Sunday, 24 April 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 6 - More than a game)

I am now about a quarter of the way through my story, so this will be the last full chapter that I post on my blog.  But not to worry, I will still give short bits every so often and once it is complete will let you all know.  In this chapter however, I would really like some input from any golfing experts out there on whether what I have put down is correct or not.  Not a golf player myself I have had to go on what I have heard on watching recent golf games on tv. 

The shortening shadows of the four riders stretched out across the first tee as the red sun rose slowly above the horizon awakening a new dawn on a beautiful Sunday morning. 
The brightening sky in different shades of blue, was cloudless and the gentle breeze softly shimmered the neatly mown kikuyu grass.  The flat wide fairway bordered by bushveld, shaped a welcome haven for their relaxation.
‘Beautiful day for a round of golf,’ commented Khaos raising his Oakley sunglasses to gaze down the first fairway.  He took note of the fairway bunker on the left and selecting his five iron he removed the fluffy bear sock protection.  Fashionable attired in a red Nike polo-shirt, cream golf shorts, tartan red socks and Nike Air Zoom Vapor shoes, he was the image of the professional golfer.   Of the four players he was by far the more accomplished with an impressive handicap of two.  It was his dream that once he retired he could join the Pro circuit.
‘Mmmm,’ murmured Thanatos distractedly looking towards the brown hilly landscape of the Pilansberg in the distance.  He was not an avid golf player but the four had been playing different golf courses every month for as long as he could remember.  With a handicap of sixteen he was almost the weakest player except for Demeter who mostly excused herself to sit in the golf cart for the entire game, complaining of heat exhaustion and dizziness.  Unlike, Cycnus it did not bother him that Khaos won each game and he did not resort to blatant cheating.
‘It’s getting late and this African sun is already so warm,’ Demeter fanned herself extravagantly with the scorecard.  ‘I think I will play caddie today and keep the scorecard.’
‘It’s only 06:30, Demeter; you haven’t played a game for ages,’ teased Khaos, ‘is it a sign of old age perhaps?’
‘Just because I am ten years older than you, Khaos,’ snapped Demeter, ‘it does not mean that I am old.  It is just that I am more sensitive than you and feel the heat.’
‘Now, now,’ interrupted Cycnus as if he was addressing children, ‘lets not spoil our beautiful morning of golf.  I am feeling exceptionally confident today.’  Cycnus had removed his breastplate and sword and carefully stored them in the back of the golf cart.  He was wearing a new bright green striped golf shirt and shorts with a tiny beret perched precariously on top of his flaming red hair.  The outfit was perhaps his way of trying to distract the others from their game.
Shrugging carelessly, Khaos teed up, did a few practice shots and then took his final swing.  The club connected with a clean thwack and the small white ball lifted perfectly into the air, curving slightly to the right and landing about two hundred meters in the middle of the fairway.
‘Nice shot,’ congratulated Thanatos trying desperately to relax and enjoy the game.  Their games had always been a way for them to unwind and forget about work, enjoy the outdoors and each others company for awhile. 
‘Thanks,’ Khaos replaced his club into his bag and turned to stare at Thanatos who was busy teeing up.  ‘Um .. I suggest you remove your coat before you play, Thane.  I don’t think it will improve your game any.’
‘Right,’ said Thanatos quickly removing his long black hooded coat and laying it carefully over his bag before returning to the tee.  ‘I forgot.’
Khaos and Cycnus watched him speculatively, Khaos in concern for his friend and Cycnus in fear of problems untold.  It was obvious to everyone that something was bothering Thanatos, it was not like him to be so distracted.
The game continued amicably and without further mishap until they reached the ninth hole.  Both Khaos and Cycnus were three over par with Thanatos trailing at eight over. This long par five hole stretched out in front of them.  The slightest miss of the island green could mean disaster with the water, rocks and sand guarding it.  Khaos second shot was perfect, landing on the green in a position that would allow a definite birdie.  Much to everyone’s amusement, Thanatos’ ball soared gracefully straight into the water with a sinking plop.  It was the standing joke, if there was water, Thanatos’ ball would find it.  Cycnus on the other hand was not happy when his ball hit rock and bounced backwards into a deep sand bunker.
‘You touched my ball,’ complained Cycnus turning on Khaos abruptly. ‘You know the rule about using your powers.’
‘When did I touch your ball, Cycnus,’ said Khaos calmly, ‘I do not need to resort to using my powers to beat you.’
‘On the fifth, you walked past my ball to get to yours,’ spluttered Cycnus going slightly red in the face.
‘That was on the fifth,’ smirked Khaos, ‘if I had touched your ball then, the effects of Chaos would have taken effect immediately.   I did not touch your ball.’
‘Let’s not argue,’ sighed Thanatos quietly. ‘You can still get on the green from there, Cycnus.’
Glaring at the two of them, Cycnus stomped off towards his ball with Demeter driving behind him.
‘That man is infuriating,’ muttered Khaos heading towards the green where he proceeded to sink his ball for a birdie and followed it with a little victory dance.
Cycnus’ game went from bad to worse after a double bogie on the ninth.  This did not sweeten his steadily rising anger and after another bogie on the fourteenth he threw his putter down onto the ground in a rage.
‘It’s no use getting angry, Cycnus,’ soothed Thanatos walking to the centre of the green. ‘These games are supposed to be fun and relaxing.  You take everything far too seriously.’
‘Too seriously, me?’ Cycnus turned to face Thanatos deciding now was a good time to try coerce some information out of the silent man. ‘If anyone is too serious lately it is you.  You have been very distracted today, Thanatos.  Your golf game is normally bad but never as bad as it is today.  Are you having marriage problems perhaps or maybe your preoccupation has got something to do with the recent sighting.  Khaos was very concerned about you the other night.’
‘Sighting,’ said Thanatos glancing quickly at Khaos and frowning. ‘What sighting?’
‘We all noticed your unusual behaviour on Friday night, Thanatos,’ continued Cycnus sweetly, enjoying Khaos’s obvious discomfort. ‘You have never been late for any of our weekly meetings and you looked very distracted.  The boys also confided in me that you needed to seek advice from Khaos.  Not a wise idea considering the man’s history.  But, then I bumped into Khaos later and he felt it necessary to inform me about the young girl who had apparently seen you and how upset you were about the incident.  According to Khaos this was obviously a mistake on your side as you returned and the girl did not respond again.  I wonder if the perfect Angel of Death is starting to make mistakes.’
Demeter giggled from behind also enjoying Khaos’ embarrassment and Thanatos’ obvious rising anger.
‘I did not make a mistake,’ said Thanatos quietly his eyes darkening and the air around him turning cold creating a faint halo of mist that shimmered around him.
