A Forgotten Birthday
Frankie slammed the door and stomped down the rickety front stairs.
‘You’d better take your bicycle with the carry tray,’ his mum called, poking her head from the window, her red feather gown flapping in the breeze. Frankie had quit worrying if any chickens died for the cause. Utilising his evidence sampler kit, he’d well and truly confirmed what his mum had always claimed. It was synthetic, however, after his last case, he wouldn’t be surprised if Angus, Archie and Riku managed to clone a bright red chicken someday.
‘Yes, Mum,’ Frankie snapped, unable to keep the tetchy tone from his voice. After all, it was his birthday, too. His eleventh birthday, to be precise. It wasn’t his fault he was born on the same day as his dad. Mr Dupont was approaching fifty, and Frankie’s mum had ordered an elaborate cake from Enderby Manor’s most famous or infamous chef, depending on who you spoke to.
He lumbered to the garden bed, mumbling to himself as he untangled the front wheel of his bicycle from his scooter. Nothing was going to make his day better. Everything was about making things perfect for his dad’s party, then his mum was jetting to London to visit her sister for two weeks.
Sherlock came racing from the side of the house, carrying a leash in his mouth. ‘Yap, yap, yap,’ the dog protested and Frankie bent to nuzzle his ears.
‘At least someone is happy to see me,’ he whispered, securing the leash to the little dog’s collar then slipping the loop upon the handlebars. ‘Come on, boy. Let’s go get this cake so my mum will stop nagging me.’
As he sped along the well-worn path towards Enderby Manor, the pocket of his trench coat buzzed. Frankie ignored it. He knew it would be either Kat or Amy sending him birthday wishes, and he wasn’t in the mood.
Two hundred pedal pushes further, his bicycle shuddered as he pulled up in front of the tall wrought-iron gates. Frankie wondered if the bike could somehow sense the creepiness of the manor’s past, and wasn’t keen on going there either.
Don’t be silly. Bicycles don’t have feelings, he chided himself. Well, at least he thought they couldn’t. Then again, he’d never thought it possible for a manor house to disappear into an alternate reality because it was missing its owner.
Hurrying past the imposing gates and alongside the narrow hedge, he skidded to a halt on the asphalt of the carpark within fifty foot pushes. Surveying the scene, he in took a sharp breath.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish