June Bear is a six-year-old boy, his real name is Derrick. He lives with his Mom, his Dad and his Grandma Tee in a nice house on a nice street in Charlotte NC. He has just started school and lives a normal happy life, like most six year olds do, that is until one day, when everything changes. A big party is prepared at his parents' house. His Grandma Tee is preparing food days ahead of the event and his Great-Great-Grandpa arrives ahead of time. Then, all of a sudden pies his Granny has prepared are disappearing during the night, along with other foods for the big party and June-Bear is the one to be blamed! Everyone is angry with him, even his Grandma. Heartbroken and desperate he turns to his teenage uncle Roggie for help. Together they set up a trap to catch the real pie thief and tumble into an unexpected adventure that takes them into new worlds and provides a new view on life for both of them. They find friends they never thought existed and get a glimpse at the power of magic.
© Birgit and Roger Pratcher, 2007
The perfect book for all ages with a love for life, magic and fantasy!
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Read the first three chapters here:
June Bear Adventures – The Missing Pies
He was now six years old and just had started school. He liked school and it was fun. He
could already read little books and when he showed his homework to the teacher, she always gave him a little star for it. Mrs. Pohl, that was his teacher, she had lots of stick-on labels with stars in her desk. Every time they did something well, she gave the school kids in her class a little yellow star. The stars were put inside a little book; twenty of the little yellow labels could fit on
one page. Mrs. Pohl had told them that when Christmas came, she would count everyone's stars and the kids with the most stars would receive the best Christmas surprise. She was really nice. She wore her curled hair short and loved to wear flower print dresses, her voice was soft, but clear, even when she was a little angry with one of the kids in her classroom. As long as you
did not lie to her, she would not get too mad. She had never gotten angry with June and he would try his best, that she never would find a reason to be angry with him.
He lived with his Mom and Dad and his Grandma 'Tee' in a pretty house with lots of friendly neighbors. One of his neighbors, down the street, at the end of the block, was his uncle Roggie. He was his favorite neighbor. His uncle Roggie owned an arcade with a snack bar in the city and always would let June play and eat for free.
His Mom and Dad were at work all day. Mom worked for the military and Daddy for a computer
company. That was the reason that Grandma Tee had moved in with them, so she could take care of him, until his parents came home.
As far as he was concerned, it was the best thing ever. She was full of cool ideas, always had time for him, cooked the best food and baked the best cookies and pies ever. Life with Grandma was great!
Ever since he had been a baby, people called him 'June'. He had no clue, why, but he did not mind at all. Lately they added 'Bear' to his nickname and called him 'June-Bear'.
His Mom had told him, that was, because he was strong and tough! He did not look very strong or very tough, his arms and legs seemed skinny and slinky. Often it seemed like there was only room for bones under his dark skin and no room for muscles. But Mom had very thin arms and
she was strong too, so it could very well be that his strength just did not show, but was there.
His real name was Derrick, but only if he really was in trouble, did his family call him by his real name. Of course, just like in school, he always tried to be good, most when Christmas came around. You could never be sure, if there was not a real Santa Claus somewhere, after all.
When he was little, and he remembered very well, he had seen Santa one night.
But, right now he did not have to worry about Christmas and Santa, there was still plenty time to be good.
He jumped off the big yellow school bus and ran toward the house. Grandma Tee was standing in the door, waiting for him. He gave her a big hug.
"How was school, June, did you get any stars today?" she asked.
"It was good. Mrs. Pohl told us about the 'Mayfever' and I got three stars!" he told her.
"Do you mean she told you about the 'Mayflower'?"
He looked up at her with a puzzled expression on his little face, squinting his clear brown eyes together and thought about it for a moment.
"I guess that could be too. It was a big ship with May."
"Yeah, child, that was the 'Mayflower'. After you eat something, you have to show me what you learned about it."
They went inside, where a plate with his snacks and a glass of milk were waiting for him.
Nana Tee went over to the stove, where she was working on their dinner, while he sat at the kitchen table and ate.
"I got great news, sweetie" she announced and poured some more seasoning into a pot on the stove.
He looked up, waiting on her to continue, returning her smile.
"Your Great-Grandfather is coming! Isn't that exiting?" she offered.
"Yes, Ma'am." He replied dutifully. He didn't know what else to say. To him it did not sound like
great, exiting news at all. He remembered the first time the old man had been here: very old, white hair, where he had any left, a big brown cane tightly held in his dark bony hand with yellowish finger nails. Most of the time he spent sleeping, in his bed, on the rocking chair by the fireplace, in a chair on the porch. There was really nothing exciting about this visit. Every time the old man had talked to him, he had fallen asleep before he had finished or he had forgotten about the little boy standing in front of him and stopped talking, his old eyes looking at an imagined place, somewhere far away.
