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Dorothy Small walked from the Post Office with a small package. The return address was Collinsville, Illinois. She looked more closely at the handwriting and she recognized her brother Bill's scrawl.
"I wonder what he's doing now?" she said to herself aloud.
Bill never seemed to be at one spot for any length of time. He was an archaeologist and explored the world in search of ancient cultures. The last time she heard from him about a project was two years before when he was on the search for a Viking presence at one time in history in the Lake Superior region. He had sent the children books on L'Anse aux Meadows that described a history of the Vikings who had landed in Newfoundland. He would send Christmas cards, birthday cards, and at the odd time gifts, when something took his fancy, but he seldom would tell her what he was doing, until he was written up by some journalist after a major discovery. He was three years younger than she was and her favourite brother. He hadn't married, but seemed to attract girlfriends easily. When he visited, she was never sure who he'd bring with him.
Whenever he sent a package the family would be surprised by its contents. Everyone looked forward to his gifts. They were unique and often were valuable from a scientific viewpoint as well as in a money sense. They were always beautiful. Bill had good taste. She suddenly wanted to open the package right away and see what was in it. But no, the parcel was addressed to Ms. Georgina Small and Ms. Meghan Small. She sighed and put the parcel in the car, then walked over to the bank before heading home. Their home was on the outskirts ofSpoonerville, a quiet rural community.
"Meghan Small! We are waiting!" The voice of the dance teacher was intolerant and tired. "From position five do an arabesque; flow into the last movement; watch your balance. You were wavering too much last time."
Meghan heard only the last part of the teacher's message. She had been daydreaming and her dream had been terrifying yet captivating. It had occupied her thoughts. The ballet teacher's voice had only just penetrated and Meghan turned red with embarrassment. She knew she was caught dreaming as if the world had slowed to a standstill.
"I'm sorry Ms. J, where did you want me to start? I really did not hear you."
This was a 'make up' lesson. Everyone was tired. The year-end concert was coming up in three days. Their class was putting on part of the ballet Gisele. She had being dancing 15 hours each week, along with keeping up with her grade nine school curriculum and studying for exams. Final exams were in three weeks and she was just about exhausted. She liked her dancing. She was taking Highland dancing, Jazz dancing and Ballet. She had passed her grade four-ballet level with 93%, the best she had ever done. Next week she had her Highland dancing competition. There just was not enough time for everything.
Why was the boy running for his life? Bits of memory from her daydream stole back into her mind.
Georgina Small felt the calf muscle in her right leg start to cramp. She knew what to do and slowly worked the muscle until the pain subsided. She looked at Meghan with envy. Her sister seemed to float across the stage. Her toes hardly even touched the ground. They were in the same dance class; Meghan liked ballet the best, but Georgina preferred jazz. They did like many of the same things and were supportive of each other. Yet they were no different than other sisters and did have their arguments. Each felt comfortable in her skin and could stand on her own two feet. Their rivalry was healthy. It complemented rather than detracted from their closeness.
Strange, Georgina thought, eight years had gone by since she had become a member of the Small family. Everyone thought they were twin sisters; they weren't, but she couldn't have chosen a better sister. Her brothers, Michael and Andrew, were away at university. Andrew was now 21 and was finishing his degree in geology. Michael, two years younger, was in his first year of archaeology.
The lifestyle of her family was full and active. Sometimes she felt overwhelmed by it. She felt she just needed to have a day to herself. She was not unhappy, but sometimes she felt unfulfilled. Yet she was an A student and had a flair for math. She had received an interesting letter from Western University, a university recognized as a centre for applied mathematics. It seemed that they wanted her to know the benefits of education at Western. The feeling of receiving recognition as a grade nine student from a respected university was very satisfying. Now it was her time to dance, and with a smile on her face and eyes bright, filled with anticipation she moved with grace as she stepped to centre stage. Suddenly all her frustrations left her; she was dancing and her spirit was singing.
Meghan watched and nodded with pleasure; her sister's dancing was good, very good. Throughout their childhood each had given everything to whatever she chose to do. Horse riding was a passion, but often for a different reason. Meghan was forceful, headstrong and sometimes reckless, while Georgina was determined yet thought things out. Meghan still rode, but in her busy life she often found she had to choose between dancing and her riding. Riding was a way for her to relax when she found the world closing in on her. Riding always would be something special.
Her horse, Majestic King, had grown into a first class jumper and in order for him to develop fully she needed an experienced trainer to school and work him carefully. She just did not have the time. Bruce Smith, the tiny little man, had recovered from his injuries, and once he knew that he had been forgiven, turned out to be the best trainer that Arthur Kane had ever known. Kool Cat (KC) won nearly everything he entered. Majestic King, too, showed signs of greatness. The adventure of The Bag of Bones Mystery would always be remembered. Adventure and mystery never strayed far from the Small family.
Copyright © 2006 George W.J. Laidlaw