About Hexad: The Factory:
Dale knew he was acting foolish, and prayed Amanda didn't wake up to find him digging in the dirt. He couldn't help it though, however ridiculous it seemed. There was that nagging at the back of his mind: what if?
A blackbird chattered angrily from the lush cover of the apple tree where the blossom had faded, replaced by tiny fruits, annoyed at having its breakfast interrupted. The sunflower seeds in the hanging feeder were tantalizingly close, but they remained elusive until the man finished whatever it was he was doing.
The resident gray squirrel watched from the safety of a large conifer hedge bordering the garden, scratching an ear while it waited, tail twitching manically with anticipation, hoping that its horde of seed and nuts wasn’t discovered by the strange behavior being carried out on its territory. It tried to figure out how to steal the seed from the feeder while it waited impatiently.
Dale ignored the costly wildlife — it seemed like he was making a weekly trip to the local pet supply store these days — and stopped for a second to wipe the sweat from his eyes, then looked around guiltily.
He felt a little queasy, the wine from the night before lingering in the form of a slight hangover — he definitely should have drunk more water before he came out to dig in the dirt, but he was too excited. He couldn’t even consider stopping for such base needs when he woke up, the crazy conversation of the drunken evening with Amanda nagging at his mind like a cold caller refusing to take no for an answer, ringing back until you gave in and said, "Why yes, I do have a problem with my computer and I would be over the moon to give you my password so you can fix it for me dear stranger."
“I must be bloody mad,” muttered Dale to nobody in particular, forehead now smeared with sweat and dirt. He stared at his hands, then at the bare patch of ground accusingly. “Should have cut my nails, this will be a pain to get out. God, what am I doing? This is stupid.” Yet he knew he had to do it, he simply had to find out; what if it really had happened? How cool would that be?
Amanda would laugh her head off if she could see me now. Hope she has a lie-in so I can pretend I never did this. What an idiot!
Dale continued digging up the lawn while more birds amassed in the apple tree, waiting to take their turn at breaking their fast.
“What you doing Dale?” asked Amanda, huge smile on her face.
“Damn, you made me jump. Morning honey, thought you were going to have a lie-in.”
She’ll never let me hear the end of this. Probably laugh at me for the rest of our lives. She’s gonna remind me of this every day until we die of old age. Worse, she'll probably get it carved on my headstone: Here lies Dale; what an idiot!
“I needed a wee, and a drink, so I thought I may as well get up.” Amanda just stood there, smiling enigmatically.
Dale shielded his eyes from the morning sun rising right behind the love of his life, making her little more than a silhouette, but there was no getting away from the smile, certainly there was no escaping the humiliating vibe of condescending amusement that was emanating from her.
“Oh, alright. I know, I know. But I had to look. Stupid, right?”
“Well, you could say that, yes. Or you could say that you are still drunk and that you don’t seriously expect it to be there." Amanda waited for an answer, Dale said nothing, just fidgeted awkwardly, trying to remove the dirt from under his nails. "You do, don’t you? Oh my god! You really think it’s going to be there.” Amanda walked around to the other side of the tree, then poked her head out from behind the trunk as birds scattered into the safety of the hedge. “Ooh, it’s so exciting, I can’t wait. Go on then, carry on digging up the lawn with your bare hands like a demented mole.”
“There’s no need to be cheeky. I know it’s stupid alright? But, well, erm…”
“You could have at least used a trowel,” offered Amanda helpfully.
“I was too excited,” mumbled Dale.
“What was that? Didn’t quite catch it.”
If she smiles any wider she’s gonna lose it off the side of her face.
“I said I was too excited, alright?”
I am such a muppet.
Amanda burst out laughing, unable to contain herself any longer. The blackbird, the bravest of the hungry new parents that brought constant chatter to the garden from dawn to dusk, flew off startled. The squirrel retreated deeper into the hedge that bordered with the Tambornes at number 19.
God, what if the neighbors are watching? Nah, they’ll be off with the kids somewhere by now. Dale checked his watch; it was half nine. The day was set to be a real scorcher if it was this hot so early.
