Today was my birthday. I turned ten and everyone in the family was with me in the family room to celebrate it. Everyone except Dad; he went downstairs to get grandpa out of the cellar. This is the best part about my birthday; it’s the one day of the year that I get to see my grandpa. He lives there underneath the house for the rest of the year. No one ever goes down there except my dad, and sometimes my aunty, too. We live in a big house; it has fourteen bedrooms, two kitchens, a study, a reading room, a classroom, a rumpus room, a family room, and a dining hall. My house is on a big property surrounded by gardens and trees. I live here with my parents, my five brothers and sisters, my aunt and uncle, and my four cousins. My grandpa also lives here of course, locked away in the cellar unseen by all except my dad, but for one day every year dad opens the cellar door and lets grandpa come up to see me on my birthday.
Grandpa didn’t come up right away, he needed time to wake up, eat some breakfast, and for Doctor Allenson to run some tests on him. Dad also said he needs to explain to Grandpa what’s been happening since he last saw me and the rest of the family. Then when it’s lunch time, up comes grandpa. He looks exactly like I remember him being the last time I saw him. He smiles warmly and always gives me the first hug, then he hugs all my siblings and cousins. We have lunch together in the big dining hall. As the birthday boy, I sat at the head of the table, my grandpa sat in the middle, and asks everyone in turn what they have been doing since my last birthday.
We spend the afternoon out in the garden, some of my friends come over and we go off and play by the creek. My dad usually comes with us, but he spends all his time with Grandpa today. I thought that funny because he checks in on Grandpa every other day of the year, yet he talked to grandpa today like he’s not seem him all year! I think it’s unfair that Dad gets to see Grandpa so often, but I only get to see him for one day. I remember when I used to see Grandpa every day. After my friends leave, we have a family dinner together and Grandpa falls asleep. I really miss Grandpa. I kissed him goodnight and, as I went up to bed, I knew during the night my father will take grandpa back down to the basement and I wouldn’t see him again until next year.
Continue reading “My Grandpa is Locked in the Cellar”
After the first month on Hollandia, things started to gradually go downhill for the colony. Up until that time, we had been living mostly off the fruits, roots, and vegetables native to the region. Because there were so many of us, we had quickly exhausted all those natural resources. The colony had to be broken up into twenty smaller colonies and each colony moved to a new part of the island with their own access to fresh water and food resources. Spreading out the population helped reduce the over-harvesting of the island’s ecosystem at the cost of little further technological advancement. For the time being, we were locked in the Iron Age. It took about a month to resettle everyone and then each colony set about trying to solve the problems caused by so many people living off uncultivated land.
By the end of the third month, it was clear to my father and the leaders of the other nineteen colonies that despite our efforts to cultivate the local vegetation, it just wasn’t going to be as high a yield as the crops we grew on the mainland. We needed the crops our ancestors had selected, modified, and cultivated for us over hundreds of generations and brought to this land with them. The blacks on the mainland have no history of farming and no idea where the crops they eat come from. The wheat, barley, quinoa, and corn they depend on each day are the blessings of the white settlers to Zakhanda— blessings they are seldom, if ever, grateful for. If the supply of roots and berries on Hollandia were to run out, we would be forced to rely on fishing and goats, which might keep us alive to the end of one year, but after that, famine would overtake us and our population would collapse just as President Muza had wanted to see, albeit a year later than he expected.
One morning, I was walking along the beach with my brothers, looking for crabs and clams to boil for dinner. My younger brother, George, started shouting, pointing to a great wooden head moving behind the crags that looked like a dragon. We scrambled up the beach and hid in the undergrowth, watching what at first looked like a sea monster. It turned out to be a great wooden boat being rowed by two dozen men at oars and a single sail made of vines and goat’s wool. The men manning the boat were all like us: blond with blue eyes, so we reasoned it was safe and started to approach the vessel as it was coming to shore. My father soon appeared on the beach and joined up with us. Continue reading “Hollandia – Part 2”
“Hey Bree, what’s up?”
“Oh, nothing much, I just wondered if maybe you had heard any news about Amelia recently.”
“You mean about how she’s pregnant?”
“Yah, that’s it. I mean, yeah, I know about that, but I was wondering if you knew of anything else, since you’ve known her since high school?”
“Not really, she’s always kept a lot to herself, in fact I was chatting to the guys about her last night, and we’re all kind of confused, we didn’t even know she was dating anyone, then she announces online that she’s pregnant out of the blue. I kind of thought one of the other guys might have been secretly dating her, but we soon found that’s what everyone else was thinking! Some of the guys even thought I might be the father. But we had established by the end of the night that no one here knows who the father is.”
“Yeah, that’s right, the other girls don’t know either, Amelia is being really tight lipped about it. It seems to be a pretty well guarded secret because I haven’t found anyone else who knows.”
“Yet she seems really happy about it all.”
“Yeah, she is. Too happy if you ask me.” Continue reading “Amelia’s Baby”
When Roman Laneg turned fifty four years of age both his parents had died: First his mother went, then his father followed her to the grave four weeks later. Although he had once been married and had two sons, he had not seen his ex-wife and children since his youngest son had turned eighteen three years earlier. Laneg was alone in the world without any family or meaningful connections. While he was a surgeon, and had accumulated much money, his life felt empty and joyless. Bored with watching television alone every night he set to visit his local church in the hopes of finding a meaning to his existence outside his job. Not finding it there he tried other churches, a new age group, and even a community of atheists. Yet after a year of looking for a purpose and place to belong he felt no better than how he had when he first started. His life while comfortable lacked any meaning, and he found the various ideologies of these different groups entirely insufficient to answer his need.
One night at the hospital he had just finished his shift when he saw something that he hadn’t seen before: a medical doctor and a nurse having an argument about the diagnosis of a patient. The nurse was young, she looked to be least than twenty years old yet she was the calmer one in the argument trying to make her case rationally for why the doctor should order a specific blood test. While the doctor twice her age was gesticulating and talking over her with a raised voice and flushed cheeks. Normally no nurse that young would dare contradict a doctor, much less do so with such an insistent rational manner. Seeing that this nurse was in serious danger of being disciplined Laneg decided as the most senior physician present to intervene and restore peace. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 30”
I am feeling really bad about the lack of updates over the past two weeks. So today I am giving you a special super long update (over 2,500 words). I hope you enjoy it.
Oriana walked into her father’s factory that morning, still wearing the same clothes from the day before. This wasn’t out of the ordinary for her. She would often be out all night and instead of coming home just head back to the factory. She expected that her father would just give her his usual nod and say “hi, honey,” as she walked in but instead he looked at her sternly and used his finger to indicate that she was to follow him to his office immediately. She sat down opposite her father’s desk while he stood for a few moments with his back to her facing the white board behind his desk. Oriana thought she saw his hands tremble slightly as he opened and closed them.
“Ana, I had a conversation with two policemen yesterday evening.”
Oriana gasped, she could hear the fury in her father’s voice.
“What? Peterson and Nix-,” she was cut off.
“They told me that you interfered with their investigation into a religious cult they believe are operating in this area and they are considering pressing charges against you for your own safety.”
“Dad, there’s something you should know, those men aren’t cops. I have a video of what really happened.”
Her father just shook his head slowly in disgust.
“Ana, shut up.”
Oriana’s mouth gaped open, “Excuse me?”
“Shut up. I don’t want to hear any of your lies. You are just like your mother. You don’t care at all how your actions could impact other people.” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 18”