"But that's not all, honey!" Grandma Tee went on, "we are going to have a big party. Cousin Miranda is getting married, and she will have the reception here, at your Mom's house! We will have to decorate, cook lots of food, bake lots of cakes, it will be so much fun!"
Now she was talking good stuff: Food! Cakes!
"Now, go on to your room and do your homework, so I can get some work done. Your Mom and Dad will pick up your Great Grandpa from the airport and I still have a lot to do until they come back." Grandma Tee ordered him and he hopped off to his room.
Sitting on his desk, doing his homework, he wondered, if he had to give up his room while his Great Grandpa was staying here. He better hurry up so he would have time to put his most valuable belongings in a safe place.
The afternoon went by, June did his homework, put all his Spiderman figurines in a backpack, along with a few other things he cherished. He placed the backpack in the hallway closet for easy access.
It was already getting dark, when his parents finally made it home with his great grandpa. June had already had his bath and was watching cartoons.
"Hi Mom, hi Dad" he called as he rushed to greet them.
"Good evening sir, welcome to our home" he greeted the old man that was shuffling across the floor, supported by a big brown cane.
"Hello child. Who are you, should you not be home at this late hour?" the old man replied and shook his hand.
June looked at him. Did he not remember that June lived here? That he was the son of his granddaughter?
"Grandpa, this is my son. You've met him before, don't you remember?" His Mom asked friendly.
"OH, oh, yes, yes, the little one. I know. He must have grown an awful lot, for me not to recognize him. How are you, young man? Are you doing well?"
"Yes, thank you, I'm fine" June replied. Then he turned to his parents. "May I go to bed, I'm tired."
"Of course, June-Bear. Are you alright?" His mother asked and touched his forehead to check for a temperature.
"I'm fine, just tired."
"Grandma has put a mattress in our room for you to sleep on. Good night." His Mom said and kissed his cheek.
June called 'Good night' and went upstairs. He went to his parents' room to lay down on the mattress his grandma had put there for him. He cuddled under his blanket and was asleep in no time at all.
Hours later his parents' and Grandma went to bed as well. And another hour or two after that, the
floorboards were slightly creaking under the weight of someone walking through the house. Green eyes glowed in the dark, peering in every corner. Hairy feet crept carefully forward, rainbow colored dust followed. Then it all was quiet again; only occasionally a slight whisper could be heard.
The next morning came quick and with it the usual rush. He got showered and dressed, ran downstairs to the kitchen to eat a quick bowl of cereal.
Mom and Grandma were already there, Mom drinking a cup of tea and going over some paperwork, Grandma was busy with peeling and cutting apples.
"Are you making pie?" June asked her, almost able to taste her delicious apple pies just by thinking about them.
"Yes, honey. By the time you get home from school, you can have some. Now hurry, the bus will be here any moment." Grandma Tee answered and planted a kiss on his cheek.
"You will turn from my June Bear into a pie monster, if you keep chasing after Grandma's pies!" his mom said and made him giggle.
Then she put her paperwork into her little briefcase. His Dad was just coming down the stairs, ready to leave the house.
"Love you, Bear" Mom said and kissed his forehead.
"Bye, big guy, see you later!" his Dad called and was out of the door, Mom close behind him.
June put his bowl in the sink and hurried to drink up his juice.
"Go, go, go, and don't miss the bus!" Grandma said and ushered him toward the door. On the way he grabbed his school bag and waved at her as he rushed down the street to catch the bus.
He found an empty seat next to his best friend Mark.
"Hey June, what's new?" Mark greeted him with a happy smile, showing the big gap where two teeth were missing.
"Hi Mark, my great-grandfather arrived yesterday. He's got my room now. No more playing at my house for a while." June sighed as he sat down.
"That sucks. How is he?"
"Who, my great grandpa?"
"Yeah, that's who you were talking about, right?"
"Old. I don't think that I've ever seen anyone this old. His skin is more gray than anything else and soooo wrinkled. Sometimes it looks as if it would just break, like old thin paper. And he is really boring. All he does is sit around and sleep." June explained and sighed.
"Maybe we can hang out at your uncle's?" Mark suggested.
"Yeah, maybe. I'm just afraid that they'll try to keep me at home to show me around to every family member they can find. Some cousin is getting married and it will be at our house."
"Yuck! The worst thing, that it brings lots of pinched cheeks and wet, sticky kisses from old aunties; trust me, nothing to look forward too. Any cool people coming, like our age?" Mark inquired.
"Don't think so. My cousin A.J is way too young, all the other cousins are old, like sixteen and over, no one cool!" June sighed again and was glad that he had started school and would be spared the pinched cheeks and wet kisses at least while he was in school.
After the short trip with the bus he finally arrived in school and enjoyed the classes, most the ones with Mrs. Pohl, his favorite teacher.
