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Nine (part 14)

Normally, the caterers at such events got to take home anything left over. That wasn't going to happen today. It took the four orphans of the apocalypse, ably aided and abetted by a very eager four-year-old, less than twenty minutes to reduce the carefully crafted party food to crumbs and the caterers to tears.

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Nine (part 13)

Joe’s face set into one of someone listening to their great aunt Betty telling him everything that has happened to her this week. Eventually there was a gap when Tuki paused for breath and Joe jumped into it.

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Nine (part 12)

Everyone peered in as Finny’s fingers pulled off the wrapping paper to reveal a small, felt covered box. Inside was a mound of shiny white metal which uncurled into a long silver chain when Finny gently lifted it high so that all could see. At the end of the shiny chain was a silver ring.

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Nine (part 11)

When Finny crossed the threshold into Joe’s entrance hall she was not expecting the explosion of noise that greeted them and tried to hurriedly turn and flee. Along with the noise-makers, and party poppers exploding their coloured streams around her, shouts of; “Surprise!” And “Happy Birthday!” added to the confusion. Then Joe had his hands on her shoulders, turning her back around and preventing her ducking around him.

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Nine (part 10)

Joe, beer in hand, turned to look at Finny.

“What do you mean?”

Finny swivelled on the seat so that she was facing him.

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Nine (part 9)

The car carried on down Humphreys and turned right onto Coconino Avenue. Passing the building where the Ranyhyn Company had its offices, Joe swung right and they were back on the square. Joe drove slowly through the crowd and eventually pulled up outside the shaft down to Rowdy’s Bar.

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Nine (part 8)

Where Joe was taking her next was Humphreys Street. The car pulled up outside Moise’s Pawn & Jewellery, and Finny followed Joe inside. Unlike Aunty Wainwright’s, the pawn shop was no larger on the inside than the outside suggested. Once inside, however, the space was made even smaller by the stout steel cages that prevented customers doing anything more than looking at the goods in the various display cases.

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Nine (part 7)

Aunty Wainwright’s was a junk shop. No, let’s get it right. Aunty Wainwright’s was a junk emporium. The premises was on Santa Fe and directly across the road from City Hall. To the casual observer in the street it looked just like any other small shop, but cross its threshold and you found yourself in a multi-storey maze of every conceivable item that had ever been scavenged, repaired, reused or built by hand with love but not much skill.

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Nine (part 6)

At noon the following day Joe stopped the four members of the reading group at the factory door.

“Finn, you’re with me today.”

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Nine (part 5)

“Stop eating it all!”

“I’m not! You stop eating it all!”

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Nine (part 4)

Freed from another hot afternoon in the factory, Casper Onetooth and Worms lost no time in putting distance between them and any chance of being called back.

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Nine (part 3)

The following day Joe sent Finny on an errand. When she had gone he waited for Casper, Onetooth and Worms to take their seats.

“Okay you three, listen up.”

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Nine (part 2)

Kirsten was nonplussed, at least for a moment.

“What?”

“A nine-year-old. What do you get one for its birthday?”

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Nine (part 1)

It was a week after The Secret Adventurers had been rescued from the Devil’s Own and the aftermath of Finny’s return had slowly faded into eight stripes of yellowish, blackish, still-sore-if-prodded bruises. ((See: http://fallenearth.rp-haven.com/blog-entry/secret-adventurers-club-second-adventure-part-1

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

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.

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 16)

It took an effort of will to climb the sandstone steps to the shiny black door. Tukiko hoped Silja would be there, it would be less awkward if Silja was there. Silja, it turned out, wasn’t there. The door opened to Tuki’s knock and revealed Kirsten with little Annie peeping out from behind her legs.

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 15)

The lengthening shadows of early evening helped Tukiko lead the four adventurers away from the noisy crowd half way up the hill and down into bottom of the valley where the shadows were closer together and darker.

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 14)

Justin’s lips opened to protest but stopped short of any words coming out. Although this left his face looking like a startled guppy, his rodent brain was working overtime. His head turned towards Finny.

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 13)

The fact that Lonely looked away and murmured that she didn’t know made Tukiko immediately suspicious. She looked again at the far away scene and concentrated on it in a way that was becoming more and more comfortable ever since the birth of Ichiro.

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 12)

Sadie returned a few minutes later with a beer and sat down. She drank and belched and then noticed Finny staring at her.

“Whut?”

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 11)

They had been walking for nearly an hour. Onetooth and Worms had stopped crying long ago and now trudged along without complaining, finally accepting the new situation. Casper stared fixedly at Justin… that was his name… at Justin’s boots thrpp-thrpping through the long grass a metre or so in front of him. Finny walked beside Casper, occasionally trying to catch his eye but failing every time.

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 10)

Finny scrambled backwards to her feet with the gun pointing all the while at the bear in case it suddenly sprang up again. She backed away two or three metres before recognition of a world that was more than just her and the bear began to return. She stopped and her heart began to slow as normal sound came back and she could feel the throbbing stinging in her hands again.

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 9)

The journey to the buildings took longer than expected. City kids like them didn’t really have experience in judging distances much beyond the corner of the next block. Consequently it was getting on for noon by the time the adventurers walked slowly up to the hole in the railing topped stone wall that surrounded the whatever it was.

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 8)

Finny and co. followed the road south west for a few dozen metres. With a last look back at the garage to see if they were being watched, the party crossed the road and set off due south.

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 7)

On hearing the familiar shouted command of adult authority the four adventurers immediately went into kid 101 – automatic instant denial. They spun around as one and with all wearing the same look of surprised innocence and the words ‘it wasn’t me’ waiting ready in their throats. Clubs and sticks, and in Finny’s case the elderly long barrelled .45 calibre revolver, disappeared behind backs.

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 6)

Fortunately, three of the four white furred canines had their heads down busily tearing at something on the ground. The fourth, however, was staring interestedly at the approach desert.

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 5)

Lack of rainfall over the last couple of weeks had reduced the flow in the sewer’s central trough to a slow meander of thick, smelly, oily water. The slime on the walls, instead of being slick and oozing, now resembled a dried out field of giant brown, elbow scabs which broke away in clouds of dusty organic particles as all four kids paused to draw patterns and crude pictures with their sticks.

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 4)

So Saturday morning came around. Breakfasts were successfully filched away between slices of bread and stuffed under shirts. Finny left almost immediately and the boys looked at each other still not quite sure if she was joking or not about the gun.

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 3)

In the ebbing golden glow of the setting sun the four of them sat on the uneven kerb outside the orphanage’s main door idly watching Worms peeling back pieces of cooling tarmac with a stick.

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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 2)

And so it went on for most of the day until everyone started getting tired. Soon, tiredness and the heat started making everyone cranky. By mid-afternoon ‘Attack the Flag’ was losing its appeal and kids started to wander off in search of shade and water. Not long after, the game fizzled out and Finny and co were left to lick their wounds.

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