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The Mud Mafia are three ordinary teenagers; Kelsie, Laura and Jason who have two extraordinary adventures on offshore islands.
ABDUCTION IN THE PINES
Kelsie, Laura and Jason are on a bike ride through a pine forest when a sudden summer storm arrives. A man arrives in a SUV and says he was sent to pick them up by Laura’s mother. However everything goes horribly wrong when they are abducted and held for ransom by environmental terrorists. They are flown to an offshore island in an ancient Catalina flying boat. There, unknown to the terrorists, a hermit Glenn lives with his dog, Blackie. Is his curiosity about the flying boat of any help to Kelsie and her friends?
WHITE WATER OVERHEAD
In this second story Kelsie, Laura and Jason visit Glenn on his island the following Christmas holidays. He shows them an old World War 2 submarine base on the island in a huge ocean cave. However, it has been recently used. While they are exploring the base a submarine arrives and the trio, together with Blackie the dog are caught and forced onto it. Their capture is seen by Glenn but he is powerless to stop it.
Julie was by now almost in tears of frustration and fear herself. “You bitch!” she muttered under her breath and ran across the room to Helen. “Come on, Helen,” she ordered. “We’re going out to Daddy’s truck.”
“You stay here, Helen.” The now openly angry teacher called out and reached out to grab Julie’s arm.
“Leave me,” Julie growled and pulled her arm away. “Come on, Helen!”
Helen’s lip quivered and dropped, huge tears appeared in her eyes as she tried to cope with conflicting emotions of obeying her teacher or going with her sister. “I can’t!” she howled. “Miss Taylor won’t let me.”
Julie stared at the steamed up windows, the irate teacher and sobbing children. She gulped and made a decision. In one frantic move, bent down, slung Helen over her shoulders and headed for the outside door. Before she could be intercepted she opened it and headed out into the driving rain.
“Put me down, Julie!” Helen screamed, kicked and punched at her big sister but to no avail.
The teacher stood dumbfounded. “How dare you!” she hissed.
Julie felt a tug on her jeans and stared down to see two wide, tear filled eyes staring up at her. Gillian McLean, who, Julie just realized had been working with Helen, had followed her out.
“You can come, too Gillian,” Julie soothed. “We’ll be fine once we get to Dad’s truck.”
Without caring about Vicky Taylor, she held the still struggling Helen, grabbed Gillian’s hand and headed to the truck a few metres away. On arrival, the tall girl let Gillian’s hand go, slung open the front passenger door and almost threw Helen in.
“Stay there!” she snapped and lifted Gillian in as well.
Helen was still sobbing but nodded her head and slipped across the seat in the security of her father’s vehicle. Julie slammed the door and ran to the back tray where Harold was lifting Melanie Blackburn on board.
“They won’t come, Harold! Miss Taylor refuses to come.”
“I’ll go and speak to her,” Courtney replied but Harold reached out and stopped her.
“No,” he said. “I will. Can you drive the truck?”
“Me?” The teacher was doubtful. “I’ve never…”
“I will!” shouted Julie. “I’ve driven it around the hay field.”
“No,” Courtney ordered but Julie disobeyed her second teacher in almost as many minutes, ducked behind Harold and ran to the driver’s seat.
“Get in the back with the children!” Harold told Courtney and continued in a quieter voice. “Which is your car?” He nodded at the two cars parked on the muddy grass.
Courtney stared wide eye at him as if her courage had deserted her.”Why?” she asked.
“Give me your keys. We can squeeze all the little ones in the cars and follow you.”
“Of course, Courtney replied. She handed a key ring to Harold. “The red Escort.”
“Right lassie,” Harold replied and lifted the teacher up under the tarpaulin with her shivering but remarkably well behaved children who squatted under the green cover with their backs against the hay bales. Overhead the rain thundered on the canvas but only remote drips leaked inside the tent shaped enclosure.
“Go Julie!” he screamed and banged the driver’s door.
Hundreds of metres above, the crack widened into a crevice and water poured out the side to further undermine the saturated soil. Thirty metres down another crack appeared and water flowed out.
But it was no trickle! A spout of filthy brown water, forced out by the pressure behind, cascaded into the air. A crack of thunder rolled across the valley but this did not come from the sky. Instead, the noise was from beneath the ground; the hillside shook worse than any earthquake and began to subside, slowly at first until more water poured into the widening gap to join that already there.
The pressure was too great! More water needed to escape and, like all natural things, took the line of least resistance… straight out! The avalanche was on its way and gathering momentum by the second.
Julie crunched into low gear, roared the motor and let out the clutch. It worked! The old truck moved forward.
“The windshield wipers!” she screamed. “They aren’t going! I can’t see.” All the time her eyes were riveted onto the rain smudged glass.
“Daddy pulls that black button out.” Helen, now over her tantrum, responded.
“Pull it!” Julie gasped.
The smaller Berg girl reached out and pulled the old fashioned knob and the wiper, there was only one, swung down in an arc so Julie could see the road ahead.
“Thanks, Helen,” she said, and changed up to second gear. That was it, though. In the hay paddock she had never moved into a higher gear and the thought of doing so now was too scary to contemplate. Sweaty hands gripped the steering wheel and the motor screamed along in second gear.
As it worked out, this was the best gear on the slushy surface. Traction held and the heavy truck floundered forward, blue fumes belched out the side exhaust and, at the back, Courtney held the flapping tarpaulin down.
