Poison Chapter 3

The Adventures of Nathan Sunnybank and Joe Greenfield
Book 1: Poison
Chapter Three

BACK at Greenfield Mansion, Lady Felicity was nibbling on some sushi and celery while engaging Joy in meaningless chatter about the weather and garden ornaments.
“Do you think it is too early for another quaff of champers, Joy?” she asked.
Joy looked at her ladyship carefully and smiled.
“I think perhaps it might be better to wait until this evening for another glass, Felicity,” she replied.
Joy was always very careful when to address her ladyship by her proper name, and now seemed a quiet and good moment.
“Yes, I do feel a bit squiffy,” said Felicity and munched another langoustine while gazing wistfully at her newly potted geraniums.
Joy looked at the wine chiller and thought for the umpteenth time that her ladyship had not been the same since the day of his lordship’s accident.
The accident – as they had all learned to call it – was now five years ago, but it had had a profound effect on all of them, and Felicity most of all.
Her ladyship blamed herself constantly for it.
But after all, she had always warned his lordship to check his shotguns were not loaded before he cleaned them.
And it was in such innocence on that autumn day that she wandered into his study and asked him to pull the curtains before he retired to bed.
The word “pull” was so unfortunate.
By the time the ambulance got Lord Greenfield to the hospital, there was little they could do to save his left foot.
He was hospitalised for over a month and endured many more months of painful physiotherapy, before an artificial prosthetic foot was fitted.
He hated it and his tempers became more furious as the weeks and months passed.
He seemed to blame his wife for it all.
“Why the heck did you shout ‘pull’?” he often screamed.
And it was at this time that Lady Felicity started to lose herself in the kitchen and long chats with Joy.
It could not go on, and the final straw came sometime the following spring when a hobbling Lord Greenfield disappeared forever.
He said he needed to search for something, but did not know what, and as far as the family was concerned, he was still searching.

Felicity suddenly seemed to perk up.
“I know,” she said, “I think I will do a little painting, the weather is rather lovely.”
And without even a glance in Joy’s direction, she breezed out of the scullery door and into the garden.
As she passed the stable block, she thought momentarily about giving the horses an extra feed, but decided to venture forth and paint instead.
“I wonder what Joe and Clara are up to,” she mused quietly to herself.
Then she remembered that Clara was going to drive into town for more cello lessons with that rather strapping boy Tony, whom she had met at university.
“Funny,” thought Felicity, “I never knew Clara was even musical, until she met Tony.”
And she guessed that Joe would be playing with his friend Nathan at his small but rather quaint, Landfill Cottage.
So Felicity wandered into her studio at the end of the herb garden, gathered some paints, brushes, a bottle of water, paper and easel and somehow balancing all the items under her arms, set off towards the fields.
She had something of a spring in her step as she tripped through the long grass towards a knoll by the coppice on the western meadows.
At a suitable point Felicity stopped and sat cross-legged on the grass to view the landscape she had longed to paint.
Her decision to turn her artistic skills to landscapes was, she hoped, a pivotal point in her so-far frustrated artistic career.
As she assembled her brushes in a plastic pot and poured a little water into another, she noticed something small, bright and red in among the grass.
“Oh blimey, a jelly bean!” she laughed. “I wonder how that got there?”
She bent forward to put on her painting specs and noticed something far more significant and curious.
Glinting brightly against the sun in the longer grass was something large and metallic.
Again she leaned forward and started in puzzlement as she picked up a long high powered torch.
“Joe’s best torch!” she exclaimed.
“Whatever has my little Joe been doing out here in a field with a torch?”
Felicity thought for a moment and decided to quiz her son about her discovery at tea time.
She sat back and began to sketch the view across to Gresburton Station with a fine brush.