When he came home after school, grandma Tee was already waiting in the door, like every day. At least that had not changed.
"Hi sweetie how was school? Have you been good?" She asked and hugged him.
"It was good and of course I was good." June replied, sniffing the air.
"Are the pies ready, can I have some?" he asked, squeezing past his grandma into the house.
"Hey, you little pie monster, slow down!" Grandma called and chased after him. She chased him around the kitchen table and through the hallway, past the dining room and back into the kitchen. Finally she caught him and hugged him tight. Then she straightened up and, still trying to catch her breath got a plate out the refrigerator with a big slice of her delicious apple pie.
"You do know, that you are supposed to eat this for desert, not for lunch?" she asked.
"Well, if you insist, I will eat this now and then have one for desert." June giggled and put a fork full of pie in his mouth.
"Oh, you think that you are a smart little bear?" Grandma said and laughed. She got a plate out and went over to the stove where she started filling it with vegetables, rice and fish. She placed it in front of her little grandson.
"You better make sure this plate is empty when I come back. I'll go upstairs and do some laundry. If you want something from me, you'll have to come up and be quiet, your great grandpa is taking a nap."
June nodded his head and pulled the plate closer. Now he even had to be quiet, so this old man could sleep. As if he would hear anything. He already couldn't hear a thing when he was awake. He hurried up with his lunch and put his empty plate by the sink.
Then he grabbed his book bag and went upstairs to do his homework in his room. Halfway up the stairs he could hear his great grand father snore. June realized that he had to go back down and do his homework on the dining table. His room was taken.
He sighed deeply and put his books on top of the table and started his homework.
He was done when his Grandma came down the Stairs, a stack of neatly folded kitchen towels in her hands.
"Can Mark come over and play with me?" He asked.
"No, sweetheart. That would be too much for your old grandpa. He can not have kids running through the house and making noise." She answered and put the towels on the table, leaning over his shoulder to check his homework.
"Oh now, don't look so sad. Roggie called and said he would like to pick you up and take you with him to the arcade. I'm sure he won't mind if Mark comes along. Go call him and ask him if he wants to go." She kissed him on the head and started to put his books inside the bag.
June jumped up and went to the phone. He called his best friend and returned with a big smile.
"Mark is coming. We will pick him up on the way. Can I have some more pie?"
"No, no, tonight, after dinner. Now go and do something else, so I can get done with my work. I still have so much to do. Soon, the rest of our relatives will arrive and I have to make a few more pies and cook a lot of food." She ushered him out the room.
June went to sit on the front porch and waited for his uncle to pick him up.
"What are you doing, young man?" a voice said to him. He turned around and faced his great-grandfather, who was sitting in a rocking chair, looking out on the street.
"Oh, hi, I'm waiting on my uncle Roggie to pick me up. He'll take me with him to his arcade." He answered politely.
"So, he's picking you up, hmm. What are you doing there, at this arcade?" the old man wanted to know.
June wondered what this man was thinking; of course he would play computer games, that's what you did at an arcade. But, being well mannered, he answered.
"We'll play computer games and sometimes I'll help Roggie to clean up and stuff."
"Computer games, hmm, I don't think that we had any when I was your age, I'm not sure, can't really remember." Then June's great grandfather closed his eyes and soon he was snoring softly.
Finally June could see his uncle's car come up the street. He jumped up and ran down the stairs, anxious to get away before the old man would wake up again and ask more questions.
"Hey Bear! How are you? Come on, get in!" Roggie called and pushed the passenger door open.
"Hi, I'm glad you came and got me. Can we pick up Mark and take him with us?"
"Yeah, sure. Buckle up, here we go" Roggie turned the car, blew the horn and took off. He drove the car back onto the main street and then turned right to pick up June's friend Mark.
They were entertaining June's uncle all the way to the little arcade, not once being quiet during the twenty-minute drive. Finally Roggie pulled into the parking lot of the little shopping center where his arcade was located.
"Alright guys, we have arrived. Let's go and open up for business!" he said and got out of his blue
Chrysler. With fast steps he went to his little business and unlocked the doors. He switched on the lights and the two boys entered behind him.
"You two can go ahead and turn on the machines, I'll go and get us some sodas." He called over his shoulder. Quickly June and Mark ran past him and turned on one video game machine after the other. Then they turned on the four computers at the end of the small store, where people could surf the Internet for a small fee or print out reports. Some even brought their own computer games and played with their friends for hours. By the time everything was turned on, Lena,
Roggie's employee, and friend, arrived. "Hello everybody, you guys look like you are
having fun. Did you try out the new video game yet? It just arrived two days ago and it's a lot of fun!" she greeted them and then went to the kitchen to turn on the fryer and the grill. Until six o'clock in the evening they would serve fries and burgers to the customers. After that all that you could eat were cold cuts, which Lena would prepare before she went home.