Her face, though was white with worry. What if what Harold said was true and there was no time! She grimaced, brushed wet hair from her forehead and gave an encouraging smile at the dozen children huddled in the semidarkness. The tray stunk of half wet hay and animal dung but was dry and they were moving.
Julie approached the ninety-degree turn into Top Oasis with trepidation. She’d never attempted a move like this and was too frightened to attempt to shift back to low gear. Even Daddy crunched it at times. She lifted her foot from the accelerator, shoved the clutch in and steered right to give her room for the left hand turn. The disengaged motor screamed, Julie swore, removed her left foot, swung the steering wheel and pushed the accelerator.
The Bedford lurched, mud squelched from the tires and the cab swayed. But the double rear wheels maintained grip on the soft gravel and the manoeuvre was completed. Ahead was the long drive and, being sheltered by trees from the sweeping rain, the truck just rumbled up. The nervous driver leaned forward, teeth bit a bottom lip in apprehension as white knuckles gripped the steering wheel but she was determined to reach the house.
Liberty and Opportunity is a family saga centres around four forthright, liberal women, spans five generations, three continents and two world wars throughout the twentieth century.
The story begins in present day New Zealand when Nicole receives an ancient diary from her Canadian grandmother, Cindy that she begins to read. It begins in 1898 with Amanda’s elopement with her beloved Jack and her struggle to survive and prosper away from her domineering father in Washington State. The two begin a new life in Vancouver, Canada where, over the years, she develops a publishing empire.
Her daughter, Dorothy becomes a nurse serving in England. She falls in love with a soldier about to be charged for desertion from the trenches in the Western Front in World War 1. Will he be court-martialled and shot?
In World War 11, Cindy becomes a Land Girl in war torn England and tragedy strikes their family.
Each period in time is filled with drama, joy and sometimes tragedy, but vividly illustrates the determination of each woman to enrich her life through love of partners and families and a liberal outlook on life.
She wheeled the trolley into Ward 3 where three beds had the ominous white sheets over the deceased soldiers. She moved up beside the first body so the trolley was adjacent to the bed, then placed a wooden platter under it, lifted and pushed it up so the body slid across to the trolley. Like most corpses, this soldier had been extremely undernourished so the manoeuvre wasn’t too difficult. She pulled a sheet over the head and wheeled the trolley down a zigzag ramp to the morgue.
There, she removed the dog tags from the body and recorded the details in her notebook as well as a cardboard tag tied to the body’s big toe. The dog tags were placed in a locked drawer she had the key for. Her job was complete.
In the morning a doctor would walk through issuing death certificates. The dog tags and personal items would be sent back to the regiment the soldier came from. If they were not claimed by relatives within three days the corpses were buried in a nearby military cemetery. The funerals were held with military precision. Dorothy knew there would be ten Anglicans, three Catholics, a Presbyterian and a Methodist waiting to be buried the next morning. It was all recorded in the morgue’s records.
Dorothy’s plan hinged on the fact that there appeared to be no follow up check made between the dog tags and actual corpses. Her idea might just work but she needed a body similar to Tim in size.
The fifth one she wheeled in would do. According to the dog tag the soldier was Australian. That was even better. There would be no local parents wanting a body. With her heart beating furiously in her chest she placed this body near the door, slid the dog tags in her pocket and completed her collection of corpses. Next she headed for Tim’s room, nodded to the M.P., a different man from the previous night, and found Tim asleep inside.
‘Tim,’ she hissed. ‘Wake up.’
The boy opened his eyes and stared at her. ‘Hello, Dorothy.’ He gave a sad sort of smile. ‘It’s good to see you.’
‘I have a plan,’ she whispered. ‘Now listen…’
‘You can’t do that,’ Tim complained when she had finished explaining everything. ‘If anyone finds out they’ll shoot you.’
‘They don’t shoot nurses,’ retorted Dorothy. She knew discovery would mean immediate discharge and probably a jail sentence but the consequences of her action meant little to her at the moment.
‘When you hear me come back and talk to the guard, pull the sheet over your head and don’t move a muscle. I’ll do the rest.’
She smiled at Tim and stalked out of the room as if she was in a hurry. Dorothy depended on the guard not knowing the routines as she pushed the corpse she’d selected, still covered in a sheet, back along the corridor up to Tim’s room. Also placed on the trolley was a large first aid box painted with a red cross against a white background.
‘You won’t have much to guard, tonight, Corporal.’ She smiled at the M.P. and tried to sound frivolous. ‘I don’t think this poor boy will last the night.’
The young soldier smiled and ignored the trolley she was wheeling.
‘Is that so, Nurse?’ he said as his eyes strayed down to her figure.
Dorothy pushed the trolley into the door and shut it behind her. Tim immediately staggered up and, together, they rolled the body onto his bed. Tim took his dog tags and placed them around the corpse’s neck while Dorothy undid the tag tied to the toe and shoved it in her skirt pocket. She shuddered. If the morning nurse or doctor remembered Tim and recognised the body as someone different the consequences could be disastrous. This could happen but with so many patients and a changing duty roster, the changes were in her favour.
‘Up you get,’ she whispered and pulled the blankets up so the head was poking out. She nodded and Tim climbed onto the trolley and covered himself with the sheet. Dorothy swallowed and pushed the trolley out.
If they were challenged now everything would be ruined. She left the room with an enforced slow casual walk past the guard who watched her but didn’t say a word. It was one in the morning and he watched as Dorothy swayed her buttocks as she pushed the trolley away. If he was looking at her he wouldn’t worry about the man on the trolley.