Friday, June 26, 2015

The Graham Quartet - Part 3

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans,

I hope you are ready for the next part of the Graham Quartet mystery because that's what you're getting. But don't expect it to last forever. :) I only have two more parts written. I have been writing some, though not as much as I was earlier this year. Last week I reached 5k again, but then I also realized that my unfinished project list wasn't getting much shorter. Part of that is because when I near the end of one project I tend to focus only on that and push all the other ones away "until after this book is published" or "that thing if done". That's what was starting to happen and so I decided I was going to keep writing, but not as much or I'd have another book to publish before I had completed some other projects. I will be writing short stories (I have to have something to post on my blog each week), and will work on TCR-6 and the Graham Quartet as often as I can or when I get inspired. This way I will still be writing but I will also have time to complete all the many other projects that just keep sitting on my "to to" list. :)

All that being said, I'm still wanting any and all ideas you might have for either the TCR books or this Graham Quartet mystery. :) And I have some fun short stories to post before long. :)

The Graham Quartet
Part 3

    Fishing in his pocket, Matt pulled out a small flashlight. “Let’s try it with this.” In the steady beam of light, the writing on the paper was easy to see, but no one could decipher it.
    “I can’t decide if it’s some foreign language or if it’s in code,” Matt declared at last, stepping back with a sigh and snapping off the light. “I wonder if the lieutenant or Dad would be able to make sense out of it.”
    “Oh boy!” Tim exclaimed. “It just had to be our mysterious man from the boat. We know he came this direction and was around here. He probably dropped the paper and it has the secret orders for the crime ring he’s the leader of.” His eyes shone with excitement at his own imaginings. “I wish we had the F.B.I. here.” Shoving his hands in his pockets Tim moved across the room. “Elsa, you probably found a piece of valuable information. Our mystery man might not have written it, but he is probably searching frantically for that paper this very minute. Maybe he’s even on his way back here to see if he left it behind.”
    Selena shivered. The gloom of the room and Tim’s words, wild and full of his usual strong imagination though they were, combined to make a strange, almost eery feeling creep up her spine.
    “Tim, knock off that kind of talk,” Matt ordered. “I don’t think anyone’s coming here in this storm, and as soon as it’s over, we’re leaving. And besides, we don’t even know who our mystery man is. He may not be bad. Remember Elsa’s stranger this past winter.”
    With his enthusiasm dampened by his brother’s rebuke, Tim turned away and, clearing a tiny spot on one of the window panes, peered out at the whitecaps on the lake. “Um, Matt.”
    Matt turned around.
    “You might want to take a look out here. There’s a boat coming this way.”
    “What!” ejaculated Matt, springing to the window. “Tim’s right!” he declared a moment later, his eye still watching through the hole in the dirt and dust. “There is a boat. And it’s headed directly here. There’s no other place he could be going.”
    Both girls gasped. Who was it?
    “I wish Lieutenant Ashwood was here. Or Dad,” Selena whispered. No one heard her over the drumming of rain on the roof and the sigh and whistle of wind. Who would have guessed that their vacation would suddenly turn into such and adventure.

* * *

    The sunshine was bright, and the sandy beaches stretching out to the water’s edge were enticing. A breeze, blowing off the lake, made the tall grasses, growing in the sand between the house and the empty beach, sway with a soft rustle.
    “Come on,” Tim urged his siblings, pausing on the broad stairway and looking over his shoulder. “We only have a few hours before supper, and I don’t want to spend it inside.”
    A merry laugh came from one of the rooms and Elsa’s voice called back, “A moment or two longer won’t hurt you, Tim. Besides, we’ll have more than just this afternoon to spend on the beach.”
    Thirteen-year-old Tim groaned and sat down on the top step. “It’ll take them ages,” he said, addressing the empty steps below him. He leaned his elbow on one knee and rested his chin in his hand. “And after all that long trip. I want to see the lake and . . .”
    “Come on, Tim,” Matt called, giving his younger brother a nudge with his foot before bounding down the stairs.
    “Yeah, I thought you wanted to go see the lake,” Elsa said, slipping past and hurrying after Matt while Selena skipped behind. Tim scrambled to his feet and raced after the others.
    The Graham family had left their home in the woods of Minnesota for a summer vacation on the shores of Lake Michigan. Mr. Graham’s sister and her husband, James Hawkins, owned a large lake house in Wisconsin which they had opened for summer visitors. For several years Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins had urged David and Hannah Graham to come with their family and stay at the house for the summer, but things had never worked out. This summer, however, much to everyone’s delight, there was nothing to hinder the Grahams from coming.
    Having arrived only an hour or so before, the Graham Quartet were eager to explore the sandy beaches and wade in the lake’s deep blue waters. There was nothing unusual about the Quartet as they raced along the sandy path, through the tall grasses and down to the water’s edge, their bare feet making almost no noise. They all looked much alike except in size, for they ranged in age from thirteen-year-old Tim to nineteen-year-old Elsa. All had the same matching brown eyes which seemed to notice everything, rather square faces and brown hair. Their loyalty to each other was evident, for it was seldom that one was seen without at least one other sibling, except when they were in school. Full of fun, yet helpful, the Graham Quartet always seemed to stumble upon some adventure or another.
    “Look at that water!” Elsa exclaimed, staring out across the vast expanse of Lake Michigan.
    “Feel that breeze,” added Matt.
    “And the sunshine and sand and water!” Tim, who had taken off his shoes the moment they had arrived, stepped into the cool waters. “Brr, this is cold. Come feel it.”
    Quickly the three others joined Tim in the water, wading forward until the water splashed about their legs and threatening to soak the boys’ rolled up pants and the hems of the girls’ skirts. When they grew cold they retreated to the shore where the warm summer sun quickly dried and warmed their feet and legs.
    Sitting on the beach, letting handfuls of the warm, golden sand run through her fingers, Selena noticed a shadow approaching. She lifted her head and smiled at the newcomer.

Who just arrived on the beach?
And who do you think was in that boat?
What would you do if you were in the building with the Quartet?

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