"You've got a new game in? I had no idea. Can we play?" June asked his uncle.
"Sure, here take a few coins, it will take you a while to figure it out. I have tried it on the first day and it took me more than two hours to get the hang of it." He handed each of them a hand full of tokens to put into the machine. Happily they bounced off and started to play the new game.
They spent almost all afternoon playing games and only took a break for hamburgers and fries. Shortly after six in the evening Lena was ready to go home.
The little arcade had been crowded with kids all afternoon and slowly business was winding down, only the big kids, teenagers with cars, stayed around.
"Hey guys, I'll drive you home, say bye to Roggie and let's go." She called over to Mark and June. Being the good boys they are, they obeyed immediately.
"Bye Roggie thanks for letting us being here!" Mark said on the way out.
"Bye Roggie, thanks, I had lots of fun. Can I come back tomorrow?" June said and hugged his uncle.
"I'll have to check with your mom or grandma first, but I'm sure that you can come back one of these days before the week is over. Take care and tell your mom and dad that I loved for you to be here!"
June rushed out the door and got in Lena's old Ford. It had been red at one time, but now it was mainly rusty and gray. Just like with Lena, age had not passed without leaving its mark.
"Miss Lena, will you ever get a new car?" June asked as he looked out the rear window at the smoke the old car was blowing out the pipes.
"June, honey, I'm seventy-eight years old. I will not waste any money on a new car until my eightieth birthday. Until then, a few screws, some duct tape and new sparks plugs and a good oil change every now and then will have to do. The day I bought this car I started saving up for my next car, a very special car." She explained and smiled.
"What kind of car?" Mark asked.
"A Jaguar, midnight blue. That's something I have wished for all my life. And on the day I turn eighty, it will be parked in my driveway, you can bet on it."
"How long ago did you buy this car?" June inquired and wondered if it would really keep running all the way to his home.
"That was, let me think, aah, I remember, twenty three years ago, when I retired from my job." She answered with pride.
"But you are still working your job." June countered.
"Oh, not that job, sweetie, my job at the factory. The job with your uncle is different. I work there
because it is fun and because it gives me the chance to save up some extra money. Just in case something should happen, you know."
June sat quiet and wondered if she would really have enough money to buy the car she longed for. It seemed advisable to start saving up for a rainy day early. He decided to start saving half of his allowance from now on, so he would have some extra money if he needed it.
Mark was dropped off at his house and Lena and June watched him go inside. Then she drove June home. Here too she waited until his mom opened the door for him and he was safely inside.
"Hey June-Bear, how is my big guy doing?"
"I'm fine mom. We were with uncle Roggie, he's got a new game, and it's absolutely cool. Daddy would love to play it."
"Did you have dinner already? Then you can go upstairs and take your bath. I'll be up in a little bit and read you a story, alright?" June nodded and went up the stairs. He got his pajamas and disappeared into the bathroom.
By the time he was done and back in his room, his dad came home and was waiting for him in his room.
"You know daddy, I have been thinking." June started. His dad raised his eyebrow and looked at him.
"What about?" he asked.
"When you go to the bank next time, could you make an account for me and instead giving me all my allowance, could you put half of it into my account then?"
"Sure, why not. But where did you get this idea?"
"Well, you know, Lena had been working long enough to retire when she bought her car. Now she is still working at uncle Roggie's place so she can make enough money for her next car in two years and just incase that something happens." June patiently explained to his father.
"Nothing wrong with being prepared. I'll make sure to open up an account for you. Now I have to go and help your Grandma. Mom will be here in a minute and read you a story, all right? Good night." His dad kissed him and went back down stairs to the kitchen. Only
minutes later his mom came up and tucked him in.
Then she picked up a book and read him one of his favorite stories. He was fast asleep before she had even finished.
A few hours later, after his parents and his Grandma had gone to bed, the floorboards were slightly creaking under the weight of someone walking through the house. Green eyes glowed in the dark, peering into every corner. Hairy feet crept carefully forward, rainbow colored dust followed. Then it all was quiet again; only occasionally a slight whisper could be heard.
The next morning was as hectic as always. Before he knew it, June was sitting on the school bus, next to Mark. All the way to school they were talking about the new game they had played at the arcade the day before.
Class after class the morning flew by and school was out.
"Want to come over today? We could play with my racetrack in my room. By the time you come over I'll have it put up." Mark suggested.
"Yeah, sure, at home I'll only be in the way with all the stuff my grandma has to do. And my great-grandpa still has my room. See you then!" June answered and watched Mark getting off the bus in front of his house.
On the next stop June also got off and ran to his home. Grandma Tee was not waiting in the door as usual; he had to ring the bell for her to open.
"Come on in, right to the kitchen." She said as she opened the door. June put his book bag down and followed her to the kitchen. He was wondering if she was not feeling well. No hug, no smile, which was odd.
