury," Maria said. "Her knee is swollen, and she should not be gallivanting about on it. You don't need to show them everything, all at once! Trevor will be here soon to take a look at it, and we'll let him decide what Callie is able to do." She patted her husband's hand, and he cleared his throat, "Umm, yes, dear, whatever you think best."

Callie and Jill both gave Maria a blank look.  

Hector laced his fingers together and stretched until his knuckles cracked. "Oh, Trevor is my older brother.  He's the doctor here. He's nearly as brilliant as I am!" At that moment the front door swung open,  and a handsome sandy-haired man, taller and slim, ambled in and leaned against the doorframe, hands in his pockets.

"Hello all," he said. "Oh, Hector, I see you made your catch. Looks like you got two fish in your net, though." He walked over and looked Jill up and down with approval in his eyes. "I'd say this one's a keeper, too."

Maria frowned at him. "Trevor, where are your manners! These are guests!"

"It wasn't my fault!" Hector said defensively.  "Jill fell into the net when I opened the gateway for Callie. She shouldn't have been there!" He subsided at Maria's glare, muttering, "Well, she shouldn't have."

Trevor took a step back and bowed formally to the two young women. "My apologies, ladies, but more for my brother's bad manners," he said, with a pointed look at Hector, "than for my own. Jill, accident or not, your presence here graces our small community. Welcome, welcome to you both!" He held the bow a moment longer, and then, eyes sparkling, straightened back up. "Callie, I understand you have an injury to your knee. May I have a look?"

Callie extended her leg, rolling up the pantleg, and Trevor knelt on the floor beside her to examine it. As he carefully flexed the joint and questioned Callie, Jill pulled the map closer so she could study the details.

"Callie and Jill will be staying here with us for the next two weeks, until Hector is able to open the gateway again," Maria informed Trevor.

"Your knee will be fine in a couple days," Trevor told Callie. "You should try to take it easy for a while, if you can," He pulled a chair out from the table and sat down; Maria brought him a cup of tea and a slice of buttered bread. He took a few sips, and then addressed Jill. "Since Callie needs to stay off her feet, perhaps you would like to take a short walk with me and see the town?"

"You bet I would!" Jill exclaimed, jumping to her feet, and then looking embarrassed when she saw Callie's look of dismay. "I will describe it all to you in excruciating detail when we get back. You'll be up and about in no time, and can see it for yourself."

Jill and Trevor walked through the village, which had a rather medieval appearance. They looked at the displays of finished toys arranged in front of the shops, and through the doorways, where they could often see the artisan at work over their bench. Each shop had a wooden sign hanging from the second story, bearing an elaborate painted picture of the craft specialty of the owner.  On one occasion, as they peered into the door of a woodcrafter's shop, the owner gestured them inside, and proudly showed off the product of her labor. She specialized in full-size carousel horses, in various poses, painted with bright colors. Jill's attention was caught by a unicorn in a clamp next to the workbench, freshly painted with a coat of gleaming white, and was startled when she caught a glimpse, through a window in the back of the shop, of the real animal delicately cropping grass in the rear yard. "I work from real life, of course," the artisan explained.

Commanding the scene, of course, was the crystal palace, which glittered and sparkled so brilliantly in the afternoon sun that Jill could not look directly at it, but had to shade her eyes to peer up at the soaring towers and arches. "Who lives there?" Jill asked, "the King of fairyland?"

"Oh, no, we don't have a king. That is the home of the Royal Toymaker." Trevor said.

"What, you mean Santa Claus?" Jill asked, by this point ready to believe almost anything.

Trevor chuckled.  "No, Santa has his own place." Jill stared at him; I don't think he's joking, she thought. More seriously, he continued, "The Royal Toymaker and his family are the magic and life of Toyland. None of this would be possible without them."

Later that evening, in a bedroom that had been provided for them after a delicious supper of plain fare, Jill sat down on one of the twin beds and bounced up and down, happily. Callie occupied the other bed, her injured leg elevated on a pillow. "Handsome, huh?" Callie observed. "Lucky you."

"Maybe," Jill responded thoughtfully, pulling back the quilted coverlet. A featherbed, no less!

She burrowed down into the warm softness and thought about the amazing crystal castle, the Zimmermans, and Toyland, and hoped everything would still be here when she woke up.




A Morning Run in the Park
continues with Part 4
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Last edited by Easter01 on Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:19 am; edited 1 time in total




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Postalouette on Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:00 am

I'm so glad to read your stories, Easter! I'm going to bookmark this page to read them all later. 


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Postszanne7000 on Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:25 am

Seriously...

...you cannot tease us like this!

