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Gordo and Dottie walked to the end of a dark hall where there was yet another rickety ladder leaning up the wall. As they walked down the hall, there was a dark room to their left with the door slightly cracked open. Gordo looked at it uneasily and stepped a little quicker behind Dottie. He heard the door click shut.
They climbed up the ladder and out through a trap door. It opened up to a small balcony on the roof. It had stopped raining but the moisture still hung heavy in the air. Gordo took note of the how slippery the roof was and how low the banister that went around the balcony was. It was apparently more for decoration than for safety because there was no way that it would stop anyone from falling off.
“Wow! Look at the view!” Dottie exclaimed.
Gordo then looked up and noticed they had a clear view of the surrounding countryside. Off in the distance, he could see the lights from the town, twinkling like a diamond necklace. For a moment, it made him forget about his fear of heights
Dottie sat down and leaned against the slope of the roof. Gordo joined her and lay on his back. Staring at the stars, he thought about how big the universe was. He wondered if there were aliens out there. Dottie was convinced their teacher was an alien, but he wasn’t sure. He couldn’t imagine traveling all the way to Earth just to go to school.
A falling star streaked across the sky, lighting up the darkness as if an artist stoked the sky with a luminous brush. It faded as quickly as it appeared with the glowing object falling below the treeline.
“Yeah! That was incredible! I think it was a meteor.” Dottie said excitedly. “It looks like it landed near the dairy farm. Hope it didn’t hit a cow.”
“You are supposed to make a wish when you see a shooting star, Dottie.”
“I wish something exciting would happen around here, it is so boring.” Dottie answered.
Gordo looked down at his rain boots, staring at the caked mud collected on the bottom of them. He had enough excitement for one night. Creeping into a pet cemetery, digging up a freshly buried dead cat and then bringing it in a soggy shoebox to this dreary place was not his idea of a boring night.
“I still do not get why you are going through all this trouble Dottie.” Gordo said.
“I told you, it is the right thing to do. Suzy is heartbroken about losing something so special to her.” Dottie sighed.
Gordo was not sure if the sigh was because of how she felt about Fluffy or if she was just tired of trying to explain it to him. Dottie did not have a lot of patience and did not like repeating herself.
“Dottie, these things happen. It is the natural order of things. I don’t think this is a good idea.” Gordo said.
“Well, this was an accident and it was not meant to happen. I am just making things right. Think how bad her little brother is feeling right now.” Dottie replied.
Gordo didn’t know if he was or not. Stevie did not seem like the type of kid who felt bad about anything he did. He probably hadn’t thought about it since it happened.
“Besides, once you have a plan, you shouldn’t change it. Haven’t you ever heard of the expression…Stick with the plan?”
Gordo’s eyes began to get heavy. He wished he were asleep in his toasty, comfortable bed. Today had been a long one and tomorrow was a school day. He had no idea how he was going to make it through class.
The sound of a buzz saw jolted him back awake. He shivered thinking about the horrors that was going on just below him.
“Gordo, we have to get more serious about our training. We have to be at the top of our game and I am not sure we are making enough progress.”
“Uh, okay.” Gordo knew that when she said “we”, she meant “you”. Dottie was relentless in her training after school each day much to the chagrin of her mother who felt she should behave in a more ladylike manner. Her mother was the one who was most outspoken against her taking karate lessons. Gordo’s training had so far been just plumping him up. To practice sumo, you need another person to wrestle. He tried a tree once but the tree proved to be too tough an opponent.
“If you want to be a famous sumo wrestler, you need to gain more weight. Have you been eating enough?’
This was a no win situation for Gordo. The sumo thing was more Dottie’s dream than his. His dream was to be a world famous gourmet chef.
“Yes but my mom makes it hard for me. You see the lunches she packs.”
Dottie frowned. “I know. She packs too much nutrition and not enough junk food. Has she threatened to send you to the fat farm again in the summer?”
“It is not a fat farm. It is a very exclusive summer camp.” Gordo bristled. “Besides, I am not fat, I am husky!”
“A husky has blue eyes and pulls a sled. Last time I checked your eyes were brown…but you have pulled my sled before.” She teased.
Noticing the scowl on his face, Dottie felt bad. “Don’t be embarrassed about your weight. They treat sumo wrestlers like rock stars in Japan.”
“I think I would rather be a rock star.” Gordo and then held up both his hands with his index and pinkies up and stuck his tongue out.
“Come to think of it, I think you need to grow your hair longer so we can tie it into a topknot.” Said Dottie.
They both looked at each other and rolled over laughing. The very thought of Gordo’s red curly hair tied up in a topknot was too much.
Gordo was rolling on the roof laughing so hard that Dottie suddenly worried about Gordo going over the edge. She was pretty sure that she would not be able to hold him if he started to slide.
Dottie felt her chest begin to tighten and her breathing become labored. Sometimes laughing really hard could trigger an asthma attack. She started to cough. Her hand instinctively went into her pocket where she felt the smooth hard plastic of her rescue inhaler. She turned away from Gordo and took a quick puff. The relief was instant and she began to breathe normally.
The sound of the puff brought Gordo back to reality. He knew Dottie did not like anyone knowing about her asthma and certainly did not like anyone seeing her use her inhaler.
“You okay?” Gordo asked.
“Yeah, it’s nothing. Just needed to catch my breath.”
“You know, I was thinking about asking my dad for a samurai sword.” Dottie stated, quickly changing the subject.
“If your parents won’t let you take karate lessons, what makes you think they will give you a dangerous weapon?”
“Well, compared to a sword, karate lessons do not seem to be such a big deal. Maybe they will let me take the lessons to get my mind off of the sword.” Dottie responded.
“Besides, what is the worst thing they can say? No? It is just two little letters.”
Gordo could not really argue with her reasoning. If you don’t ask, you never know.
“Besides, what samurai do you know doesn’t carry a sword. It takes years to master swordsmanship and I need to get started.”
“Honestly, Dottie, I don’t know of a single samurai in existence today.
“If you guys are done with your little chat, you can come get your cat.” Mort said.
They both stopped talking as soon as they saw Mort. He was wearing a white lab coat that was covered with dark stains. His hands were stained red and his hair was sticking out wildly in all different directions. Without a word, he turned around and went down the ladder.
Dottie and Gordo looked at each other with wide eyes and then followed him.
Next Week: The Horror!
Words and Pictures Copyright 2016 SF Varney