On the kitchen table a half eaten pie was standing, his grandma right next to it, looking at him very angry.
"Well?" she said and looked first at the pie and then at him.
"Pie?" he asked, not sure what she was referring to.
"Yes, pie. Pie, that was not yours to eat. What do you have to say for yourself?" she snapped.
"I, I don't know, what do you mean?" he answered confused.
"Oh, now you don't know what I'm talking about? If at least you would be honest! If at least you would show some remorse! How can you be so disrespectful! Go to your room. Your Mom will take
care of you when she comes home." Nana Tee said and turned her back to him.
June opened his mouth to say something, but then changed his mind and went upstairs. The old man was not in his room and he sat down at his desk.
What was wrong with his grandma? Why was she acting like this? He could not figure it out. After sitting there for a while, still not able to make sense of it, he decided to go down and ask her why she was so upset with him.
He slowly climbed down the stairs and rounded the corner to the kitchen. He could see his grandma working by the stove. "Grandma?" he said his voice almost too low to be heard. She turned around and faced him, still no smile on her face.
"Why are you so upset with me? I really don't understand." He said, pulling all his courage together.
She looked at him for a long moment, her right hand resting on her hip, her left hand resting on the counter.
"You ate more than half of this pie and you don't know why I am upset? What is wrong with you child?"
"But, but, I did not…" June said turning pale.
"And, you are lying to me, now this is what really gets me upset! If at least you would admit to what you did and show some remorse, but no, you are lying! It breaks my heart to see that my beloved grandson is a liar!" she said, her voice rising with every word she
said. She pulled a paper towel from the roll on the counter and blew her nose and wiped her eyes. Then she shook her head sadly and turned away from him.
"Go back to your room. " she said, her voice grave.
His head low he slowly went back to his room and sat on the floor. He bit his lip, trying hard not to cry. He could not understand what had just happened. His Grandma did not even want to talk with him about it.
She thought that he had stolen from her pie and that he was lying about it, even worse, she did not want to see him or hear him at all. Who knows, she might not even love him anymore and decide that she would rather go away than to have to deal with him.
Finally he could not hold back the tears anymore, they came and didn't stop. Sobbing he sat on the floor, hugging his knees tight to his little body.
It was getting dark in his room; soon his parents would be back. His only hope was that they would believe him. Maybe Daddy was the one who had eaten the pie. Hope started dwelling in him and the tears stopped flowing. He got up and went to the bathroom to
wash his face. When he came back out he heard voices downstairs. His Dad and his Mom were home.
He stood at the top of the stairs, deciding whether to go down and greet them and tell them right away that he had nothing to do with the vandalized pie. Then he heard the anger in his Dad's voice. Quickly he went back to his room and sat on the edge of his bed.
Moments later the door opened and his Mom came in. She turned on the light and looked at him. He felt as if he was shrinking under her stare.
"Why did you eat the pie, June? You are old enough to know that you cannot just go and take whatever it is you would like to have. You stole the pie your Grandma had made. Don't you understand that she needs them for the wedding? It is too much work to just have a little boy come along and eat it up."
"Mom, I did not…" he started when she stopped talking.
"Look, if you think that I will fall for your lie about not being the one who did it, you are absolutely wrong. I love you son, but I just cannot allow you to steal and to lie. I am very disappointed. Go, take your bath and then go to bed. We are all very angry at you and
tomorrow your Dad will let you know your punishment." She turned and left the room.
June's mouth still hung open from the explanation he wanted
to give. He finally realized that it was no use to say anything and went to take his bath, deeply troubled and in tears.
Most of the night he lay awake, wondering how he had gotten into this trouble. Who could have been eaten from the pie? And why was everybody thinking that he was the one who did it? Finally he drifted off into sleep, troubled by nightmares.
Hours later, after his parents and his Grandma had went to bed, floorboards were slightly creaking under the weight of someone walking through the house.
Green eyes glowed in the dark, peering into every corner. Hairy feet crept carefully forward, rainbow colored dust followed. Then it all was quiet again; only occasionally a slight whisper could be heard.
The next day arrived and with it the typical morning rush. Mom and Dad were rushing in and out the bathroom, pushing him aside when he got in the way. In the bathroom he could not find his toothpaste and had to knock on his parents' bathroom door to borrow some of theirs. Finally he rushed down the stairs to the
kitchen. His cereal and juice were standing on the table, waiting for him. Grandma Tee was nowhere around. He sat down and quickly ate his breakfast. He was just about done, when his parents came down the stairs.
"Hurry, June, you are running late." His Mom said and put a paper bag with his lunch in front of him.
Hastily he finished his juice and put his dishes by the sink.
"Time to go sweetie, be good, see you tonight!" his Mom said and quickly kissed him on the jaw.