‘But you must have, old boy,’ goaded Cycnus further.  ‘There is no other explanation.  According to Khaos she was not a Mythic of any form as she did not have a blue aura, she was apparently not on your List and she did not see either you or Khaos when you returned.’
 ‘I cannot explain what happened,’ Thanatos’ breath cleared the air around his face long enough to see his eyes turn completely black.  ‘But it was not a mistake.  I do not make mistakes.  She saw me again on my return to collect her father.’
The lush green grass around him had turned white as the icy air spread out in a radius around Thanatos.  The developing mist spreading to the edges of the green shut out the glow of the warm morning sun. 
Khaos in an attempt to diffuse Thanatos’ anger and Cycnus obvious pleasure in the situation leant casually against the small golf cart which suddenly jerked forward and proceeded to careen down the slight hill it had been parked on.
Demeter shrieked in panic her floppy hat flying off and her arms waving wildly, ‘It won’t stop; it won’t stop.’
‘Push the break, you stupid women,’ shouted Cycnus angrily, suddenly disappearing and reappearing in front of the wayward golf cart to stop it before it landed in a large bunker.
Khaos let out a roar of laughter at the sight of the two trying to control the wayward cart.  After eventually managing to apply the break they turned to make their way back to the green.  In the meantime, the mist around Thanatos had slowly evaporated and the frost on the ground melted leaving the grass dead and brown.
‘I’m sorry,’ apologised Khaos quietly. ‘He found me at the pub, I had had too much to drink.  I know that’s not an excuse, but …’
‘It’s ok, Khaos,’ mumbled Thanatos in return.  ‘I would have had to bring it up at the next meeting anyway.’
‘Before Demeter’s odd behaviour,’ said Cycnus eyeing Khaos suspiciously, he began to rattle questions off to Thanatos. ‘You said that she had seen you again?  Are you sure?  Did you have your ring?  Is she on the List?  What do you think she is?’
‘The answer to your many questions, Cycnus,’ replied Thanatos, ‘is yes, yes, of course, no and I have no idea.’
‘She is incredibly beautiful,’ rushed in Khaos trying to ease the atmosphere, ‘she could be an angel.’
‘WHAT,’ shouted Cycnus turning on Khaos abruptly, ‘what do you mean an Angel; she is not one of us.  Is she with the other group Thanatos?’
‘Thanatos would have recognised her if she was one of the other three,’ stammered Demeter sidling up to Cycnus, ‘he attends their meetings as well.’
‘She is not one of the eight,’ replied Thanatos slowly.
‘I just meant she was beautiful, like an angel,’ stuttered Khaos quickly.  ‘I didn’t mean she was an Angel.’  He always seemed to take his size twelve’s and stuff them in his mouth.
‘She is not one of us, is she?’ queried Cycnus suspiciously again.  ‘The other four haven’t been recruiting outside have they?’
‘You know that cannot happen,’ replied Thanatos narrowing his eyes and looking speculatively at Cycnus and Demeter who seemed overly concerned about the matter.  He was the only one that should be concerned as it was he that she had seen.  Somehow, when he was with Khaos she had not acknowledged his presence.  ‘Besides, why would it worry you, Cycnus?  They are the ones short of a rider.’
Just then a golf ball bounced off the top of the golf cart and landed at their feet.  They all turned slowly and saw four men making their way towards the green.   The man in the front called back over his shoulder. ‘I thought this golf course was well looked after?  The grass on this green is dead and someone has just abandoned this golf cart?’
Khaos turned reluctantly to the other three and said, ‘Well, we have taken to long arguing, our game will be disturbed now, we will have to stop.’
The others agreed silently, retrieved their items from the golf cart, said goodbye and evanesced.
A few seconds later Cycnus appeared on the rooftop of the building where he kept a small bachelor pad.   Putting his golf bag down next to the fire escape door, he walked to the edge and looked out over the sprawling city below.  As it was a Sunday the traffic was light, but the sound of the passing vehicles drifted upwards like the sound of waves crashing on a beach.  He took a deep breath of the stale hot air, closed his eyes and mulled over what Thanatos had said earlier.  If she was not one of the eight Angels, who was she?  Was Thanatos mistaken?  Was there a simple explanation?  There were two many questions and this made him very unsettled.   There was no room for error in his plans and he did not like strange happenings so near the end.  He had to make sure everything was alright, he had work to do.  ‘Demeter.’
Demeter appeared on the roof, almost upsetting a trash can on her arrival.
‘You called, my Captain,’ spluttered Demeter out of breath and looking flushed.
‘Yes,’ replied Cycnus.  ‘I am not happy about the sighting of Thanatos.  I need ..’
‘I am sure he just made a mistake,’ interrupted Demeter soothingly.  ‘Her name is probably on the List and he has missed it.’
‘I doubt it,’ snapped Cycnus not enjoying being interrupted. ‘Thanatos is not a fool, he would not make that kind of mistake.’
‘But you said…’ simpered Demeter quickly, twisting her ring around her finger in a nervous habit.
‘I know what I said,’ interrupted Cycnus, ‘I was just trying to get a rise from Thanatos so he would slip up and give me details.’ The woman was incredibly annoying and simple minded.  He wondered how she had ever been chosen as an Angel, her mother before her must have been desperate for a successor or as foolish.  It was a good thing famine was a by product of war and poverty or she would never get anything done.  ‘I need you to check on Gaia for me, make sure she is behaving herself.’
‘Gaia, why her,’ queried Demeter, ‘do you think she has something to do with this?’
‘No, it would be impossible,’ snapped Cycnus, ‘I just want to be reassured that all is well.  We are near the end now so I don’t want any mistakes.  I have work to do or I would do it myself.  Now go.’  He wafted his hand at her as if trying to get rid of a pesky fly.  ‘Report back to me when you return.’
Demeter scurried to the centre of the roof and evanesced, returning home to collect her horse.
Cycnus went in search of Deimos and Enyo, he needed their assistance.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 5 - Death)

Zoe was again curled up in the upright armchair next to her father’s bed.  The nurses had given her a brown hospital blanket and pillow but she did not think she would sleep.  It must have been the early hours of the morning when her eyelids eventually drifted shut.  She was physically and emotionally exhausted, drained after crying and weak from lack of food.  She had barely touched the food Betty had brought her earlier but had managed to finish the hot chocolate.  Betty had wanted her to come home with her but Zoe had refused, wanting to be with her father in case he woke again.
The doctor had, as promised, called her when they had finished conducting various tests.  The results of the test would only be available the next day, so Zoe had curled up in the hard chair and sat watching the monitors around her father.
