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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 17 End)

 
Joe Spivey's picture
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The previous evening, after Dr. Troy had turned up at the orphanage with the missing inmates, Maisie had put down in the log how Dr. Troy had taken the children for a picnic and simply forgotten the time. It was useful to have someone like Dr. Troy owing you a favour.

So much for the official story. By mid-morning the following day, however, everyone in the orphanage, including the staff, knew the truth. By the time Finny, Casper, Onetooth and Worms arrived for their shift in the factory at noon, the whole factory floor was buzzing with their exploits. After getting changed into the felt suits required for working with large quantities of open explosives, the four of them went to their work stations on the production line where they would work for two hours before spending the rest of the afternoon in the classroom.

Under the rather lenient supervision of Taiyoko, that day’s overseer, the other young employees listened eagerly as Casper, Onetooth and Worms recounted and even began to embellish the various events of the previous day. Finny, though, was less forthcoming when encouraged by those in her own work-bay. She was still trying to come to terms with the fact that everyone had so nearly died, or worse. And that it was all her fault. She glanced up at the closed door to Joe’s office. And then there was that other thing too.

Finny stewed for a full hour before the office door opened and Joe came out to spread his hands along the balcony rail and look down at his fork force busily increasing his fortune.

The chatter ended abruptly and you could almost see the production rate go up. Finny, though, could feel Joe’s stare boring into the back of her head. Even though she was expecting it, when it came her heart leapt into her mouth.

“Finny. Office. Now.”

She finished crimping the bullet currently in the machine and dropped the finished round into the waiting plastic bowl. She wiped her hands clean down the front of her smock. She saw that Joe had disappeared back inside the office leaving the door open. Finny walked slowly out of the bay and made her way along the length of the factory floor to the wooden stairs that led up to the open balcony. As she climbed the whispers began as Onetooth and Worms revealed the awful secret of where it was that Finny had gotten hold of the gun that she had used to kill the bear. Casper just stood and sadly watched Finny make her lonely way along the balcony to the open door.

Finny reached the office. Joe was sitting at the big round table the reading group used as a school desk.

“Come in Finn. Shut the door.” Joe nodded to the vacant seat next to him. “Sit.”

When the door closed the whispering of the workers reached new levels as bullet making was forgotten and Onetooth and Worms were pumped for “when?” And “why?” And “how?” Taiyoko had to get quite insistent, for him, in getting the kids back to work.

Finny, heart still beating wildly, sank into the seat. Joe watched her for several seconds but Finny never once made eye contact with him. He relented, hoping that her tearful confession to Tukiko the night before would forestall any sudden urge she might have for a hug. Joe wasn’t comfortable with hugs.

“So. Your little expedition didn’t go quite as planned eh?”

Finny found something on the stained table top that needed her attention. She picked at it with a finger and shook her head.

“No.”

“You do realise how incredibly lucky you were that Dr. Troy was there, don’t you?”

Finny’s voice dropped to a whisper.

“Yes.”

She still refused to look up at Joe. He waited, but the top of Finny’s head was apparently all he was going to see. He tried again.

“I suppose I should give you a long lecture about not biting off more than you can chew and how bloody stupid you were. But I think you’ve figured all that out for yourself, haven’t you?”

No words this time, just a single nod.

“Just answer me this then. Why Finny? Why did you set out to go to a bleedin’ Devil’s Own camp of all places?” Joe was pretty sure he knew the answer, but he wanted to be sure. This time Finny did look up at him.

“My dad. I know my mom died, Aunty Onetit told me. But she din’t say nothing about my dad. So…” A shrug filled in for the rest of the explanation.

So Joe had it. Finny had used her intelligence and figured out that her father might still be alive… And, being Finny, she had gone to try and find out. Ten out of ten for balls, he thought. Bugger all for execution though.

“Well, I hope you think it was worth it.”

Another shrug.

Joe let it lay.

“Okay, that’s your business I suppose.” He paused, reluctant to go where he knew he now had to go. “We just need to sort out the matter of the pistol you took from my drawer.”

Finny’s face lost all colour. From the moment she had picked the lock and taken the big revolver she always knew this moment was coming. Joe’s face was set.

“Nobody steals from me, Finn. There has to be consequences otherwise people get it into their head they can take liberties.” Joe stood up. “Go and open the door. Everyone has to hear this so they understand that.”

Finny felt the world around her take on a different hue, like she was separate from it. She stood up, went to the door and opened it wide. When she turned back Joe was standing by his desk looking stern. The cane that normally hung undistrurbed from a brass hook screwed into the side of the desk was in his hand.

Taiyoko, Casper, everyone in fact, stood and watched Finny make the slow and painful journey from the office to the changing rooms. As she passed him, shaking and staring fixedly ahead, Taiyoko beckoned two of the older girls.

“Look after her.”

Taiyoko looked up as a movement caught his eye and he was just in time to see the Joe’s door gently click shut.

NF map

Comments

Hyle Troy's picture

((  Most amazing story  Well done, Thank you :)

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers



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