I'm like Sam - I want all your stories now, Now, NOW! LOLOLOLOL

(I promise to be patient, Easter.) :D



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PostEaster01 on Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:18 am


A Morning Run in the Park
by Joanne Easter ©2015

Part 4



The next morning, Callie was curled up in an overstuffed armchair with a huge book of illustrated fairy tales, Jill standing at the window with a cup of tea, gazing outside at the cobbled street, when Trevor and Hector came down to breakfast.  

"How's the knee?" Trevor asked, pouring himself a cup of hot tea.

"Sore.  It's sore...but it's better!" Callie sighed. "To be truthful, I guess I should stay off my feet a while longer. But, you guys!" The frustration in her voice was plain to hear. "It's absolutely killing me, to sit here while just outside is all this really cool stuff, fairyland and all!" She closed the book with a loud thump. She rapped the cover with her knuckles, "So, what is this, is this stuff in here just imagination, giants, trolls, dragons, fairies...or is it real, too?" Jill had told her about seeing the unicorn.

Trevor laughed, looking sideways at the title of the book Callie was holding. "A little of both, actually. Toyland is only one of the many alternate dimensions. Some of them are inhabited by...creatures...you wouldn't want to meet. Nothing like that here, though," he hastened to add. "Here in Toyland are only humans, and a few harmless magical beings."

At that moment, Maria set heaping plates full of johnnycakes, fried apples and sausages, on the table. "Breakfast!" she announced, just as Hans, now dressed in everyday clothes, walked through the back door with a crock of cold milk from the springhouse, "I see you found the illustrated story books, Callie, very good.  What do you think of them?" he said, setting the container on the sideboard..

"They are wonderful! So full of detail, they almost seem to leap off the pages. Will I learn to draw like that?" she asked.

"You already have the technical skills. We will help you find your artist's vision," Hans answered, setting mugs out on the table. "And, much, much, more."

After breakfast Maria shooed Trevor and Jill out the front door to continue their tour of Toyland, while Hans and Callie sat together at the table and went through one of the story books, the older man noting the individual artists and explaining the stories behind the illustrations.

"Callie is sooo excited," Jill said, as she and Trevor walked toward the western edge of the town, an area they had not yet explored, "But so frustrated!"

"She's a born toymaker, Jill.  Her passion is excited just by being here, by the potential of new discoveries," he said. In only a few minutes, they came into a district in which most of the signs hanging over shop doors displayed pictures of scissors. He opened the door to the first large shop they approached; a bell tinkled in the back as they entered. The shop was filled with shelves containing fabric rolls in an astonishing variety of colors and patterns that quite overwhelmed Jill. On one wall was a display of examples of male and female clothing, some sized for humans and smaller sizes obviously meant for dolls; on another wall were embroidered hangings and tapestries; and on a third wall were shelves of dolls and stuffed toys. She walked up and down the aisles in a sort of happy bemusement, stopping now and then to slide out a roll of cloth and examine the pattern and texture, or to tentatively touch one of the display items.  The designs and colors were a tribute to the imaginations of their creators.

On the third morning, Callie joined them in their excursion, but that afternoon, when they discovered the street of the Artists and Designers, Callie was lost to them. She spent the rest of the two-week period visiting each of the artists and discussing methods and techniques, so that Jill and Trevor, amused, were forced to continue along without her. Jill, however, found an obsession of her own, She kept being drawn back to the fabric shops. She would touch the different fabrics and imagine how they could be used to dress a doll or a toddler, or as a quilted pattern for a toddler's crib.

Then, one morning, Jill knew it was finally time to leave when she saw Hector waiting for them beside the door of the Zimmerman house, dressed in his khaki coat of a hundred pockets and pointedly examining a large gold pocketwatch.  "It's time, ladies.  The gateway to your world will open in a couple of hours, and we must not be late. The carriage will take us back up the mountain."

At that moment there was a clatter from outside and Jill saw the carriage arriving, the white horses prancing as they came to a halt before the door. Callie and Jill looked at each other; as strange as this whole experience had been, they were now both reluctant for it to end. Maria placed her arms around both girls and gave them a quick hug, and then stepped back.. "Callie, dear, you are a Toymaker, and I think you know now that you belong here with us. You can return any time. Hector will tell you how to contact us." She turned to Jill, and said, "What are your plans, dear? Your arrival here was an accident, but Trevor tells me that you may have found something to capture your imagination?"  

Jill didn't know what to say; she felt like crying.  This place was so special, she didn't really want to leave.  "Well, you know, I have this really great job, and a nice apartment.  Maybe I'll take some classes at the university on textiles or something...I don't know," she confessed.

