[Short Story]New Year Resolutions

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Andy came with his parents to stay with his grandparents for Christmas.  His father was a doctor and his mother worked in an animal shelter. They had to go back to work at New Year, so Andy was staying alone with his grandparents for New Year.

On December 31st, his grandmother said. “What is your New Year resolution?”

Andy was seven years old, and he didn’t understand. “New Year what?” he asked his grandmother.

“New Year resolution,” answered his grandmother.

“What is that?” asked Andy.

His grandmother smiled. “Well, you make a promise. You make a promise to yourself, that you will be a better person next year. Maybe you promise you will stop doing something, or maybe you promise you will do something good.”

His grandmother could see that Andy was still puzzled.

“My New Year resolution is that I will walk for an hour every day. I am too lazy. If I walk for an hour every day, my health will be better.”

“And Grandad? What does he plan to do?”

“You must ask him yourself,” said his grandmother.

Andy found his grandfather in the garden. “What is your New Year resolution?” he asked.

“Well,” said his grandfather. “I have two New Year resolutions. I am going to stop buying more roses for the garden because we have too many.  And I am going to get up early every morning, and take your grandmother a cup of tea in bed.”

“Oh,” said Andy. Andy went to his room and thought about New Year resolutions.

I can stop doing something, he thought. Or I can start doing something. What does ‘be a better person’ mean? I think it means to be a happier person.

After breakfast on New Year’s Day, Andy said,” Grandma! Grandad! I thought about New Year resolutions. I have two resolutions. I wrote them down. Here is the paper. You can read it.”

Andy gave the paper to his grandmother and went outside to play.

His grandmother sat down at the table and poured herself another cup of tea.

She read Andy’s New Year resolutions. She laughed a lot. She was laughing so much she couldn’t talk.

“What is it?” asked Andy’s grandfather. “Why are you laughing?”

She gave him the piece of paper, and he laughed too.

“I guess you didn’t explain very well!” he said. “Andy didn’t understand!”

Andy’s New Year resolutions were:

Stop cleaning my teeth – cleaning teeth is boring.

              Eat more chocolate – chocolate makes me happy.

By I Talk You Talk Press

[Short Story] A wonderful Christmas Eve party

green christmas tree with string lights

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It was Christmas Eve. The small local train was almost empty. It was snowing very hard outside, it was very cold, and it was very dark.

Suddenly the train stopped.  Everyone wondered what was wrong.

Then the train conductor walked through the train.

“I am very sorry,” he said to everyone. “The snow is too bad. We can’t go forward and we can’t go back. We have to stay here until the snow stops.  And then someone will come and move the snow off the train tracks.”

“How long will we be here?” asked Melanie. “We have to get to Leeds by 8:30pm to catch our train to Manchester.”

“I don’t know,” said the conductor. “But it is 7:30pm now. I’m sorry. I don’t think we will get to Leeds in time.”

Melanie wanted to cry.  When she married Craig in July, they moved to a small village in the Yorkshire Dales. She loved Craig very much, but life in the village was very quiet. She had not made any friends and she missed her family. She had not seen them since the wedding. She wanted to be with her family at Christmas.

Craig put his arms around Melanie. “It will be OK,” he said. “You will see your family tomorrow.”

The conductor was talking to a family with two children at the back of the railway carriage. The children were crying loudly. “But we have to be at Grandma and Grandad’s! We wrote letters to Santa. We told him we would be in Leeds on Christmas night! He won’t know where to find us. We won’t get any presents!”

Everyone was very unhappy. Everyone was talking loudly. They were shouting at the train conductor.

Then an old man stood up and said. “Everyone! Please calm down. I used to work on this railway line. I know this kind of weather very well. I think we will be here until tomorrow morning, or maybe longer. So we must make our own Christmas Eve party.

“Is there anyone in the next carriage?” he asked the train conductor.

“Yes, there are four young men,” said the train conductor.

“Please ask them to come here,” said the old man.

Then the old man smiled at everyone. “My name is George. I have a bottle of whisky. I was taking to my brother as a Christmas present. But I think I will share it with you.”