"Come on Bear, let's go, quickly," his father called and was already storming to the door and held it open for him.
"Bye, see you later!" June called and was out of the door. He ran down the sidewalk and climbed on the school bus. With a deep sigh he sat down. Things had gone better than he had anticipated. Mom at least had kissed him and Dad had not said one word about
punishing him. Maybe they had realized that he had not been at fault. Just that his Grandma had not been there worried him a little. But it could be that she was busy with preparations for the wedding. By the time he was done thinking about that things were better today than yesterday, Mark came on the bus and sat down next to him. Finally he could talk to someone about the pie
After listening to June all the way to school, Mark assured his best friend that there should be nothing for him to worry about, by the time he got home today everything should be fine and his Grandma would be as sweet as always. By the time they entered their classroom, June was relieved and pretty much forgot all about this unfortunate pie thing.
When the bell finally announced that the school day was over he and Mark went talking and giggling to the bus.
"Maybe we can go to your uncle again today, can you ask him?" Mark asked.
"Yeah, sure, I'll call him as soon as I get home. If he doesn't have time for us, I can come over and we can play at your house." June replied.
"Alright, if he doesn't have time, can you bring some toys?" Mark wondered.
"Yeah, of course. I'll see you soon!" June waved from the window as Mark got off the bus and walked toward his house. Slowly the bus took off and brought June to his house. He got off the bus when it finally stopped and started toward the house. Grandma was not waiting for him in the door; the house seemed lonely,
almost forbidden. Slowly he continued toward it, waiting for the door to open and his grandma showing up in the doorframe. Finally he reached the door and rang the bell. After a short moment he could hear her steps approaching. She opened up and, without even greeting him, went back into the kitchen. He put his backpack down and followed her to the kitchen. It smelled of pies and cakes and meatballs.
"Hi Grandma." He said and sat down by the table.
She did not answer.
"Can I have something to eat, please?" he asked, starting to feel a cold rock forming in his tummy. Before he knew what was happening, she spun around, her fists resting on her hips, her eyes darting at him, as if they wanted to go through him.
"Something to eat? You want something to eat? One should think that you had plenty food last night! And, why would you need my help now to get some food? You didn't ask me to give you something last night, when you came down into the kitchen and grabbed more than a little boy your size could and should possibly eat! If you're hungry, why don't you do what you do at night, get you something by yourself! And, don't you ever again dare to touch any of the food I prepared for the celebration!" she said, her voice bitter.
He sat there, speechless, staring at her, not understanding what she was talking about.
"I don't know what you mean, Grandma," he said, almost in a whisper.
"This is it! Go to your room! I've had it!" she yelled and pointed toward the door to the hallway and the stairs.
"Yes, Ma'am" he whispered and left the kitchen.
He went up the stairs toward his room. When he opened the door, he saw his great-great-grandpa on the bed. Quietly he shut the door back and went into his parents' bedroom, he went to the walk in closest, shut the door and sat down on the floor. By now the rock in his tummy had grown. It felt like he had swallowed a gigantic iceberg. Tears started welling in his eyes. He did not understand what was going on, why was Grandma Tee so mad at him? What was she talking about? He had not touched her food that she was
preparing for all the friends and relatives that were coming; he had thought that they had realized that he had not done anything wrong. What had happened? Why was she so very mad at him?
He sat in the closet and cried, until he finally fell asleep.
He tossed and turned, tangling his sheets; tortured
With a start he sat up straight in his bed. Had it been a noise he heard that had awakened him or had it been his nightmare, he wondered. And, how had he gotten into bed? His dad must have carried him to it.
He sat still for a moment, not moving, barely breathing and listened into the darkness.
He could hear his mom, breathing evenly in her sleep and the soft snoring of his father. Outside somewhere a dog was barking and another one answered. Then he heard whispering voices from
downstairs. Who could be down there, whispering?
Could it be Nana, maybe, and the great-grandfather?
Carefully, not to make any noise, he got out of bed. On his bare feet he went to the top of the stairs. Holding on to the top banister with both hands he leaned forward and tried to listen.
What he had been hearing were definitely voices, eagerly whispering to each other.
Carefully he took the first three steps down, then stopped and listened again, holding his breath. Silver moonlight was coming
through the window in the front door, throwing eerie shadows at the walls. He could still hear two voices, they definitely came from the kitchen, not from the den or the living room, but none of them was Nana.
Trembling he rushed back to his parents' bedroom and dashed under his sheets.
Mom and Dad were sleeping. If Nana was not downstairs talking, then she probably was in bed sleeping too.
But, who was downstairs in the kitchen? Did any of the expected relatives arrive yet? Why had no one told him? Or were strangers down there, breaking into the house? Should he wake up his Dad? What if his dad was still mad at him, after all, everybody seemed to be mad at him right now!
