Chapter Ten: A visit from Grandpa.

Charlie was tired, and glad to be
heading home after a long day at school. The biology exam had been
nothing short of the purest torture. He felt like he could never
fully enjoy anything ever again, the exam had been so painful, so
dull, so unfair, so-,

CHARLES IS COMING!” Lizzy and Izzy grabbed his hands and spun him
around the lounge room almost the second he walked in the door.
“Grandpa?” Charlie looked at the
pair, dumbfounded.
“YUP!” The pair grinned back.
COMING! GRANDPA CHARLES IS COMING!” The three danced around the
room. Charles Howzat had been working in Central Ostraya as a
teacher. He had been pretty close to retirement the last time
Charlie had spoken to him, and was looking forward to coming back
home to Pleasantville.
“Will you lot can it!” Thomas
walked in.
“Why is Grandpa coming home? Is he
retiring?” Charlie asked.
“Yup. He's been told that he's too
old to continue working. So he's off to the Happy Old Farts home.”
Thomas sat down on the couch.
“Joe will be pretty thrilled too –
he, Grandpa Charles and Grandpa Timmy were best friends.” Izzy
said, unable to contain her excitement.
“Those two will be able to chat about
the old times. I bet they have a lot of stories from the war they
can share!” Lizzy added, bouncing around the room.
“He can show me his old sword fighting
moves.” Charlie grinned. Thomas and Betty were a match made in
heaven, as the Beglys by trade were blacksmiths and metalworkers,
while the Howzats had a history of sword fighting.
“He can babysit you three while your
mother and I get some quality time together.” Thomas thought out
“No. No more siblings!” The three
children cried out.
It was late Saturday morning when
Charles arrived at the Begly house. Betty had gone to pick her
father up from the airport in Brisvegas, while Thomas and the
children got his new accommodation sorted.
They were just putting the television
in position when the car pulled up at the apartment.
The three Begly siblings ran out of the apartment towards their
“Hey kiddos. Look at how big you all
are!” Charles climbed gingerly out of the car. He hadn't aged
well, and his joints were stiff and sore.
“Grandpa! Let me take your bag!”
Charlie grabbed the old mans luggage.
“Come on Grandpa, we cleaned
everything up for you!” Izzy grabbed his hand while Lizzy got the
Charles smiled at the three, and sighed
as he walked in the door. “It's true then. I am old and retired.”
He looked around the room.
“Did we set everything up right
Grandpa?” Lizzy looked up anxiously.
“You guys did amazing, thank you.”
Charlies sighed.
“You're coming to our place for
dinner tonight, aren't you Dad?” Betty asked, looking at some of
the art on the mantelpiece.
“Of course dearie. Just let me get
freshened up.” Charles smiled at his oldest daughter.
It was early evening when they finished
dinner, the Beglys and Masters sitting in the shared backyard eating
barbecued ribs.
“This is GORGEOUS!” Belle grinned,
stretching out her arms, belly full of pork.
“Isn't it just?” Joe agreed with
her. “And my best mate is back too.”
Charles laughed.
“Everyone knows you and Tim Begly
were the best of friends Joey, I just tagged along.” He took
another mouthful of beer. “Those were the days.
“Yeah, you and Timmy going at each
other hammer and tongs, and I always had to break you two up.” Joe
smiled at the memory.
“He was such an arrogant tosser
though.” Charles smiled fondly. “Don't know why, he was such an
ugly mug.”
“Still managed to woo Denise!” Joe
laughed. Charles scowled. “Oh don't look like that Charlie, you
didn't say anything!” Joe patted his old friend on the back.
“What happened?” Izzy asked
“Your Grandma Denise Fairweather was
the most beautiful woman you ever saw. I was madly in love with her
until your Grandpa Tim got a hold of her.” Charles sighed
melodramatically. Inside, the wound still burnt hot.
“Tim had a way with women. Thomas
seems to have gotten his mojo from him.” Peter laughed.
“I call incorrect use of the
Improbability Clause!” Bill chortled, making the table erupt in
“Do you lot STILL believe in that
stupid dumb luck?” Charles asked. “I suppose you still follow
that Code religiously too!”
“The Masters Code and the
Improbability Clause are over 500 years old.” Joe pointed out.
“And besides, without the Code and
the Clause, we wouldn't be able to be Chuckles and Giggles.” Belle
piped up.
“Ah, yes, I've been wanting to talk
to you two about that.” Charles straightened up. “I want to join
you on your crusade.”
The table went dead silent.
“Um, aren't you a bit old to be
running around Pleasantville in a dodgy costume?” Charlie asked.
“Nonense. A bit of experience would
help you.” Charles brushed him off. “I don't understand why Joey
hasn't put his hand up to help you.”
“Because I know I'm too old and I'd
be a liability.” Joe said quietly. “I coach from the sidelines
if I have to be involved.”
“Ah, I see. Being the “strategist”
as it were.” Charles frowned.
“It was my job.” Joe narrowed his
eyes at Charles.
“Was hiding behind the Code your job
too?” Charles shot.
“You know I'd never willingly take
the life of another, no one should ever be expected to!” Joe
“We had no choice, it was WAR!”
Charles fired angrily. “You're still a coward I see.”
Bill roared furiously. NO ONE called their father a coward!
“You and Tim, always hiding behind
those old family traditions which should have died out a long time
ago!” Charles muttered bitterly. “At least one of us has
“Charles, listen to me, you know you
can't go out and fight anymore. Even these two shouldn't be out
there.” Joe tried to reason with his old friend, but Charles was
having none of it.
“At least your daughter seems to have
