What could an attractive young widow possibly have in common with a timeless Thought Entity from deep space? Yet they meet, fall in love then together save the world. This is the story of Holly Daffodil and Mr Christopher and for those who enjoy a love story mingled with fantastic fantasy this is the book for you
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Unheralded and unseen the Entity slipped silently into the System. One moment the System moved through the void in a lone and timeless dance of gravity, the next it was encompassed by an invisible force. Once established the Entity launched an immediate programme in search of life, probing each planet and moon, scouring deep into the hidden blackness of space that surrounded them.
Though time was of no consequence to the Entity, it completed a total examination of the Solar System in a matter of seconds and dismissing the primitive bacterium found on some of the larger planets, focused its attention on one of the smaller spheres that orbited the System's Star with a single moon in attendance. Though comparatively insignificant in mass, it was the only planet to emit a series of thought impulses indicating the presence of relatively advanced life forms.
From the moment of arrival the Entity had been aware the galaxy had never been its intended destination, and was no longer certain that even the dimension was correct. Funnelling its core intelligence down to the life planet it lapsed gratefully into thought mode to review the situation and sort out what had gone wrong. In the meanwhile the ecology of the planet continued to evolve, which in the passage of time the more advanced life forms came to call Earth.
“But Christopher was staring straight ahead at the coconut shy and seemed not to hear. “Shall I try and win that great big bear for you?” He waved his glass at a six foot stuffed mock grizzly, its mask ridiculously twisted in a Disney type smile. “Come on,” he reached for her hand, “I need you for moral support, it’ll be fun and won’t take more than a minute.”
“All right then, but we had better hurry and get it over with before the rain begins,” She pointed at the dark clouds gathering fast on the horizon. “But don’t think I’m letting you off that easily, I haven’t forgotten and still want the answers to my questions.” She tried to sound firm but Christopher’s enthusiasm was infectious and in a moment they were running over to the stall hand in hand like a couple of teenagers and Christopher began stuffing the wooden balls into his pockets.
“Ere, ang on a mo. What the ell d’yer fink yer doin?” The Coconut Shy man yelled, more in surprise than anger. “You put those bloody balls back mate, toots bloody sweet! If yer wants ter ave a go yer puts yer bleedin money up first like any other bugger. Cost yer fifty pee fer four or ten fer a quid.”
“Sorry, a bit over enthusiastic I’m afraid, we’ll take ten please”, Holly intervened seeing the bewilderment written on Christopher’s face. Handing over the money she helped him put the original balls back then counted out ten new ones and gave them to him. “OK Dead Eye, it’s all yours” she grinned.
“What are the prizes?” Christopher yelled at the man who had ambled off to the backstop to pick up some spent balls.
“Knock orf any ole nut an yer wins one of them dolls,” the man bellowed back pointing to a shelf full of prizes. “But if yer manages ter knock orf eight, then Ole Jumbo Bruin’s yorn.” Baring a set of yellowing teeth he allowed himself a confident leer as he indicated the huge six foot teddy type bear that stood tied to the stall staring glassily into space.
There were ten coconuts set in a V formation, four in front and six at the rear. Christopher didn’t bother much with aiming, throwing the balls in the general direction of the targets he turned casually to Holly and winked. For the first few feet the balls followed the usual curved trajectory of any average throw, then suddenly, as though a booster rocket had kicked into life they homed in with incredible velocity, hitting all eight coconuts and smashing them to smithereens.
“Ere, what’s yer bleedin game then?” The Shy man stared at his shattered stock in disbelief. A red tide of anger flooded up the back of his neck and he turned to glare threateningly at Christopher. “Just what the bleedin ell are yer tryin to get away with eh? I’ve a good mind ter give yer a taste of yer own medicine an smash yer bleedin face in toots bloody sweet an all!”
“I’ll take Ole Jumbo Bruin now, if you’ve no objection,” Christopher smiled cheerfully. He had only used eight of his ten balls and still held one of the remainders in his left hand while tossing the other casually in the air with his right. The Shy man took another swift look at the broken coconuts and got the message. Muttering under his breath he reluctantly untied the great stuffed bear and shuffled over with it.
“Ere,” he said without grace, thrusting it forward, “take it an be orf wiv yer, an don’t never let me catch sight of yer ugly mug on my patch next year niever.”
“What was his trouble?” Christopher seemed surprised. I would have thought he would have been pleased to give his prizes away at a small village affair like this. Particularly as it’s all in aid of replacing the roof on the church hall, I saw the sign on the way in.”
