Hurt and Pain. Love and Revenge! Sherlock Holmes: The Cat's Eye Mystery is now available at Amazon for 99 cents!
Hurt and pain. Love and revenge. Strange bedfellows. Sherlock must face one of his greatest challenges. 99 cents at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H2D65WY
Billy, "Adventures in the Rose Garden Love," By John Pirillo. Billy and the Bully both had a lot to learn. A lot of it...really scary!
"Adventures in the Rose Garden"
By John Pirillo
"Hey there, Billy Boy." Snickered the bully next to his locker. Harold, a huge guy, who had been held back two years now. His final year, but not soon enough to stop him from making Bill's life hello.
Bill tried to ignore him, but Harold slammed his ham fist down on the locker bottom, causing Billy's lunch to spill all over the floor.
"Now look what you've done!" Billy complained, and then looked at Harold, realizing he'd fed the mean machine by blurting that out.
Harold's eyes narrowed, as if that were more possible, because he had the face of a pig, with narrow set eyes and slabs of Jell-O like fat jowls under his chin. He must have weighed in at about two hundred and fifty pounds.
"Sorry." Billy barely managed.
"Oh, you'll be sorry, all right, Billy Boy." He grinned. "Really, really sorry!"
Billy thought it was all over for him as Harold raised the fist of destruction, but Mister Cobbs, the next door teacher, who instructed in Math, happened to step out that moment. "Hey there Billy! How are you and your...friend doing?"
Harold glared at Billy, and then gave Mister Cobbs an innocent look. He put an arm around Billy's shoulder like they were the best of buddies. "Me and Billy were just discussing the nature of politics in the world."
"Really. How fascinating." Mister Cobbs commented innocently. "I'd love to hear that discussion."
"Billy, I'd heading for the cafeteria, could we talk on the way?"
"Uh..." He looked over at Harold, whose eyes narrowed to slits, but who let go of him. "Sure, sounds great. Just let me pick up my lunch. It spilled when I opened my locker."
He started to bend down and Harold dropped down too, and as he helped Billy sack his food, he whispered in his ear. "After school. The Rose Garden."
Billy nodded and got back up. Harold smiled at him, gave him a shoulder punch that rocked him, but didn't knock him down. "Well, good buddy, see you later."
"Sure thing, Harold." Billy answered and let himself be led away by Mister Cobbs.
As they walked Mister Cobbs looked pensive, as if he were weighing things in his mind. Billy had seen him do that a number of times before he clobbered a kid with suspension or after school detention.
"I think that Harold might be staying after school today."
Billy's face lit up. "Really!" On Mister Cobb's look. "I mean, really. What has he done?"
Mister Cobb didn't say anything. He just smiled at Billy, and then he spoke up. "Sometimes big problems can just blow away. And sometimes we have to face them."
Mister Cobbs gave Billy a friendly pat on the shoulder, then headed for the cafeteria without him.
"I thought you wanted to talk with me?"
Mister Cobbs grinned. "I just did."
Billy ate his lunch outside in the quad, as he always did. Alone. Everyone knew he was a push. Their slang for a kid that was a nerd and afraid of anything and everyone, but computers. He didn't think that was fair, though he had to admit he loved computers.
He sighed after he finished gobbling his apple down, and then went to the computer lab to do a Google on the Rose Garden. He wanted to know how many entrances and exits there were. As he settled into his chair, he began typing into the search engine. Immediately, a beautiful photo of rows of roses came up. He punched it with a mouse click, and then began to read. As he did he was surprised when the screen went blank for a moment, and then it lit up again showing the garden at night and the roses glowing like tiny stars in outer space.
He was stunned, and then shook his head.
"Must be a new Google animation." He sighed.
Before he could exit the page, it went blank and then the original photo returned. He studied the information below it, shoving the weird thing that had just happened into the back of his mind. Finding nothing he wanted, he was about ready to give up. Dissatisfied, he narrowed his search to ways in and out.
He put his head in his hands. He was going to die and there was no way out of escaping that terror from the primordial age. Neanderthals, his father called them. Kids like Harold.
"One day you'll have to deal with one. We all do." His father had told him.