her priorities straight.” He looked at Belle, who recoiled and hid
behind her father.
“I still follow the Code. So does
Charlie.” She said quietly. Charles narrowed his eyes at his
“No. You two need to listen to me
and stop relying on these outdated methods that this old man
preaches. He nearly got us all killed 40 years ago with his stupid
moralising.” Charles frowned. “If you're going to do a job, do
it right. If you're too scared to get blood on your hands then leave
it to those who will.”
“It's not about being scared Charles,
it's about doing the right thing and following the rules!” Joe
began to seethe. Peter and Bill stood behind him.
“What are rules if they allow people
to get hurt?!” Charles fought back.
“It's not the rules that are getting
people hurt, it's the people who can't be bothered following the
rules that are doing the damage! Listen to yourself!” Joe stood
up, an imposing figure in front of his two sons.
“Boys, sit down. Why ruin a lovely
dinner-,” Betty tried, but was cut off by her father.
“YOU listen to yourself! You're a
coward, you always have been, and you're now trying to stop the one
member of your family who actually has any guts from fulfilling a
very noble destiny!” Charles stood up too, just as furious.
“Grandpa, please sit down. We're
just trying to do the best we can, and Joe is right, you'd only get
in the way and cause issues.” Charlie tried.
“You still don't need to follow that
stupid Code! If you had disposed of Revolver and Marion properly,
then you wouldn't be here sitting on pins and needles waiting for
them to get back out and cause harm again!” Charles bellowed.
“Yes, but that would make the
children as bad as the ones they're fighting!” Joe tried to reason
with the now irate man.
“At least the city would be safe.”
Charles growled.
“At the expense of the childrens
innocence?” Joe glared.
“How can any child be innocent in
this day and age?” Charles sat back down. “You're a fool Joey.
An old fool.”
“We'll just see about that won't we?”
Joe continued to glare. “I can't believe you'd sacrifice your own
flesh and blood-,”
“Some sacrifices need to be made Joe,
don't you DARE judge me for mine!” Charles was back up again,
knocking over his chair.
“Maybe we'd better get out of
here…” Belle whispered to Charlie.
“Don't you DARE leave this table!”
Charles rounded on her.
That did it. Peter stood between the
two and glared threateningly at Charles.
“Beauty. Please leave the table.”
He said coolly. Belle skipped away as quickly as she could, this was
one fight she didn't want a bar of!
“Don't you move young man.” Charles
stopped Charlie from walking away. “You're not a coward like her.”
Peter growled. Charles eyeballed him.
“Go on. Hit me. Or are you just as
cowardly as your father?” He taunted the oldest Masters son.
“I don't hit unless I'm struck
first.” Peter replied. He felt his fathers hand on his shoulder.
“You're a good boy Peter. You and
Bill head inside with Belle.” He said. Peter nodded and headed
back inside, his brother putting his arm over his shoulders.
Joe looked at Charles, and shook his
head sadly.
“I'm sorry about dinner Betty, I know
you went to a lot of trouble to put this together. I thank you for
inviting us, and hopefully we can get together sometime without the
arguments.” He walked back inside where Peter and Bill were
comforting a shaken Belle.
“Well. That was a bit of a downer.”
Thomas sighed as the Beglys cleared the table.
“I have half a mind to never invite
those Masters over again!” Betty seethed. Thomas was taken aback.
“What do you mean?! Both of them
were equally to blame dearest, besides you can't just cut off our
closest friends over a stupid little incident like that!” He tried
to comfort her. She rounded on him.
“I knew you'd take their side, you
always do! My father happens to be your FAMILY Thomas, or have you
forgotten that?!” Betty snapped angrily, slamming down the cutlery
on the bench.
“The Masters are as good as family,
and the Improbability Clause-,”
“IT'S STUPID, that's what it is!
Nothing more than make-believe rubbish!” Betty stormed on.
Listening in were the three siblings.
Charlie was indignant.
“The Improbability Clause isn't
rubbish, I've used it plenty of times!” He said.
“It's dumb luck Charlie. You need to
grow up.” Izzy pointed out.
“What the-? You're Beglys just as I
am!” Charlie was shocked. How could his sisters deny their own
birthright like that?!
“We're also Howzats Charlie, and
unlike Beglys, we stick to our familys side and defend each other.”
Lizzy narrowed her eyes at her brother.
Charlie couldn't believe his ears. His
own sisters, who had looked up to him for years, were defying him.
“I love Grandpa Charles as much as
you do, but even I know he's wrong on this one. Just because you
love someone doesn't mean you have to agree with everything they
say.” Charlie tried to reason with them, but the girls were just as
stubborn as their grand-father.
“He's not wrong Charlie, I can't
believe that you'd say that!” Lizzy cried in anguish.
“You're pretty much asking me to
choose Grandpa Charles over Grandpa Tim!” Charlie tried to defend
“No we're not!” Izzy looked
insulted. “Grandpa Tim died a long time ago!”
“Come on Iz, let's go to our room.”
Lizzy pulled her sister away, leaving Charlie feeling lost and
Back at the retirement home, Charles
lifted an old wooden box out from underneath the bed. He opened it
carefully and laid the contents out on the bed.
Two long blades. Both had a solid
leather strap near the end so they could be worn along the users
Charles strapped them on, and started
shadow-boxing. The Arm Scythes had served him well over the years,
and they would serve him well again.

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