As she drifted in and out of sleep she wandered what she would do if her father died.  She had no real family as both her fathers parents had died before she was born and he had been an only child.  She therefore had no grandparents, no aunts or uncles and as her father had not re-married she had no brothers or sisters.  She was alone in the world.  She did not know if her mother had any family and if she did if they even knew she existed.
The Defender’s engines roared as it ploughed its way through the rising wave, crashing with a resounding crunch as it descended over the lip of the 20 foot wave.  Wiping the rain lashed window of the cabin did nothing to increase the visibility.  The torrential rain making sea, land and sky merge into one.  The howling wind tore at the surface of the sea, spraying salt water over the deck of the small seine fishing boat battling to reach shelter at Axl Cove.  The cold front and the unpredicted energy from the low had combined to create the gusting 40 to 50 knot northwester.  The intermittent streak of lightening that blinded the sky was the only time land could be distinguished where the waves were hurled mercilessly against the cliff face.  The sea and sky were in a battle of rage, neither wishing to admit defeat.
She battled the wheel her wet hands slipping, shouting for help from her father who stood at the bow of the boat in his yellow all-weather gear.  He appeared to be oblivious of her and the storm surrounding them.  Instead he stood tall and strong gazing into the distance at something she could not see.  Releasing the battle with the wheel she pushed at the cabin door which was suddenly whipped from her hands and crashed against the side of the boat.  She clung desperately to the rail fearing she would be blown or washed overboard into the freezing, black sea.  She shouted again but the words were chopped off abruptly and whisked away into the water drenched air.   Not daring to venture further she clung to the railing, her jeans and t-shirt plastered against her body and her black hair flat against her head, she searched the horizon.
A flash of light rent the air and the image of black, rugged cliffs and a lone figure standing looking out to sea was burnt on her retina.  She blinked, wiping the stinging salt from her eyes.  The black silhouette was familiar; but what man, creature would brave this battle of the forces.  No man, child or beast should be wandering the cliff face in this weather.  She looked back towards the bow and her father, but he was gone.  She screamed.
‘Miss Alexander, Zoe,’ an urgent voice sounded in her ear. ‘Wake up, dear, you are dreaming.’
Zoe sat up suddenly, heart racing, eyes open wide and looked around frantically.  There was no black storm or fishing boat, no ragged cliff or lonely figure, just the pale grey morning sky and her father resting peacefully in the hospital bed.  Zoe looked at the young nurse standing next to her, concern and sympathy shining in her eyes. ‘I’m so sorry,’ said Zoe. ‘I must have fallen asleep.  I’m fine now, thank you.’
‘Your father is resting peacefully,’ replied the nurse. ‘Why don’t you freshen up and get something to eat.
Zoe nodded absently and moved her chair closer to her father’s bed, picked up his hand squeezing gently.  There was no sign of turmoil or unrest and the heart monitor continued to beep at an even pace.  It was her heart that still raced with the after effects of her dream.  A dream she had had before, many years ago as a child; a dream of a dark figure standing on the cliff and her father disappearing into the sea.  As a child her father would have woken her gently and soothed her until she fell asleep again, but not today. 
Her father had told her the story about the day he had found her mother at Axl Cove many times.  He had explained that the weather had not been as dramatic as in her dream, nor had he been that heroic, but this is not what other fisherman had remembered.  The stories they told about the day of the Big Storm had always horrified her and this was the storm she had dreamt about as a child.  Her father’s disappearance into the sea was when he had leapt into the huge surge and swum towards the rocky cliff to rescue a young damsel in distress.  But in her dreams he was lost to the depth of the ocean and the damsel was whisked away in a cloud of red smoke.
Shaking her head in an attempt to rid herself of the feeling of unease, she stood up slowly and made her way out the ICU and down the passage to the cloakroom to freshen up.  Splashing icy cold water on her face took away the remnant feeling of salt on her skin and cleared her head of her nightmare.
Grabbing a cup of coffee from the machine in the waiting room, she slowly returned to her father.
‘Dad,’ exclaimed Zoe happily. ‘You’re awake.
Alex gazed at his daughter lovingly, seeing the tired worried look in her eyes.  He held out his hand and she rushed to sit next to him and held his hand to her face.
‘You shouldn’t have been lifting those heavy crates,’ she reprimanded softly, blinking rapidly to get rid of the unshed tears welling up again.
‘I’m sorry, my child,’ whispered Alex weakly. ‘I did not mean to scare you so.’
‘It’s fine,’ rushed Zoe. ‘But from now on you are going to take things easier.  Simon can do all the heavy work and you can relax a little bit.  I will make you healthy meals, not too much red meat and lots of vegetables and we can go for walks along the beach for exercise.  You watch you will never feel as healthy.’
‘I always feel wonderful when you are by my side, angel,’ acknowledged Alex slowly.
‘Well, I am not going to be going anywhere,’ replied Zoe earnestly.  ‘Betty came to visit and she says everyone sends their love and I was told to remind you about the quiz evening next Saturday.’
Alex smiled slightly and closed his eyes.
‘Dad,’ started Zoe worriedly.
‘It’s ok,’ replied Alex gently, opening his eyes again. ‘Just resting.’
‘Mr Alexander, I am very happy to see you awake,’ said Dr Marshall entering and walking to the side of the bed.  ‘Your daughter has been keeping a vigilant eye on you during the night.  You have had us all concerned.  How are you feeling?’
‘I feel like a pin cushion with all these needles and tubes in me,’ smiled Alex.
‘Well once we have all your results back from the lab, we might be able to rectify that,’ replied the doctor bending over to do a quick examination of his patient. 
Happy with the result he informed Alex that the nurse would be in shortly to change his drip and instructed him not to tire himself out.  Smiling gently at Zoe he turned and left.
‘You would make an excellent doctor,’ commented Alex to his daughter.  ‘You have always been so good with the injured and sick.’
‘Oh no,’ replied Zoe. ‘I think it would upset me to much and besides I enjoy my job as a carer.  It gives me more time to be with you.’
‘I am an old man,’ sighed Alex.  ‘You need to be with people your own age.  Simon and you have been friends since you with babies.’
‘You are not old,’ denied Zoe quickly. ‘And are you trying to find me a husband or something?  Anyway, Simon is like an annoying little brother, nothing more.’
Alex sighed sadly again.  He felt that he was not going to be able to keep his promise to her mother.  Before she had gone she had asked that he protect Zoe and ensure that she became everything that she could.  But just like her mother she was very headstrong and did not listen to an old man like him.  His time was short and he knew it was time for her to learn the truth about her mother.  A truth that was very difficult to explain and even more difficult to believe. 
He shivered, feeling a coldness drift across the bed.  He opened his eyes and looked at the dark man standing behind his daughter.  His arm extended towards him sporting a familiar looking thick gold ring on his bony finger.