"Tic toc, time to go, ladies," Hector said, tapping his watch. Silently, the two young women and the Zimmermans walked slowly to the carriage. Hans held the carriage door open for the three ladies, who climbed in first and sat in the rear seat, followed by Hector and Hans, who took the seat facing them. Hector rapped on the roof of the carriage to signal the driver, and the vehicle started off with a gentle jerk.

"Where's Trevor?  I thought he might be here," Jill asked, looking sadly out the window.

Maria looked at Hans, then said, "He'll meet us there, not to worry," she answered.

Everyone was silent as the carriage ascended the hill, the mood quite different from the surprise and delight of their arrival. After a journey that seemed all too brief, Hector announced, unnecessarily as the carriage halted,  "Umm...we're here."

Trevor, who had been waiting for them, now stepped forward and opened the carriage door, helping the ladies to step down. Jill was last out, and he held onto her hand just a moment longer than necessary.

As the others gathered on the pathway, already planning for Callie's next visit, Trevor and Jill stood by themselves. He took both her hands in his. "Only Toymakers can come and go between worlds as they please," he said, sadly. "If you leave us now, you can never come back. You don't have to go," he said, studying her face. "Please stay here, be one of us...” and, softly, “Stay with me...."

"I can't," Jill said, looking up into his eyes.  "I'm not a Toymaker, I don't really belong here..."

"But you could be...," Trevor said, softly, as Hector loudly said, "Ladies, it's time...." He stood beside a large "X" which he had just marked in the dirt of the path.

Callie gave Maria and Hans and hug, then walked over to stand with Hector, who reached into his pocket. A shimmer appeared in the air, just beyond the X-mark, through which the trees of Central Park could be faintly seen. “Great toy, huh!” he said.

Jill pulled gently away from Trevor and said her good-bys to Maria and Hans. Then she walked over to join Callie, standing just in front of the gateway.

She turned and looked back at Trevor. His lips moved, but she could not hear what he said. She turned about and looked through the gateway to Central Park.

If she stepped through, she could never return...

Callie stepped through the gateway and vanished. Jill looked back. The Zimmermans looked at Jill expectantly; Trevor's eyes were so sad, she thought. Suddenly she spun and ran back to Trevor. "I can't go," she said, facing him, pleading with her eyes.  "I can be a Toymaker.  I can.  I know it.  I loved the fabrics.  I can design beautiful clothes for dolls, I have all kinds of ideas.  I want to stay, Trevor.  I want to learn to be a Toymaker."

"I know you can," Trevor said, and embraced her tightly, as if she might change her mind and run for the gateway that was now beginning to fade. She snuggled into his arms, and then pushed away in a panic. "Oh my goodness!" she exclaimed. "What about Callie?  I need to explain,"

Hans and Maria walked over and joined them. Maria took Jill's hands in her own. "Don't worry about Callie.  She can come back to Toyland any time she wants.  You'll see her again and probably sooner than you think." Maria gently took her arm and guided her toward the carriage. Jill grabbed at Trevor's hand and pulled him along, a broad smile lighting up his face. "And, besides, she already knew you were a Toymaker. We all did," she said, climbing up into the carriage.

"You did?  I don't understand," Jill said, joining Maria, followed by Hans and then Trevor.

Hans thumped on the roof with his fist to signal the driver.  "Jill, we couldn't find the Toymaker within you.  You had to do that.  We could guide you, but the discovery had to be your own.  That was the only way you could stay."

Maria's eyes twinkled with delight as she reached over and patted Jill's hand.  "And, we are so happy you did."

Trevor placed his arm around Jill and looked back over at his parents.  "Not as happy as I am. Not nearly as happy."



Toyland, toyland
little girl and boy land
when you dwell within it
you are ever happy there!

Childhood toyland
mystical merry toyland
once you pass it's borders
you can never return again!


(c) 2015 Joanne Easter. All Rights Reserved.

Credits:
Toyland Words and Music by Victor Herbert: Here
Autumn Beauty, Central Park, NYC by Carey St. Hilaire: Here
Ancient Tulip poplar grove in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest: Here
Giclée on Canvas by Peter Ellenshaw: Here
unicorn in christiantoday: Here
central-park-fall by glamourdolly: Here


Last edited by Easter01 on Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:58 pm; edited 1 time in total




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Postszanne7000 on Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:39 am

Oh, Easter!

What a lovely short.

Might I suggest you do a sequel? Then we can see how everything turned out...

<3



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Postanidup on Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:28 am

Simply adore all the stories, Easter!
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PostSamantha61 on Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:04 pm

This is the one I was talking about..it ended like there could be a sequel..and that would be awesome..and put it up there with the stories instead of short stories lol..


