LOST AND FOUND
The next morning, while everybody (except of Kate who left to say good bye to George) was still sleeping, Elisabeth was having a very vivid dream about her doll Hesper.
She didn’t know what happened last night after Mary left together with her favorite doll. So after she woke up, she’d think it was only a dream, because every child knows that Pinocchio’s story was just a fairytale and that in the real world toys don’t become human… or do they?
What a beautiful morning, Kate thought to herself when she was driving down the hill and the vast panorama opened in front of her. It was the first week of September and the day temperatures were still high enough to pick a swimsuit and a towel and go swimming in the sea.
After a couple of minutes, Kate arrived to George’s house. He was already waiting outside.
“Good morning, George.”
“Hello, Kate,” he smiled. “I almost thought you forgot.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. What’s the time?”
“It’s almost seven, my train departs in a while.”
“I wish you could stay a little longer…,” said sadly Kate and her eyes flooded with tears.
“Oh, come on, Katie! Come here,” said George and hugged her. “You know this is not the last time we see, you are always welcome in Hidden Springs,” he whispered.
“I know, George. Thank you,” answered Kate.
“As soon as I arrive, I will let you know the exact address… It’s been years since I visited my daughter the last time so I don’t really remember anymore.”
“Don’t worry, George. I will find you,” smiled Kate. “Maybe we should rather get going. Is this the only luggage you have?”
“Yes, it is… but… I think it’s better if you go home, Kate.”
“Why? What are you saying? I want to accompany you to the station!” insisted Kate.
“I know, Kate. I know you want.”
“Well, let me, please,” she urged.
“I’d like to say good bye here, in front of my house… This is how I want to remember seeing you in Monte Vista for the last time.”
“Good bye, Katie. I’ll see you soon,” he smiled.
“Are you sure?”
“Very well… I’ll see you soon then…,” said Kate and walked towards the car. When she opened the door she looked at George to say the last good bye.
As Kate drove away she could see her friend in the rear-view mirror getting smaller and smaller until he disappeared completely from the horizon. I’ll miss you terribly, Kate said to herself. I’ll miss you too, George said to himself the very same moment.
By the time Kate arrived home, Zac, Finn and Elisabeth were getting on the school bus.
“Have a nice day you three!” Kate called from the car and waved her hand. Zac and Finn didn’t hear her because they were already sitting inside. Only Elisabeth turned her head and waved to her mother while smiling at her. When Elisabeth sat next to her brother, the bus pulled away.
Kate parked the car and went to have some breakfast. As she walked in the kitchen, she saw that someone prepared waffles for the breakfast, she didn’t hesitate and finished the last two.
When she went to the bathroom, the smell of David’s perfume hit her nose. Kate brushed her teeth and when she walked back to the kitchen and watched at the clock, it was almost 9 AM. Then suddenly, the door of the bedroom opened and David walked in the kitchen.
“Hey, Kate!” he said with a nervous tone in his voice. He put on the second sock and started searching for his watch.
“Is something wrong, David?” she asked as he was running all over the living room searching for something.
“Haven’t you seen my watch?”
“No… I haven’t.”
“I always keep it on the bed table, but when I woke up it wasn’t there…,” he said. “Where could it be?”
“I don’t know, honey. Where are you rushing anyway?”
“We have a morning rehearsal of the piece I composed. I’ll see you later,” said David, kissed his wife and left for the theater.
He arrived 20 minutes late, but when he walked in the theater, he noticed that he wasn’t the only one.
“Hey, Giuseppe! Ed hasn’t arrived yet?” David asked one of his co-workers.
“As I thought. Never mind, let’s start without him, guys,” said David and sat at the piano.
Kate changed her clothes and went to the stables. Since George brought Freya and Orion to her she didn’t have the chance to get to know with them better. Now, when her friend was gone she decided to dedicate the time she’d spend with him to his horses. If she wanted to make her dream come true she first needed to train these two. She had no doubt about Freya because since Bella was her mother Kate believed that Freya would be a great racing horse as well.
“Good girl,” said Kate as Freya ate the apple from her hand.
Then she walked to Orion’s box. He was a Trakenher stallion with a star-shaped mark on his forehead.
“Hey boy,” said Kate and caressed Orion. Then she pulled out a carrot from her pocket and passed it to him. Orion gently smelled the carrot and the next second it was gone.
Kate opened Bella’s box and let her out. Although Bella was an elder horse she still had plenty of energy and would easily outrun both Freya and Orion.
Kate brought a nice red apple also to her. Then she took a brush and started brushing Bella’s back. Kate always loved taking care of her horse but now that there were three horses in the house she began to think she might need some help.
She cleaned Bella’s hooves and saddled her up. Then she jumped in the saddle and went for a morning ride in the nearby hills.
Later that day, when both David and Kate came back home they sat in the wicker chairs at the porch. It was a beautiful day.
“Some interesting news today?” Kate asked David, who was reading the newspaper.
