The Godmother 23

An alternative fairytale in bite-sized portions

Click here to read from the start of the story. Or buy the book, from Smashwords or your local Amazon.

Suitable for family reading

front door

All the Time in the World

It was Euphemia who picked up Buttons’ new passport and delivered it to Fincham House. She presented herself at the front door this time.

Buttons panted up the stairs, to arrive as Baroness Malegra was grandly declaring that her youngest daughters were at the palace. Euphemia said they would be back soon, and she would wait

She settled herself on a chair in the entrance hall and complimented Malegra’s hairstyle. The Baroness nodded graciously before she was seized by a sudden fit of sneezing and excused herself to find a tissue.

As Malegra disappeared upstairs, Euphemia sat forward in the chair to stroke him, but sudden pounding at the front door set him growling.

‘What is it, boy? Who’s out there?’

She went to open the door, standing behind the thick oak as she pulled. Something whizzed past and a picture frame shattered on the opposite wall.

He leapt to the doorway. A short, stocky man with a droopy moustache stood on the doorstep. Eyes glittered under a large sombrero. The man adjusted his raised arm to point a long pistol at aunt Phemie peeping around the door.

‘You won’t escape Rodriguez this time.’

Buttons launched, sinking sharp teeth into the gunman’s leg. Man and dog tumbled down the front steps of Fincham House and another shot rang out. Splinters flew from the door frame.

He released the leg and the man grabbed it with his free hand, rolling around the pavement and whimpering in pain as Buttons darted in and out, nipping where he could.

Aunt Phemie watched from the doorway. ‘Good dog, Buttons. Go for it, boy.’

The gunman waved his gun at Buttons and fired. A lamp above the door exploded. He aimed the pistol again as a car bearing the royal crest pulled up at the kerb.

A bullet bounced off the toughened glass of the royal limousine, leaving a spider-shaped crack. The gunman scrambled to his feet and limped away as fast as he could drag his injured leg. The security guard who’d accompanied Cindy and Harriet home overtook him easily.

old dog snoozing

Mistress examined him from head to tail to make sure he had no bullet wounds. Everyone made a fuss of him.

After the Mexican was taken for interrogation and the royal limousine returned to the palace, Harriet made them tea and toast in the basement with extra toast for Buttons. Slowly, his heartbeat returned to normal as voices chatted above him.

‘Thanks for picking up his passport, Aunt Phee. Now I’ll have more time to pack this afternoon. Did Harriet tell you? Alfie has asked her to carry on visiting him after we’re gone.’

Harriet blushed crimson and looked at her feet. ‘I just wish I weren’t such a beanpole.’

Aunt Phemie shook her head and tutted.

‘I’m sorry, lass, I havenae a magic wand to shrink you. And there are no magic beans to make Alfie grow either.’

Harriet protested. ‘Oh, I don’t mind that he’s short.’

‘So why should he mind that you’re tall?’

Harriet raised her eyes to meet Aunt Phemie’s.

‘Be your own self, lass. If you changed, you’d be someone else; he might not like that person so well. Would ye want to risk it?’

Harriet straightened as she considered this.

Mistress said, ‘After next week you’ll have him all to yourself. Where are we going first, Aunt Phee?’

‘There’s nae rush, lass. We can mosey across the continent first and maybe pick up a sea crossing. We’ll make a sea-dog of old Buttons, shall we?’ She bent to rub his ears.

‘Or we might fly down and drop in on some friends of mine in Tanzania. You’ll like it there, boy; lots of new smells. Then we could pop across and visit young Djarmin, who I’d like you to meet but he’s a mite busy right now.

‘So there’s nae rush.’

drawing of glass slipper

They all lived happily ever after.

Well, most of them.

Rodrigo Rodriguez was convicted of attacking the royal limousine and attempting to assassinate a member of the Regalian royal family. On his eventual release, he would be returned to Mexico, where he was wanted for crimes committed there.

After the judge announced his sentence, the prisoner declared he would use his time behind bars to write the history of the infamous Rodriguez gang.

On his way out of court, he was overheard telling the guard how he would enjoy learning to read and write.

Tabitha and Abigail helped the cub reporter write his story and subsequently landed jobs at the newspaper.

As fashion editor, Tabitha got to order people around, which made her happy and, strangely, less bossy.

Abigail became famous as Aunt Abby, answering readers’ letters. She married the reporter and they had a son called Jack – but that’s another story.

At the wedding of Prince Alfred and Harriet Uglie, the mother of the bride was seized by a sneezing fit at the wedding banquet. Her final sneeze was so violent it dislodged her elaborate hairstyle, which slid majestically sideways.

Newspapers and newsreels around the world featured photographs of Baroness Malegra, mother of the future Queen, with her wig hanging from an earring while flashlights reflected off a head as shiny as Humpty Dumpty’s.

old dog snoozing

Click here to read from the beginning.

The Godmother is now available in e-book and print from Smashwords and your local Amazon

90 pages, no illustrations

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