His father didn't answer.
His thoughts were shattered by a girl's voice.
"Trying to figure out a way to dodge your girlfriend?"
He looked up. Across from him on the other side of the computer was one of the most beautiful girls he had ever seen. She gave him a smile that lit up the room. Literally. He gave it over to his imagination, just like the image in the computer screen, and then grinned at her.
"Don't have one."
She shook her head. "Why not. You look cool to me?"
He felt shocked for a moment, then stuttered. "Uh...really?"
She laughed, but not at him. Warmly. Cascades of silver blonde hair fell over her eyes a moment, until she shoved them back. She reached a hand between the computers. "I just love computers, don't you?"
She giggled. "Cat got your tongue?"
He grinned, relieved at her sense of humor. "No..." Shyly. "You do."
The bell rang. Lunch break over.
She stood up to go.
He ran around to block her path. "I don't know your name."
She smiled. "Tell you what. Let's meet after school and exchange names."
"Then it's a deal." She said, and shook his hand, much to his surprise. Her hand when it touched his, caused an electric shock to jolt up and down his arm. His heart skipped a few beats. He stepped out of the way and she walked towards the exit.
"Wait!" He cried out.
She stopped and looked back. A sly look on her face.
She nodded to the computer she had been seated at. "Check the note I left for you."
Then before he could ask more, she exited the room.
He rushed to the computer and saw a pink slip of paper. Blank. He flipped it over and then felt his face become flushed with heat and far. "The Rose Gardens."
"Oh...crap! I am so...so...dead!" He uttered, his voice croaking from the sudden dryness of his mouth.
He spent the rest of the day, looking over his shoulder for Harold, who seemed to have disappeared, and for the girl, who also didn't seem to be around. Finally, he just surrendered to the inevitable destruction of his life with the hope that he just might snatch a few moments of happiness before it was crushed by Harold, the Monster, as all the nerds called him.
The last bell rang and he lockered what he didn't need. Which was pretty much everything. He always managed to get his work done at school in whatever free time he had. Then he took a deep breath and walked for the exit and the street.
As he passed Mister Cobb's room he saw Harold seated in the room, looking at some work he was doing. Billy sighed a breath of relief, then his grin vanished as Harold looked up and gave him the three finger salute and a look that harbored everything horrible imaginable. Mister Cobb didn't see it, but Billy did.
His spirit crushed again, he dashed for the exit, made it outside, then headed for the bus, which would take him to the Rose Garden. He caught it just as it was about to pull out. The driver, Mister Corday, stopped the bus and let him on.
"Driving the bus today?" He asked.
Mister Corday accepted the fare, and then smiled. "Trolley every other day."
"See you tomorrow on the trolley."
"You bet, young man. Where you heading? No wait. Let me guess?"
He began steering the bus into traffic. Billy hung on for support to the pole next to the driver's seat. "The Rose Garden."
"That's just crazy!" Billy cried out.
Mister Corday grinned. "Where else would a young man be heading to in that direction? No ball park. No video games. No eating places."
Billy just grinned. Mister Corday always made him feel good about himself for some reason. "Go have a seat, young man. Don't want you getting hurt or something."
Billy nodded, and then slung himself into a seat opposite the driver. He watched the man as he steered the bus expertly into traffic, slowing when he needed to, speeding when he could, and then pulling over for more passengers.
Finally, after about half an hour the bus pulled up next to the entrance to the Rose Park. "Here we are, Billy."
Billy got up. Hesitant to exit, for fear of who might be waiting somewhere. He started to sit back down again. Then he saw a familiar face. The girl. She was on the other side of the gate waving at him.
"Looks like you're going to be having fun." Mister Corday noted, as Billy descended hurriedly from the bus.
Billy looked back. "Wish me luck."
"Luck?" Mister Corday answered. "I'd say you had all the luck of the universe at this moment."
He pulled the bus away from the curb and drove off, leaving Billy staring at the empty road.
Billy turned. The girl was beckoning to him. He gave her his best smile and hurried to meet her. She closed the gap and reached out a hand. He took it. He didn't know why he did. He'd never done anything like that before. If his father or mother had seen him do it, they would've simply had a meltdown. It was just plain nuts!