“I have an idea that particular man didn’t come with charity uppermost in his mind,” replied Holly dryly. “I’m not saying he wouldn’t mind giving away the odd doll, but I dread to think what Ole Jumbo here must have cost him.” She started to laugh, “I bet the remotest possibility of losing Ole Bruin never even crossed his mind, and at least half his coconuts were probably glued to their pods to make sure. Poor man, you can’t really blame him for feeling upset, I mean how was he to know someone like you of all people would turn up and smash them all to pieces.”
Still laughing they meandered through the stalls on their way back to the lane. The crowd was thinning now and being a good looking couple with the huge stuffed bear sandwiched between them they came in for some good natured attention. Out of the corner of her eye Holly caught sight of some people she knew and releasing her hold on the bear turned back to wave. It couldn’t have taken more than a few seconds, but on facing her front again she noticed the amused and friendly looks had changed to curious stares and in some cases expressions of definite alarm if not fear. With a growing sense of horror she realised that although she no longer had a hold of Ole Bruin, neither did Christopher, who was walking a good two feet away from him on the other side. The huge teddy was ambling along on its own. But this wasn’t the lurching strutting walk of a toy; this was the natural rolling gait of a very large very much alive grizzly bear.
“For God’s Sake, Christopher, what on earth have you done to Jumbo Bruin?” Instinctively she just knew he was responsible.” No, don’t bother to tell me now, just undo whatever it is you’ve done and turn him back into a stuffed toy!” Holly whispered urgently.
Christopher started guiltily and lent forward to catch Ole Bruin, who once more stiff and glassy eyed was toppling to the ground. But it was too late; Holly could see the damage was done. Too many people had seen the transformation from toy to live bear and back again to cover it up. They might find it hard to believe they had seen what they had seen, she did herself, but the murmurs had already begun. It was time to leave and as quickly as possible, in the hopes that with the object removed the impossible would soon become forgettable. Smiling and waving goodbyes as if nothing had happened, Holly quickly steered her two charges out of the Fete to the Lane and home.
They walked in total silence for a while, Holly bristling with anger until Christopher could stand it no more. “Please Holly, do stop feeling so cross with me. I know you don’t understand, but I find such vibrations really painful.”
“You should have thought of that before, Christopher whoever you are! Playing nasty tricks on people like that, turning toys into live bears and scaring them half to death. It’s high time you grew up for Christ’s Sake; just how old do you think you are,
“ No, around a million. Look Holly I really am sorry, I wouldn’t dream of embarrassing you in front of your friends like that. It’s all my stupid fault, I should never have had that drink in the first place, I’m not accustomed to it you know, and though I liked the taste it certainly caused some very irrational behaviour on my part. How could I possibly have conducted myself so foolishly? Showing off like that at the Coconut Shy and then compounding the error by letting go of Ole Bruin, just because he was becoming a little on the heavy side and I thought he could carry himself for a while. Still, that’s it I suppose, what’s done is done. The sooner I take Ole Bruin and myself out of your life the better. However well meaning I’m beginning to realise I’ve caused you enough trouble and heartache already.”
He looked so forlorn Holly could feel herself soften, though she was determined not to show it until her curiosity was satisfied. “I see, so you think you can just turn up uninvited, cause a lot of trouble and heartache by your own admittance, take advantage of squiring me round the Fete because you’ve never seen one and then disappear into the blue without so much as a by your leave. Well if that’s the sort of person you are Christopher perhaps you had better go, and go right now on the strict understanding you don’t come back.” With horror she watched his features harden and realised he was about to do just that and at the same time knew she didn’t want him to. “Or alternatively,” She added quickly in a softer voice, “you could come back to the house first and explain yourself. I think you owe me that at least.”
Holly was about to treat him to her most tremulous smile when without warning the heavens opened. “Oh God, that’s all I need,” she wailed. In seconds her hair was plastered to her scull and she could visualise her make up running off her face like silt in a flood. Someone had to pay and Christopher was the only person around. In a rage she turned on him.
“This is all your fault you know! If we hadn’t gone to the Fete directly from the orchard I would have gone back to the house for an umbrella. If you go anywhere without a car nobody in this country expects to last a whole day without an umbrella! And as we’re still a good ten minutes walk from the house, you had better warn that bloody walking bear of yours that he’s going to change into a drowned rat before we get there!”
Christopher smiled and gently took her arm. “ Do you have your key?” He asked.
Holly looked around in amazement. They were standing in the porch outside the front door.
“You bugger,” She grinned up at him fumbling in her jacket pocket., “you’ve done it again."