Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SEA CHANGE or TREE CHANGE (07/13/17)
- TITLE: Neighborhood Watch
By Graham Keet
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â€œWhy donâ€™t you leave them alone, give them time to settle in?â€ old Ben Stokes grunted without moving his eyes from the football game on television. â€œDid she say where theyâ€™re from?â€
â€œShe just said from the city; didnâ€™t say which one. Said theyâ€™ve come for some peace and quiet.â€ Mavis Stokes moved over to the window and peered out through a slit in the curtain.
â€œNow what you doing?â€
â€œJust lookingâ€”thereâ€™s something fishy about that little lot. Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ve seen the little girlâ€™s picture somewhere.â€
â€œFor heavenâ€™s sake, woman, give them the peace and quiet theyâ€™re looking for. Stop being such a busybody.â€
But it was not in Mavis Stokesâ€™ nature to just let things go. As darkness fell she crept out of her front door and crossed the road quickly. She paused at the opposite gate and looked up at the house. There was a light on in what she knew was the downstairs living room. Silently she bustled over to the window, which was open with the curtains closed. She could hear voices inside.
â€œCome now Megan, you know that Martin wants you in this pretty dress, and not in those sloppy jeans. He wants you to look like a fairy princess.â€
â€œIâ€™m sick of doing what Martin saysâ€”I want to go home.â€
â€œWeâ€™ve gone through all this before; once youâ€™ve made Martin happy, weâ€™ll take you home.â€
â€œWhy did you bring me out to this horrible place? Do my parents know where I am?â€
â€œWell, yes they know more or lessâ€”but stop worrying, Megan, everything will work out fine, if only you do what weâ€™re telling you.â€
â€œSo, what must I do next?â€
â€œMartin is busy preparing things upstairs. When he comes down heâ€™ll want to take some more photos and films of you, then weâ€™ll see how things work out in the morning.â€
This is awful, thought Mavis. These two are going to take disgusting pictures of little Meganâ€”Iâ€™ve got to put a stop to this somehow. Without further ado, Mavis hurried home as fast as she could. Grabbing the phone off the hall table, she dialed the police emergency number, just as Ben Stokes came to see what all the noise was about. Breathlessly Mavis told the police to hurry to 12 Cotswold Road where a young girl was being held against her will for the purpose of making lewd movies.
â€œHow the heck do you know all that?â€ said Ben. â€œYouâ€™re jumping to conclusions as usual.â€
Just then there was a knock on the door. Ben opened to find a stranger on his doorstep. â€œIâ€™m from across the road. I saw a lady running from my property and coming in here. Is there a problem I should know about?â€
Mavis pushed Ben out of the way and confronted the man. â€œI know what youâ€™re up to in there. Youâ€™re keeping a girl named Megan for your evil purposes; I heard it all.â€
The man frowned at her, then said quickly. â€œSo thatâ€™s it. Let me introduce myself; Iâ€™m Martin Bromfield. Iâ€™m a fashion photographer and I also make childrenâ€™s videos for TV. We came out here for some peace and quiet to complete a series. Megan is our star. Thatâ€™s all there is to it.â€
As Bromfield left, Ben looked at Mavis. â€œNow see what youâ€™ve done. They wanted some peace and quiet, and you caused chaos in their lives. Iâ€™ll tell the police not to worry.â€
Mavis gave a big sniff, and sat herself down in front of the TV. â€œWell, maybe. I still donâ€™t like the look of him. Anyway, Iâ€™m sick of watching football, Iâ€™m changing channels.â€
As the news came on Mavisâ€™ jaw dropped open. â€œWe are asking the public to look out for eleven-year-old Megan Carter, who was abducted at a shopping center yesterday morning. Megan appeared in the recent TV series The Little Mermaid.â€ A photo of Megan appeared on the screen.
Mavis howled in triumph and sprang from her chair. Ben Stokes, phone in hand and about to dial, just stared at the TV. â€œYou were right,â€ he spluttered.
â€œOf course,â€ Mavis grinned broadly as the air was split by the sound of police sirens. Two squad cars screeched into the driveway of number 12, blocking the path of Martinâ€™s SUV as he tried to make a getaway.
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