Tag: new fiction by Ken David Stewart

The Monkey Speedway by Ken David Stewart


“Do you know how this container got in my study?” Isiah asked his little brother.

“Yeah, me and Rob and the rest of the gang went cray-fishing last night and caught a bucket full of these critters. I figured that I’d take one of them home with me,” Caleb answered.

Excerpt 6:

Friday evening had finally arrived and it was crayfish season. Caleb walked to the family’s refrigerator and broke off a small slice of bacon and tied it on to a thread of string that was seven feet long. This was really all the equipment that he needed for a fun night of cray-fishing on the banks of the Red River.

Caleb heard a knock on his front door and as soon as he opened it he could see that Terrence, Aaron and Greg had their owns strings of bacon in their hands and were ready to roll.

“Let’s go Caleb. Ronny and Peter are going to meet us at the opening to the Monkey Speedway. The Monkey Speedway was a man- made or should I say a kid -made trail of trampled down mud, grass and brush that covered an area of the river bank.

Nobody remembers who originally named this terrain as The Monkey Speedway, but the derivation of its name likely belongs to a variety of boys who had tried to ride their bikes at top speed down this challenging path of brush. The ride itself could probably be compared to a smaller version of The Wild Mouse, a popular and scary roller coasting ride at the Red River Exhibition that arrived in Winnipeg every June.

Many of the boys who originally went for a test ride on the Monkey Speedway ended up being suddenly and violently ejected from their bicycles. When they shook off the temporary sense of disorientation resulting from their fall, they could cast their eyes upward only to see their partially mangled bicycles dangling from the branches of the nearby trees.

Some mischievous boys were not above setting potentially disabling and possibility fatally designed traps along the Monkey Speedway. Some adventurous children did indeed suffer injury resulting from these traps, but it was seldom worse than a bloodied and bruised elbow, a scraped knee requiring a few sutures at the local emergency ward or a fractured wrist.

Just let it be said, that the boys of the Norwood Flats were tough. I should more correctly say the boys and a certain girl, as there was a young lass named Tammy who was known to ask the boys if she could join them for a game of tackle football, one of their potentially life altering bike rides or a wild evening of Friday night cray-fishing.crayfish 9

Episode Three of the Life and Times of Keith Ross a Novel by Ken David Stewart


Episode Three

This morning Keith Ross was hoping that listening to Creflo Dollar’s message would help to improve his mood and provide him with some inspiration. He did attend a local church occasionally. but preferred to stay at home and watch services via the internet.

Keith had many TV preachers that he watched including Joel Osteen, Joseph Prince, Patricia King, Jim Richards and Todd Bentley. Many years ago he got introduced to the Charismatic stream of Christian theology through the influence of one of his old girlfriends.

 

He preferred to believe in a positive, motivating theology. He knew that there were more conservative feel theologies out there, but over the years he had become very disenchanted with them. Keith’s father had been a Baptist preacher who taught a very conservative view of the Bible and the Christian life. Keith had always thought that there had to be more to Christianity than this and his former girlfriend had shown him that that he could go much deeper in his relationship with God.

 

Keith wanted to believe that God loved him and wanted him to be blessed with good health and financial prosperity. He did not want to get rich. He only desired to get all his debts paid off death and to have enough money for a comfortable lifestyle.

 

The next morning Keith Ross woke up and felt miserable. It was another morning where he felt as if he had never slept during the night. He groggily got off his ragged, old, broken down couch where he slept most nights. He often fell asleep on the couch while reading or watching TV.

 

Keith frequently watched Fox News before he went to bed. When he was young man, he was very much a socialist, but as he got older, he began to see the negative characteristics of a totally socialized society. At first he wasn’t crazy about Donald Trump, but during the first six months of Trump’s presidency, Keith was starting to really admire the way the new president took tough stands on issues that he strongly believed in.

 

He got himself his favorite glass of water from the kitchen and began taking his massive regimen of medications and dietary supplements. Keith followed this with a bowl of Raisin Bran cereal. He’s actually preferred Frosted Flakes, but he had recently decided to be more careful about his food choices.

