Sunday, 28 December 2008

MULTIPLY Writing Challenge: The Portal

File0021[2] Pat felt a bit sad after the funeral. Miss Chadwick was the nicest person she had ever met and did a lot for the village. She had the most beautiful garden in the whole area and it could be seen from the road side. A small door which was always open, showing the beauty of what was hidden behind the walls. It was now up to Pat to write an article in the local newspaper about Mrs. Chadwick, but she just did not know where to begin.

She thought back to how friendly Martha Chadwick was and always ready to help. Her garden was open to the school and on many summer days it was filled with children making notes about the plants growing there. Martha had all sorts of plants. She knew no weeds; at least they were not called weeds in her garden. Every flower and bush had its place. If one of the school children asked her the name of what was growing, Martha Chadwick knew it, not only that, but how it grew, when it was ready to be planted and where the best place was. Whether a daisy, dandelion or a rare orchid, she treated them alike and the children reaped the benefit from her watchful eye. Although she was not a teacher, she was a respected person at the school and her advice was often called for in the biology lessons. Pat remembered her days at the local school and how much she looked forward to the visits made to Miss Chadwick’s garden. Now Miss Chadwick was gone and there was no-one that could take her place.

“Pat, how is the article coming along about Miss Chadwick” it was Dave the editor of the local newspaper where Pat worked.
“There is so much to write about her Dave, I just don’t know where to begin.”
“Well you must hurry Pat, the next work is waiting for you and we want to keep our villagers informed.”
“OK, Dave, surprise me, what is lying around the corner. I cannot think of anything of more importance than writing an article about Martha Chadwick. We have such a lot to thank her for in the village. If a villager was sick, she would call on them. She would take our elderly population into town if they could not walk so well and she often brought them their shopping. Not of course to mention the way she let the children of the village play in her wonderful garden and learn about the plants growing there. Why, she even taught the children the meaning of the insect life in the garden, and woe betide anyone that would kill a spider or ant. Mrs. Chadwick said they were living things and had their purpose on this planet as well as we humans.”
“Yes Pat, but when you have finished singing the praises of Miss Chadwick you can transfer your attention to Robert Blogg and his new project.”

“Oh no,” thought Pat, if it was someone she did not want to write about it was Robert Blogg. He was the richest man in the neighbourhood and known for his building projects, transferring land into concrete shopping centres, owning most of the shops himself.
“What’s his next project Dave? Does he want to turn our village into one of his new shopping centres, at least the elderly people will not have to travel into town, if they are still living here after he has demolished their nice houses and cottages.”
“No, nothing like that Pat. Well almost. Mrs. Chadwick died with no heirs and her property has been bought by Robert Blogg. Of course, he will not be living there himself, he already has a villa on the edge of town up on the hill.”
Pat knew the building. A square white house with three storeys – an eyesore on the hill, but where Robert Blogg could look over the village deciding what to rebuild next.
“So what has Blogg cast his eye on this time? Is it perhaps an underground car park for his fleet of cars up on the hill, or a tennis court for himself and his wife in his garden.”
“No, nothing like that Pat, he has decided to rebuild Miss Chadwick’s garden; the part that you can see through the small door. Or course the door will have to be removed as well as well as the surrounding wall, to have enough room for the building machines to enter. Tomorrow the building starts so make sure you are there with a photographer to see the first building operations.”
“You must be joking Dave, Robert Blogg will be demolishing the beautiful garden that Miss Chadwick built for us all to enjoy. The poor woman will be turning in her grave.”
“That’s life Pat, besides do not forget who pays for the most advertisements in our newspaper. Without the income from Robert Blogg we could close the newspaper down.”
Pat decided it was no good arguing any further with Dave. He was a good boss, but like most business men, money spoke the loudest when it came to the business.

Pat finished her article about Mrs. Chadwick and the next morning she was at the doors of the garden with the photographer waiting for the machine to arrive and it did. It was a large caterpillar waiting at the entrance, its motor making a loud noise and fumes poisoning the fresh air. Pat could have cried, it was like a monster waiting to pounce. Robert Blogg was naturally also there, he could not miss the chance of his photo being on the front page of the newspaper. The caterpillar charged at the door and wall but nothing happened. Part of the machine broke off at the front and the garden could not be entered. Pat told the photographer to take a photo which he did and Robert Blogg started shouting at the operator, his face becoming a deeper red than usual. The machine operator had a closer look at the wall and found that it was still standing, there was not even a scratch on it.