They went to the top bench in the park and sat down. The sun was getting low in the sky. They didn't say a thing at first. It was just so beautiful.
Finally! "I'm Billy."
"I know. My brother talks about you all the time."
"Yeah." She said with a grin. "But he's kind of a slob."
"Yeah. Sis is kind of like that with me."
She giggled. "Sometimes family feel more like strangers."
"I'll buy that."
"Sold."She replied with a laugh.
He laughed too.
She suddenly tensed. "If you ever meet him, remind him about the G.I.Joe I found for him."
"Hey!" Harold's voice thundered from behind Billy.
Billy jumped up, his body starting to flush with fear. He turned slowly around. Harold stood at the top layer, looking down on him. He had two very large friends with him. "Time to balance the books, buddy."
"Harold. This is just not cool. What have I ever done to you anyway?"
Harold signaled to his buddies and they spread out to approach and block Billy's exit on the left and right as Harold moved down through the rose bushes to confront him at the bench. Billy suddenly realized that the girl had vanished.
He looked around frantically.
"No one's coming to your rescue, little dude." Harold said with a nasty grin.
He raised his massive fist of destruction as his buddies grabbed each of Billy's arms to hold him in place. "Prepare to meet the fist of destruction."
"Mary!" Billy cried out, worried that she might come back and get caught in the middle of the beating.
Harold's grin froze. "What'd you just say?"
Harold gave an almost invisible wince, and then leaned closer. "Mary who?"
"I don't know her last name. She just said she had a brother who's kind of a slob and that sometimes family feels like strangers."
Harold's face blanched, but he kept his fist cocked. "What does she look like?"
He described her. Harold's face grew blood red with anger. "You little sonuva bitch, I'm going to tear your lungs out through your throat for digging into my personal life!"
He didn't know why he blurted it out, but Billy suddenly said. "She told me to remind you of the G.I.Joe she found for you."
Harold's face turned pale as a ghost. He waved his buddies off and they walked away, looking disappointed.
Harold sat down on the bench and began to cry. More and more.
For some reason Billy couldn't explain he sat next to him. "Why are you crying? You're lucky to have a sister as beautiful as that. Only ten minutes ago she was here telling me about you."
Harold looked up from bloodshot eyes. "You can see her?"
Billy afterwards realized he could have been dead for doing it, but he laughed in Harold's face. "Harold, she held my hand and told me what I told you. She's as real as you or I!"
Harold gave Billy a look that was just plain filled with awe and terror and then he got up and left, leaving Billy seated by himself. The girl never returned.
He went home, more disappointed than he could explain to himself or his parents who wanted to know where he'd been, and then what had happened. When he told them, his father and mother looked at each other in disbelief and then at him.
"Son." His father said, carefully choosing his words.
"Harold's sister died two years ago in a car accident. She was run down by a drunk driver in front of Harold's home. It was in all the papers that week."
Billy froze for a moment, and then went into deeper shock.
When he went to school the next day, he was still in a shock of sorts, not looking at anyone or anything. Finally, he headed to Mister Cobb's room. He went in.
Mister Cobb looked up. "Billy, what's wrong?"
"I fell in love."
Mister Cobb's face lit up, and then he frowned. "What's wrong?"
Mister Cobb didn't know how to respond to that, and before he could Harold came into the room and handed some homework to him.
Harold turned to Billy and offered a hand. "I'd like to start over. If you can forgive me."
Billy stood stock still, his mouth hanging open. Mister Cobbs was in shock too.
Harold grinned. "And if you ever talk about my sister again, I'm going to..."
He rushed forward and Billy expected the worst, as did Mister Cobb who jumped up to get between them, but instead Harold put his arms around Billy and Mister Cobbs.
Billy went home that day, with a new friend and a beautiful memory. That weekend he took a bus to the cemetery where Mary was buried. He placed a bouquet of daisies on the gravesite, and then smiled. "Thanks!" He said, his heart filled with wonder and grief at the same time.
He worked his way through the cemetery towards the entrance where his father and mother were parked. As he closed in on it, a young girl about a year younger than him stepped from the side of a tree. She gave him an imploring look. "Can you help me find my dog? He ran away."