Then he remembered, the red light that indicated that the alarm system was on, and had been blinking. That meant that no one could have broken into the house, the alarm would have went off. Good, he didn't need to wake up anyone. With a deep sigh he relaxed and straightened up his covers. Only moments later he
was sleeping again.
Downstairs the whispering went on. Occasionally giggling could be heard, if anyone would have been awake to hear it. The door of the refrigerator opened and shut several times.
The next morning, when his mom woke him up, he wondered if he had just been dreaming or if he really had heard people talking in the kitchen. Now everything was quiet, besides his parents and Nana being up and making the usual morning-rush noise.
He rushed downstairs when he was finished in the bathroom, wondering, who had arrived of the guests.
But, besides the usual people and the great-grandfather,
no one was there.
"Sit down honey and eat your cereal," his mother urged him.
"Who was downstairs in the kitchen whispering last night? Did any guests arrive yet?" he asked her and dipped his spoon into the bowl with cereal.
"No one was in the kitchen last night. Our guests will not arrive until the weekend. You must have been dreaming." His mother said and quickly drank up her orange juice.
He ate his cereal, thinking about if he had really been dreaming. But, could dreams be that real? He remembered that he had been awaken from a nightmare and then he had heard the voices and had went to see who was talking. And then he had seen the red light
blinking, showing that the alarm was on.
"Mom?" he started.
"What, little bear?"
"Uhm, nothing, I love you."
"I love you too. Now go on, get your bag and catch the bus, hurry!" she said and kissed him on the jaw, snatching up her purse at the same time.
"See you all later!" she called out and held the door open for him. He grabbed his book bag and rushed past her out the door and down the street to the bus stop.
"Hey, Mark!" he said as he sat down on the seat next to his friend.
"Hey, what's up?" Mark answered in good spirits.
"Mark, there are some strange things going on in our house! It's just about spooky!" he whispered to his friend, looking over his shoulder, making sure no one was listening in on their conversation.
"Why, what is going on?" Mark whispered back, looking over his shoulder as well.
"I've heard voices whispering in the kitchen last night" June explained in an even lower whisper.
"What do you mean?" Mark asked.
"Everyone was sleeping, my Mom, my Dad, Nana and old great-grandpa. And I woke up and could hear two people talking in the kitchen."
"Who was it?" Mark wanted to know.
"I don't know. I thought that, maybe, some of our guests had already arrived and I went back to bed. And when I got up this morning there was no one there. I asked my mom and she said I must have been dreaming."
"And, were you just dreaming?"
"No, I'm sure that I was awake. Someone was in our house and either they don't want to tell me or they don't know anything about it."
Mark looked out the window for a long moment.
"If the alarm was on, then someone must have let those people in, right?" he finally said.
"Right. But, why would my mom lie to me? My parents don't lie, never!" June said, almost too loud.
"I'm not saying that they lie, I'm only saying that it is strange, as you said, spooky." Mark calmed him down, looking over his shoulder again to make sure that they were not overheard.
The bus stopped at the school and they got out. The day went on as usual and they were quite happy when it was time to go home, Mark more than June, at least at his home no one whispered at night in the kitchen. On the bus they did not get a chance to talk about the spooky whispering, because too many kids crowded them in.
"I'll call you later this afternoon. Maybe you can come over for a while!" Mark called back when he got off the bus. June nodded his head in agreement and watched his friend walk toward his house, while the bus started off again and then finally dropped him off in his street.
Slowly he walked down the street to the house, wondering if his Nana would be nice to him today or not. As he just reached the front door a car came into the driveway. The door opened and his uncle Roggie got out. To see him, immediately lifted his spirits.
"Hey, big guy, how are you?" Roggie asked.
"I am so happy that you are here! I have so much to tell you, things you won't believe!" June called out.
"Like what?" Roggie asked and reached for the boy's book bag.
"I can only tell you when we are alone. We have to make sure that no one can here us. Please promise that you will not leave until I can tell you everything, please!"
"All right, all right, I promise." Roggie said and grinned.
"I really mean it, it is so very important that I can tell you everything!"
"OK, don't worry, I will not forget to talk to you before I leave. Come on, let's go inside and see if Grandma has some food for us."
Even before Roggie had finished the door already opened and Grandma Tee was greeting them.
"Roggie, hello, how nice, just as if you read my mind! I was just thinking that I could really use some help here, someone who can help me get the furniture out of the storage. Come on in! Come on in! Come on June, I have a snack waiting for you." She said in good spirits and headed toward the kitchen.
June and Roggie followed. June put his book-bag in the hallway closet and traded his street shoes for slippers before he went into the kitchen. On the counter a plate with a sandwich and melon slices was waiting for him.
Nana was already busy fixing a sandwich for Roggie.
"Roggie, get June a glass of milk, will you?"