“I have Christmas pies and a bottle of my homemade orange drink,” said the mother of the children. “My name is Lisa. This is my husband David, and my children Angela and Micky. We want to share our food and drink with you.”

Melanie felt better. “We have cheese and crackers. Craig and I will share them with you.”

There were six adults and two children in the train carriage. Most people had special Christmas food and drink in their bags.

Then the four young men came from the next carriage.  One of them had ham. “I promised my mother I would bring her some ham for Christmas tea tomorrow night. But she will have a lot of turkey, so I think we should eat it tonight.”

Everyone felt happier and the children stopped crying. They put all the food and drink out in the carriage. There was whisky and the orange drink, a bottle of champagne, ham, cheese, crackers, nuts, chocolates and Christmas pies. The only person who didn’t have anything was a quiet man in a suit.  He looked sad because he didn’t have anything to add to the party.

“But we have no glasses or plates!” said Melanie.

The quiet man looked pleased. “I can help! My daughter asked me to bring paper cups and plates. I have a lot!”

The conductor went to the front of the train. The train driver came back with him and joined the party.

Everyone had a great time, especially the children.  One of the young men had a guitar. They sang Christmas carols and played games.

Finally the children fell asleep but the adults stayed up until midnight. The snow had stopped falling, but the train couldn’t move.

Everyone said, “It was a wonderful party, but I hope the train can move soon.”

In the morning, when the children woke up, there were presents next to their seats.

“Santa found us!” they shouted. The adults were cold and tired, but everyone smiled.

“Santa is very clever,” smiled the old man. “And I heard the rescue team arriving about an hour ago. Merry Christmas!”

“Merry Christmas!” shouted everyone, as the train started moving

By I Talk You Talk Press

[Short Story] Maisie and the Lifeguard

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Maisie goes swimming every morning before she goes to work. She leaves home at 5:30am and drives to the swimming pool. She swims for an hour, then hurries home for a shower and breakfast before she leaves for work at 8am.

On Wednesday night, Maisie had a big fight with her boyfriend and they broke up. On Thursday morning, Maisie drove to the swimming pool as usual. She did not feel happy. She was crying. She was thinking about her ex-boyfriend. They worked in the same office and so Maisie did not want to go to work.

I’ll feel better when I am swimming, she thought. She parked the car opposite the sports centre, took her sports bag from the back seat and hurried into the building.

While Maisie was swimming, her car started to move. Very, very, slowly the car moved out of the car park and across the road. It was early morning so the road was empty. There were no people walking and no other cars on the road.

There was an announcement on the loud speaker system in the swimming pool. “Is the owner of a white Honda, number plate XJY436, in the pool?”

XJY436! That’s my car, thought Maisie. She swam to the side of the pool and climbed out. A lifeguard was standing next to the pool. Maisie ran up to him. “That’s my car,” she said. “Did I leave the lights on?”

“No,” said the lifeguard. He was laughing. “Come and see.”

Maisie followed the lifeguard out to the entrance of the sports centre. “Look!” said the lifeguard. He pointed to the big entrance doors.

“Oh, no!” shouted Maisie. Her car was in the doorway. It was half inside the building and half outside. No one could go in or out of the sports centre.

“Do you have your car keys?” asked the lifeguard.

Maisie ran to the changing rooms and came back with her car keys.

“I’ll drive it out for you,” said the lifeguard. “You are too wet.”

He took Maisie’s keys, got into the car and reversed out onto the road. He parked the car and came back in.

“The hand brake was not on,” he said. “The road goes down a little from the car park to the sports centre. The car must have rolled from where you parked it, to here.”

Maisie was very red. “I am an idiot!” she said. “I broke up with my boyfriend. I was thinking about that all the time and I forgot to put the handbrake on.”

The lifeguard gave her the car keys. “I think your boyfriend is the idiot. Who would want to break up with you?”

Maisie looked at the lifeguard. He was very cute. Perhaps I am not so sad. I wonder if this guy works every morning?