Billy went to his parents and told them, and they came out to help. It took them all of ten minutes. Finally, they cornered the little rascal. A tiny terrier with big brown lovable eyes. It licked all over the girl's face, who laughed like an angel.
His mother and father exchanged looks when Billy asked. "How'd you get here?"
She freaked. "Oh my God! I missed it. I have no way home!"
Billy looked at his mom and dad and they nodded.
"I think you do."
She smiled at him.
And just past her shoulders he could see a swirling mass of white light and a beautiful blonde girl in it, waving at him.
"Good-bye." He whispered.
The girl he had helped looked startled. "You're leaving me?"
Billy smiled. "No, not you. Just a memory and an angel that I loved once."
Then he took her hand and they walked with his parents back to the car. He didn't know her name, but he would. This week he had found love, lost it, made an enemy and found a friend, and now who knew what the future held. He smiled as he opened the rear door to their Ford Explorer for her to climb inside.
He grinned and when no one was looking, waved back at the place he had seen Mary. "Thanks!
Then he climbed into the car beside the girl and his parents drove him and her off into the future. Uncertain. But certain to be sure of surprises. Some bad. Some good.
Plume, "Adventures of Love," By John Pirillo. She had two weeks to live, but she had a garden of roses and love to last her a lifetime.
Adventures in the Rose Garden
By John Pirillo
The Rose Garden is a special place. I still remember it from before. Elevated along the tiered slope of a massive hill, it was layer after layer of roses that grew endlessly for miles...or what seemed like miles. Red. Blue. Yellow. Green. Orange. Purple. Violet. White. Black. You name it. They were all there and a thousand variations, hybrids of roses that had been specially cultivated to exhibit a certain look.
Some were grown to have black tips, some red, and some orange. Some had feather tips that stretched their petals outwards like a tongue thick at the base and tapering at the tip. Some had hats upon their crown, filled with fluffy colors. Some were brassy looking. Bright copper colors that shone in the morning sun, and glowed at night.
It was a special place. The Rose Garden. It was there I found peace of mind. There I found....romance.
Plume was a silly girl. No one knew why exactly in retrospect, but at the time it seemed to be the right way to look at her. She was all colors and soft things, dolls and sweets. A teen of sixteen she was reaching the blossoming of adulthood in all its glory...and some might say, misery. But not Plume. Eva May Desiree was her real name. But Plume was her given name. In the Rose Garden. It named her, as it named all who entered its rich, scented atmosphere.
The Rose Garden is like a piece of heaven detached and planted on earth to give those who have aching hearts or lonely hearts a chance to thrive, to be nourished and uplifted. To find real love, or true love.
Plume got up that morning in her small apartment, slipped from her cotton sheets onto the hardwood floor of the three bedrooms flat that overlooked the San Francisco Bay. It was an ordinary day after an ordinary night. Not because it was dull and dreary, but because it was just another beautiful day in a great city. A city of lights, hope and dreams.
She slippered her feet with moccasins of tender pink and orange, then looked out her bay window. She opened the windows with the side levers on both sides, until she could fill her lungs with the fresh taste of the tangy salt air blowing in from the bay. She could see the long lines of cars and trucks, all colors of the rainbow, marching back and forth on the distant Golden Gate. She imagined herself in one of those cards, or perhaps seated on the front seat alongside one of the husky drivers who rammed their trucks through city after city to deliver exotic goods and products that everyone needed, such as bread, gas, bathroom products, and Wal-Mart goodies. It seemed so exotic to her.
You see what made Plume really special was that she had only a few more weeks to enjoy the view. Each day that she got up, she knew she only had one less than the last day. She had terminal cancer. It was eating her brain stem up. The doctors told her that she'd started having gaps in memory, and malfunctions with her body, but not completely, just bits and pieces until the stem lost all its ability to keep communications open between her mind and body, then her brain would die because the heart would stop pumping blood to it. Her muscles would refuse to move her body and she would become paralyzed.