“Not much…,” said David and turned the page. “Oh, look!” he exclaimed suddenly.
“What? What is it?” asked Kate with excitement in her voice.
“The Little Pony is for sale!” said David when he saw a photo of the equestrian center with a ‘FOR SALE’ banner printed over it.
“Yes… Here…,” said David and passed the paper to Kate.
“The Little Pony equestrian center in desperate search for a sponsor,” Kate read the headline of the article. “It’s not for sale, David. They are searching for a sponsor!”
“Read on, honey,” David encouraged her. Kate quickly read the first paragraph of the article.
“…we’ll be forced to close down the center and consequently put it up for sale, announced Cécile Petitte, the manager of TLPEC,” Kate read the last sentence aloud. “They can’t close it down!”
“I’m afraid they can and they will, Kate. Come on, when was the last time there was something going on? Seriously… The Little Pony is over.”
“No, it isn’t!” said decisively Kate.
“It is, honey. Just forget about it…”
“No, David. The Little Pony won’t close down.”
“Kate, I don’t know anybody who would invest in a failing business in these days.”
“I will,” she said.
“Have you gone mad? You don’t even have the money to buy it out!”
“Wait and see. I will find a way,” said Kate, folded the newspaper and passed it back to David.
“I think you don’t know what you’re talking about,” answered David and opened the newspaper to read the entire article.
“Look, Zac and Finn arrived,” smiled happily Kate. David didn’t know about Kate’s plans to open the school because George was the only person she revealed her intention to.
“Hi mom! Hi dad!” said the twins with one voice.
“Hey Zac! How was your day?” asked him Kate.
“Great! The Writing Club is searching for new authors and my English teacher told me I should join!” said proudly Zac.
“That’s fantastic, Zac! I’m so proud of you!” praised him Kate.
“Did I hear someone is going to become a journalist?” asked David from behind the paper.
“No, dad. Zac is not going to become a journalist. Just one of the authors in the school Writing Club,” sneered Finn.
“And so what! There is the school newspaper coming out every month, Finn!”objected Zac.
“Fine, fine… You’re the best, Zac! Yaaay!” continued Finn.
“Enough, Finn!” shouted David. “Zac, why don’t you go and help your mother in the kitchen,” David smiled at Zac. “And you, stop being jealous on your brother!”
“Sorry dad…,” apologized Finn.
“Apology excepted but you should rather apologize to Zac.”
“Yeah… I will.”
“So, we all heard about Zac but we didn’t hear about Finn. So, how was your day, son?” asked him David.
“Normal,” answered Finn with one word.
“Normal, well… That’s better than bad I guess.”
“Dad…,” said Finn looking helpless.
“What is it, Finn?”
“Dad, I think I’m in love,” said Finn with the sweetest voice.
“Oh, so I think your day wasn’t just a normal day after all,” smiled David. “So, who’s the lucky girl?”
“Yeah… She’s so beautiful.”
“Well, I think she’s a really nice girl, Finn!”
“Beautiful… and her big brown eyes… like two chocolate candies.”
While Finn and David were talking at the porch, Kate was finishing the salad in the kitchen.
“Zac, tell them the lunch is ready,” told him Kate.
“Okey, mom!” he said and headed towards the door. “The lunch is ready!” Zac screamed from the door.
“Dad, don’t tell anyone… please,” asked him Finn.
“No… I’ll tell her myself when the time is right.”
“Very well,” smiled David and they both went inside.
Salad? Again? David thought to himself as he watched at the plate.
“Some problem, dad?” asked Zac his father when he noticed him staring at the salad.
“No, of course not.”
“Delicious! Isn’t it, dad?” Finn started provoking.
“Eat your salad, Finn. You will get slimmer,” sneered Zac.
“Does anyone have some problem with the salad?” asked them Kate.
“No, honey… It’s… It’s good,” smiled David at her.
“Right, now you tell me it’s good but then you complain with the boys behind my back!”
“Not with me, mom!” said Zac. “I really like it!”
“I really don’t,” said Finn honestly. “When was the last time we had some meat? I love meat!”
“Well, I like meat myself but you can’t eat it all the time, right?” said Kate.
“Well, I like salad as much as you like meat but you can’t eat it all the time, right?” said provocatively David.
“Enough! Eat it or leave it!” said Kate and looked offended. She quickly finished her portion and went in the kitchen.
“Maybe you should go and talk to her, Zac,” suggested David.
“Sure. I always have to cheer up everybody after you and Finn do the job,” he said, picked his empty plate and went to talk to Kate.
“Mom, don’t take it personally. You know Finn isn’t so fond of the ‘green food’,” Zac tried to sugarcoat the situation. “On the other hand, dad is not exactly the carnivorous type so I think he really appreciates your salads,” he smiled. “You can never really ingratiate yourself with everyone, mom.”
“I know, Zac… I know.”
“Just let it be, mom. I think they didn’t mean to push it so far.”
“It’s ok, Zac. You don’t have to excuse them.”
