Jeff called the family together in the lounge, his face sombre and grim. ‘Well boys. It’s happened again,’ his voice muted with concern. ‘She’s back.’
‘Shit,’ Virgil burst out, ‘Why her? Why not someone else? Someone reasonable and sensible. Someone who can. punctuate:. properly. Look at that, last sentence.! And more to the point; why us?. Shit.’ He put his head in his hands, despairingly as he sat on the sofa in his tan suede gilet. ‘It’s bad enough having to wear these clothes without her coming round and messing about with our lives.’
Scott looked at him sympathetically. ‘Don’t worry too much Virgil, chances are that she’ll leave you alone for a while. John got the brunt of her attempts to write last time, and that worked out alright for him. It’s Alan I feel sorry for. What if she’s come back for him?’
‘Bloody hell.’ Alan leapt to his feet. ‘I’ve only just got rid of that damned rash.’ He started scratching again, unaware that he was doing so. ‘It drove me absolutely mad and why the hell she had to give it to me in such an awkward place….’ he broke off, his round face reddening with embarrassment as he recalled what she had done to him.
‘Well Susan and I are getting along really well,’ John reported from the sanctuary of Thunderbird 5, circling the Earth in a geosynchronous position at Low Earth Orbit. ‘Damn! There it is again! She has to get that phrase into every story doesn’t she! Why is she so obsessed with LEOs? Anyway,’ he smiled smugly at the rest of the family, ‘I wouldn’t mind if she focussed on me again. She says I have an enigmatic smile and I’m handsome.’ And he smirked at his brothers.
‘Well, she’s already done me and it wasn’t the most pleasant experience of my life. In fact if she does start on me again I am definitely going to object.‘ Gordon muttered, crossing his arms and huffing.
Jeff watched his sons as they discussed the options that were open to them. He knew full well that they would be unable to influence the outcome.
She would do whatever she wanted.
And then they heard her, humming as she unfastened her briefcase and took out her pen.
‘Please let it be the decent one,’ John prayed, ‘not the manky biro. It blots everywhere and looks dreadful. I always feel so untidy and dishevelled afterwards.’
They watched anxiously.
‘Yes,’ Scott breathed a sigh of relief as she chose the red Lamy with the broad nib. She wiped away an unshed tear as she remembered who had used this pen so often in the past, then, calmer, resigned, took out a pad of paper.
Alan sighed with relief. ‘Look, decent paper as well. 120gms and it’s parchment coloured. Wow. This might just work out alright.’ He leaned back, relaxing with the release of tension.
‘But we still don’t know who she is going to choose,’ Jeff warned them cautiously. ‘You need to make sure you are all smartly dressed boys. You wouldn’t want her to catch you wearing something messy or unsuitable would you? Just think what she could do to the Hood if she found him wearing that lilac tunic with the flowers on it!’ His eyebrows raised as he remembered the vision of his arch-enemy in such garb.
Scott looked down at his jeans and shirt. ‘I’m fine as I am. If she doesn’t like this then she can simply change me.’ He looked defiantly around at his brothers, with a hint of anxiety in his voice. After all he had not featured to any extent in her previous adventures. It would probably be his turn next.
Dear God. He thought about the SHADO Commander and what she had put him through recently in her stories. Scott had even heard rumours of one story that…… No, don’t even think about it. Surely she wouldn’t do anything so cruel to Scott? Would she?
And she was ready.
They each held their breath, waiting, tense, not daring to speak in case they attracted her attention.
She placed the nib carefully on the paper.
This was the moment of truth…. whose name would she choose?
Who would be the unlucky victim of her warped and twisted mind?
Scott Tracy woke…..
‘Damn, it’s me.’
‘Yes, you Scott. It’s about time you featured in one of my stories.’
‘Well, are you going to anything nasty to me? Please don’t give me a rash or something.’
‘Smile at me nicely Scott. I always liked your dimples! Okay, a nice exciting adventure for you. No blood, no injuries, just you being the brave hero.’
‘Thanks Lightcudder! I owe you one.’
‘You most certainly do Scott, and remember, I always collect my debts.’
….. and realised that it was late afternoon. He had been more tired than he had realised after the rescue yesterday. His mind recalled the events as he lay there, relishing being in the warmth and comfort of his own bed. All he needed now was a coffee to help him wake up. The bedroom door opened and Virgil looked in.
‘Oh good. You’re awake. I’ll get you a drink; just stay there. You need to rest after yesterday.’
Scott leaned back on his pillows………