Her mother was at work, even though she hated missing one moment with her daughter. But with her father gone for several years now, her mother had to work to pay the expenses of their apartment, as well as her medical expenses. Thousands and thousands of dollars. That made Plume sad, but not for long. Her mother was strong. She would survive. And besides, even the approaching blackout for her life couldn't put a dent in her positive nature. She believed the world was a place of miracles. Each second was a moment of great excitement to her.
That was especially true since she'd found the Rose Garden.
Every day she woke up she made herself a promise to see just one more part of the world about her, and the day before she'd found the Rose Garden. Quite by accident. She had been seeking a way to get to the tallest hill where she could take pictures with her camera phone of the bay to share with her mother and cheer her up, but for some reason, her mother would break into tears instead and hold her tight, as if she were going to burst apart if she didn't.
So she was determined to go back again this day. She hurriedly threw on socks, jeans, a thick sweater...it was cool outside...and a hat to protect her head from the sun. She looked kind of like a Raggedy Ann, because all her clothes mismatched. She was put together from all kinds of colors and textures. It was her contribution to her life. Her artistic side.
She snatched up her drawing tablet, some pencils and erasers, jammed them into her purse, left a quick note for her mom so she wouldn't be worried, then ran out of the apartment, locking it behind her. She just made it downstairs in time to catch the trolley. She heard its ding ding, clanking sound as she was dashing down the stairwell of the four story building.
She reached the street and the trolley driver, Mister Corday, waved at her. He made a gesture at the trolley and she nodded. He slowed for her to a stop. She dashed on board. "Thanks, Mister Corday!"
"My pleasure, Plume. Where to?"
"The Top of the World!" She told him, her eyes bright with the fever of desire. He nodded, put the trolley back into gear and it levered back out into traffic, picking up speed.
It was a little game they played. He pretended to be her chauffeur, and she pretended he was. She put her fare in the cup before her, watched it get gobbled down its throat and roll into the space where all the coins went, then excitedly, ran up to the top deck, where she immediately went to the front.
It was full, except for one spot. Next to a young man, maybe a year or two older than herself. He didn't bother looking up when she sat down, so she ignored him at first, instead twisting about to watch the buildings roll past as the trolley climbed the steep hill.
She looked back at the young man. He was handsome in a dark kind of way. His hair was Beatles length and he wore a diamond stud in his right ear. A tiny tattoo marked his left ear. The shape of a heart. His hands were strong with long fingers. He wore jeans and a cord shirt with a button down collar.
"It's so exciting." She finally said.
The adults about her smiled, but said nothing.
The young man looked up. "You're odd looking." He said, and then looked down again.
"Thanks." She told him.
That got to him. He looked up again. "You're stupid too."
She laughed. "Stupid is as stupid does."
He gave her a suspicious look. "Are you calling me stupid?"
She ignored his question. Looked uphill where they were traveling. He said no more. She turned around and looked at him again. "It's so exciting."
He looked up and gave her an annoyed look. "You've already said that."
She smiled. "I would have remembered if I had?"
"Are you calling me a liar?"
She shrugged. "Lies are like tiny balloons. The more you pop, the more annoying they become."
He started to get up, and then decided against when the trolley made a jarring stop, dropping him back in place. She looked away, which contented him. Maybe she was through bothering him.
She looked back at him again. "It's so exciting." She told him, putting even more energy into her voice.
He looked up again, this time ready to explode, but the look on her face froze him in his tracks. "You're different, you know that?"
"Mom tells me I'm special."
He nodded. "That I can believe."
He looked down again. He felt her still staring at him, so he looked up again. "What?"
"So exciting!" He finished for her, surprising her. "Look, how many times are you going to repeat that stupid thing?"
She burst into tears. The adults gave the young man stern looks, which he completely ignored, but somehow Plume had struck a chord in his being. He raised a hand and it held a heart in it. "Would you like one?"
She rubbed at the tears in her eyes, and then saw the heart. It was a candy heart. It said "I love you."
"Mom tells me never to talk to strangers."
He laughed. She did too.
She looked at the heart in her hand. "What's this?"
He gave her a surprised look. "I just gave it to you."
"I'm not supposed to talk to strangers."
She gave him the heart back.