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Postpoppy100 on Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:38 pm

thank you ~ I love it '' i love it '' Easter01   
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PostEaster01 on Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:35 pm





Part 1

Getting two tickets for the Knicks game at Madison Square Garden was never an easy task, especially when they were playing Boston in the 1955 semifinals, but somehow Julie had pulled it off. Julie Devereux was a Homicide detective recently arrived from Texas and was still new to the Big Apple. She was an amazing gal, one of the first female officers in Houston to be promoted to detective rank, largely as a result of her role in a high-publicity case helping to apprehend a serial rapist and murderer. She had ended up assigned to my old precinct, the 18th. We met about a month ago when I was working a missing persons case for a client and dropped by the bullpen for a lunch date with my old partner, Sam McIntyre. When he introduced me to the newest addition to his team, we eyeballed each other and liked what we saw. After an hour's worth of shop talk comparing Houston to New York, I ended up taking Julie to lunch instead of Sam.

I'm Conner Nash, and I spent five years on the Homicide desk in the 18th Precinct in midtown Manhattan until a bullet in the knee left me sidelined with a slight limp and a partial pension. Since I still needed to make a living, I decided to stick with what I knew and traded in my shield for a PI's license. I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but I am very good at finding things.

My current case involved a bit more than just a missing person, but since it had no tie to Homicide and, being the discreet investigator that I am, I tactfully avoided mentioning it to Julie or anyone else at the time. My client was missing not only his seventeen-year-old daughter but also a diamond necklace worth twenty-five large that belonged to his late wife. Daddy wanted the necklace and his kid retrieved without bringing the police into it, and so he gave me a call.

As it turned out my detective skills were not needed because his daughter turned up safe and sound in Brooklyn, if a little worse for wear. Apparently, there was a boyfriend who put her up to it, telling the girl that they could run off together and live off the money they got from selling the ice. Turned out the whole thing was just a sweetheart con and the young Lothario already had a girl. Things really went south when he tried to ditch the kid and it turned into a screaming match in a bar that attracted attention from the local law. All three ended up in handcuffs, and I got no paycheck.

Daddy Warbucks wasted no time buying some high priced lawyers to save his daughter from some serious jail time. He packed the kid off to Switzerland or somewhere in Europe - someplace far, far, away, at any rate - until the whole thing blew over. The case resolved, I shared the details and a few laughs with Julie over a couple of coneys from a sidewalk dog wagon.

As I said, Julie was an exceptional lady. Maybe it was because she was from the west and spoke with a slow drawl that was a refreshing change from the clipped syllables of a native New Yorker. She was naturally friendly, and of course it didn't hurt a bit that she was drop-dead gorgeous with jaw-length blonde hair in a pageboy cut and a pair of legs that just wouldn't quit. Best of all, she was a sports junkie who could reel off stats like a pro.

Of course, I couldn't help but be fascinated by the idea of a lady Homicide dick. There just weren't that many of them around, but it quickly became clear to me that she was an aggressive cop with a formidable skill set and no tolerance at all for bull. For her, cop work was a family business; her daddy and granddaddy both had been Texas Rangers. NYPD had been employing female cops for some time, but Julie was the first and only female detective in the city. Some of the guys on the force were not too happy to see a lady detective on the force, and she groused a bit about the guff she was taking.

We met for an early dinner on Thursday evening, March 10, at Allesandro's Italian Restaurant on West 51st Street, in the theater district on the Island. Pizza was invented here in New York, and Julie had never had a taste of pizza in her life. Just watching her eat, closing her eyes and making little pleasure sounds with every bite, was a real treat. And, of course, there was always the chance to see somebody famous, since Allesandro’s was a favorite hangout for celebrities. I thought she might get a kick if maybe Sinatra or Tony Bennett put in an appearance while we were having our meal. No such luck tonight, but Allesandro came out of the kitchen while we were eating and stopped by our table to introduce himself and ask how we liked the food; he beamed when Julie told him she thought she had died and gone to heaven.

We finished digging our way through one of Allesandro's magnificent pies and sat back for a breather. Julie flashed those baby-blues at me and leaned forward, as if she was about to whisper a secret. "I have an idea as to how we might spend the rest of the evenin'," she said, and then pulled a pair of center-court Knicks tickets out of her purse and waved them under my nose before tucking them back out of sight. I was flabbergasted, and couldn't help the idiot grin that spread across my face. Oh, this was my kind of gal, all right! I think I would have followed her anywhere, anyway, but with those tickets in her hand there was no way I was going to let her out of my sight.