As soon as he finished his breakfast, Keith felt so tired that he lied down on the couch. After about five minutes had passed, he got up and looked out the window. The sun was shining brightly. He promptly turned on the weather channel to check today’s forecast. The weather channel reported a high of 28°C with sunny skies throughout the day. He started to think about going for a bike ride. Keith looked up at his beautiful, black Giant mountain bike parked a few feet behind his flat screen TV.1111

School Daze by Ken David Stewart


School Daze by Ken David Stewart

Chapter One

I’ve been thinking about writing this book for some time now. Over the years I have thought a lot about the experiences I had attending public school. I don’t know whether or not most people think about their school days that much. I need to point out a few things right off the bat. First of all, the names and locations that I talk about in this book are all either changed or fictitious. If the reader wants to believe that some of the stories are true that is their prerogative. This book will cover the decades of the early 1950s and the 1960s. School was a lot different at that time than it is now.

I should start by saying that I grew up in downtown Winnipeg. My parents and I lived in my grandmother’s rooming house. I used to call my maternal grandmother, Bapi because I could not say the Polish word for grandmother which was Bapcha. After a short period of time everyone in our neighborhood started calling my grandmother, Bapi. Bapi was a very strong woman both mentally and physically. She didn’t take any crap from anyone. I can still remember her physically throwing some of her unruly tenants down the stairs. Bapi was my primary caregiver during the daytime and she made damn sure that I attended kindergarten every day whether I was sick or well.

From an early age I was already quite the entertainer. I recall watching Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show. My parents bought me a toy guitar and I was soon doing Elvis Presley impersonations complete with shaking my hips and moving around my legs the way my hero did. This entertained my parents and their friends to no end because I was already a fat kid and my impression of Elvis must have been hilarious.

Unfortunately for me, during the time I grew up there were very few fat kids around. This fact was to lead to much name-calling and humiliation for me when I attended public school.

I tended to make things worse for myself because I liked to dress up for school. I don’t mean wearing a suit or tie. I’m referring to donning a fire-fighters hat or dressing up in a Zorro costume, complete with a toy sword. I still remember one of my classmates pointing out that the real Zorro was not fat. His remark really stung but I couldn’t help it if I was a fat kid. After all, my grandmother was always serving me a big piece of cake along with my tomato soup and sandwich for lunch.

So naturally, my name became Fatso. I can recall a few other highlights regarding my kindergarten experience. My kindergarten teacher told my parents that because I was so bright I should be skipped a grade next year. The reason for my alleged brilliance was that my paternal grandmother who I visited every weekend, was a retired school teacher. I called her Granny and she read to me and taught me the alphabet and numbers before I ever attended school. Needless to say, most of my classmates did not have this distinct advantage.

The other highlight that I can remember was having a mean kid destroy my art project as I walked home from school. For most of my early years at school I was a favorite target for bullies. It wasn’t until grade five that I realized that being fat didn’t mean that you couldn’t fight, but I’ll save that story for later.

Around the time I became six years old my parents and grandmother bought a house in a suburban area of Winnipeg. I’m not sure how they were able to pull this off financially, but I suspect that Bapi helped my parents out a great deal. Even though I had moved out of the inner-city I quickly found out that it didn’t mean that the other children would be any nicer. In many ways they were worse. I continued to get bullied not only by my classmates, but also by my teachers. The things that my teachers got away with then would quickly end the career of any teacher today. In the late fifties and sixties school teachers could pretty well do anything they wanted to their students. You didn’t even have to be bad to have them talk to you very sarcastically or even treat you cruelly, if they so desired. The problem was in those days the teacher was always right. If a child were to complain to their parents about how their teacher had mistreated them, they couldn’t expect to get any sympathy from their parents. Your parents were more likely to ask you what you did wrong to make your teacher so angry.

In grade two my teacher asked me how much I weighed. Not knowing any better, I told her the truth. I told her that I weighed 120 pounds. My teacher’s response to this, was to inform the class that I weighed more than her.

Not to be outdone, my grade 3 teacher told the class that I was enough to make a teacher swear. My grade four teacher did her one better by calling me ‘Stupified’ for spilling some paint during an art class.

However, I would have to declare that the all-time winner of all my sadistic teachers was my grade five teacher. In those days, having a messy desk was a capital crime. My fifth grade teacher had a habit of doing visual desk inspections during silent reading. She wore soft soled shoes so that her students could not hear her sneaking up on us. As I probably had the messiest desk of anyone in my classroom, in addition to the fact that I was fat, I was to experience the full and terrible wrath of my grade five teacher. During her one of her routine desk inspections she noticed that my desk was particularly messy. This prompted her to dump over my desk and to tell me to clean up the mess immediately.