The trolley stopped. She looked over the side. "We're here!"
She forgot all about the young man as she raced to be first off the car. She flung herself down the stairwell, gave a smile to Mister Corday. He nodded. She stopped and looked back. "Do I know you?"
He laughed. "I'm Mister Corday."
She smiled broadly. "Thanks, Mister Corday."
She got off the trolley.
The trolley started up again as Mister Corday steered her once more. It began to turn on its tracks to face back down the hill.
Plume danced up the long hill of steps that rose into the Rose Garden, skipping one, dancing another, then skipping again. She reached the top, breathless and excited, and then spun around, taking in the view. Rows and rows and rows of beautiful roses.
"I love you!" She told the roses.
For a brief moment it felt like the entire hillside gave off a glow. The roses lit up like tiny light bulbs and turned faces towards her. But it must have been an illusion, because when she blinked her eyes everything was the same again.
She went to the bench that let her look out over the city, and the roses at the same time. She reached into her purse, took out a brush and began smoothing her hair back into place, enjoying the feeling of the bristles of the brush as it massaged her scalp at the same time it put order into her hair.
She felt rather than saw him arrive. She turned around and a strange boy stood there. He looked at her with such lonely eyes that she wanted to take him in her arms and cuddle him, to make him feel better.
"Hi!" He said.
"Hello. Do I know you?"
He smiled and sat down next to her.
"My name is Plume." She said, offering a hand to him.
He took it and didn't let go for a long time, then trembling he looked up into her eyes and smiled. A smile so full of light and friendship that her heart tumbled for a couple of beats, missing its rhythm.
"I love you." He told her.
He held out a heart in his hand. "You forgot this."
She took it and flipped it over. "I love you."
She looked into his eyes and her heart tumbled again.
"Do I know you?"
"Forever." He said, taking her hand in his.
She laughed. "Silly. I don't talk to strangers."
"Then let's not be strangers."
"Here." He told her. He handed her a second heart. She took it and looked at it. "I love you."
She sat on the bench until the sun went down.
He sat beside her, his left hand holding her right.
She didn't ask him again who he was. Some part of her remembered.
The next morning they met again at the top of the hill. And again they introduced themselves to each other. Each time she sat down on the bench, the Rose Garden seemed to light up for a moment.
But there came a day when she could no longer leave her apartment.
She lay on her bed, trying to remember what she had forgotten. They she looked over on her nightstand where thirteen hearts lay. Each one said "I love you."
Her mom took off the rest of the week to be with her. Her employer finally took mercy on her and offered to pay her for the day off.
She stayed with Plume when the doctor saw her, and when the doctor left shaking his head. She fell asleep holding her daughter's hand, hearing her breath go in and out, sometimes easily, sometimes with great effort.
The doorbell rang.
She ignored it.
The doorbell rang again.
She sighed, let go of Plume's hand, and then raced to the door.
Plume's eyes opened and from where she lay, she could see rows and rows of roses, all colors of the rainbow. And a handsome young man stood there at its gate, holding out a heart for her, just like the ones she had on her nightstand. She smiled at him and he smiled back. She rose from her bed and went to him. He took her hand.
"I shouldn't talk to strangers."
"I'm not stranger, Plume." He told her. Then he gave her a new heart.
She read it. "Forever."
She looked at him, smiling the same time as her mother stepped back into the bedroom. Her mom froze. A beautiful tunnel of white light stretched from the bedroom out the window. She saw Rose standing there with a young man. They were laughing. As they began walking further into the light her Mom could see a vast garden with row after row of beautiful roses, their faces lit up like light bulbs. It was like looking at millions of living rainbows. She felt her heart skip a beat. It was so beautiful!
Plume stopped for a moment and looked back. Her mom tensed. Plume raised a hand, waved, then blew a kiss and took the young man's hand. He put an arm around her shoulder and they vanished into the light.
Her Mom looked away and Rose lay on her bed, her eyes wide open. A smile on her lovely face.
Between her fingers was a new heart. "Forever."
John Pirillo"Writing fuels the heart and soul!" Science Fiction, Fantasy and Adventure Tales to Take Your Breath Away!