I glanced at my watch. There was still plenty of time before the game started, so I ordered a bottle of chianti for our table. I waved off the waiter and poured a couple of glasses and sat looking at Julie over the top of my glass. She smiled and took a sip from her glass, but I could tell that the mood was broken. She was distracted over something, and I could not figure what was going on until I noticed that her eyes kept going over my shoulder to the corner of the room. "What is it, doll?" I asked quietly.

She brought her attention back to me. "Woman in the back corner. Don't turn around."

I raised an eyebrow; I had no intention of being so obvious. Instead, I signaled to the waiter to bring us the check, and when he came over I was able to turn a little in my chair and get a good look at Julie's mystery woman. She was sitting alone at a little table in the corner; a real babe, ivory skin and short black hair, curly like Elizabeth Taylor's. Fortysomething, maybe. Decked out in a fancy dress. She had a drink and a menu in front of her, but wasn't paying attention to either one. Not looking in our direction, a little too pointedly, perhaps.

"What about her?" I asked. "Friend of yours?"

She twirled the wine glass between her fingers. "No...I don't know who she is, but this makes twice I have seen her today. Might be coincidence, but I don't like it."

I leaned forward across the table. "Are you sure you don't know her from somewhere? Could she be connected with some case you're working?"

She frowned. "I don't think so, but I'm workin' a dozen open cases right now. One thing for sure, she comes from money. Did you see that dress she's wearin', Conner?"

I remembered seeing an attractive woman who filled out a dress in all the right places. "Yeah, sure. It's a blue dress, looks good," I answered.

Julie rolled her eyes. "Conner...that's a Dior original. I might be from Texas, but I know that dress cost more than you or I make in a year." She pronounced her home state as "Takes-us"; that southern accent of hers was a delight and I could listen to her talk all day. As to the dress, I suppose women can take one glance at an outfit and instantly know the label and the dollar signs in front of it. To me...blue dress. Julie looked at me as if I was some sort of fashion cretin. She knew I had taken in every other detail of this beautiful woman but the latest fashion design went right over my head. I grinned crookedly at her, and she kicked me in the shin under the table. I assumed a wounded expression. "Babe, that hurt!"

I finished off the wine in my glass. "So, what do you want to do?"

"Let's badge her and see how she reacts," Julie said, and we pushed back our chairs and stood up, but when we looked, the table in the corner was empty and there was no sign of the lady in blue.

We finished our dinner and I retrieved my fedora from the coat-check girl and helped Julie into her coat. We walked outside onto 51st Street, where a light sleet was pelting down, and I pulled the brim of my hat down firmly. The streets were still a bit slushy from the morning's snowfall, and the wind was pretty brisk. Fortunately, I was able to flag a cab down almost immediately to take us down to the Garden. Three hours later we pushed our way through the crowds swarming out into the streets. What a game! The Knicks had severely punished Boston, 114 to 95, and we were both a little hoarse from screaming.

After the game we took a taxi back to her place in Astoria, a new high-rise, and that's when the trouble started. We walked into the lobby of her building and Julie pressed the button to call the elevator. Just as the doors opened and we stepped inside, a woman brushed past us quickly and moved to the rear, standing with her back against the wall, her arms folded tightly around her middle. Julie made a small sound and touched me on the arm, but I had recognized her too. It was the woman from the restaurant, still wearing the same blue dress.

I had been to Julie's place before for drinks so I pushed the button for the sixth floor. I looked at the lady in the blue dress and raised an eyebrow questioningly. "Eight, please," she said in a low voice, almost a whisper. I pushed the button and the doors began to close. They were almost shut when a massive hand thrust between the doors and forced them back open, revealing two large and very ugly men stuffed into badly-fitting cheap suits. The larger of the two tipped his hat to the ladies and rumbled, "Par'n me" in a gravelly voice as they stepped inside and turned around to face the front as the doors closed. Goon number one looked back over his shoulder and grinned at me, and then swiveled his head back around. It was not a friendly grin.

The small space now seemed very crowded as the elevator started up. I stared at the back of the neck of the man in front of me, and then turned my head for a quick glance at the lady in the blue dress. Her eyes were wide, and she was pressed tightly against the back wall. I had a real bad feeling about this. The excitement of the game had pushed the situation at the restaurant completely out of my mind. In any case, I had more or less dismissed Julie's concern as an over-reaction. But not now. There was something bad wrong here. I just didn't know what, but there was an overwhelming atmosphere of menace in the confines of the elevator.

The Lady in Blue
continues with Part 2
Coming Soon




Easter01's The Father Michael's Saga can be found: Here

Easter01's Short Stories can be found: Here

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