“Yeah… but I always do,” he mumbled and looked at the floor.
“Hey, why don’t you go and get to know with Orion?” Kate suddenly changed the argument.
“With Orion?” Zac’s eyes brightened up. “But mom, you said…”
“I know what I said. Go, before I change my mind,” she smiled.
“Thanks mom!” said happily Zac and ran to the stables.
“Hey buddy!” called Zac as he entered the stables and walked towards Orion’s box. He put his hand close to his nose to let him sniff it. It didn’t take long and Zac could caress Orion on his nose. He stood outside of the box for almost half an hour talking to the horse.
When Orion moved away from the door Zac slowly opened it and entered inside. He picked up the brush and brushed Orion’s body carefully. To his surprise Orion didn’t protest and stood peacefully in one place. Then Zac let him out, picked one of the pitchforks and started cleaning Orion’s box. After he was done cleaning he changed the water in the manger and put Orion back inside.
“I think that from now on you’ll see me everyday,” said Zac and smiled at Orion. Orion happily whinnied and went to drink the fresh water.
By the time Zac left the stables, Elisabeth was on the way home from the school trip.
“What’s wrong with you, Lizzie?” asked her Jane.
“Why would such a nice girl as you be sad?”
“Because when I woke up this morning he wasn’t there,” answered Elisabeth.
“Who wasn’t there?” Jane kept on asking.
“Who is Hesper?”
“My doll,” said Elisabeth and looked from the window.
“Oh, I understand,” smiled Jane.
“No, you don’t!” objected Elisabeth.
“Don’t be sad, Liz. I’m sure you’ll find your doll,” Jane tried to cheer her up.
“I hope he didn’t get scared yesterday night,” worried Elisabeth. “I hope he didn’t get scared and ran away…,” she continued.
“Here we are!” exclaimed Jane and stopped the bus in front of the house.
“Bye, Jane,” said Elisabeth and got off the bus.
“Have a nice weekend!” called Jane, pushed the red button and the door of the bus closed.
“Hey, Liz!” called Finn when Elisabeth walked in the terrace.
“Hi, Finn,” answered Elisabeth. “Haven’t you seen Hesper?” she asked him when she sat at the table.
“So, have you seen him?” Elisabeth asked again.
“No,” said Finn and turned a page of his book. “Hey, where did you get that?” he asked her when he noticed the pumpkin pie on her plate.
“I wonder where he could be… I’m sure he was in my room yesterday night…,” said Elisabeth and grabbed a fork of the pumpkin pie.
“Is there more?”
“Yes, mommy just took it out of the oven,” said Elisabeth. Finn closed the book and went in the kitchen.
After Zac left the stables he went to take a walk. He walked towards the beach down the hill from their house. When he reached the beach he lied on the sand and relaxed. It was a very hot day. Zac almost thought about taking a bath in the sea but he didn’t bring a towel with him. As he was relaxing on the sand he saw a reflection on the island across the lagoon. At first he didn’t know what it was but when he stood up he understood that it was coming from the old junkyard. Zac decided to find out what it was. When he arrived to the junkyard there were two cars parked but he couldn’t see anybody.
“Is someone there?” he called but nobody answered. Zac walked in and looked around. All he could see were piles of garbage, burnt furniture, old electronics, pieces of plumbing and other useless things.
“What’s this?” he asked aloud when he saw something shiny at the bottom of one pile. Zac didn’t hesitate and tried to pick it but it was stuck.
He carefully moved away some bigger objects that were covering it. He could see now that it was some kind of a cup stuck in the ground. Zac started digging around it until it would loosen up.
“Just a moment, this is not a cup, it’s a Genie’s lamp!” he shouted aloud when suddenly he heard voices approaching. He quickly picked the strange cup and left the junkyard through a hole in the fencing. I thought they weren’t real, Zac thought to himself as he ran away from the junkyard. But maybe it’s just a replica…, he continued thinking about the object he just found. Is it actually made of gold? It’s kinda heavy… Zac almost reached the house when he saw his sister buying an ice-cream from the ice-cream car in front of their house.
She can’t see me, Zac thought to himself but the very moment Elisabeth turned in his direction.
“Hey, Zac! Do you want some ice-cream?” asked him Elisabeth.
“No, thanks,” he said decisively and quickly ran up the stairs hiding the lamp from his sister.
This ice-cream is so delicious, Elisabeth thought to herself as she licked her ice-cream bunny.
Zac locked the door of the bedroom. How will I know if it’s not just an ordinary lamp someone brought home as a souvenir, he thought to himself when he observed the lamp.
“What do you think, Lizzy? Is this a real Genie’s lamp?” Zac turned at his lizard. It looks very old… and… dirty, Zac said to himself and rubbed the lamp on his T-shirt.
“What the…,” exclaimed Zac as the lamp moved in his hand. A violet sparkling cloud appeared in front of his eyes.
That’s not possible, he thought to himself when a blue-skinned woman stepped out of the cloud.