I've neglected you for a while but I have an excuse...
I've been helping the elves and faeries with all the Christmas toys. They've been worked off of their little feet and Santa has been so busy this year poor old soul.
Of course, it meant that I had to shrink in size to fit in the tiny little toadstools and workshops. Anyhow, to do this I drank a potion which was rather foul tasting, but it was only a thimble size full thank goodness. The feeling as I shrunk was extremely weird but it only lasted seconds. My new friend Tizzlewen showed me where I could find suitable clothes and a pair of wings. THEY took some time to fix I can tell you. I had many an abortive test run and I crash landed more than I expected but I eventually got the hang of it.
During an evening break, I was sitting outside my toadstool drinking mead (yummy) when I realised how cold it was getting. The sky was full of stars but the air was frosty and I hate the cold with a passion. As things had calmed down a bit at the North Pole and most of the work was now done, I decided I needed some warmth. My friend Suzannah Burke lives down under in Sydney Australia so I decided to pay her a surprise visit and lap up some of that sunshine.
Tizzlewen agreed that I had done more that my fair share, and as I would be away for a while asked if I would like to join him in his toadstool for a Christmas noggin. I readily agreed, even though I knew him to be an elf of ill-repute. However he was on his best behaviour and we supped several acorn cups of mead. Feeling very mellow by the bewitching hour I made my excuses to leave. Tizzlewen agreed to walk me to my toadstool as I was a bit unsteady on my little legs. (It takes a while to get used to mead) He planted a gentle kiss on the tip of my nose and left me to retire for the night. Maybe all the stories I'd heard about him weren't true after all.... Maybe?
The next morning I awoke with a thumping head which was to be expected I suppose. My next decision to make was, is it to be coffee and breakfast or just coffee. I decided on just coffee as I had a long way to fly. Then I realised I would probably scare the hell out of our Sooz if I turned up reduced in size so I went off to find the antidote. Could I find anyone? No; not a single elf or faerie was about. Oh well I had no choice but at least I had my nimbus broomstick which meant I wouldn't have to use my wings to fly there. I wrapped my warmest witches cape several times around me and headed for the clouds in cruise mode eager to get to that Oz warmth.
I stopped off at Singapore in a secluded spot for sustenance and to recharge the nimbus, then I was off again. By the time I got to Sydney it was midday and I knew exactly where to find the lovely Sooz. Her face was a sight to behold when she saw me (I love surprises) and after a full explanation of my present appearance she laughed and then suggested a lazy lunch and chilled wine in the beautiful garden.
As I looked around and took in the views I sighed deeply. Sooz has a granny flat which is a converted garage on the eastern side of the main house. It has its own deck running the length of the building and faces due west. As I looked down the rugged incline, there is a fire trail that descends steeply for about a kilometer or so, which brings one out safely to a roadway bordering the park on the other side. I turned to Sooz and got her to update me on everything, since moving here (who lives where etc) and the arrival of Jacob.
"Well Tee as you can see... Oh let me top up the wine first. Is it chilled enough for you?
I agreed it was and relaxed back to listen.
"Where was I? Oh yes. As you can see the main house is huge and my daughter Amanda, friend Jill and beautiful grandson Jacob share it with one psychotic cat (Manky) and two even more psychotic dogs, a Boston terrier named Boss, and a Pomeranian named Prince. I adore animals so it is a happy place to be.
The main house has a very large deck with a view over the George’s River National Park; that deck faces South and the view is rugged high country, the house and my flat have been built on the highest rock platform bordering the park.
My mornings begin anywhere between 1.00am and 5.00 am, I sleep very little these days, and resent it if I need a nap in the afternoons.
I water my lovely little garden every morning now that summer is well on its way, and have just cut back the lemon tree and passionfruit vines to make way for the tomatoes and vegies that I planted in early spring.
I don’t plan my days other than that. With the exception of the 3 mornings a week that I go up early to the main house (6.30am) to dress Jacob for daycare whilst Amanda prepares his bag of goodies for the day, and readies herself for work.
They leave at 7.20 am and the rest of my day is free to do as I please. When the muse is actively engaged I write. I need to sit out on the deck, weather permitting, to do any research and play on FB as there is no internet connection available from inside my flat.
As the heat progresses in summer, I will have to go up into the main house to do any work involving the internet, as the western sun is on my deck from midday till sunset, and the temperature can and does hit 40 celsius.
I have a portable aircon in my bedroom that will help maintain my sanity throughout summer. I much prefer Spring and Autumn temps.
The place I write, am now writing in … lets see…There is a concertina door separating the living area from the laundry/toilet and shower areas, the window is huge and I look out at the trees and get distracted by the birdlife and the fox and her cubs that now come out on the ledge almost daily to play. We get wild storms this time of year, gale force winds and thunder that shakes the place like crazy…I love storms, especially the driving rain that comes with them. At night the sound of that rain, and sometimes hail on the tin roof makes me smile with contentment.
Jacob shares his Grandma’s love of storms, and Amanda has her hands full convincing him to come inside. He stands with his hands in the air and squeals “Whoo-hoo, more please!” Sigh. I try hard not to laugh. Amanda just grins at me and comments that ‘its gotta be genetic’. I love my girl.
The bedroom has a small built in robe, and I can just fit my queen-size bed in comfortably, with enough room to slide in on one side. It’s all I need and surprisingly I don’t get claustrophobic, perhaps because the sliding glass doors can remain curtainless at night, for there’s naught but the possums to invade my privacy, and I can look out at the stars till I fall asleep.
"Phew it sure is a cracking place Sooz. I love it; actually I had the chance to come and live out here with my first husband when I was in my early twenties, but that's a story for another day..."
