“I say Jill, did you see, in the paper, there was another robbery at old Queenie’s neighbourhood!?” Tom exclaimed to his younger sister, while reading the newspaper “And this one actually involved a kidnapping!”
There was a loud ‘crash’ as Jill dropped the cold orangeade she was drinking, sending a sticky mess all over the table.
“Oh Tom, isn’t it simply awful!“ Sniffed Jill, who was rather sensitive about these things
“Idiot! Quick clean that up before mother sees, she’ll have a fit. We’re having company today, you know” Tom scolded “And yes it is awful, only a midget girl of six too” He paused “Imagine, Kingsley’s own daughter too! Stealing from King Kingsley, those thieves must have had an awful lot of nerve!”
“Oh that’s right! Dad’s friend from work, right?” Jill replied “King Kingsley’s own daughter! Stealing from the richest man in town, with the most secure house in town! Can you imagine!?” said Jill, hurrying to clean up the mess. “Honestly Tom, I feel so utterly helpless, with all these burglaries and now kidnapping!
“Yes, he’s here for supper and to continue some sort of project he and dad are doing in the lab” Tom replied “Don’t worry Jill, I expect that they’ll soon be bargaining for some ransom money from him for his daughter, and he’s got money by the ton!”
“I say,” Jill said, changing the conversation that she didn’t like much of. “Perhaps mother will let us have the gang over for tea, if they are just going to be in the lab all evening. Besides she knows we won’t be any trouble” Jill suggested, excitedly.
Before Tom could reply, their mother cut him off from the yard.
“Tom, Jill! Please come help me with these groceries!” She yelled
“Coming mother!” They replied in unison, before dashing out to the yard.
“Mother” Jill puffed as she heaved the last of the groceries into the kitchen “Do you think Tom and I could have over Emma, Jack and Andy for tea?”
“Oh yes please, mother!” Tom agreed, heartily
“Well, I’m not so sure, your father will want peace and quiet with his friend around” Their mother reasoned
“Oh mommy, we won’t be any trouble or noise, we’ll be quiet as mice, honestly!” Jill pleaded
“Yes mother, I’ll make sure of it” Tom confirmed, trying to act as grown-up as possible.
“Please!” They pleaded, in unison.
“In fact, they should keep us from bothering father and his friend, if they come over!” Tom added.
“Oh, alright then, and if you would like you can have them stay the night” She allowed “It ought to keep you two distracted, so you don’t go distracting your father” She laughed “Well go on then, go call them”
Oh mother, thank you!” Tom and Jill said excitedly, as they sped off to the phone.
Jack, a brown haired, tan young boy about the same age as Tom, arrived first, armed with his small, white rabbit with unusually large feet, named Bigfoot, that he went everywhere with.
“Hallo! Thank you for having me, the others here yet? They aren’t, ah they’ll be here soon”
“Hallo Jack, no they’re not here yet and it’s a pleasure to have you” Answered Tom, laughing at Jack’s usual fast way of saying things when he was excited.
Soon, he was followed by Summer, Jill’s best friend. Who had moved from Australia a year ago, dressed in a weathered, old straw hat, jeans, boots and a blue checkered shirt.
“G’day all!” She beamed round, her dark-tanned and brown eyed face glowing “Thanks for having me”
Jill squealed “Hi Summer!” She beamed back at her best friend.
Soon Andy, a dirty blond haired, green eyed boy, joined them.
After greeting each other excitedly, the five continued on to the play room where they spent the evening playing cards and having a grand time.
“Children, Supper!” Their mother called.
They all ran down the stairs, taking them two at a time, until they reached the end, where they were greeted by a delicious view of stuffed potatoes, warm ham and fresh apple sauce, Sweet potato casserole and a whole jug of freshly squeezed lemonade.
The children washed and sat down quickly and were soon joined by Tom and Jill’s father and another dark, skinny man with rather an unpleasant expression on his face, that the children much didn’t like the look of.
‘He looks like an undertaker’ Jill thought.
“Oh children” Tom and Jill’s father said “This is my friend, Jack”
Then he turned to Jack (Tom and Jill’s friend), “Looks like you two have the same name!” He laughed, jollily
His friend, Jack managed a tight little smile, that looked like someone was trying to wrench his lips open.
‘Ooh yes,’ Summer thought ‘Definitely an undertaker’
Suddenly, the last dish was brought out and all the children’s thoughts of dislike were forgotten as they said grace and began to pile food up high on their plates.
Soon, every last crumb had been finished and the children were feeling rather sleepy.
“Look at you all, sitting there with your eyelids closing, I’d say it’s time for bed, quickly now, no complaints please” Jill and Tom’s mother laughed.
Groggily the girls headed off to Jill’s room and the boys to Tom’s room, where they hastily washed and prepared for bed.
Half an hour later, their mother came to check on them, but found most of them already half asleep!
“Good night, children” She whispered, and only got a few grunts in reply.
Quietly she shut the door and went downstairs to prepare herself for a nice, peaceful, calm night.
Though it proved to be quite the opposite of that!
“Jack! Jack!” A voice whispered, waking Jack abruptly.
Convinced it was just Tom or Andy, Jack replied “What?”
“At the window, it’s me Stumpy”
Shocked that it wasn’t Tom or Andy, but a complete stranger, he tried to lay still, through his trembling nerves, hoping that the voice would go away.
He heard him sigh “Hurry up Jack!”
After a few more seconds, quietly and bravely Jack crept to the window, gently pushing Bigfoot aside, convincing himself that it was all a strange dream.
“Ah Jack, I knew you were in there, I tried the other guest room that you said to, but it was empty and had to climb up all the way here” Said a crazy looking man, with dirty stubble and grimy fingernails.
“Anyway, I’ve got a message for you from Johnny, it’s ‘Plan is go, another captives, insurance,’ ‘n’ here’s another letter for you from ‘im” He said, handing Jack a letter “Oh and Jack, Johnny says don’t forget A x 4 =” He whispered, tapping the letter before disappearing away from the window, almost as soon as he was there.
Not sure what to do, Jack returned to his bed and lay down, blankly, still convinced it was a dream.
Finally, with the letter still in his hand, Jack gave himself a sharp, painful pinch, nothing happened, so he tried it again, and again nothing happened, so he just lay there, with a throbbing pain in his arm.
But suddenly he sat up, shocking and knocking Bigfoot off his bed.
“So, it wasn’t a dream” Jack said, aloud, crinkling the paper.
‘I should tell Tom and Andy, they would want to know about this, it may be something serious!’ He thought, alarmingly
Jack leaned over to shake Tom awake but suddenly a loud cry stopped him
“Help!-“ But it was abruptly cut off
Tom and Andy both woke up suddenly
“What was that!?” Tom and Andy asked
“I don’t know, it sounded like it came from the girls room though!” He replied getting up
“What! Quick, they might be in trouble!” Yelled Tom, worried about his sister and already out the door.
Jack and Andy looked at each other, than quickly followed him.
Tom stood at the doorway to Jill’s room, blocking it from view.
The boys stood behind him “Tom, what’s wrong, old boy?” They asked
Before he could answer, Tom’s mother, father and his father’s friend Jack arrived at the scene.
“Tom, what is the meaning of this?” His father said, gruffly, annoyed at being awoken at such an unearthly hour.
Tom turned to his father, showing his face, pale and white with worry.
“Th-the window” Tom stuttered “ It’s broken a-and J-Jill and Summer” He gasped,
“They’re gone!”
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