[Short Story]The Waiting Dog

photo of siberian husky puppy

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Romero has a café in the park. It is called The Park Café. Romero thinks the name is boring, but he can’t think of a better name. The Park Café is very popular in summer. Many people come to the park to walk their dogs.

Romero likes dogs and he is a smart businessman. Dogs cannot come into the café, but Romero has a special area for dogs outside. Dog walkers can tie their dogs up there. They can see their dogs through the window. Romero has bowls of water and treats for dogs. It is good for business.

One Saturday, the café was very busy. The dog area was full. The café was full. Romero did not notice that one dog had been there for a very long time. The café closes at 4pm. All the customers left. Romero was surprised to see that there was still one dog tied up outside. He looked around his café. It was empty. He went outside to talk to the dog.

“Where is your owner? Did your owner forget you and go home without you?”

The dog wagged its tail and barked.

Romero looked at the dog. It was a nice dog. It was clean and well fed. He looked at the dog’s collar. There was a tag on the collar with the name Lucien, and a telephone number.

He went inside and called the telephone number. There was no answer. Romero did not know what to do.

He went into the kitchen and found some leftover hamburger. He put it in the bowl and took it out to the dog.

I will have to call the people who take dogs that are on the streets, he thought. But first I will clean up. While Romero was cleaning his café and kitchen he watched the dog out the windows. It was a very nice dog.

Finally Romero finished his work. His last job was to take the bags of garbage out. When he went out to the back of the café he got a big shock. There was a man lying on the grass. Romero thought he was dead, but he ran inside and called an ambulance.

The ambulance came. Romero was right. The man was dead. “It looks like a heart attack,” said the ambulance men. “He’s been dead for hours.”

The police came. It was dark and Romero went outside and brought the dog into the café. It’s against the rules, he thought. But I don’t care. That poor dog has been alone for hours waiting for his owner.

Romero sat in the café with the dog. The dog put his head against Romero’s knee and Romero patted him.

Finally the police said. “The dog belonged to the dead man. The man’s name was Raoul Findeas. It seems he had no family. We will take the dog now.”

“No,” said Romero. “I will keep the dog.”

“OK,” said the police and went away.

“Well,” said Romero to the dog. “It has been a hard day for you, but I will take you home. And I think I will change the name of my café. I think I will call it Lucien’s Café. What do you think?”

The dog barked.

[Short Story] Why do you have blue hair?

blue haired woman

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Rei met a nice guy on the train. He was sitting next to her. She thought he was handsome. There was a typhoon and the train was stopped for a long time. He started to talk to her. His name was Ichiro.

They were both university students. They both liked JPop. They both belonged to the kendo club in high school.

“Uh, would you give me your phone number?” asked Ichiro.  “Maybe we could meet again sometime. Go out on a date?”

Rei was very pleased. She didn’t have a boyfriend. She thought Ichiro was very nice. They exchanged phone numbers.

“Can I ask you something?” said Ichiro. “Why do you have blue hair?”

Rei didn’t want to tell him why her hair was blue. But Ichiro smiled at her, and she thought, He is talking to me. He asked for my phone number. Maybe he thinks my blue hair is OK.

“When I left my hometown and went to university, I felt very bad. I was very shy. I didn’t have any friends. I was too frightened to go out of my apartment. I was too frightened to go to classes. I wanted to do something to make me feel strong.

“I have a sister who is much older than me. She had many Sailor Moon manga. When I was young, I read them all the time. My favourite character was Sailor Mercury. She is a very friendly character. She’s smart. I wanted to be like her. She has blue hair. So I changed my hair colour to blue.”

Ichiro laughed. “What do your parents think?”

“They hate it. But I don’t care. But maybe you don’t want to go on a date with someone with blue hair.”

“Oh, I do!” said Ichiro. “I like friendly, smart girls very much. Maybe I should do something about my hair colour.”

[Short Story]The New Neighbours

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Molly lives in a small house in a quiet street.  She bought her house 20 years when it was new. Jim and Iris Waterson bought the house next to Molly’s at the same time. They were good friends and good neighbours for 20 years, but now the Waterson’s townhouse was empty. Jim and Iris have moved to Florida to live near their daughter and grandchildren.