‘Wait,’ he gasped in recognition. ‘I must explain.’
‘What,’ said Zoe in concern unaware of the presence behind her.  ‘What is wrong, what do you need to explain?’
‘The chest,’ he gasped frantically. ‘In the chest.’
‘Doctor, doctor,’ shouted Zoe standing up quickly and running out in search of the doctor who had just left. ‘My dad is complaining about his chest, please come.’
The doctor quickly rushed past Zoe and on entering noticed that the heart monitor had stopped its rhythmic beeping.  Calling for assistance he proceeded to commence CPR.
Zoe rushed in after the nurses to find the doctor and the nurses working on her father, and sitting in the chair that she had just vacated and holding his hand was the man in black.  With the black hood of his jacket hanging down his back, his white blond hair shone angelic like in the bright hospital light.  His black eyes appearing hollow in his gaunt face and in stark contrast to his pale translucent skin
‘What’s happening,’ cried Zoe frantically. ‘Dad, please.’
Another nurse entered and gentle guided Zoe away from the scene of frantic hands and loud machines.  Who was that man, was he a specialist?  Dr Marshall had not mentioned any other specialist.  Zoe’s heart pounded in her ears, she felt faint and wanted to be sick.  Her father had been fine, he had been talking to her, then it had all changed and he had said his chest hurt.  No, he had said it was in the chest.  Confused and frantic Zoe fainted.
The fluorescent lights circled above her head and the walls and roof expanded and swayed.  Feeling very disorientated, she found herself lying on her back on a hospital bed with a concerned nurse hovering nearby.
She sat up quickly causing the room to sway even more and her head to pound in pain.  ‘Where is my dad,’ moaned Zoe holding her head and looking frantically around.  She had been put on a spare bed at the end of the ICU but she could still hear the monotonous single beep of her fathers monitor.  Then her father appeared from behind the screen dressed in his hospital gown and smiling.  Following closely behind him was the tall, thin man dressed in black.
‘Dad,’ shouted Zoe trying to get off the bed. ‘Where are you taking my father?’
Her father continued to walk down the passage oblivious to her call, but the man in the long black coat turned and looked directly at her.
Zoe stopped halfway down the ward, looking into his puzzled eyes.  Unlike before, his eyes now appeared to be a dark blue in his angular pale face.  ‘Where are you taking my dad,’ she asked softly.
The man frowned slightly and turned his head slowly to look at her father walking down the passage.  With the movement of his head her eyes were drawn to the thin black tattoo now visible on the side of his neck.  The long black handle with curved blade projecting from the left side stood out stark and symbolic against his pale skin.  Blackness enveloped her and she sank to the floor.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 4 - Forewarned) cont 2

Yes, I know.  I have not posted anything for awhile, but I have been busy writing.  In fact I have managed to finish a few chapters now.  Very rough chapters, but chapters that have potential.  So here is the last bit of Chapter 4 as it stands.

‘Hooligans,’ muttered Betty disapprovingly.  ‘How can they make such a noise near a hospital.  There are sick people needing rest.’
Zoe smiled wanly agreeing mutely to the elderly ladies reprimand of the youth of today’s society.
‘Now, look at you,’ rushed Betty glancing at the untouched coffee in Zoe’s hand.  ‘I bet you have not had anything to eat.  There is a little canteen just off the main reception where we can get a sandwich or something.’
‘I’m really not that hungry,’ said Zoe quietly, realising that it was futile to protest.  She knew from experience that Betty did not take no for an answer.  Her husband had passed away ten years ago in a fishing accident and since then she had been the mother Zoe did not have.  She always ensured that Zoe was fed and clothed and educated correctly.  Betty adored her old friend Alex Alexander but knew that he was a tad scatterbrained at times.  She still marvelled that the girl had turned out so well. 
Bustling around now, she got Zoe to her feet and escorted her down the passage towards the main reception and the small canteen.  As the walked slowly down the passage Betty kept up a non stop barrage of chatter.  Describing her last visit to the hospital and which doctors and nurses were the best.  Zoe stared dull eyed ahead of her, not taking in her surroundings and letting the sounds and voices wash over her.  What would she do if something terrible happened to her father?  She would be alone in the world.  She had never met any of her father’s relatives and she was not even sure if her mother had any family.  Her father never seemed too clear about her mother’s past and was very vague about where she had come from.  The only story he told time and time again was how they had met – that dramatic stormy night twenty years ago.  As they passed the reception desk, Betty shivered and Zoe instinctively put her arm gently around her shoulders at the same time she had to sidestep a puddle of water that had been walked into the main reception area. 
‘My, the weather has really turned miserable,’ murmured Betty, ‘I should have brought a cardie.  Aren’t you cold, child?’
‘No,’ replied Zoe trancelike.  Her mind turned again to her father and how frail he had looked lying in the bed.  Oh, please let him be alright prayed Zoe silently.
The short elderly lady and tall dark haired girl passed quietly into the canteen and proceeded to the counter where Betty ordered two salad rolls and two hot chocolates.
‘There,’ said Khaos happily turning to Thanatos, ‘it must have been stress that caused her to see you earlier.  She did not see us now; she walked straight past us without a look.’
Both were standing next to the main reception desk at the hospital, water dripping from their coats onto the polished floor.  They had just entered the main doors when Thanatos had seen her walking down the passage towards them.  He had stopped and indicated to Khaos that it was her.  There was a short, plump lady in a green floral dress walking next to her, but he did not take much notice of her.  Even though the girl had been crying and her eyes were red rimmed she was still incredibly beautiful.  His heart tugged painfully, who was she, why could she see him and why did she have this affect on him?  As they drew closer the old lady had shivered and the young girl had placed her arm around her shoulder and both had passed inches from himself and Khaos.  There had been no eye movement or any acknowledgement that she had seen either of them.  Why?
‘Happier?’ asked Khaos quietly looking at his friend.
‘Yes,’ said Thanatos slowly.  ‘You must be right, it must have been stress.’
‘She is very beautiful,’ observed Khaos, ‘but definitely not a Mythic.’
Sighing slightly, Thanatos turned and walked out the front doors and Khaos followed thoughtfully after taking another quick look at the girl in the canteen.  She looked strangely familiar, but for the life of him he could not say why.
Khaos suggested a quick trip to the Clurichaun pub nearby, but Thanatos pleaded tiredness so returned home.  Thanking Khaos for his help, he walked quietly into his house and upstairs to his wife.  For an hour after his return he lay there in the dark and talked softly to his wife about what had happened during the day.  Eventually feeling a little more relaxed, Thanatos pulled his wife gently into his arms, kissed her goodnight and lay with her until she fell asleep.  Once he was sure his wife was sleeping peacefully, he got up and went into his study to complete his paperwork for the day and check his assignments for the next day.