“What the *#@/--* is going on” shouted Robert Blogg “ you can’t tell me that one of my machines cannot break that wall down.”
Suddenly only laughter could be heard. It was coming from a group of children that had just finished their morning school and were watching.
“Looks like Miss Chadwick doesn’t want her garden to be dug up” said one of the boys and everyone laughed.

Robert Blogg decided he did not have to make a fool of himself in front of the village so called his machine operator to one side.
“We will now get another machine and drive into the garden from the other side, up the path to the house and then enter from the back.”
By the time the second machine arrived and was put into place it was evening and the builder’s people went home, so the first destructive actions were postponed until the next day.

When Pat got back to the newspaper her boss Dave wanted to see the pictures she had captured.
“I can’t use this Pat. Robert Blogg seems to be quite excited and all I can see otherwise is a broken machine.”
“I am afraid the whole operation has been postponed until tomorrow Dave” she said, but could not help hiding her smile.

The next day Pat arrived at the Chadwick house, but entered the garden from the other side. The new machine had arrived the evening before and the driver was now ready to go to work. There was just one problem. The machine was covered in one huge web which had been spun by numerous small spiders still scuttling to and fro on the machine. Each time the web was swept away by one of the workers the spiders climbed back onto the machine and started on their work again.
Robert Blogg was getting excited.
“So men, start the job, you are not frightened of a few spiders are you. After all they are a lot smaller than you are.”
“That might be the case” answered the driver “but they are more than us, must be hundreds of them.”
“So do something” said Robert Blogg “throw some water at them”. The men found a hose and turned the water on. The machine was soon cleared of the spiders.
“That’s funny Mr. Blogg” said the driver “although we poured water on the machine it is all running down the side of the machine as if the machine was sealed up.”
“Rubbish” said Blogg “so now drive the machine into the garden and start digging.”
Pat once again took a couple of photos of an irate Mr. Blogg and the machine which was again having problems.
“Mr. Blogg” said the driver “the machine isn’t moving. Something is clogging up the works.”
“So, have a closer look” said Robert Blogg “it is a machine, not a monster.”
The men started taking the machine apart but were not very happy. Inside the machinery they found about two hundred snails and they were moving around leaving a trail of slime everywhere they went. The complete inside of the machine was clogged up with snail slime.
“Sorry boss”, the driver was looking worried “looks like we will have to take this machine back and have a complete service done, it’s full of snail slime.”

Pat could not help stifling a laugh and smiling. She decided there was going to be no work done any more that day and climbed into her car and drove off to the office. On the way she passed by the cemetery. Somehow she had a feeling she must visit Miss Chadwick's grave and put some flowers on it. There was a field of dandelions growing near the cemetery so she picked a bunch and put them on Miss Chadwick’s grave. She knew that would have given Miss Chadwick more pleasure than the most expensive roses. She arrived at the grave and suddenly she had to stop. There was a spider’s web stretching from the stone to the earth, but not a spiders web as usual. At the top were two “o o”, then followed a “l” and below there was a ”)” but in such a way arranged that it was plainly a
J. Pat had her own thoughts.

So did Mr. Blogg’s new concrete shopping centre get built? Well no, not really. The beautiful wild garden still exists. The view into from the gate is still as inviting as ever. Pat was glad. It seemed that after Mr. Blogg’s house being infested with bats during the week that followed and him finding numerous anthills in his own garden, as well as his car brakes being bit through by numerous squirrels suddenly appearing in his garage at night, he somehow changed his mind. There were rumours that Miss Chadwick had appeared to him in a dream, at least that was the rumour going around the village.

Pat was very happy to write her article about Mr. Robert Blogg eventually. He had donated the garden to the school and decided against building a shopping center in the village. I wonder why?

The Portal - A Writing Challenge

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