I hope my new neighbours are as nice as Jim and Iris, thought Molly. I will be very upset if some young people buy the house. They will be noisy. They might have children. They might have pets.

A few days later a moving truck parked outside the house next door. Molly stood at the window of her living room and watched.

She saw sofas, armchairs, tables, chairs and beds go into the house. She saw the moving men carry many boxes into the house.  Then she saw a little bicycle. It was pink. A man carried it to the garden behind the house.

Oh no! she thought. A child!

Next the man carried a red bicycle into the garden. It was bigger than the pink bicycle, but it was too small for an adult. Another child! Shouting! Screaming! I don’t want to live next door to children.

Molly looked at her watch. It was time to go to the community centre. Every Friday, there was a concert at the community centre. Gustav Baer played the piano. He played beautiful classical music. He was a very good pianist. When he was younger, he was very famous. He gave concerts all over the world. Now he was retired, but he still liked to play the piano. So he gave free concerts at hospitals and retirement homes and community centres.

Molly put on her coat. She took her bag and went out of her house. She locked the door and hurried down the street. The men were still taking boxes and furniture out of the truck.

I don’t know if I will enjoy the concert today, thought Molly. I am so unhappy. I love my house. I love my quiet street. But now there will be noisy children. Everything will change.

Molly was very surprised when she arrived at the community centre. Gustav Baer was not there. “Mr Baer cannot come today,” the manager of the community centre said to everyone. “He is too busy. He will come next week. Mr Baer’s friend has come. He plays the guitar and he sings. Please enjoy the concert.”

The concert was very nice but Molly thought Mr Baer’s piano playing was better. After the concert she went home. The trucks had gone and it was very quiet.

Before Molly went to bed, she went outside to put some garbage in the garbage bin. It was very dark. There were lights on in the house next door. Molly could hear a piano. The music sounded beautiful. She walked over the fence and looked at the house next door. The lights were on in the house and she could see inside. I guess they have not had time to hang curtains yet, she thought.

She could see many boxes on the floor of the living room. She could see a grand piano, but she could not see who was playing it.

The next day, someone rang the doorbell Molly went to answer it. She was very surprised. Gustav Baer was there.

“Good morning,” he said. “I am your new neighbour.”

“You!” said Molly. “I thought it was a family with children! I saw the bicycles. A pink one and a red one!”

“Oh,” said Mr Baer. “They are my grandchildren’s bicycles. Sometimes they come to visit on Sundays. It is nice for them to have something to do at my house. If they have nothing to do, they get bored and very noisy. Most of the time, there will only be me living there. I’m sorry. It will be very quiet. I think maybe you like to have children and pets next door.”

“Oh, no. No,” said Molly. “Please come in and have a cup of tea! I saw you have no curtains yet. Maybe I can help you. I want you to be happy in your new home.”

[Short Story] Grandparent’s Day

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After Walter Bergen’s wife died, he was very sad. He was lonely. He didn’t care about anything. He didn’t clean his house. He didn’t cook meals. He ate TV dinners and toast. He didn’t wash his clothes. He didn’t shave, or go to the hairdresser. His daughter, Melanie, was very worried about him. She drove to his house and said, “Dad! This is no good! You can’t stay here. Come and live in our house.”

“I don’t want to live in your house,” said Walter. “I am OK. Go away!”

Melanie was worried, but her father was very angry, so she went away.

One day, a few weeks later, Walter walked to the supermarket. He bought TV dinners and bread. He walked out of the supermarket. He walked across the road. He didn’t look to the left or the right. A car hit him. The ambulance came and took him to the hospital.  Melanie came to the hospital. “Dad!” she shouted. “You will not live alone. You will come to our house.”

Walter went to Melanie’s house. Melanie’s husband’s name was Roger. He was not happy. “Your father is dirty.  He is always angry. Why is he living in our house?”

“He is my father,” said Melanie. “He is old. He is unhappy. He must stay here.”

“I understand,” said Roger.

Melanie and Roger’s daughter was called Rosa. She was nine years old. One night while they are eating dinner, Melanie said, “Tomorrow, Rosa’s school has Grandparent’s Day.”