A few miles away Khaos was perched precariously on a tiny barstool with a large tanker of ale in his hand talking loudly to the Clurichaun standing on the stool behind the bar.  Even with the help of the stool, the startling green eyes and red beard of the short barman were barely visible above the top of the polished wood.  It was a quite night with only four other occupants at the pub.  A young couple sat cosily in the corner cubicle talking softly together and gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes.  An elderly gentleman in the next table with his head resting against the wall and his eyes tight shut appeared to have fallen asleep and the pleasantly rounded woman with bleached blond hair swaying to the music by the juke box.  Khaos was eyeing her appreciatively when in walked Cycnus, Deimos and Enyo.  Both Deimos and Enyo were still dressed in their formal suits and ties and immediately looked out of place in the small, dark pub.
Cycnus, seeing Khaos at the far end of the bar grimaced slightly but walked across the threadbare carpet to great him casually.
‘Khaos, at your regular spot I see,’ said Cycnus disapprovingly. ‘Lost your sidekick I see.’
Deimos and Enyo had followed Cycnus across the room and were now looking around in disgust, not wanting to touch anything in case they caught something.
‘Ahh Capitan,’ slurred Khaos trying to stand and salute but almost losing his balance on the tall chair. ‘Whaa brings you to the Dog and Whishle?  Bob, I drink for my friends.’ 
The barman turned to Cycnus raising an enquiring bushy red eyebrow.
‘A draft for me,’ said Cycnus carefully seating himself stiffly on the nearby stool and arranging his sword to hang down the side.
‘And you,’ enquired the barman to Deimos and Enyo. ‘I will need to see some identification first.  Can’t be seen serving alcohol to minors.’
‘I will have a soda,’ said Deimos quickly, taking out a handkerchief and wiping the next stool before sitting down.
‘Make that two,’ followed Enyo, blushing slightly as he turned and the woman gyrating by the juke box winked at him.  Quickly turning back he remained standing stiffly near Cycnus’ chair as if he was his bodyguard.
‘Khaos, who are these fine young friends of yours,’ enquired the woman walking across the bar and casually draping her arm over Enyo’s stiff shoulder.
‘Desiree, you Siren,’ chuckled Khaos watching Enyo squirm under her caress. ‘They are far too young for you.’
‘Age is nothing,’ she whispered near Enyo’s ear. ‘I am sure I can teach them lots.’
Enyo turned a brighter shade of red and Deimos could not help but laugh at his friend’s obvious discomfort.  Enyo always seemed to attract the ladies with his youthful, clean, innocent good looks.  Deimos on the other hand was thicker set and there was already evidence of a receding hairline.
‘Be gone women,’ ordered Cycnus.  Enyo’s inability to remain professional and forceful in these situations displeased him.  If he was going to acquire respect he needed to be more dominant and demanding.  Woman made men weak, something that was not acceptable in their position.
Ignoring Cycnus, the woman continued to caress Enyo’s short blond hair and tickle his ear.
‘I said, be gone,’ roared Cycnus standing up and causing the woman to jump and step back.
‘Ok, ok, easy on tiger,’ cajoled the woman. ‘Only having a little fun with the youngster.  He needs to lighten up a little, needs a woman’s touch.’  She smiled sweetly at Enyo, blew him a kiss and returned to the juke box to select another song.
‘You are a bit uptight, tonight Cy,’ hiccupped Khaos downing his beer and indicating for another.  ‘Wha eating you?
‘Nothing is eat ... bothering me,’ corrected Cycnus abruptly. ‘If anyone is troubled tonight it is Thanatos.  The boys informed me that he was late for the meeting tonight?  This is very unlike him.  They also mentioned that he had not had a good day.  Is there some problem?’
‘No,’ mumbled Khaos, ‘there was no problem, it’s all sorted out.’
‘So there was a problem?’ wheedled Cycnus moving closer to Khaos.
‘Nothing serious,’ replied Khaos burping loudly and causing Cycnus to move backward. ‘You know how paranoid Tha .. Thane can be.’
‘Yes,’ replied Cycnus. ‘But it must have been serious for Thanatos to be late for the meeting.’
‘Nothing big,’ answered Khaos again. ‘Just that it was seen.’
‘I don’t understand,’ said Cycnus. ‘What do you mean it was seen?’  Talking to Khaos in one of his drunken states was like trying to pull teeth and he was getting very frustrated with the incoherent mumbling.
‘Not it, he was seen,’ shouted Cycnus loudly as if he was talking to a deaf man.   ‘He was at the hospital tonight to collect a passenger and the guy’s daughter apparently saw him and spoke to him.’
‘What …’ roared Cycnus jumping off the stool and almost knocking Enyo over.  His face becoming flushed and his nostrils flaring, he glared at Khaos furiously. ‘He was identified?’
‘No,  no….’ rushed Khaos quickly. ‘It was a mistake.’  He put his glass down quickly and tried desperately to clear his head.  Cycnus sudden fury was surprising and alarming.  The confusion did not merit such a strong reaction.
‘We went back to confirm and she walked right past us, didn’t see us, nada, zero, zilch.  As I said, Cy, it wasn’t a problem.’
Cycnus sat down slowly, his heart still pounding fiercely.  Something was not right, the break in the circle and a sighting at the same time did not feel like a coincidence.
‘I have work to do,’ said Cycnus suddenly, pushing his untouched draft aside and standing up. ‘Deimos, Enyo lets go.’
Khaos stroked his beard thoughtfully and watched the three men leave the bar.  Thanatos would not be happy that he had told Cycnus, he really should stop drinking so much; maybe it was time for him to settle down.
“Bob, how about another one for the road,’ said Khaos turning to eye out Des dancing to the music.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 4 - Forewarned)

After my last post and my indecision on whether to continue I came to a bit of a grinding halt.  But after much thought, I have decided (no matter what is recommended about not showing your work) that I am having fun and writing is for my enjoyment so I will carry on as I started.  Hope you enjoy the next chapter.

The black silhouettes’ of two horseman loomed over her, one appearing like a shadow to the other and both oblivious to the raging storm around them.  The inky blackness of the sky behind was still lighter than the darkness of the two figures before her.  The horses appeared to have been ridden hard as steam surrounded their twitching flanks and their nostrils flared.
The bitterness of the betrayal made her cry out “Why are you chasing me, what do you want? This plan of yours makes no sense.”
The forbidding creature stepped closer, the horses eyes glowed red, but with her back pressed against the cold, hard granite wall she had nowhere to go.  She had accepted her fate and her sacrifice would ensure life would go on, but this did not quell the disappointment and fear she felt. 