"Sooz, over the years we have certainly hauled each other upright during our lowest times. You're a cracking writer and I admire you and your writing style tremendously. I know you have written a psychological thriller that Thorstruck are publishing in February 2015 (only about 9 weeks away) Can you share any of it with us?"
"Well, my dear friend, the book that Thorstruck are releasing in February is titled “Acts Beyond Redemption” It’s complex and has several subplot’s running simultaneously…a psychological thriller that appears to be about a serial killer/or family like Charles Manson’s. The plot leads the FBI special task force in that direction … quite deliberately. Orders come from the highest held office in the land, to someone within the task force. They must continue to focus on the serial killer aspect, to deflect any and all eyes away from the real motive and the story behind it.
I ended the book allowing for a book 2 and possibly 3. Here is an excerpt ...."
“Acts Beyond Redemption.” By Suzanna Burke
“Acts Beyond Redemption.” By Suzanna Burke
Cookie had already had the meals delivered as ordered at 7:00 p.m. in a location two miles from the cabin. One of them would be there as always to collect the food. Clara passed Cookie on the way to the cabin, driving the all-terrain vehicle back to the main homestead.
Clara didn’t bother to knock, she strolled in and headed across to the bar, before acknowledging any of those present.
“Hi, all. What’s for dinner?”
“Roast pork,” Sheila responded with a smile. “Tim’s favorite, Clara."
“How nice. Is it a special occasion?”
“No, just thought you may all like something apart from pizza for a change.”
Clara looked at her, then glanced at the three men. Everything seemed fine, they were relaxed and readying themselves for the meal.
Clara felt a trill of fear. What was happening? The atmosphere was almost too relaxed; Sheila was smiling. Sheila never smiled.
“Do we have a problem?” she asked.
“No, Clara, no problem at all. A minor irritation we’ll talk about after dinner. Let’s enjoy Cookie’s marvelous meal shall we?” Sheila waited till everyone was seated and set their plates in front of them.
“Enjoy the meal, and I have made certain Cookie included your favorite apple and raisin sauce, Clara, and of course extra crackling for you, Tim.”
They sat and began the meal, the men making no real effort at conversation, but then Clara knew they weren’t exactly a bright bunch. Working with them was do-able, but socially they lacked any finesse at all. Sheila was different, she could pass in any society that she chose to fit, as a member of long standing. Clever little chameleon.
“Have we been given a new target?” asked Clara as she helped herself to more of the wonderful sauce.
“I am handling the next one solo,” Sheila said.
“Why is that?”
“Because those are my orders, Clara.”
“But surely the pattern of killings shouldn’t alter at this stage? They have been convinced these are serial murders, why change it now?”
“Why don’t you ask him yourself?”
“No. No. I was merely inquiring why the pattern was altered. No need to ask him. No need at all.” She laughed nervously.
“Smart girl. He does hate to have his orders questioned. Or not followed to the letter.”
Clara knew then that she was in trouble. She stood and forced herself to stroll slowly across to the bar, feigning nonchalance. “It’s just as well the last hit turned out just fine then. No need to trouble him with the details.”
“Oh, make no mistake, Clara. He is well aware of exactly how that hit went down.” Sheila replied in a bored tone.
“I presume I am to be told off for being naughty, and leaving the gag off that damned fool?”
“Told off? Told off?” Sheila’s voice rose. She stood and walked across to where Clara stood, and slapped her hard across the face. “Stupid, stupid bitch. You ruined it. A perfect record and you ruined it.”
Clara knew better than to attempt to retaliate. Sheila would calm down after the first tirade, she always did.
“I’m sorry, Sheila. I thought the place was so isolated nobody would ever stumble on it. It was silly. It won’t happen again.”
Clara looked at her face, then across at the men who were now standing by the door. “What? Am I to be punished like a recalcitrant child? That’s ridiculous.”
Clara felt sweat forming on her brow, and her stomach began to cramp. She looked at the faces again, detecting nothing, so put the physical reaction down to nerves.
She walked a little unsteadily over to the table and pulled her chair out, sitting quickly as her legs turned to jelly beneath her. She looked around the table, and noticed for the first time that none of the plates except for hers had any of Cookie’s famous sauce, yet she knew they all liked it. The truth hit her as the first wave of nausea caused her to vomit.
“My, God! What have you done?”
“Don’t fuss so, Clara. It will be over reasonably soon. In an hour or so, you will be completely immobilized. The pain of course will not be pleasant. You should die sometime in the next twelve to sixteen hours.” Sheila stated quite matter-of-factly.
“Gentleman, I suggest you sit. Watch, and remember well what she goes through. If anyone disobeys an order again, death will not be as relatively easy as what she will suffer, believe me.”
“Sheila, no! We’re friends. Help me!”
“I don’t have any friends, Clara. This is strictly business.” She turned to the men, sitting pale faced, and edgy. “Spread the tarpaulin and put her on the floor. The mess is easier to clean up that way. Who wants a drink?”
They all nodded, however, when Sheila went to the bar she was amused to find that they insisted on pouring their own. She laughed in merriment. “Name your poison, gentleman.”
Clara lay on the floor screaming in pain. They managed to ignore her.
Please note this work is “Subject to change, before publication.”
"Sooz you take my breath away with your exceptional writing and I can't wait to read it."
As the sun started to lose the heat of the day (can we really have been chatting that long?) we top up our glasses with the chilling white wine and ease back into an easy silence that only deep friendship allows and watch the early nightlife come out to play. They're safe in the knowledge that we will cause them no harm.
I'm going to stay with Sooz for a day or two recharged my batteries. I'm in heaven and going nowhere...