“What is Grandparent’s Day?” asked Walter.

“The children’s grandparents go to the school. They see what the children do at school. The children sing, and the grandparents play games with them. It is very nice,” said Melanie.

“I am Rosa’s grandfather,” said Walter. “I will go to Grandparent’s Day.

Rosa jumped up. She ran away from the table. She went to her bedroom.

Later, Walter was going to bed. He walked past Rosa’s bedroom. She was crying. Walter heard Roger’s voice. “Rosa,” he said. “Stop crying.”

“No!” shouted Rosa. “My grandfather is dirty. He smells bad. He doesn’t clean his clothes. He is always angry. I don’t want him to come to my school. The other children will laugh at me!”

“Rosa!” said Roger. “Many children have no grandparents. You are lucky. You have a grandfather. If Walter wants to come to your school, it is a good thing.”

Walter went to his bedroom.

The next morning, Rosa did not want to go to school. “My grandfather is not nice. I don’t want him to come to my school.”

“You will go to school,” said Melanie.

The grandparents came to Rosa’s school at 1:00 pm.

The students went to the school hall. All the children ran to find their grandparents. Rosa waited by the door. She looked all around the school hall, but she couldn’t see her grandfather. Where is he? she thought.  Maybe he didn’t come.

There was one man who was alone. He was wearing a suit and tie. His shoes were very shiny. He looked very smart. I wish that man was my grandfather, thought Rosa. He looks like a nice man.

The man turned towards Rosa. “Rosa!” he shouted.

Rosa could not believe it. It was her grandfather, but he looked like a new man. Rosa ran to Walter and hugged him.

I’m pleased I heard Rosa talking to her father last night, thought Walter. It made me feel bad when I heard what Rosa said. But I understand. I will be a better person in the future.

[Short Story] The Dinner Party

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Maggie and Dion got married a few months ago. They moved to a new town because Dion got a good job with a software company. Maggie and Dion live in a small apartment on the top floor of an apartment building.

Maggie hasn’t finished her degree yet. She is studying by distance learning. She doesn’t know anyone in the town. Dion is out at work every day, so Maggie often feels lonely.

One Friday morning, Dion is late for work. He eats some toast quickly and drinks half a cup of coffee. He kisses Maggie goodbye. He picks up his bag and hurries to the door. Then he stops.

“I forgot to tell you. I will be home at 6:30. Pam and Brian are coming with me. They are coming for dinner. Have a good day!”

Maggie runs to the open door. Dion is still talking as he runs down the stairs, but Maggie can’t hear what he is saying.

She closes the door and goes back inside.

A dinner party! This is exciting. Pam and Brian will be our first visitors. But I am a terrible cook! What can I make for dinner? I must think of a menu.

Dion is a very good cook. He makes the evening meal every night. Maggie usually buys something from the convenience store for her lunch, or makes herself a sandwich. But Dion will have no time tonight to cook for their visitors.

I will have to make something, thinks Maggie. I will text my mother and ask for advice.

She soon gets an answer from her mother. ‘Maggie! You can’t cook, so please make something simple. How about a roast chicken? You can cook some potatoes in the oven with the chicken and make a salad. Make an apple pie. Sorry I can’t help you any more. I am going to an all-day yoga retreat. Good luck.’

Maggie looks on the Internet. She finds many recipes for roasting a chicken. It doesn’t seem difficult. She reads how hot the oven must be and how long to cook the chicken. I can do this, she thinks. And maybe I can buy an apple pie from the bakery.

Maggie makes a list and goes to the supermarket. She makes a timetable, so she knows what time to start cooking the chicken.

She cleans the apartment. She prepares everything for the salad. She puts flowers from the supermarket in vases. She sets the table. I can use all the beautiful gifts we were as wedding presents. The table will look beautiful.

Maggie feels very pleased. The dinner party will be a great success. This is not so difficult.

It is late in the afternoon when Maggie reads her timetable. 4:30. Time to put the chicken in the oven. Then I will prepare the potatoes and put them in the oven with the chicken.