Less than one mile away at Landfill Cottage, Nicolas Sunnybank was putting the finishing touches to chapter 12 of his new romantic novel, which he had lovingly given a working title of Reasons to Be Cheerful.
For Nicolas, writing romantic novels was as close to love as he believed he would ever get, after his former wife Elizabeth left the family home to pursue her weird passion in witchcraft some four years earlier.
“Need another cup of tea,” he thought, as he stretched his legs and blinked at the sun now shining through the south window.
He ambled lazily into the kitchen and switched on the kettle.
“Wonder what Nathan is up to?” he thought.
“He’s been mighty quiet this morning. Bet he is over at Joe’s, playing.”
With that, the kettle made a whistling sound and Nicolas grabbed a mug and tea bag and poured himself a cup of Darjeeling.
Mug in hand he walked out into the conservatory, looked at his bedraggled tomato plants, glanced absently at a crumpled piece of notepaper on the table and carried on, into the garden.
Once outside Nicolas sat on a veranda chair, brushed his mop of greying hair back with his right hand, and mentally began a minor battle over whether to mow the lawn or plan the next chapter of his new book.
The tea tasted good and the sun was warm and burned his faded grey jeans.
Mulling over the choice of lawn or book, the frustrated author – and equally frustrated musician – decided that he needed another option for what ought to have been lunchtime.
“I really could do with looking for new Fender Strat,” he thought. “Really regret giving my old one to Bess.
“Yep,” he mused. “Let’s have a browse on Ebay… not enjoyed that guilty pleasure for a very long time.”
And with that thought fixed firmly in his head, Nicolas stood up and ambled back into the house.
In his study, he switched on his old PC and waited for the laboriously long satellite broadband connection to hook in.
Once online he quickly found his internet auction favourite and logged in, using his name and well-worn password Romance.
“Wow, eight Ebay messages for me,” he exclaimed, almost out loud.
The first two messages were the usual Ebay customer notices, which he rarely, if ever, read.
But the third one intrigued him.
“Congratulations, you have successfully sold item E2378910. The winning bidder will pay you £98 by Paypal transfer”.
“What is this? Must be spam,” thought Nicolas instantly.
But the reality clicked in and he decided that any hacker would need a hell of a lot of information to get into his Ebay account and sell items for him.
The next message told him that item E2378910 was an Xbox game station and the winning bidder from Colchester had already transferred the cash into his Paypal account.
The fifth message was equally stunning: “Congratulations, you have successfully sold item E2379321. The winning bidder will pay you £325 by Paypal transfer”.
The sixth message told him that item E2379321 was a Lake Placid Blue Fender Telecaster guitar and the winning bidder from Bolton had transferred the cash into his Paypal account.
Nicolas froze and swallowed deeply.
He leapt from the desk chair and ran upstairs to the spare bedroom.
In the corner of the room, where his Lake Placid Blue Fender Telecaster had always stood, was a dusty empty space.
A lump developed in his throat as he turned across the landing into Nathan’s bedroom.
Crumpled clothes, some Warhammer figures, a plethora of books and old Playstation games littered the floor.
But under the old TV set, a box sized space with a circle of dust around filled the gap where his son’s new X-Box had been.
Nicolas’s mind went into overdrive.
“Nathan, Nathan!” he yelled in fury and confusion.
The usually languid author ran downstairs, back to his study.
He again sat at the PC, logged out of Ebay and into his Paypal account.
Quickly he chose ‘Recent Transactions’ and stared in shock as he read the credit entries of £98 and £325, totalling £423, less Paypal charges it left a balance of £411.
But there underneath, just three days ago was a debit transfer of exactly £400 to a Halifax Building Society account. The account number was imprinted on Nicolas’s brain… it was Nathan’s account.
“Nathan, Nathan!” yelled Nicolas again, now adding franticness to his increasing anger.
“Just wait till I get my hands on you!”

More than 30 miles away the 326 train from Gresburton was pulling into Shrewsbury station.
Two excited, but quite nervous boys were about to begin stage two of their adventure.
The eyes still watched.

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Poem: Thirty Years

The words scream regret
But I can never forget
What I did
Your face does remain
But I can never regain
What I did
Heart races as I write
I can’t put up any fight
What I did
You were not to blame
My life buried in shame
What I did
A heart aches for peace
Still trying to release
What I did
I turn to you now
Upon my gospel plow
What I did
Can I make amends?
Can we again be friends?
What I did
We look at our daughter
She is our future
What I did

