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'Cedric' a Story; WindReach Farm; and Book 6!

My story reflects the challenge I faced (and that's what it's all about!) while writing a piece using the words that the Writers' Circle had selected! As usual, the words I had to use are in italics. How I used the words should make you chuckle if nothing else!!!

I've been meaning to share that I became a board member of WindReach Farm in the late spring of this year. The new board is rebuilding and enriching WindReach's programs. It is challenging but exciting and rewarding.

You may not be familiar with this wonderful place. You can check out the website (not entirely current, but will give you an idea of what it is about, including the history)

'WindReach Farm strives to enrich the lives of persons of all ages with disabilities and/or special needs by providing opportunities to enjoy experiences in farming, nature, outdoor recreation, and other activities and to share those experiences with family and friends'.

An important part of WindReach is the therapeutic riding program. It's definitely popular and enjoyed by participants. And the horses are amazing!

WindReach relies primarily on donations. There is a separate Foundation and we are sincerely grateful for their hard work.

WindReach also relies heavily on volunteers. They play key roles in looking after the animals (there are all sorts!), supporting the therapeutic riding program, and maintenance of the property.

Let me know if you have any questions; I will do my best to answer them!

I hope you're enjoying reading Dying for Money because I've started to write Book 6 in the Meg Sheppard Mystery Series!

If you haven't got copies of all of my books yet, or want to buy some for gifts, they are now all available on Amazon in both e-book and paperback formats. Just search for 'Vicky Earle' on Amazon wherever you are! Your favourite bookstore should be able to order the books too.

Without any more ado, here's the story:


It was far removed from the boardroom Cedric would occasionally sit in. The meetings were always interminable with Lulu dominating the conversation and Marcus asking inane questions. It would take the others three hours to agree on the approach that Cedric had suggested about five minutes into the meeting. These meetings had contributed not only to the exhaustion of his patience but also to the death of his enthusiasm for the job.

He parked these thoughts and clambered out of his seat at the rickety, weather-worn picnic table. The sun was almost invisible through the persistent and irritating smoke. Only a speckling of golden light shimmered among the shriveled foliage of the trees that surrounded him.

Cedric had made a shelter using a large tarpaulin that he’d discovered in his three-car garage. He still couldn’t remember where it had come from or why he had it. But it worked well. It hadn’t been all that difficult to construct the shelter. He’d brought some basic tools with him and had soon made a frame out of dead ash branches that he’d tied together with tough sisal cord. The ground was lumpy and damp despite the drought, and the tarpaulin smelled musty, but he loved the solitude and the stillness. Unfamiliar birdsong was accompanied by rustling leaves and millions of buzzing insects.

The picnic table marked an abandoned campsite used years ago when the summer temperatures averaged less than 30℃. His wrist computer told him it would reach 45℃ that day. But he could stay out of the hazy sun and dive off a giant, granite rock into the lake. It was still deep enough by the rock, and only a two-minute walk. He always wore his clothes, including his boat shoes, and kept them on. Some days he’d stumble down to the lake and back about ten times—it was that hot.

He needed an awning and then he could move the ancient picnic table underneath it. He picked up some long branches and plugged his saw into his solar generating system which wasn’t as efficient as it could be, due to the smoke. Pleased with his work, he brushed at the sawdust that had stuck to his sweaty legs and arms. He couldn’t get rid of it.

Cedric syphoned more water from the lake into his filtration system and drank another liter.

The evening brought cooler air. He lay down in his shelter and decided this was the right moment to retrieve the cheesecake from the bag he’d submerged in the lake to keep it cool. He’d brought little food with him. He’d planned to catch fish and eat mushrooms and wild fruit, but his hunting and foraging skills were sadly lacking, and the pickings were meager.

He ambled down to the lake. The water’s edge seemed to retreat a centimeter further each day.

Thick green algae clung to his hands as he retrieved the bag which was, thankfully, intact. The small cheesecake was all that was left of his inadequate supplies. It had chocolate swirls and looked delicious. It had lost some of its integrity, but the vacuum seal had kept it edible. He hummed as he took it back to his shelter.

It was the cracking of twigs that alerted him. Someone else was around. He’d thought he was the only one mad enough to rough it in Algonguin Park in this summer heat.

A medium-sized black bear ambled towards him. His fur rippled as he moved. But Cedric thought he looked thin and hungry.

Cedric was not armed. There had been too much killing in the world and guns were responsible for almost all of it. And he hadn’t contemplated that animals could be a threat. He’d only feared the unlikely possibility of people showing up who’d disrupt the tranquility.

The bear approached and stood on his hind legs—not in a threatening way, but almost as if he was checking Cedric out. Cedric gazed at the cheesecake and then looked at the hungry bear. He ripped the wrapper off and tossed the cheesecake towards the bear which dropped down onto all four furry paws and sniffed the sweet treat.

Meanwhile, Cedric pulled his catapult out of his pocket, along with a couple of the small round stones he’d collected from the edge of the lake. The catapult was his only weapon. He prepared to sling a stone or two at the bear.

But he couldn’t do it, even though he’d heard that bears would come back searching for more once they’d found what they believe to be a source of food.

The bear grabbed the cheesecake in his mouth, turned, and trotted away. Cedric didn’t see him again, but instead of being relieved, he was concerned. He wanted to know if the beautiful young black bear was okay.

It was time to pack up and leave but he wasn’t going home. He’d sold his house and two of his electric cars while he was on his retreat. He was a lot thinner than when he arrived in the spring and a lot wiser now that fall was nearly over. The temperatures had dropped to an average of 25℃ and he would have liked to stay longer, but he had work to do.

Having time to think, to really think, had given Cedric the opportunity he needed to get things right and to understand what his goals should be. Before he’d spent this time thinking, he’d known what he didn’t want—his job as a criminal lawyer defending a cast of ghastly characters he had trouble feeling empathy for, and marriage to a beautiful woman who wanted him for his money and his famous family name.

But he couldn’t throw all the legal training away. He'd put himself forward to join the group that took on all levels of government around the world—holding them to account for climate change. He received about a dozen video messages from members of the group, some of them literally dancing up and down with excitement that he was joining them. After all, he’d never lost a case. He’d only ever lost a cheesecake.

Vicky Earle Copyright 2023

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1 Comment

Jul 15, 2023

You manage to write about a desperate situation with ingenuity and humour! Frightening indeed with all the wildfires across the globe.

Windreach seems like a wonderful place!

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