Lightening pierced the sky beyond and the sallow face of her captor shone victorious before her.  He raised his weapon in triumph and shouted to the world.  “Life will be no longer.”

Zoe’s eyes flew open in panic, florescent light suddenly streaming into her semi-conscious mind.  She looked around her in confusion, taking in the hospital bed, the heart machines and it all rushed back.  Seated in the uncomfortable straight back chair next to her father’s bed she must have drifted off to sleep.  Even though her nightmare was familiar to her, she was still unnerved about the clarity of them.  She could still taste the bile of bitterness in her mouth, smell the musty scent of the earth when it rains and her heart beat rapidly against her ribs.  Taking a deep breath to steady her nerves, she moved closer to her father’s bed for comfort. 
He looked peaceful in his sleep, blue veined eyelids fluttering slightly as if in dream.  The pain relieving drugs being pumped into his arm through the IV drip had made his eyes droopy until they had eventually closed.  After the second attack he had only woken up briefly to look into his daughters eyes and tell her to shush and that everything was going to be alright.  If only she could believe him, she could not shake the uneasy feeling she had had all day.  The nurses had tried to persuade her to go get something to eat or drink, but she did not leave her father’s side for fear something would happen if she was not there.  She was not sure how many hours had passed as she sat by his side.
‘Miss Alexander,’ said Dr Marshall quietly at her side.
She quickly blinked away the unshed tears and looked up at the doctor who had just entered.
‘We need to take your father up to do his ECG now,’ said Dr Marshall.  ‘Perhaps you would like to use this time to get something to eat or drink?’
‘Can’t I go with?’ replied Zoe frantically.
‘I am afraid not,’ said the doctor gently. ‘That area is strictly for patients and staff.  The process does not take long, but we will also be taking blood and doing a few other tests.  I will call you when he has returned.’
Zoe reluctantly let the nurse who had just entered lead her back to the small waiting room near the ICU reception.  As she was about to enter the quite waiting room she stopped as a familiar voice behind her called her name.  She turned and saw a short, dumpy woman with iron grey hair wearing a green floral dress, a large brown handbag clutched under her arm and brown flat walking shoes waddling as quickly as she could down the passage.
‘Zoe,’ she puffed out of breath, ‘Simon just told me.  Oh my dear, I am so sorry.’  The little woman then proceeded to engulf her in a tight bear hug.
‘Betty, oh Betty,’ wailed Zoe.  ‘I am so scared.’  The tears began to flow in earnest and Zoe’s whole body began to shake.
Zoe was led quickly into the waiting room and seated on the large black sofa where she continued to hold firmly onto the motherly figure of Betty and sob uncontrollably.  The woman let her cry, until her wracking gasps quietened gradually.  Then carefully extracting her handbag which had become sandwiched behind her she pulled out a pack of tissues which she gave to the young girl to blow her nose.  Digging 20p out her purse she quickly went to the coffee machine in the corner of the room, selected a strong coffee with lots of sugar and brought it back for Zoe.
‘Now, tell me everything the doctor has said,’ said the elderly women calmly.
Zoe proceeded to tell her the details the doctor had told her and about how he had had another attach just after she had entered the screens by her father.  She did not mention the dark man standing over her father for reasons she herself did not quite understand.
‘You say, Dr Marshall is his doctor,’ queried Betty nodding happily.
‘Yes,’ said Zoe. ‘Do you know him?’
‘Yes,’ replied Betty.  ‘He was my doctor when I had those angina attacks a few years ago.  He is very good, there is nobody better.’
Zoe blew her nose softly feeling a little more comforted with this information.
‘The weather has turned suddenly very dark,’ reflected Betty randomly, looking out the small window. ‘It has been a beautiful sunny day, it just goes to show you how fickly our weather is.’
Distracted, Zoe glanced out the small window at the darkness outside just as large raindrops hit the glass.  She shuddered remembering her recent dream.  The weather seemed to be reflecting her dark, despondent mood.  Just then the sound of a large motorbike outside made the window pane shiver.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 3 - The second Visit) cont 3...

I am confused and worried, and this is not a good combination.  The reason I started my writing blog was to give myself a kick up the rear, stop procrastinating and to start doing something I have wanted to do for a very long time.  But today I have read an article in Writers and Artists on “when do you show your work in the revision process?”  The gist of the article is – don’t show your work to anyone else when they are likely to come up with a list of suggestions that you are already half considering.  Also, if their comments are going to make you say things like “yes, I thought that”, or “well this is only a rough draft”, or “I already know that needs changing”, don’t show them!  The article goes on to say that the reader you have given your work to, starts to wonder why you are asking their opinion when you already know it.  Now I am in a dilemma.  Do I continue on my route of posting my “rough draft” on my blog or not?
Having said that I have finished the last “rough draft” of Chapter 3 and posted it up for you all to read.  At this stage I am not sure if further Chapters will be posted yet?

The four continued there meal chatting about love and the never ending stream of young ladies in Khaos’s life.  TJ jokingly asking Khaos for advice on how to win the ladies and Khaos talked lovingly about his five children.  He confided in the fact that Kay, his eldest at sixteen, seemed to be continuously embarrassed about him and refused to let him take her to school.  His noisy, smoky motorbike was not acceptable transport for a popular girl.  The others still adored going on rides on the back of his motorbike, except of course Sasha who was still too young.  Thanatos laughed and told him that Sasha had him wrapped around her little finger, something Khaos did not deny.
After the hearty meal of oxtail stew, crusty rolls and apple crumble for pudding TJ offered to clear the dishes and load the dishwasher before going upstairs to his room to play on his Wii game.
Thanatos refilled their wine glasses and carried them through to the living room and sat down next to his wife with a deep sigh.
‘Now,’ cajoled Khaos. ‘we don’t have any eavesdropping ears, interfering wife stealing men or impressionable youngsters around, what is bothering you Thane?’
‘Yes, my sweet,’ said Melanie taking a sip from her wine. ‘I have noticed that you have not told me about your day today?  What is wrong?’
That was one of the strengths of their marriage is that they shared everything with each other.  Neither would be too tired after a day at work to share what had happened, who they had seen or any other matters that might have occurred.
Closing his eyes he slowly recaptured what had happened today in his head before looking at them and stating, ‘I was seen.’
‘You were seen?’ said Khaos a little puzzled.
‘Yes, I was at the hospital, standing next to the man’s bed in the ICU and I was seen,’ confirmed Thanatos.
Both Khaos and Melanie looked at him confused.  Why was this sighting bothering him so much, it was to be expected.
‘But, the man was dying,’ consoled Melanie. ‘He would have to see you.’
‘No,’ said Thanatos shaking his head. ‘Not the man, the girl!’