Poison Chapter 2

The Adventures of Nathan Sunnybank and Joe Greenfield
Book 1: Poison
Chapter Two

ON the edge of the coppice Nathan and Joe hugged quickly, collapsed together on a grassy bank and laughed out loud at their respective escapes.
“Dad was so engrossed in his new book, he won’t even realise I have gone for at least four hours,” said Nathan.
Joe grinned back from behind his shock of long brown hair before adding: “And with mum and Joy giving it some in the kitchen, they didn’t even notice me sneak out!”
“But what about Clara?” asked Nathan.
Joe broke into fits of laughter.
“She isn’t going anywhere, at least not till tea-time when mum goes to feed the horses and we will be miles away by then… tell you all about it later,” he chuckled.
Nathan sniggered before pointing to Joe’s bag and saying: “Okay, let’s see if we have everything.”
The two friends emptied their bags on the grass and carried out an inventory of everything they had brought.
Maps, money, knife, torch, biscuits, a stop watch, a packet of small plastic bags, some coloured elastic bands, spare underpants, two apples, the photo of TJ, one toothbrush between them and the jar of snake venom… all seemed to be in order.
“Aah mint, you’ve got chocolate fingers,” laughed Joe, while stuffing four of them into his mouth.
“And jelly beans!” sniggered Nathan, taking a handful of the multi-coloured flavoured sweets.
“Right,” he added, “We had better get going… the train leaves in 35 minutes.”
The two boys gazed across the fields towards the branch line railway station of Gresburton.
“Reckon we can get there in less than 15 minutes,” laughed Joe, repacking his bag. “Cummon!”
The two boys ran across the grass, down the hill towards the old red brick railway station.
Behind them, in the trees, the pair of angry brown eyes watched them.
And hidden in a dense rhododendron bush some 50 yards further back two piercing green eyes also watched.

“Whoo hoo!” Nathan shouted as the boys jumped a half rotten stile into the next field.
“Beat you there,” screamed Joe as he bustled past Nathan and took an early lead towards the railway station.
The sun beat down on the two friends as they raced their way into their dangerous adventure.
It would be the last time for a long while they would feel such innocent sunshine on their backs.

Suddenly Joe skidded to a stop by a large oak tree.
Nathan crashed into him and the two friends rolled onto the grass.
“What is this?” questioned Joe, pointing at a group of strange brown and grey fungi, growing around the base of the tree.
He reached out his hand to pick one.
As quick as lightning, Nathan punched Joe in the belly and yelled loudly at him: “No, don’t!”
Joe looked bruised and shocked by Nathan’s attack.
“Hey Nath, what you doing? I only want a closer look!”
“But you mustn’t even touch them,” Nathan retorted.
“They are Grey Skull Death Fungi. Their poison can even seep through the skin on your hands and you’d be really sick or even dead within minutes!”
Joe looked shocked.
Nathan continued: “They are really rare in this country and it’s only the second time I have ever seen them. I am amazed they are here.
“Look, can you see the skull-like imprint on the cap of the fungi?”
Joe’s face went its own deathly shade of grey as he listened to what Nathan said, and studied the strange image.
“Thank God your mum is a witch,” said Joe, nervously. “She has taught you so much.”
Nathan smiled.
“Well maybe not always, but she does know her fungi and poisons,” he replied.
“But they could be useful, let’s take a few.”
Joe sat on the grass in awe as Nathan took a small plastic bag from his canvas holdall, and, using it like a glove picked three fungi – before dropping them into another plastic bag and depositing it into a side pocket of the holdall.
“Right, let’s go, if we wanna catch that train,” Nathan snapped.

The boys continued their race across the fields and were soon on Pant Lane, just 100 metres from the railway station.
Then, almost like twins, they paused together and deliberated on their next move.
“Right,” said Joe.
“We need to decide how we are going to buy our tickets.
“You are only eleven and there is no way the guy at the ticket office will sell you a long distance train ticket without an adult with you,” he added.
“Yeah,” said Nathan.
“But even though you are thirteen and a few inches taller than me, you still don’t look old enough.
“And anyway we need to get this first train without anyone being able to trace us… that’s why I brought so much cash!”
They both looked blank for a moment.
Then Joe broke the silence.
“Got an idea,” he whispered.
“Never used one before, but seen Joy buy her train tickets on her days off at a machine near the station door.
“Reckon we can work out how to do it?”
The boys chuckled and nodded a ‘yes’ to each other.
Carefully they walked to the station entrance, paused, looked round to check they were alone and approached the ticket machine.
Nathan read the instructions on a white notice at the front of the blue computerised box.
“Reckon I know how,” he said.
He chose their destination of London Euston, via Shrewsbury, and touched the screen, then he selected a single ticket and a junior half fare option.
He gasped when the machine told him to insert £65.
“Wow, that’s expensive,” he said hesitating. Then he carefully unrolled a bundle of notes from his back pocket.
He inserted the bank notes and waited while the machine coughed up £5 change and a small green ticket.
Nathan read the ticket carefully and turned to his friend.
“Okay Joe… your turn!”
Joe followed the same sequence and within a minute had his own ticket stuffed into his jeans’ pocket.
He looked at his watch.
“We got just 10 minutes,” he said.
“Fancy a can of coke?”
The boys walked briskly onto the station platform, checked the departure notice and strolled across to the drinks vending machine.
With somewhat greater ease they bought two cans of coke.
The sweet pop invigorated them after their busy morning in the sun.
Their adventure really had begun.
After what seemed only a few minutes a three carriage train rolled into the station.
Joe checked the train number against the departure board and nodded to Nathan.
“This is it!” he whispered.
The boys climbed into the first carriage, stowed their bags under their seats and sat smiling, looking out onto the platform opposite.
On a bench just 20 metres away, they recognised Mr Taylor, their football coach, sitting reading a newspaper.
The boys looked down, and grinned.
They heard a guard blow a whistle and the surge of the electric engine as the train prepared to move off.
One carriage back, two angry – and now intensely curious – brown eyes watched them from behind a high-backed seat.
And in the last carriage two green eyes also peered out from under a luggage rack.

