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Then There Were Three (part 27)

Finny, Casper and Onetooth bounced noisily back through the door just as Tukiko was fretting about adding more water to Maisie’s stew.

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Then There Were Three (part 26)

Tukiko checked in on the sleeping Worms before returning to Hope Spring’s Clinic. This left Maisie to get on with preparing lunch for not just herself and her patient, but the other three urchins as well.

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Then There Were Three (part 25)

While Finny and co were trying to push each other off the Town Hall balustrade, none of them noticed the NFPD car quietly turn up the little cul-de-sac towards the quarantine house.

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Then There Were Three (part 24)

The following morning got off to a bad start with the taking of yet more rectal swabs for analysis to determine the presence of the typhoid bacteria. There were protests and even tears but Joe eventually bowed, literally, to the inevitable.

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Then There Were Three (part 23)

Just who was happiest as the car doors flew open and everyone disembarked was difficult to say. It could have been Casper, blooded up from neck to knees and sporting a sore and strangely itchy nose. Or it could just have easily been Kru, relieved to get these devil children out of her car and hand them over to whichever unfortunate adult she clapped eyes on first. Finny was an obvious choice, too.

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Then There Were Three (part 22)

Kru got the job of driving the three kids back to Hope Springs. Easy job. By the time they got there, however, Casper, the rear seat and quite a lot of Onetooth were covered in blood. Finny was trying to forget everything that had happened and Kru was about ready to murder all of them.

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Then There Were Three (part 21)

When we were kids, we’ve all been in that awkward situation of being in a room with a bunch of adults that just seem to be getting angrier and angrier with each other for the tiniest thing but none of them will admit it. Eventually they end up shouting at each other and then you get dragged off home still not knowing what it was all about… No? Just me then.

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Then There Were Three (part 20)

Casper was in danger of wearing a hole in the canvas ground sheet of the large tent they were in. Finny and Onetooth sat on grain sacks and watched as he paced up and down, wringing his hands and alternatively glaring at Finny then staring apprehensively at the closed tent flap.

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Then There Were Three (part 19)

Joe was worried. No, angry… Worried. Worried and angry... Probably more angry than worried. But still, really worried. His thoughts, currently, were along the lines of; What’s those badger type things that live underground? Vicious buggers. No wait, they only come out at night. Well, normal ones do. God knows what these mutated bastards do, they might bloody fly for all he knew. Flying vicious badgers.

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Then There Were Three (part 18)

It had been an hour, exactly an hour since NFPD officer Kopkage had taken a seat in Mayor Hyle Troy’s outer office. He’d expected a wait of a few minutes, after all, it was a working day and no doubt the mayor was busy. After twenty minutes he reasoned that, well, okay, he had arrived without an appointment so maybe the mayor had someone in with her.

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Then There Were Three (part 17)

Inside the stuffy atmosphere of the mortuary, Tukiko mouthed something unladylike to the NFPD officer’s retreating back. She looked at Worms’ notebook still in her hand then rolled it up and jammed it back into her pocket. There was nothing else she could do here and didn’t particularly want to be around that policeman any longer, so she left.

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Then There Were Three (part 16)

Maisie replaced the wet cloth on Worms’ head with a yet another fresh one from the refrigerator. The Doc had been gone several hours now, which was fine, Maisie reasoned, as long as the little boy’s condition remained stable. For now, the saline drip was keeping him hydrated and multiple fans around the bed and the simple wet cloth on the forehead were keeping his temperature below dangerous levels.

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Then There Were Three (part 15)

Officer Kopkage read the file, well, technically, it was a file. In reality it was just the chief’s scrawled single sheet of notes shoved into an official brown folder.

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Then There Were Three (part 14)

Inspector Crabbe of the NFPD was furiously trying to write down at least some of the mass of information coming over the airwaves into his ancient telephone. What was annoying him was partly the fact that his pen was just pushing the paper across the desk half the time as he tried to make words. But mainly it was because Køjarsky was just sitting a metre away with his feet up, donut and coffee in hand and watching him struggle.

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Then There Were Three (part 13)

Rating:

The five of them slowly moved to form a single line along one side of the autopsy table.