However, this monster who called herself a teacher was not finished yet. She called me up to her desk,  reached into one of the drawers and pulled out a laminated badge that featured the picture of an oversized pig. She promptly pinned this photo of a sow to my shirt this and told me that I was to wear the pig badge all week. Just to twist the knife a bit further, she stopped me when I was about to take the pig off before going out for recess. I was informed that the pig would now be transferred to my winter parka just so all the kids in that school could ask me why I was wearing a picture of a sow on my winter coat.img_0005

Revised Episodes of Winter Dreams eps. 20 to 26


Episode Twenty:

“Yeah, I heard something about that,” Rick answered.

“Well, it’s true, but the story has been greatly exaggerated. I spent about two weeks in a psychiatric rehabilitation facility in San Francisco. I was there basically for observation so that the doctors could make a diagnosis,” Misty explained.

“So, what did the doctors come up with?” Rick asked.

“At that time they told me it was manic depression. My psychiatrist in Winnipeg changed the diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder.”

“Yeah, I remember you telling me about that. Do you need to take medication?’

“Yes, lithium. For a long time, I wasn’t really taking it. I just lied to my doctor and my parents telling them that I was taking the lithium regularly. I got busted when they eventually took a blood test. The test showed that there was no trace of lithium in my body.”

“Why didn’t you take your medication?”

“Because it made me feel worse. To be more precise I didn’t feel any emotions at all when I first started taking it. Plus, it was making me gain weight.”

“So, do you take lithium now?” Rick asked.

“No. My new psychiatrist in Winnipeg put me on chlorpromazine after he changed my diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder,” Misty answered.

The restaurant was starting to get very smoky. It appeared that most of the customers were puffing hard on their cigarettes while they sucked back the strong Salisbury House coffee. The smoke in the air was starting to make Rick’s eyes water.”

“Let’s go back to Memorial Park. It’s getting too smoky in here for me,” said Rick.

Rick and Misty started walking back across the Osborne bridge. Misty thought she saw the shadowy figure of a man trying to climb up on the railings of the bridge.

Rick said, “It looks like that guy is going to try to jump over the bridge.”

Episode 21:

Both Rick and Misty started yelling, “Hey man, stop! What are you trying to do?”

“Leave me alone. I’m going to jump,” the man answered.

“Let’s talk a bit first,” Misty said.

“Talk about what?” the man asked.

“About anything. Misty and I have been looking for someone interesting to talk to.” Rick answered.

“I’m not an interesting person and anyway you’ve got each other to talk to,” the man said.

“Let me be the judge of that. How about the three of us go to the Sals and get a cup of coffee? It’s starting to get chilly out here.” Rick said.

“I don’t even have enough money for a coffee, man, and I just smoked my last cigarette,”

“What’s your name?” Misty asked.

“Norman or just Norm.”

“Hi, I’m Misty and this is my boyfriend, Rick.”

“Like I said, I haven’t got enough money to go to the Sals and I’m kind of busy here.”

“Okay. I’ll tell you what. You come down from the railing and I’ll pay for your coffee and anything else you want to eat. Don’t worry about cigarettes. I just opened a new pack. How about it?” Rick asked.

“Well, I guess I could have my last coffee and cigarette before I leave this world.” Norm answered.

“That’s great. I’ll give you a smoke right now,” Rick said.

When they got back the Salisbury House, Norm ordered a Big Nip, and an order of fries and a coffee.

“Thanks guys. I haven’t had anything to eat yet today. My dad kicked me out at around ten this morning,” Norm said.

“So what have you been doing all day to keep warm?” Misty asked.

“I’ve been riding the bus. My dad bought me a monthly bus pass before I got the boot,” Norm said. “I don’t know what to do or where to go. Two months ago my mom kicked me out of her place.”

“Don’t worry we’ll figure something out,” Misty said.

Episode 22:

Norman Robinson was only nineteen years old, but he was already starting to take on the appearance of a homeless person. He was tall and very thin. Misty noticed that Norman had a missing front tooth. He had a large hole in the front of his navy blue parka that made it look like he had vomited on his coat. The hole was actually a result of Norman helping his dad remove a defective battery from his car. In the process of completing this task, Norman had gotten some battery acid on his jacket. The acid had burned the hole in it.

Misty turned to Rick and said, “Let’s take Norm over to my place. I think my dad might like to talk to Norman.”

“What makes you say that?”  Rick asked, looking somewhat befuddled.

“My dad has changed a lot since the summer. I’ll tell you about it later, but he now has a job working at a homeless center,” Misty answered.

“Wow. Lloyd has a steady job now,” Rick said.

