The sky has faded now, but a few minutes ago the eastern sky was glowing pink. I love seeing the sunrise in the mornings. Well, we're back to winter here. At least somewhat. It was 16º yesterday morning, but it warmed up to 50º by the afternoon.
It's been a good week. I've gotten a good bit of writing done and have plans to write again tonight at least. I had no idea how many plot twists I could put in my story when I have one story day to end it. It's getting complicated. There are all kinds of things happening with flowers and yellow doors and boats. It will be interesting to see how it all comes together.
On Tuesday, S and I went over and babysat all the kiddos. It was crazy! I think the volume buttons for the kids' voices were broken because they kept getting louder and louder! Well, we did have some pretty intense times with a cave in of "Old Joe's" gold mine. At least the "doctor" had come up to visit. The hunting party that went out brought back dozens of bear, deer, mountain lions, rabbits, turkeys and other wild game. It was quite the evening. :)
Well, if I can get my other story corrected this week, you might get a new story starting next week. I don't want to make you tired of the Graham Quartet, you know. ;) But read this part and then tell me any thoughts, ideas or questions you might have. Who knows, it might inspire another plot twist. :)
The Graham Quartet
Half a dozen boats were tied up and Matt quickly scanned them all. “There,” he pointed, his voice low. “That looks like the one I saw.”
The boat, built slightly differently than the others in the harbor, was dark. The name Day Maid was painted in swirly yellow letters on her bow. No one was to be seen on her decks.
“Lieutenant,” Matt asked, stepping up beside the officer. “That boat down there, the Day Maid, looks like the boat I saw on the lake, doesn’t she?”
Giving a slight start as though his thoughts had been far away, the lieutenant cleared his throat. “Well, she does rather look like it. Of course it was hard to read the name when she was so far away. I don’t see anyone on board. Perhaps the owner is in the hotel. Why don’t I step in and see if he’s available to talk to.” He glanced around the dock and then said, “Wait here. I’ll try to hurry.”
Left alone, the Quartet looked about them. The dock, mostly deserted save for themselves, was quiet. A few men were seen on one of the boats but they weren’t talking much, and the nearby streets were empty. The sun was low in the west and the sky was a brilliant mix of gold, pink, blue and purple. Blowing in off the lake, the breeze was refreshing and tossed the girls’ brown hair and ruffled through the boys’ shorter cuts.
“I guess everyone is still at home eating supper,” Elsa remarked. “Or relaxing after a day’s work.”
In the stillness, the sound of the lieutenant’s voice came through the open window of the hotel. “You’re sure the owner didn’t register here?” A low murmur sounded followed by the Lieutenant’s crisp reply. “No, It just looked like an interesting craft, and I thought maybe the owner could tell me a bit about her. No matter. Thanks for your help.”
Matt exchanged glances with Elsa. There seemed a different tone in the lieutenant’s voice. “Almost as though he were putting on an act.”
“What was that?” Tim whirled around, his eyes fixed on his brother. “What did you just say?”
“I’ll tell you later,” Matt murmured, nodding his head slightly toward the hotel where Lieutenant Ashwood was leaving the building.
The Quartet was silent as the officer approached. “Sorry, guys,” he said. “No one checked into the hotel from that boat. Maybe he lives around here.”
“Could he be staying in another hotel?” Selena asked.
“Maybe. But I don’t see any others around here . . .” His voice trailed off, and a half puzzled, half-thoughtful look came into his eyes as his gaze slowly roved from one building to the next.
Tim opened his lips to ask a question, but Matt’s elbow nudged him to silence. Quietly the Quartet waited, each pair of brown eyes searching the growing darkness for something, anything, that might shed a glimmer of light on this growing mystery. That there was a mystery, that somehow involved the Day Maid, her owner, and Lieutenant Ashwood, the Graham Quartet was certain. Why else would the sight of the boat cause such strange behavior from the Navy officer?
The breeze, blowing off the lake was growing cool, and Selena shivered.
“Cold?” Matt whispered.
“Just a little chilly,” replied Selena, folding her arms.
As though suddenly recalled to his duties, the lieutenant turned. “I’m sorry. I was lost in my own thoughts. That breeze is quite fresh and the sun is going down. We’d best be heading back to the house before your parents think I’ve drafted you all into the navy.” He chuckled, but, to Matt’s ears, it sounded almost forced.
Together in their room, Matt and Tim prepared for bed. Eagerly Tim began talking about the strangeness of their new friend’s actions in town. “What do you think, Matt?” he queried at last, sitting in bed, his eyes aglow with excitement.
“I think,” Matt began, turning out the light and stretching out on his own comfortable bed, “that we should wait until morning to talk about it.”
“Because,” the older brother went on ignoring Tim’s interruption, “the girls should be with us, and things might seem different in the sunlight.”
A deep sigh came from Tim’s bed. “Oh, all right.” The bed squeaked softly as Tim lay down and relaxed. “But I do wish tomorrow would hurry up!”
Matt couldn’t refrain a grin in the dark.
The Graham Quartet met at the breakfast table. Eager glances were exchanged along with smiles and nods. The absence of the lieutenant at the table put each sibling on the alert until Aunt Doris remarked that often the lieutenant went for an early morning walk or slept late. “He’s not at the breakfast table many mornings,” she said, holding out a platter of sausages to Tim. “But he’s never missed a dinner and only missed lunch one time, though he has been a bit late at times.” Her merry laugh brought smiles all around the table. “When he gets to exploring the countryside, he’s apt to lose track of time.”
“What are you going to do today, Dad?” Matt asked, looking across the table.
“Well, your uncle and I were planning on doing some fishing. Any of you want to come along?”
Had it been any other time, Tim would have jumped at the chance, but not this morning. What he wanted was an opportunity to talk over their new mystery. “No, thanks, Dad,” he spoke quickly, not giving any of his siblings a chance to speak. “We’re going to do some exploring. I couldn’t sit still long enough to fish today anyway.”
A hearty chuckle came from Uncle James. “Then we certainly don’t want you along, Tim. We’re hoping to catch enough for supper.” He chuckled again. Since Uncle James and Aunt Doris had no children of their own, they often found their nieces and nephews amusing.
Mr. Graham looked at the rest of his children.
Do you think the lieutenant was putting on an act?
Is there something going on with the Day Maid?
What would you do if you were there?