“Okay, stop laughing. And I thought you said you didn’t have a lie-in? It’s late already.”
“It’s not a lie-in for a Saturday, not after last night anyway. Go on then, carry on." Amanda nodded at the mess Dale had made of the lawn, tufts off grass piled high along with the earth he’d removed so far. A worm wriggled in the rich soil, but the garden's resident robin took a chance and quickly flew in, taking it back to the hedge to eat while it watched the scene unfolding on the lawn.
When he’d got up he’d quickly had a pee, got dressed, then gone straight out into the garden, unable to stop himself. He’d walked up to the tree, stood in front of it, taken two steps to the right, one backward, then eyed the ground excitedly. He felt stupid, but at the same time he knew that he simply had to look — just in case. Thinking about it now, it would have just been quicker to have got some tools out of the shed, rather than scraping at the earth like a caveman digging for worms, heart beating fast in his chest. Even they probably used a stick or flint, or whatever it was that ancient man used instead of a proper trowel. Instead he'd acted like an over-excited kid waiting to go to the funfair
Dale couldn't help himself though and his heart was still beating double-time. What if? He had to find out, he simply had to.
“Here you go my hero, this will make your quest easier.” Amanda handed him the trowel she’d got while he was lost in his dreams.
“Thanks. But can you stop with the sarcasm please? I know I’m an idiot and I know this is silly. You better not tell anyone!” said Dale in a panic.
“No way am I keeping that promise,” giggled Amanda.
Dale scowled at her. “As I was saying," continued Dale. "No spilling the beans to anyone, but you can’t tell me that you aren’t just a little bit interested. If you think it's silly then why are you watching?”
“Because this is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen Dale, that’s why. Plus you’re kind of cute when you’re embarrassed.”
“Oi! I’m not embarrassed, it’s just hot doing all this digging.”
“You’ve only gone about a half foot, that’s not exactly hard work.”
Dale waved away her nonsense. “Whatever. You gonna go and put the kettle on then? I’m parched.”
“Only if you promise to wait for me so I can watch you uncover the greatest invention in the whole history of the world ever.” Amanda wandered off back to the house, laughing loudly as she went.
“Fine,” said Dale, sitting down on the grass, staring at the hole accusingly. “Look at the trouble you’ve got me into. I’ll never live this down. Never.” The hole didn’t say anything in reply, but that didn’t stop Dale giving it another nasty look.
The robin landed on the pile of excavated soil, peering into the hole, taking a look at the carnage to its territory. It cocked its head sideways. Probably in amusement, thought Dale. It seemed that whenever he did anything in the garden there it would be, taking the chance to grab an uncovered worm or just indignant that Dale had dared to do something without asking permission first.
“Help yourself dude, I’ve got to wait for the girlfriend to bring the coffee so she can laugh at me some more.” Accepting the invitation, the robin jumped into the hole then emerged gulping down the end of a worm before flying off to see what else was going on in the garden.
“Coffee’s up,” shouted Amanda, walking up the garden then handing Dale a steaming mug.
“Well, what you waiting for?”
“I thought we were going to have our coffee first? And anyway, you don’t believe it’ll be there really.”
“Do you? Seriously?”
“Well, no. But, you know… What if it is?”
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About Al K. Line:
Al K. Line is a British author who lives in rural England with his wife, son and dogs (too many. Dogs, not wives or sons). The first to admit he was made to write his own bio he will now switch to first person...
Hey, thanks for stopping by. I write in a variety of genres, but I guess that what all ties them together is family, love, and the fight for survival. Be that in the form of Horror/Comedy where the zombies are after the brains of you and your baby, or in Fantasy/SciFi as in The Commorancy series where people try to cling to hope, and the chance of a new beginning, amid an almost empty world.
New releases include INK, a Dystopian Thriller trilogy where the pace is unrelenting and we see a man pushed further than he thought possible, and Hexad, a Time Travel series that is seriously testing my ability to stop my brain going mushy and oozing out of my ears.
Oh yeah, who am I? Degrees, jobs, living in other countries, fighting squirrels, cuddling monkeys, amused by penguins, all the usual stuff.