Grandma said and cut Roggie's sandwich in half. She brought the plate to the small table and sat down across from it. She watched while June and Roggie were eating their sandwiches. When they were finished she took the plates and put them into the dishwasher.
"All right, are you ready to get the furniture out of the storage for me?" she asked and looked at them, " I have to give them a good clean up before the guests arrive. How are we doing with homework, June Bear?"
"I don't have any homework to do today." June answered.
"Good, very good, then you can help too. Come on, lets go!" she led the way to the storage room outside.
Under her orders June and Roggie pulled out the garden furniture and lined them up on the back porch. Then they got the covers and cushions out and piled them up in a corner.
"Alright. Here June, take this bucket and this sponge; you can start washing the chairs down already. I have to talk to your uncle for a moment." Grandma
Tee said and disappeared in the house, Roggie close behind her, after he blinked his eye at June.
June was franticly working away, washing off the chairs, attempting to do the best he could, so Grandma Tee would be proud of him and maybe like him the way she used to.
He was just scrubbing the fifth chair, when Roggie and Nana came back outside.
"Oh, you have been busy. Let me get some fresh water in that bucket for you." She said and gave him a kiss on his forehead, before she took the bucket from him and disappeared back inside the house.
"All right, little buddy, what is it that you want to talk with me about?" Roggie asked, crouching down in front of him. June looked around; making sure no one had come close to overhear their conversation.
"There are some strange things going on in this house" he whispered and looked around again, "Nana thinks that I am stealing food at night from all the food she is preparing for the wedding. But I did not take anything and no one believes me."
"She just told me about it. She told me that you get up at night and eat up the food and the next day either forgot about it or lie to her about it. So, what is going on?" Roggie replied, after he had made sure no one was close.
"I did not do it, honest! But, last night I woke up and I heard voices downstairs in the kitchen. Everyone was sleeping and the burglar alarm was on. I thought that some of the guests had arrived already. When I got up this morning I was told that no one had arrived, that no one was expected until this weekend. But I know
that people were talking in the kitchen and it were not mom and dad or Nana." June had to fight to hold back his tears.
Now that he talked about it to someone who was almost considered a real adult person but could still be trusted he could feel all the pain from his parents and Nana's mistrust deeper than ever. Roggie was looking at him, considering what he had just been told.
"Are you sure that it was not this great-grandfather talking in his sleep?" he finally asked.
"I know that it was not someone talking in his sleep. I heard two voices, I'm sure." June insisted.
Roggie got up and walk back and forth on the porch. Inside the phone was ringing. June could hear Nana taking the call. Finally Roggie came back and stooped down in front of June until he was eye to eye with him.
"You are absolutely sure that you were not dreaming?" he asked. June shook his head, swallowing hard on the lump that was forming in his throat.
"I know that I was not sleeping. I had just awakened from a nightmare I know that I heard people whispering in the kitchen. I was just to scared to go and look." He said and didn't dare to look up at his uncle.
Roggie placed his hands on June's shoulders.
"Look here, I believe you. I know that you would not go around eating up food that you know you are not supposed to touch. Besides, you could not even eat that much, even if you wanted to. I think that I have an idea, watch out, here's Nana."
"June, Mark is on the phone for you. I think he wants you to come over. Tell him that you can't make it today, I will need your help here with those patio furniture."
June ran inside and picked up the phone, "Hello"
"Hi, it's me. How are you?" Mark's voice answered.
"All right. I told Roggie about what has been going on. I think he will help me. How are things with you?"
"Alright. I just can't meet with you today. In a few minutes my Mom is taking me shopping for new school clothes. Sorry."
"Don't worry about it. I can't do anything anyway. I have to help my Grandma with cleaning up the patio furniture."
"Alright. I'll see you on the school bus tomorrow then, " Mark said and hung up the phone. June put the receiver down and went back outside to help clean up the patio furniture. Grandma and Roggie were busy cleaning up the table. June got back to work on the chairs, anxiously waiting on another chance to talk to his young uncle, so he could find out what his plan was. More than an hour had went by, without a chance to talk with Roggie again, when Nana finally announced that she had to go inside and take care of dinner.
Roggie went to the far end of the patio and waved for June to come over. June put the sponge into the bucket and rushed over to his uncle.
"I have a plan. You make sure that you do everything the way you always do it. When it is time, you go to bed. But, don't go to sleep. It is very important that you stay awake; under no circumstances
can you fall asleep. Can you do that?" Roggie asked in a whisper. June nodded. It should not be too hard to stay awake.
"All right, after everyone has gone to bed, you wait until you're sure that they are asleep. Then you come downstairs and open the backdoor for me. Can you do that?"
"You have to be absolutely sure. If you fall asleep, I will be outside all night, without getting anything done.
"I am sure. You can trust me!" June Bear assured him.
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