“Look you guys have done enough for me already. After I finish my coffee and smoke I’ll just walk back to the bridge,” Norman said.

“I don’t think that’s such a great idea,” Rick said. “You don’t have a place to go tonight, do you?”

“Well, no-“

“That settles it. You’re coming with us,” Rick said firmly.

Rick, Misty and their new friend walked back to Rick’s car that was parked on a street next to Memorial Park. When Rick tried to start his car the engine wouldn’t turn over.

“Damn,” Rick said. “I just put a new battery in two weeks ago,”

“Open the hood Rick and let me have a look,” Norman said.

“In less than a minute Norman asked Rick to try starting the car again. This time the engine turned over immediately.

“How did you do that?” Rick asked.

“It was just a loose cable. I was training to be an auto technician so I knew what to check first.”

“Wow, thanks a lot man,” Rick said, feeling both surprised and grateful.

Episode 23:

One morning, Misty’s mother, Sheila Roberts was doing her morning devotions. As a devout Christian, Sheila had long established a habit of having a quiet time with the Lord before she started her day. Her devotional time included reading from her Bible, praying for herself and others as well as remaining quiet and waiting for God to speak to her. Today, Sheila heard the Lord speak to her spirit, “Sheila, I’m going to do a great work in your husband, Lloyd, because I love him very much. I am asking you to include Lloyd in your prayers every day.”

Sheila did not hear an audible voice, but she knew in her heart that she had heard from God. After the incident at the rock concert during the summer, Sheila had been thinking about Lloyd. By this time, she had forgiven Lloyd for allowing his daughters to get involved in a dangerous situation. She had loved Lloyd at one time, but since she became a Christian and Lloyd didn’t, Sheila felt that her husband would have a negative influence on their children. She could not say that Rick was a bad person. In many ways he was a good man, but she could no longer tolerate his immaturity and his harmful addictions. What she really wanted was a godly husband and Lloyd certainly was not. Sheila decided to call her pastor Randy Neufeld to discuss with him what the Lord had told her.

Episode 24:

Lloyd Roberts was just waking up from a short nap he had after supper. As be reached for his pack of cigarettes, Lloyd could still remember the dream he had. He was in that zone where he was just coming out of the dream state, but was not yet fully awake. Lloyd was used to having many dreams while he slept, but there was something different about the ones that he had been having lately. His most recent dreams all seemed to have some spiritual or religious theme to them.

A few minutes ago, Lloyd had seen Jesus in his dream holding a little lamb in his arms. The other night he dreamed that he was sitting in a quiet, peaceful location by a stream. When he turned his head he could see a man who looked like Jesus waving for him to walk over to where he was standing. Lloyd scratched hic head before putting on his baseball cap with the Ford logo on it. He had started to notice a bald spot near the top of his head and thought that if he covered it up he wouldn’t have to think about it. What he was now thinking about was the significance of his dreams. His daughter, Sasha had been a Christian for awhile now, but Lloyd was wondering what kind of influence her new boyfriend was having on her beliefs. Lloyd expected Sasha would be home in a little while. He would ask her what she made of his dreams.

Lloyd had recently attained employment as a residential care worker at The Main Street Mission. He found that of the many jobs that he had worked over the years this was probably one of the few that he actually enjoyed. Lloyd liked the street people that he got to know and was starting to feel that his life was finally starting to have some meaning.

Lloyd was beginning to mature as he entered his mid forties. The incident that happened at the rock festival had shaken Lloyd up. It now occurred to him that he had some serious responsibilities as a parent.

Episode 25:

Lloyd’s dog, Pigpen started barking loudly while scratching the front door with his paws.

“Hang on. I’ll be right there.” Lloyd hoped that his voice was loud enough to be heard outside the door.

When Lloyd answered the door he was greeted by Misty and Rick and a young man that he did not recognize.

Lloyd moved closer to Rick to give him a hug. “Hey, man, I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age. Pardon the pun, Pigpen.”

“Hey, Dad. I’d like to introduce you to our new friend, Norm. Rick and I just met him tonight at The Sals on Osborne,” Misty said, while brushing some snow off her coat.

“Why don’t you guys park yourselves in the living room while I put on some coffee. I’d offer you guys a beer, but I’ve been on the wagon for awhile now.”

“Yeah, Dad’s been sober for six months now. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous,” Misty said proudly, just before she sat down on the couch.

“At the last AA meeting they gave me my sixth month pin,” Lloyd said proudly as he walked towards the kitchen.