“Jesus H Christ.” Joe sighed.

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Then There Were Three (part 12)

By the time Tukiko, the pathology tech and the three children had returned from the cars with torches, the four Union patrolmen had managed to drag and bend the rusty steel door far enough open to allow them to get inside.

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Then There Were Three (part 11)

All the adults got out of the cars and stood looking around. Although technically still within the city limits this whole area had just been left for decades. It was too damaged and too unstable to even think about rebuilding on and had become a wasteland within the wasteland. Joe bent down, hands on knees, to whisper to Onetooth.

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Then There Were Three (part 10)

Tukiko called ahead and was eventually put in contact with Dr. Ducas at the orphanage. She brought him up to date with the situation and arranged to meet him there.

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Then There Were Three (part 9)

Joe was still reading his mail and composing responses an hour later when Taiyoko opened the door.

“Joe? You better come.”

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Then There Were Three (part 8)

Finny was sitting, curled up in pajamas and a big fluffy dressing gown, on a tatty lopsided three-legged armchair reading ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ to a barely responsive Worms. The clothing and the book had been donated by the people of Hope Springs and Finny was rather hoping that she would be allowed to keep them all.

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Then There Were Three (part 7)

Finny, Casper, Onetooth and nurse Maisie sat around the table eating breakfast. They ate in silence. Maisie because she was eating and busy jotting down the things that needed doing that day. The orphans because, well… Let’s put it this way. Nurse Maisie is a substantial woman. She has arms that would look better crushing the windpipe of some poor wrestler while the crowd cheered her on.

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Then There Were Three (part 6)

It took two members of the orphanage staff and Taiyoko combined to prevent Joe from doing more serious injury to the young pathology technician… and then a hell of a lot of persuasion after that to let the man do his job.

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Then There Were Three (part 5)

Except for one man who remained standing outside the front door with his arms folded, the rest of the people started to leave in twos and threes. Some of them looked inside the car, but only a few of them smiled at the three kids sitting on the back seat. The blond lady did though, and she waved, but Finny saw in her eyes that even she looked worried.

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Then There Were Three (part 4)

Matron Maisy Clinton pulled up at the rear of the New Flagstaff Orphanage and hurried inside. As luck would have it, many of their charges were returning to the building for the four o’clockers snack, which also meant that the full quota of staff was available to provide and oversee the meal.

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Then There Were Three (part 3)

As she drove towards Beau’s Tavern for a little ‘pick me up’ before heading back to Hope with a car full of supplies for the clinic, nurse Maisie hadn’t been sure when she saw the three kids on the sidewalk. The ginger hair pretty much confirmed their identities though. Then, as she got nearer, it became apparent that one of them may be hurt so she slowed down. This suspicion was also confirmed the nearer she got.

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Then There Were three (part 2)

Finny was nine. But she’d seen enough sick kids, both in The Borough and at the orphanage to know that Worms had more than just something a spoonful of whatever it that was the nurse kept in the big brown bottle could fix.

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Then There Were Three (part 1)

The scrapyard behind the garage on the road heading east out of New Flagstaff hid the sight, but not the sound of the four orphans of the apocalypse as they drove the rusting and burnt out vehicles in imaginary car chases.

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Union Candy (part 22 finale)

Days passed. Queen Bee remained in the Union Medical Centre while her arms continued to slowly mend. Now, her ladies in waiting became her nurses as well, and all three of them actually began to bond into a truer form of friendship. Maybe this was temporary and Bethany would revert to type once her convalescence was over but, for now, they were there for each other.

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Union Candy (part 21)

Early that evening, in his office, Inspector Crabbe continued to stare at the report on the Ambrose girl assault for quite some time after he had finished reading it.

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Union Candy (part 20)

Rating:

The only one good thing about having a broken finger, Finny thought, the following morning as she held up her hand to display her splinted middle finger to the gaggle of under tens who came to stare. Was that it brought an immediate end to her jankers. True, the sentence could have been resumed once her finger had healed, but the staff weren’t naive enough to think that Finny’s accident had been in any way accidental.

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by Dr. Radut