‘You just said that you were standing next to the man in the bed,’ puzzled Khaos. ‘Was there another bed nearby?’
‘No,’ replied Thanatos quietly. ‘The girl walked in and saw me.’
Khaos and Melanie looked at each other and both asked at the same time. ‘Was she on the list.’
‘No,’ said Thanatos. ‘That is the problem.’
‘Are you sure she saw you, Thane?’ hurried Khaos.  ‘Perhaps she was stressed and merely staring into space.’
‘She spoke to me,’ said Thanatos quietly again.
There was silence.  All three trying to formulate what had happened in their minds.
Khaos queried, ‘Did you check the list.’
‘Twice,’ answered Thanatos.
‘What did she say,’ asked Melanie taking her husbands hand into hers and rubbing gentle.
‘She asked what I was doing and if I knew her father,’ answered Thanatos.
‘Maybe the clerks have messed up again,’ said Khaos trying to find a solution.  ‘You are always saying that they are inept and I often get strange messages on my blackberry.’
‘The list is not the same as your blackberry, Khaos,’ confirmed Thanatos.  ‘The clerks do not have access to that.  The orders come direct from the top.  That is the one reason why I continue with the traditional way – no mix ups or mistakes.’
Biting his lip in thought he quickly got up, went into the kitchen to retrieve his coat that he had thrown over the kitchen chair.  He carried his coat into the living room, sat and pulled out the scroll.  Slowly opening it again he looked at the list, it had not changed.  Shaking his head for the others, he rolled it up again and replaced it into the inside pocket of his coat.
‘Still not on the list,’ he mumbled. ‘The date and time has also changed for the man.’
‘Changed?’ queried Mel.  ‘That doesn’t happen, does it?’
‘No.’  answered Thanatos slowly.  ‘This is the first.’
‘Are you sure?’ queried Khaos softly.
Thanatos’ eyes narrowed and he glared at his friend across the room.  His dark blue eyes turned black, his skin paler and his lips narrowed.  ‘I am not mistaken,’ he said through clenched teeth.
‘I’m sorry,’ rushed Khaos, ‘just trying to think of all possibilities.’
‘Perhaps she is Muse, like me,’ suggested Melanie quietly. ‘I have always been convinced there are many that have not been registered with the Brotherhood.’
‘No, she is not a Muse of any Other,’ said Thanatos.  ‘She does not have the aura.’
The three sat in thoughtful silence, trying to come up with a logical conclusion, but none was forthcoming.
‘Right,’ said Khaos suddenly downing his wine and standing up. ‘Let's go.’
‘Go where?’ asked Thanatos and Melanie together.
‘To the hospital,’ replied Khaos, ‘where else?’
‘I don’t see what going to the hospital is going to prove,’ said Thanatos wearily.
‘If ..’ Khaos stopped looking wearily at Thanatos, ‘when she sees us again we can ask her who she is. You game?’
‘Alright,’ said Thanatos slowly his stomach tightening into a nervous knot. ‘We can try that.  Oh, but I have put Mortis to rest.’
‘No problem,’ laughed Khaos. ‘We can take the bike.’
‘Hmm,’ mumbled Thanatos unenthusiastically, standing slowly and putting his untouched wine on the table.  He kissed his wife quickly and said, ‘we won’t be late.’
Melanie carried the wine glasses into the kitchen and watched the two men walk out to the bike.  In the shadows they looked like Laurel and Hardy, the best of friends but complete opposites.
The roar of the motor bike made her flinch and hope that Mr Smithers didn’t decide to pay another concerned visit.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 3 - The second Visit) cont 2..

I am not completely happy with this section, but feel I need to move on, as I don't want to come to a grinding halt.  So please bare with me and remember this is my rough draft.  I am sure, sorry I know, there will be plenty of changes to come.  You should see the notation coloumn on my main copy.
Mr Smithers had stepped inside the front room but TJ was still standing by the open front door.
‘Melanie,’ gushed the man dressed in formal trousers and jacket.  ‘That infernal motor biker seems to be back in the neighbourhood.  I just wanted to check that you and your son are alright?  You never know what these hoodlum types will do if they found a beautiful women alone.’
‘Hoodlum,’ roared Khaos angrily from the kitchen. “Who is he calling a hoodlum?”
Thanatos laughed.
‘Thank you for your concern, Mr Smithers,’ said Melanie sweetly.  ‘But I am not on my own.’
‘Jeff, please,’ said Mr Smithers.  ‘I realise you have your son and that he is growing up now, but he is hardly a match for one of those ruffian’s.’
‘Ruffian,’ gasped Khaos infuriated storming through to the front room before Thanatos could grab hold of his arm and hold him back.  “I’ll show him to be more respectful and not judge a biker by his bike!”
Watching the scene behind his mothers back, TJ snorted, trying very hard not to laugh.  Khaos was hell bent on reaching Mr Smithers and his dad had hold of his friend’s hoodie, almost strangling him in the process.  Thanatos gave a quick jerk pulling Khaos back enough for him to step in front and stand next to his wife thereby preventing Khaos from being able to manoeuvre around them to get to Mr Smithers.
‘Mr Smi … Jeff,’ continued Melanie smiling widely.  ‘I have a very good response unit should I experience any difficulties.  Thank you again for your concern, but you will excuse me as we were about to sit down for dinner.’
Mr Smithers smiled disappointedly. ‘Of course.  I..’  he suddenly shivered and looked around.  ‘Are you having problems with your heating?  It has suddenly become very cold in here?  I am a very good handyman and can fix the problem for you?’
‘No no, my heating is fine,’ sighed Melanie wanting the man to leave now.  ‘I am quite warm.  Perhaps you are coming down with a cold or something?’
‘Hmm,’ said Mr Smithers doubtfully, looking over his shoulder at TJ still standing at the door smiling broadly.  ‘Well, if you sure everything is ok?  Just remember, if you need anything, anything at all, just ask.’
‘Thank you Mr Smithers, you are awfully kind,’ replied Melanie now firmly escorting him to the door.  ‘Good night.’
Mr Smithers had barely time to say goodnight before the large wooden door was firmly closed behind him.  Gazing at the door for a few moments he pondered on how it was really sad that such a beautiful woman could let herself mourn for a man that had left her so long ago.  He must have hurt her badly because she was very reluctant to get into another relationship.  But maybe when her son was all grown up, maybe then she will start to feel lonely and that was when he would be there to help.  Nodding to himself, he turned and walked down the path and across the road to his house.
‘That…. that man is after your wife,’ stuttered Khaos staring at Thanatos who  had moved into the dining room and was now casually pouring three glasses of wine.
‘Obviously,’ said Thanatos smiling slightly.
