From behind his picket fence, Benjamin saw the kids playing. Along with the five year old twins from across the lawn, was the oldest kid in the block, Ryan. The three of them held a small teddy bear above Mark’s face — the three year old who’d just moved to the neighbourhood with his grandparents.
Ben remained rooted as Mark reached out to his teddy, and failing. Ryan was laughing, the pinkish gums behind his primary teeth, now gleaming in the sun. When his mother called for dinner, he cast the teddy aside and ran, the twins in his wake.
Mark had slopped on the ground, weeping. Retrieving the teddy from the sludge, Benjamin sat beside the child, and put his arm around him.
Bullied kids need a comforting shoulder. Ben knew, because he’d had none.
It was the year’s fifth meeting. HR manager, Jay, was inducting new recruits, a wide grin stretching on his otherwise unremarkable, freckled face. He waited while the group shuffled, some excited, some anxious, and some adjusting chairs. When they’d settled, he unlocked his arms, leaning on the table, instead.
“Welcome!”His eyes moved from one to another. They returned his toothy grin. Over the next hour, his ecstatic voice described the corporate guidelines. And as they exited, his voice resounded: “Good luck!” Jay’s grin disappeared as soon as the door shut.
Corporate hiring had become mushrooming—in thousands, disgusting and useless.
Since he arrived in Magtown 55 years ago, Djon had worked hard to earn the respect he now received. Like many youngsters, he started in the mines. Unlike most, however, he’d had the passion to improve not only his life but also others’. Soon, he’d grown to start his own factory.
Thanks to Djon, the town had railway lines, continuous power supply, and on-demand medical services. Whenever they saw him on the street, people always gave him way.
But he gave way only to her. He’d stand back while his Labrador, wagging, strutted through the house demanding her share of respect.
With rain drops dripping from her hair, flowing down her spine, and becoming one with her feet, she walked away as friends watched her. They knew her well enough to give her privacy when she most needed it.
Vehicles raced around her. Within, so did her mind. Not only had Jason had let her down, but also her story. As her publisher, he should’ve delivered on his promise. It had taken her six years to complete the book, which Jason had ended in months.
She went home, disappointment seeping through her veins. Yet her face remained impassive. With one physical book and thirty-seven ebooks, she’d been writing all her life. This wasn’t her first failure and it wouldn’t be her last—but it hurt all the same.
Taking a deep breath, she showered, and went into the kitchen. Expecting her stood a pot of tea—Akira’s panache.
Mary knew what she was getting into when she moved to the town of Morehall. Few people chose to make it their home because it would rain ten months of the year. History had warned, but her realtor had assured her otherwise. “Climate change has worked in your favour.” She had said. “It doesn’t rain as much as it used to. We get at least seven dry months. We have the occasional rain, but it’s nothing major. Look—I live here, I send my kids go to school here. I’m telling you, it’s the perfect town to start your retirement. This is a quiet neighbourhood with an excellent hospital, lots of greenery, natural scenery…”
Mary scowled as she clutched her window observing the showers pouring for the third day in a row. According to the over-entusiastic voice in the radio, it was just the beginning of Morehall’s signature rains.
Signing, Mary poured herself another cup of coffee and pulled out Live and Learn, and Pass it On. Her mother-in-law had given it to her while she’d been pregnant with Harry, and Mary had no one to pass it on to.
Knock, knock, knock.
She frowned to herself as she opened the front door. In the one week since she’d moved, no one had called. It was a twenty-something girl wearing a red frock under her rain poncho. She held in her hand a paper package.
“Hi” she smiled. “I’m Lisa, and I live down the road. I noticed you hadn’t come out, so I brought you some bread, and eggs from our farm.” She extended the package and Mary accepted, her heart overwhelmed and eyes whelming.
“Thank you, Lisa.”
“Oh, what else are neighbours for?”
To pass on what you enjoyed, of course.