Poison Chapter 1

The Adventures of Nathan Sunnybank and Joe Greenfield
Book 1: Poison
Chapter One

NATHAN stirred under the duvet and blinked his sleepy eyes. The late July sun was burning into the blinds of his bedroom window, whispering that it was almost midday.
The boy stirred again and he peered out into the golden glow of the room. He knew he should be up by now… but last night had been very late – past midnight even – he was so tired, and, after all, Dad said there was no rush today.
“No rush,” he asked himself. “Why?”
The reason slowly dawned… it was the first day of the summer holidays.
“Yep,” he thought. “Six whole weeks and no school!”
Life couldn’t get any better.
Or could it?
Nathan stirred for a third time and as he crawled out of bed, he remembered something far more important… the quest that he and his best friend Joe had vowed to undertake.
A quest that could take the whole six weeks of the holidays… and that was a little frightening.

A mile away at Greenfield Mansion, Joe was humming to himself in quiet contentment.
He had just locked his sister Clara in the horse stable store and was now stroking his brother’s venomous Green Tree Viper Sid, while contemplating other plans for Clara.
In the distance, he could hear her cries of “Let me out, let me out, let me out, you little ……”
But Joe could not hear her last word, he was too proud of how he had lured his horrible sister into the storehouse and then persuaded her to find the lost set of car keys he had secreted on the back shelf, while he triumphantly turned and locked the door.
“Well, that’s her out of the way till tea-time,” he thought.
Joe’s pet wolf Blue licked his hand, while paying an unhealthy interest in the viper.
The boy toe-poked Blue away and began to milk the venom from the snake into the finger of a rubber glove.
He sat and watched the yellow fluid drip dangerously into the small jar he had rested on the patio table.
“That should be enough,” he thought.
He trusted that his older brother Sam – Glenwing University’s leading expert on poisonous reptiles – would not notice that his prized snake was now completely dry.
But Sam being Sam, Joe was sure he would understand, even if he had taken more venom than should.
Joe now carefully carried the viper into his brother’s reptile sanctum beyond the stables and returned it to its aquarium.
Momentarily, he looked at the large King Brown snake in the corner cabinet and thought of Clara again, but his conscience knew better and he went back outside.
Joe smiled and relaxed his shoulders. His musings turned to Nathan and their dangerous quest.
He laughed out loud in contemplation and stopped to listen to whether his sister was still calling out.
But all was silent.

In the kitchen, Lady Greenfield was yelling at the scullery maid.
“More bleach! More bleach… these Belfast sinks need more bleach, they are a disgrace!”
The maid stopped sweeping the dog hairs from the quarry-tiled floor and muttered: “Yes Felicity… I mean ma’am, I will do it right away!”
Then she muttered more quietly: “Blinking bleach and dogs, I really don’t need this job… thank God that blinking wolf isn’t allowed indoors!”
Lady Greenfield sipped ice chilled champagne from a cut glass flute, her freckled face smiled with contentment as she carried on potting up her geraniums.
“I love clean sinks,” she thought to herself, “almost as much as morning champers!”
The maid hurried to the scullery cupboard to open another case of Domestic Quick Action bleach, as Joe slipped past the two adults and into the west wing hallway.
Once there, he tiptoed up the back staircase to his bedroom.
In the corner of the room, next to his drum kit, was the khaki canvas shoulder bag he had packed the night before.
He carefully slipped the jar of snake venom into a side pocket of the bag, stashed a bag of jelly beans into another pocket along with his favourite high powered torch.
“Now I must get over and see Nathan,” he thought.
The next bit was going to be tricky.

Back at Landfill Cottage, Nathan was also preparing for the quest ahead.
He too had packed a small canvas holdall and was adding some essentials: a box of chocolate fingers, his grandfather’s old war-time combat knife, two carefully folded maps and the old mobile phone his sister had given him.
He walked over to his bedside table and quietly dragged it away from the wall.
Nathan stooped low and rolled back the edge of the carpet and from under the green rug took a large brown envelope.
He replaced the carpet and table and sat on his bed with the envelope on his lap.
But a sudden panic overtook his next action and he rushed to his bedroom door and crept onto the landing.
He lay by the stairwell banisters and peered downstairs.
The coast was clear.
Nathan returned to his bed and opened the envelope.
He counted the £20 notes inside… exactly 18 of them.
“£360 should be enough,” he thought, “Just hope we get everything finished before dad realises I sold my X Box and his old electric guitar on Ebay!” he chuckled nervously.
He stuffed the wad of banknotes into his jeans back pocket and slipped his hand into the envelope to pull out a small, but clear, photograph and a handwritten note.
He looked at the photo carefully.
“Oh TJ,” he whispered, “I do hope we find you and make you better.”
The face in the photo was of a 20-something-year-old girl with a broad smile, blue eyes and long blonde hair. She was cuddling a baby orang-utan and the background of the picture betrayed a tropical jungle.
Nathan brushed back his own blonde hair from his forehead and small tears welled in his blue eyes.
Everything gathered, he slipped on a light waterproof jacket and with the canvas bag under his left arm, crept downstairs.
He stopped in the hallway of the cottage for a moment and peeked through the crack of the old study door.
Sitting at the desk, his father was hunched over, writing more chapters of his new book and vaguely staring at two separate photos on his desk.
“In another world,” thought Nathan, as he made his way to the back door.
“Sorry, Dad, but you will understand one day,” he said quietly.
He left a scrawled note on the conservatory table, walked out into the sunshine and made his way across the neighbouring field in the direction of Greenfield Mansion.

Joe’s escape was fraught with more difficulty and danger than his friend.
First, he realised that the back doors were patrolled by his mother and the scullery maid, Joy.
The dogs would surely bark if he exited through the veranda, and Bob the butler, and Helen Wills, the cook – both about their daily duties – blocked the other outside doors.
So, bag over shoulder, Joe clambered out of the sash window of his bedroom and, perched between a black drainpipe and an ancient Virginia Creeper, he began his descent.
Halfway down, he glanced into the distance beyond the coppice and garden wall and could just make out Nathan ambling over the hill.
Joe let himself fall to the ground and sprinted for the cover of the herbaceous border and the trees beyond.
He was safe and now the quest could begin.
But a short distance away, from behind rusty wrought iron railings of an old air-raid shelter, a pair of angry brown eyes watched his every move.

Poem: Depression

The black veil advances
Cutting out the light
The smoke of day draws in
Dimming all in sight
The blanket haze envelops
Blurring edges of my plight
Dim memories are created
Nothing now seems right
Dark forces are advancing
Forcing hope to flight
The wind howls like a hammer
Who can resist its might?
The emptiness inside me
As the day it turns to night

World War One, a hundred years ago

Brilliant and insightful piece

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video is called World War One in Color: Slaughter in the Trenches.

From the site No Glory in war 1914-1918, in Britain:

World War One 1914-18: One hundred years of failure to learn from ‘the war to end wars’

Written by Michael Faulkner on 12 February 2014

The First World War had little or nothing to do with the defence of “western civilization”, “liberal values” or democracy, it was at root a war of inter-imperialist rivalry

The government’s promised launch of a four-year long commemoration of World War One kicked off with a salvo from Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove. He set the tone of what we may expect by shooting down the popular TV satirical/historical spoof of the 1980s, “Black Adder”, which parodied several hundred years of British history, culminating in in a final episode with the whole cast “going over the top” to collective

View original post 2,240 more words

Poem: Soul

I am the self-consumer of my woes
The bed of my depression
I am the heart of a life that beats
The seat of my regression
I am the hope that burns within
The heat of my transgression
I am the demon that tempts me still
The soul of my oppression
I am the man that will not give in
The hope of my suppression
I am the hands of peaceful fate
The well of my aggression
I am the smile on a face with tears
The deceit of my expression
I am the sin of empty thoughts
The redeemer of my confession
I am the clock of future years
The focus of my progression
I am the whole of a living soul
The core of my possession.