Maggie follows the recipe from the Internet carefully. She does everything the recipe says. She sets the temperature for the oven and puts the chicken in. She prepares the potatoes and puts them in the oven too.

Everything is done and Maggie can relax. I have an assignment due on Monday. I haven’t done any work all day. I must do some work now.

She sets the alarm on her phone for 6:00 pm and starts working.

When the alarm goes off, she goes to the kitchen. That’s strange, she thinks. I can’t smell anything. When Dion cooks chicken, there is always a delicious smell. It makes me feel hungry. Maybe I should check.

Maggie takes the chicken and potatoes out of the oven. The chicken is white and cold. The potatoes are raw. Oh, no! The oven is broken! I only have snacks, salad and apple pie!

Dion comes home. He is very cheerful. “We left work early. Pam and Brian are parking their cars. They’ll be here in a few minutes.”

He looks at Maggie. She has tears running down her face.

“Oh, Dion! The oven is broken. We have no food to give them!”

“You cooked dinner? But……”

He looks at the chicken and potatoes on the counter. He goes to the oven and opens the door. He puts his hand inside. The oven is cold. He looks at the oven controls.

He hugs Maggie. “Did you look at a recipe?”

“Yes. I wrote everything down. The time. The temperature, everything!”

Dion laughs. “Quickly. Put the chicken and potatoes in the refrigerator. We’ll eat them tomorrow. I told you this morning that we would buy pizzas on the way home. Brian is bringing them now.”

“Oh,” said Maggie. “I know you said something, but I didn’t hear.”

Brian and Pam are at the door. They have the pizzas. They have wine.

It is a great dinner party. Maggie’s salad is good. Everyone likes the apple pie.

When Pam and Brian leave, Maggie says to Dion. “We must call the repairman tomorrow. The oven is broken.”

Dion laughs and hugs Maggie. “Mmm. The oven is not broken. You set the temperature. You did everything right, but you didn’t turn the oven on!”

“Oh,” said Maggie. “The recipe didn’t say anything about turning the oven on!”

[Short Story] The Ghost Chair

apartment armchair chair coffee table

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Matt and Paul are engineering students. They do not have a lot of money, but they need somewhere to live. They find an old house that is very cheap, but it has no furniture. They look in charity shops and secondhand shops for furniture. They buy beds, desk, a sofa, a table and chairs and other things but the house still looks very empty.

One day, Paul is riding home from university when he sees a chair outside a charity shop. It is a big, old armchair. He gets off his bike and goes to look at it. It looks very comfortable and it is free! He tells the man in the shop he wants the chair. The man says, “It’s strange. Many people have looked at that chair. They say they want to buy it.

They sit in it, and then they change their minds. They go away. It has been in this shop for a long time, so I thought I would put it outside and give it to anyone who will take it away.”

Paul calls Matt. Matt has an old van. He comes to the shop. They put the armchair in the van and take it back to the house.

The chair looks very good in their living room. Paul and Matt are very pleased but they don’t sit in it because they are busy. Their girlfriends are coming for a small party. After dinner, they sit in the living room. Matt’s girlfriend Cindy, sits in the new chair. After a while she moves to the sofa. “Don’t you like our new chair, Cindy?” asks Paul.

“No,” says Cindy. “It makes strange noises.”

Everyone laughs at Cindy.

A storm blows up and the weather is very bad so their girlfriends go home early. Just after they leave, there is a lot of thunder and lightning and the power goes off. Paul and Matt clean up the kitchen and go to the living room. It is very dark and quiet because they have no TV and no electric lights.

Paul sits in the new chair “Aah,” he says. “This is so comfortable! And it was free!”

Matt is sitting on the sofa. “What’s that?” he asks.

“What’s what?” asks Paul.

“That noise.”

“What noise?”

“Listen.”

There are strange sounds coming from the chair. There is a rattling noise, like something knocking. Paul stands up. The sound stops. He sits down hard and this time there is a different noise. It sounds like a child crying.

He jumps up, and the sound stops. “Someone, or something, doesn’t want you to sit in that chair!” laughs Matt.