After the coffee had perked Misty brought out a silver tray with the cups, coffee and creamer.

Lloyd sat down in his black recliner.

“I’m sorry I haven’t been around to see you Lloyd. I’ve been keeping a low profile since Sasha and I broke up,” Rick explained.

“That’s what I figured,” Lloyd said. “Well you don’t have to worry about that Rick. Sasha’s cool with it. She says she still likes you, but she has a new boyfriend now. In fact, they’ll probably be here soon. Lloyd then turned his attention to the new guest.

“So how did you get to talking with Rick and Misty?”

“Actually, I first met them on the Osborne Bridge. I was getting ready to jump in the river,” Norm answered.

Episode 26:

One day in August Rick walked to the Canada Employment Center to see if he could get some help finding a job. He was two credits short from attaining his high school diploma and realized that with this small amount of course work he would need to at least, get a part time job. At this time, he did not think that he would return to playing hockey for another season. Last year had been much too stressful for him and now he would have a lot of free time on his hands. Rick felt that he would need to get a job to keep his parents happy.

As he entered the employment center Rick was nervous. He had worked one summer at his dad’s printing plant and had a very negative experience while working there. Rick did not yet realize that he lacked the manual dexterity, fine motor skills and spatial reasoning required for most factory jobs.

Rick walked up to the reception desk and was told to pull a number out of a machine. He was directed to take a seat in the waiting room and wait until his number was called.

Rick found an empty seat and took a look around the main floor of the employment center. It was a very drab place that rendered a rather depressing mood. After waiting approximately fifteen minutes Rick heard his name called and was greeted by a young attractive female who asked him to take a seat in her work area. The employment counsellor did not have a closed- in office. Her office space was separated from her co-workers by grey rectangular partitions. This arrangement didn’t give the client any feeling of privacy as one could hear what people in other sectioned off work areas were saying.

The employment counsellor shook hands with Rick and said, “Hello Richard, my name is Arlene Johnson. What can I do for you today?”

“You can just call me Rick. I’m here to find a job.”

“What kind of work are you looking for?”

“I’m not sure,” Rick answered. “I don’t know what kinds of work are available to me.”

“Well, that all depends upon your education and work experience.”

“I’ve got my grade 11 and I’m just two credits shy of my high school diploma. I worked at my dad’s printing plant one summer and I used to have a paper route.

“Do you like working with your hands Rick?”

“Not very much. I’m not very good with my hands.”

“I have to be honest with you. Most of the jobs you could apply for require a grade twelve education and manual dexterity or fine motor skills. We occasionally get referrals from employers for manual labor jobs, but I don’t have any referrals right now,” Arlene said.

Rick was now feeling very uncomfortable. “So I guess you really don’t have anything for me today?”

“Not really. What do you do in your spare time?”

“I play hockey, watch tv, listen to music and read.”

“But you don’t do much work with your hands?”

“No, not really, but I read a lot,” Rick said feeling insulted.

“Listen Rick. Can I be blunt?”

“Yeah,” Rick replied feeling annoyed.

“You need to get your high school diploma and you need to take up a hobby where you have to use your hands. After you do that come back and see me.”

“Thank you for your time,” Rick said as he got up to leave Arlene’s work area. When he got outside Rick lit up a smoke and said to himself, “So that’s that. I’ll go back to school to get my two credits and I’ll play hockey for one more year.”

Episode 27:winter 2

Episode 59 of Winter Dreams


Episode 59:

Before the face off both teams had an opportunity to change up their lines. Coach Brad Keenan did not like what he was seeing on the ice. His Cougars were getting badly outplayed by Norberry and his team were just running around the ice like a pack of terrified mice who had just seen the cat appear.

The Norberry Knights were applying massive offensive pressure and Maplewood didn’t appear to have any answer for it. Brad turned his head toward assistant coach Vince Perreti.

“I’m going to take the first line off and send out the grinders. Let’s see what the fourth line can do during the next few minutes.”

“It’s worth a try,” was the response from Vince. “Right now we can’t seem to get the puck out of our own end.”

The Knight’s coach, Jeff Hadley saw what Brad was doing and called out his third line. Hadley’s third line were similar to Brad Keenan’s fourth line in that they were all role players. These guys knew that their purpose was to lay on the body hard. If injuries, penalties and fights resulted from their style of play, so be it.

Coach Jeff Hadley passed on a quick, to the point, message to his third line as they were preparing to jump over the boards.

“Look guys. Maplewood’s coach is hoping that a change in strategy will wake his players up. The going may get a bit rough out there, but I know that you’ll all do your jobs out there.”

