A story sent to us by one young reader!

Major R. Thunderbolt gripped the sides slightly harder, clamping his jaw tightly together. (Not that it made much of a difference; clamping his jaw could not stop this flimsy contraption falling apart.)  If he had one of his favourite cigars in his mouth, he would have ground its stump to a pulp, a thing which he only did when he was nervous (which wasn’t very often).  Major R. Thunderbolt was hurtling through the air at breakneck speed with a crazy professor in front of him in a flying machine.  This flying machine, which had been clapped together by the eccentric, seemingly mad scientist Silas Arrow, had two propellers at the rear end of the craft.  Of course there were wings, but these didn’t seem too sturdy.  Two seats were in the body of the craft, which were currently occupied by Silas Arrow and Major R. Thunderbolt.  Major R. Thunderbolt seemed much taken in by the idea that this day could very well be his last.  To think that he had survived so many battles, sieges, sniper bullets, bombs, attacks, assaults and missions only to get finished off by a malfunctioning flying apparatus seemed to weigh heavily on his mind.  He closed his eyes, hoping he would miraculously wake up in his bed from this exceptionally bad nightmare….. after all he had not planned on actually flying in this machine.  The excited professor had insisted that the Major test the co-pilot seat for comfort.  Then the engine started and Silas Arrow shouted with glee, “Off we go!”

  “Well, that was quite a spiffing flight, wasn’t it?” Silas Arrow queried, excitement written all over his face.  “Next time you could be a bit more specific about what you’re going to do with this flying contraption of yours,” the rather annoyed Major growled, and felt to see if all his bones were in place.  “That thing nearly shook me to pieces,” he muttered under his breath.  “Well, I’m sorry about having taken my little machine for an early ride,” Silas shrugged.  “SORRY?  I nearly fell out of that thing!” said the Major, pointing an accusing finger at the machine, which hadn’t completed the neatest landing.  “I –” His words were cut short by the arrival of three men.  Both Silas and Major Thunderbolt didn’t like the appearance of these men, especially the latter, who had many bad experiences with shifty characters.  The three people advanced, and the Major and Silas instinctively pulled back.  One of the men, who seemed to be the leader, advanced menacingly.  Major Thunderbolt’s mind told him something was not right.  “Where were the other two men?” he asked himself.  He got his answer soon enough.  Suddenly both he and Silas Arrow were attacked from behind!  Then they both lost consciousness.

  THUMP!  When they woke up, they were bound and gagged. Well, what a turn of events, thought Silas.  Outside he heard crashes.  Evidently the robbers were searching his house/laboratory/work-shop for anything useful or valuable.  That’s strange, Silas reflected.  Hardly anyone knows that this place exists, and even fewer people know what I do.  Suddenly Major Thunderbolt sat up and proceeded to untie the bewildered inventor.  As soon as his gag was taken out he asked, “How did you get free so quickly?”

“An old trick I learned,” was the reply.  “Well, what now?” The inventor asked.  “Distract them, get a big stick and give them a ding on the coconut, then tie them up neater than an Easter ham.”   “If you put it that way…”  The Major then found two suitably large objects to knock the intruders with.  But Silas had a better idea. 

The ransacking assailants could hardly have been more surprised when they heard a very loud “Hallooooooooooo” from a corner of the inventor’s workshop.  One of the rogues grumbled “If yer didn’t tie those knots tight, Bill, you’re gonna be in trouble!” “I always tie me knots tight, Bob!” retorted the man who was known as Bill.    “Bert, go see what that noise was!” commanded Bob.  “Why is it always me?” whinged Bert. “Just go!” Bob shouted. But before anyone could go see what was going on there was a mechanical hissing noise followed by several grinds and clanks.  Suddenly a strange-looking vehicle ploughed through the mess that the bandits had created and screamed to a halt.  The vehicle had treads, with two seats and a triumphant Silas Arrow and Major Thunderbolt sitting in it!

After the three villains had been tied up and been taken care of, Silas rushed off to see if any damage had occurred.  He returned with an unhappy look on this face.  Major Thunderbolt said, “Well, I suppose all’s well that ends well,” “That’s all right for you to say,” said Silas dejectedly.  “These barbarians practically tore apart this place!!!!!  Most of my creations have been obliterated!!  It will take me months, maybe even years before I get this building back into the state it was before these philistines ploughed in!” “Well, then you’d best get started right away,” Major Thunderbolt said as he proceeded to light one of his favourite cigars.

The End


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