Paul’s face is white. “Don’t joke. It’s not funny. There is something wrong with that chair!”

Paul and Matt go to bed. When they leave the living room, they shut the door very carefully.

The next morning the sun is shining. Matt is cheerful but Paul is worried. “I think we should take that chair back to the shop,” he says. “It is a very scary chair.”

“No!” laughs Matt. We were tired last night and it was dark, and cold. We imagined those noises. Let’s go and sit in it again.”

The living room is bright. The chair does not look scary, but Paul won’t sit in it. He stands by the door. “No way!” he says.

“OK. I will,” says Matt. He sits in the chair, and they both listen. They can hear the knocking sound.  Then Matt stands up and pushes the seat of the chair, very hard. ‘Mama!’ the sound comes from inside the chair!

He pulls the cushion of the chair seat. “Come and look!” he says. “I have found the ghost!”

Paul comes and looks. The chair is old and the material over the springs has holes in it. Matt puts his hand through one of the holes and pulls out a money box! He shakes it. It makes a rattling noise. Then he puts his hand in again and pulls out a doll. He pushes the doll’s stomach. ‘Mama’.

Paul is happy. “Mystery solved. No ghosts. Just a small child’s hiding place for her toys.

“But I wonder what happened to her?”

“Don’t think about. We have a very good chair and it was free!” answers Matt.

[Short Story]547 Westerfield Road

asia asian auto bus

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Samuel drives a courier van. Every day he goes to the courier depot and picks up all the boxes to be delivered to houses in the area. He checks all the addresses and plans his route.

Most of the boxes are deliveries for online shopping. People buy many different things online – clothes, books, furniture, toys, wine and food.

Samuel likes his job. He likes driving his van and he thinks it is interesting to go to so many different houses. He often goes to the same houses, so he becomes friendly with the people who live there.

The week before Christmas is always very busy. Samuel starts work and 7:00am and sometimes doesn’t finish until 7:30pm. The 21st of December is a normal day. Samuel goes to the depot. The boxes for his area are waiting for him. There are different instructions for different boxes. Samuel must get someone at the house to sign for most boxes but there are a few small ones where the instructions say ‘leave in letter box’. Finally there are some that say ‘leave on the porch’, ‘leave outside the front door’, or ‘leave behind the house’. Samuel knows that usually these are boxes for people who work. They are not home to sign for their delivery.

There are five boxes for the same house. They have a label, ‘Leave on the front porch’. The address is a new one. Samuel has never delivered to this house before.

 Mmm, thinks Samuel. Violet Danford, 547 Westerfield Road. I often go to Westerfield Road. It is a long street. But where is house number 547? He has trouble finding the house. It is at the end of the road. The driveway is very narrow and there are many trees. He drives his van down the driveway and sees a little old house. He jumps out his van and opens the back door. He takes the boxes and walks towards the house. He leaves the boxes on the front porch, gets back into his van and drives away.

The next day is December 22nd. There are more boxes to deliver to 547 Westerfield Road. Someone has been doing a lot of shopping, thinks Samuel. The boxes have the same label, ‘Leave on the front porch’. When Samuel carries his deliveries up to the front of the little old house he is very surprised. Yesterday’s boxes are still there. That’s very strange, he thinks. But it is a very busy day and he has many deliveries to make. He jumps back in his van and drives away.

All day, Samuel thinks about 547 Westerfield Road. He thinks maybe something is wrong. When he had finished his work, he is very tired and hungry. He wants to go home. There is a big football match on the TV tonight, but he can’t. I don’t know why, but I am sure something is wrong. I have to go back to that house.

When Samuel gets to the house he goes up to the porch. All the boxes from today and yesterday are still there. He knocks on the door and waits. No one comes to the door. I’m crazy. The people who live here are probably away. Why do I feel worried?

He knocks again. There is no answer. He puts his head against the door and listens. He can hear a TV playing. It is very loud! He can hear a cat meowing. Then he hears a very soft voice, “Help. Help me!”

What shall I do? I can call the police but maybe they will take a long time to come here.