Brad Keenan’s fourth line rarely got much ice time during a game. He sent this line out for brief periods of time when the opposition were starting to intimidate his scoring lines. The coach might also send them out when his offensive lines were getting tired or the Cougars held such a big league that the outcome of the game had already been decided.

Coach Brad Keenan had recently signed a new power forward named, Chad Barlow. Chad did not have much experience playing hockey, but he was a star linebacker with Maplewood’s football team, the Panthers. Brad was aware that whatever skills Chad still needed to develop as a hockey player, was more than compensated for by his positive attitude, desire, strength and aggressiveness on the ice.

Maplewood’s coach had not forgotten head referee, Steve Kowalski’s stern message, delivered before the game officially started, about keeping the game clean and under control. At this point in the game, Brad did not care. He realized that if he was unable to radically change the momentum of the game in his team’s favor, the Cougars would most likely suffer defeat in this pivotal hockey game. The Maplewood Cougars needed to win this game to maintain their mathematical chance of making the play offs this season.

A few seconds before Chad Barlow got a chance to climb over the boards, Coach Keenan whispered these instructions in his tough, power forward’s ears. “Look. Norberry has just sent Glenn Davidson out on the ice. Forget about what the head referee said. I want you to give Davidson and the rest of his team a strong message.”

“I gotcha Coach,” Chad replied while moving his tongue in a lizard like manner. “I’ll take care of Davidson or anyone else on the Knights who needs an attitude adjustment.”

“I know That’s why I signed you,” Coach Keenan said with a smirk on his face.”

 

 

 

goalie 11

Winter Dreams Episode 58


Episode 10:

As head referee Steve Kowalski got ready to drop the puck, Bill Woodward, the center for the Cougars and Dennis Sharp, Norberry’s center positioned themselves for the opening face off of the game. At the drop of the puck the Knights center won the face-off and passed the puck back to defenseman Lyle Gaines. Gaines careened the puck off the boards in the direction of right winger Dale Hanson. Hanson turned on a burst of speed that moved him about fifteen feet from Maplewood’s goal. As Dale Hanson wound up for a blazing slap-shot, Eric Coswell, the Cougar’s star defenseman, moved in front of the goal to move Knights right winger Tyler Weise out of the crease area. Coswell was attempting to give his goalie, Rick Miller, a clear view of the upcoming shot on goal. Unfortunately, Dale Hanson’s shot ricocheted off Eric Coswell’s shin pad causing the puck to take a change of direction.

The puck landed up in the bottom right corner of the Cougar’s net. Rick Miller had been screened on the shot and didn’t have any chance of stopping the puck that changed direction.

Only thirteen seconds of the first period had elapsed and the Cougars were down one to zero. Rick went for a short skate out of his net before returning to mentally prepare himself for the next face-off.

 

 

 

goalie 6

Episode 6 of The Fall and Rise of Harold Peyton


Episode 6:

“I would love to have a hot chocolate, Sir. What’s your name?” Whisper asked.

“My word, where did all my manners go? With all the excitement going on, I failed to recall that I haven’t as yet told you my name. It’s Harold, Harold Peyton.”

“Could I ask a big favour of you. Mr. Peyton?” Whisper asked sheepishly.

“Oh, you don’t have to call me Mr. Peyton. I’d like it very much if you just called me Harold. What would you like me to do as a favour to you?”

“I would like to take a shower and get myself cleaned up,” Whisper asked as her face reddened with embarrassment. “But I would like to drink my hot chocolate first if you don’t mind.”

“Of course you can my dear,” Harold answered.

Harold wondered why he had called Whisper my dear. After all he didn’t even know this girl yet.

“Did you bring a clean change of clothes to put on after you wash up?”

“Yes, I have some clean clothes in my duffle bag,” Whisper replied.

“I just asked in case you didn’t have a fresh change of clothes with you. I still have all my daughter’s clothes in a closet in her bedroom. You appear to be about the same size as she was and her clothes would probably fit you. Harold’s countenance suddenly looked very pained.

“You said ‘was’ Harold. What happened to your daughter?”

“Today is the first anniversary of Erica’s passing. While getting a ride home from a party her friend’s car had a head on collision. The driver of the other car was inebriated. Erica’s friend suffered severe injuries but survived. Unfortunately, my daughter did not survive the accident. As soon as he finished saying this, Harold Peyton sobbed loudly and his body began to shake uncontrollably.images 17