‘Obviously?’ gasped Khaos sitting himself down at the large dinning room table.  ‘And this does not concern you?’
‘Why should it,’ said Thanatos placing the wine on the table and joining the rest of the family smiling at his wife.  ‘My wife is not interested in him.’
‘As simple as that?’ queried Khaos looking from husband to wife.
‘As simple as that,’ confirmed Melanie.
‘Well I repeat what I said earlier, Thane my friend,’ said Khaos.  ‘You are extremely lucky.  Not only is your wife the best Muse this side of the sun, she is a superb cook and loves you completely.’
Thanatos smiled and nodded in agreement, he was extremely lucky.  It was nineteen years ago when they met.  He had been searching desperately for Gaia after her mysterious disappearance.  For six months he had travelled from one end of the earth to the other, looking and listening for any signs of his closest and dearest friend.  Her explanation for her disappearance had not satisfied him as she would surely have confided in him prior to taking such drastic action.  There had been no sighting or signals until one afternoon after he had made a collection in Bwindi Forest he heard her song.  He had been drawn into the great forest, to an area where nobody ever came, even the local people who lived nearby did not enter, not for fear of wild creature or monster, but simply because no one ‘knew’ that it was there.  The majestic redwood trees held an air of pre-historic mystique, their branches extending a hundred meters upwards blocking out all the light.  The constant mist surrounding the forest made it invisible and confusing to the casual traveller.  He had wandered around for hours when the singing stopped as suddenly as it had started.  Confused and doubting himself he had wandered on, but no sound could be heard – not even the sound of the forest.   Many days passed with no further sounds or signs so defeated he made his way slowly out the deep forbidding forest.  Finding a country road near the edge of the forest he travelled along it for many miles until he found his way to a small village.  On nearing the closest cottage he had stopped and found himself staring at the most beautiful creature he had ever seen.  Melanie had been busy picking tomatoes from a small vegetable patch in front of the cottage and had looked up and seen him.  She had recognised him on sight and being concerned with his frail, dishevelled state had invited him in for dinner.  Not long after they had married and Thanatos Junior was born.  His connection with Gaia would always be present, but his love for his wife was infinite.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 3 - The second Visit)

I have not been feeling well the past couple of days.  Full of the dreaded flu!  So with a very muzzy head, I hope the start of my next Chapter is not too incoherent. 
I would also like any comments about my previous Chapter (The Meeting) and whether it made any sense or if I have just confused you all tremendously.   I don’t want to go into too much detail about the four riders yet as the ‘who’ and ‘what’ will hopefully unravel through the next couple of Chapters.  But if the general feel is I should explain more about them on introduction, please tell me.

Like all the houses in the street, the house was a nondescript mock Tudor semi-detached house with steeply pitched roof, tall mullioned windows, high chimney and overhanging first floor.  The house was situated on 2-acres of land and had an attached stable with an enclosure at the rear.  It boasted a tall, well maintained hedgerow which ran along the front of the house and obscured it from the neighbours and at the rear of the house was a large, elderly oak tree.   The golden light from the kitchen window fell on the rough bark of the gnarled tree and the gently blowing leaves created patterns on the neatly mowed lawn.  Nothing stirred; it was your typical peaceful family neighbourhood with the average husband and wife with the average two and a half children and one family car.  Everyone was indoors, either eating dinner, watching TV or just relaxing after a long day at work.
The silence was broken by a soft voice drifting out the open kitchen door, ‘Dad’s home.’
The women in the kitchen looked up and turned to the window just in time to see her husband appear next to the stable at the back of the garden.  It amazed her how her son always knew when his father was on his way home, their connection was more than physical it was metaphysical.  She smiled as she watched her son walk across the lawn towards his father.   The boy was already as tall and as lanky as his father, his dark blue eyes and long nose identical.  At this distance the only difference in father and son was the boys shoulder length black hair.  This he had inherited from her.
The sudden roar of a large motorbike caused her to jump and drop the spoon she was holding onto the floor with a clatter.  That confounded motorbike always gave her a fright, but she always forgave Khaos after he begged her forgiveness each time.
The large man parked his pride and joy next to the shed and greeted the young boy standing with his father. ‘T-Man, how’s it hanging?’ be bellowed raising his hand for a high five.
‘Uncle Khaos,’ said the boy humouring the large man by slapping his hand against his.  Khaos always made him laugh with his attempts to remain young and hip as he called it.  ‘You are going to have to apologise to mum again for arriving so noisily,’ laughed TJ.
Khaos looked guiltily towards the main house.  ‘I know,’ he whispered, ‘I really need to buy a muffler for occasions like these.’
Thanatos had finished unbridling his horse and putting him to rest so the three turned and walked slowly up to the house.
‘How was college?’ queried Thanatos.
‘Fine,’ said TJ. ‘We have a Humanities project I may need some help with.’
‘When is it due?’ replied his dad. ‘I am sure I will have time this weekend to help, perhaps after your baseball match.’
‘Only at the end of the month,’ said TJ, ‘so anytime is fine.’
The three men entered the large kitchen and sniffed appreciatively at the delicious aroma wafting around the room.
Before Thanatos could greet his wife, Khaos had dropped dramatically onto one knee in front of her, hands clasped together and a puppy dog look on his face. ‘My sweet, beautiful Mel, forgive me for my rude entry.  I hope I did not frighten you?’ he pleaded.
‘Oh, Khaos,’ laughed Melanie, ‘get up you fool, you are always forgiven.’ She leant over and gave him a friendly peck on the check.
Thanatos chuckled as he watched his large friend struggle to get to his feet, happy that he had been forgiven for his loud arrival, again.  His wife, a petit, dark haired beauty had a real soft spot for the large man.  She mothered him like her favourite child; nothing he did was ever seriously scolded.  Even when he arrived on their doorstep dancing and laughing after a heavy night of drinking wanting to talk and a bed or couch to rest on.  She adored him and all his children who she often babysat when Khaos was away for any length of time. 
Thanatos manoeuvred himself around his son and Khaos to lean over and gently give his wife a kiss.  ‘Hello, my love,’ he greeted. ‘You are far too lenient on him, he will do it again.’
She smiled lovingly up at her husband, ‘I know, but who can get cross with that face.’
They both turned and looked at Khaos standing gazing at them with his sad brown eyes and laughed.
Just then the front doorbell rang.
TJ left the kitchen and made his way through the living room and out into the front room to open the front door.
‘Evening, TJ,’ came a loud masculine voice.  ‘Is your mother home?’
‘Mum,’ called TJ. ‘It’s Mr Smithers.’
‘Oh dear,’ said Melanie under her breath. ‘Not again.’
She slowly wiped her hands on her apron and made her way to the front room.