He tries the door handle. The door is not locked. He opens the door and shouts, “Hello! Are you OK?”

Again he hears the voice. “I’m in the bathroom. Help me!”

Samuel runs through the house looking for the bathroom. He finds it. The door is open. An old lady is lying on the floor. She looks very ill.

“Thank you!” she says. “I came to have a bath and I fell over. I have been here for two days. I can’t get up.”

Samuel pulls out his smart phone. He calls the ambulance. “Come to 547 Westerfield Road,” he says. “There is a very old lady here. She had a fall. She has been on the floor for two days. She is very ill.”

Samuel thinks it takes a long time for the ambulance to come. He goes to the kitchen and brings back some water. He tries to give it to the old lady. It is very difficult. She is very weak and Samuel is too frightened to lift her. Finally she drinks a little. She closes her eyes. Samuel is very worried.

Then Samuel hears the siren. The ambulance is coming!

Samuel goes into the living room and turns the TV off.

The paramedics come in. They are professionals. They know what to do. Very soon, they put the old lady on a stretcher and carry her out. Samuel stands and watches.

“My cat!” she says suddenly. “Who will look after my cat?”

“I will look after your cat,” says Samuel.

“Oh, thank you. My son will come from Australia on the 24th. He can look after the cat then.”

The ambulance men go away. Samuel takes the boxes from the porch and puts them in the living room. He finds some cat food and gives it to the cat. The cat is very hungry. He leaves more food and some water for the cat. He finds some keys and goes out. He locks the door and drives home. It is 9:00 pm and he is very, very tired.

For the next two days, Samuel goes to 547 Westerfield Road before he starts work and when he finishes work. On the morning of the 24th he feeds the cat, locks the house and leaves the house keys in the letterbox.

I hope the old lady is OK, he thinks. I hope her son comes today.

Samuel only has three days vacation for Christmas. When he goes back to work, the boss comes out of his office.

“You have a visitor,” he says. “Come into my office.” Samuel follows his boss into the office. There is a man waiting there. The man jumps up. “I am Oscar Danford,” he says. “Thank you for saving my mother’s life!”

Samuel says. “Oh. I didn’t do anything. I just called the ambulance.”

Oscar shakes his head. “No. You did more than that! If you hadn’t gone into the house, my mother would have died. But I have a question. Why did you go into the house?”

Samuel explains about the boxes. “I thought it was strange. I don’t know why I was worried, but I was. That’s why I went back after work. I listened at the door and I heard your mother crying out. But I have a question too.”

“What is your question?” asks Oscar.

“People often ask me to leave their boxes somewhere. But that is because they are out at work when I come. I guess your mother is usually at home. Why does she ask for her online shopping to be left on the porch? “

Oscar laughs. My mother loves TV. That is why she shops online. She likes watching TV more than shopping! She has the sound up very loud. Often she doesn’t hear when people knock. And even when she does hear someone knocking, she doesn’t want to miss any of her favourite programmes!”

Samuel laughs too. “Now I understand.”

“And thank you for looking after the cat.” Oscar puts his hand in his pocket. He gives Samuel and envelope. “Please take this. It is a small thank you from my mother and me.”

“On, no!” says Samuel. His face is red. “I don’t want anything!”

“Please take it,” says Oscar. Samuel doesn’t know what to do. He looks at his boss.

“I think you should take it,” says the boss. “You are my best courier driver, and you are a man who cares about people. It’s Christmas and Oscar is giving you an extra present.”

Oscar looks at his watch. “I must go back to the hospital. My mother is getting better and now she wants me to arrange a television in her hospital room!”

He hurries out. The boss is smiling at Samuel.

“You did a good thing,” he says. “Do you know who that was?”

“Uh. Oscar Danford,” says Samuel.

“Yes! And he has a big mail order company in Australia. He thinks our courier service must be good, so he is going to use us for all the companies deliveries! I want to do something for you too. I am going to buy you a bigger van, so you can make more deliveries!”

Oh, no! thinks Samuel. But he is not very unhappy. He has opened the envelope. Inside is a cheque for $3,000!

I can buy a big flatscreen TV to watch football on!