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AMY AND THE SKELETON KEY

“What a difference compared with the other farm,” Amy said, “no animals here, but plenty of activity in the sheds.”

“Sssh!” Janine and Rita reacted simultaneously. “There are rumours about this place and something funny is going on,” Rita said.

“Don’t look so close, things are going on in there in the night and we think that Hose and van Dam are both in it,” Janine remarked. “Just play dumb, that’s the best way.”

The fast moving story-line travels rapidly through conflict after conflict as Amy is incarcerated in Holland’s St Rudolph Institute for wayward girls then faces a mixture of calamitous and tragic events leading to death and destruction.

In Store Price: $AU23.95 
Online Price:   $AU22.95

ISBN:    978-1-921406-90-4
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 196
Genre: Fiction
/Children's

By the same author:
DEAD CERTAINTY
JENNIFER AND THE BUNKER OF HORRORS


 Buy as a pdf  Ebook version - $AUD9.00
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Author: Alida van den Bos
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2009
Language: English


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About the author:

A member of the Australian Society of Authors and a diploma graduate of a world renowned correspondence writing school;. Alida van den Bos was born in Arnhem, Holland in 1930 and later educated in Tilburg.

With her husband and two children, in 1959 Alida emigrated to Australia where adventure beckoned and the family tried opal digging in Coober Pedy and Lightning Ridge where she wrote at every opportunity, using life experiences to produce a series of short stories.

Then came the move to the mid-western New South Wales town of Orange where Alida gave birth to her third child, and with her husband started a horse stud aptly named Running Hoofs, leading to success in local and metropolitan racecourses, all the time storing ideas and data to develop fictional novels of which she now has written eight, including The Story of Prisoner Number 329, Dead Certainty, and Jennifer and the Bunker of Horrors.

 

Chapter 1 

“Would you please get in the jeep?” the policeman asked while opening the back door for her.

Amy, a pretty young girl with big blue eyes and blonde, shoulder length, wavy hair, had just spent the night in a cell at the local police station in Breda. She looked around to see if she could make a run for it, but a second officer, a policewoman, sensing what she was thinking, took her by the arm. “You won’t get far,” she said. “It’s no use.”

Amy felt trapped; she had thought that maybe she could get away, but where would she go with no money. The policewoman had her purse and she couldn’t go home, that would be the first place they’d look.

“Why do I have to get into the jeep?” she asked.

“Get in and I’ll tell you why,” the policewoman said.

Reluctantly she did as she was told, then the policeman started the jeep. “Don’t worry,” he said, “we’re taking you for a drive.”

Amy couldn’t believe what was happening; it must have been that moron, Mr Temmens. She had been kicked out of her home by her elder brother, her guardian since her father had died two years before, and her mother had not stopped him. That hurt the most.

It was because she had run away a few times that she was being taken back by the police. It was not her fault; she had good reason to have itchy feet sometimes. She had stayed at her boyfriend, Frank’s place, but he still lived at home and his father wanted her to find her own place. She had started work in a biscuit factory where Frank worked and there she met Mrs Temmens, who knew she was looking for a room to rent.

“After work, would you like to come with me and I’ll show you the room you can have. I live just around the corner, only five minutes walk,” Mrs Temmens told her.

“I’m sure it would be great, but do you mind if I go with Frank first to get my things, he knows where you live.”

“Of course. Don’t be late though, we turn in early.”

The room looked all right; it was clean, a bit small, but the bed felt soft enough. She thought herself lucky to find a reasonable place so close to work and her friends, although she was not sure about Mr Temmens. He was creepy. She didn’t like the way he looked at her, he didn’t say much, just stared and made her feel uncomfortable.

In the middle of the night something woke her. She didn’t know what it was, but felt there was someone in her room, and then she saw Mr Temmens.

Putting his hand over her mouth he muttered, “Don’t scream, I know you want me, I saw it in your eyes.” He tried to open up her nightie while fumbling her breast with one hand, his other hand still on her mouth. He was lying on top of her and she tried to fight him off, but he was too strong and too heavy.

“You bitches are all the same. You turn a man on and then you pull back.”

She bit his hand and that made him really cranky.

“If you make a fucking sound, I’ll kill you,” he hissed. Finally she managed to get her knee up and kneed him in the groin, making him double up so she was able to get to the door and open it.

“Now get out or I’ll call your wife,” she warned.

He had no choice. He left.

In the morning, at work, she was told that Mrs Temmens had called in sick. When Frank came in she told him everything. “I can’t go back there; we have to find another room, even if it is further away from here.”

“Don’t worry,” Frank replied, “we’ll go at lunchtime. I’ll help you find something, you’ll see.”

This gave her a bit more confidence, but when they were having a break for morning coffee, she was asked to go to reception where two detectives were waiting.

“Are you Amy Landers?” one asked.

“Yes.”

“You have to come with us to the station.”

“Whatever for?”

“We can’t tell you, just come with us.”

At the station, a young policeman put her in a kind of large holding cell and told her, “Please wait in here until we have sorted out what to do with you.”

Amy had no idea what was going on or why she was there in the first place. After a while they told her she had a visitor, and the priest of her church, which she had not attended for some time, walked in. He asked how she was and if he could help. He must have expected her to be crying her eyes out, being in police custody, but instead she stood up from the wooden bench where she had been sitting, then looked him straight in the eyes and said, “Yes, you can help me by telling me why I am here.”

Her defiance surprised the priest who shook his head and replied, “No, I don’t think I can help you.”

Turning to the young policeman who had been attending at a discreet distance, she exclaimed, “Please get this man out of here, I don’t want to talk to him any more!”

As the policeman opened the door for him, the priest looked strangely at her, shrugged his shoulders and left. The policeman whispered, “Well done,” to Amy, then closed and locked the door behind him. She had been given lunch, dinner, tea; then a bed with a flea-ridden blanket and by then it was dark. She was told to get some sleep and still nobody had told her anything. Earlier, a policewoman had dropped in a bag with her toiletries and her best clothes and shoes. Must have been my mother sending them, she thought.

After spending an uncomfortable night in the cell, she decided to dress up and selected her nice blue dress, white coat and black high-heeled shoes with the straps and put her working clothes back in the bag. She wanted to look her best. Then finally while travelling in the jeep, the policewoman started to talk. “You are nineteen, right?”

“Yes.”

“Well, until you are twenty-one, because your father has died, your mother and your brother are now your legal guardians. They want you to go to an institution where you’ll learn some discipline. Your mother can’t handle you and when the priest visited you, you showed no remorse.”

“Why should I show remorse? I haven’t done anything, for God’s sake. It’s that moron, that Mr Temmens, he tried to rape me. Oh, I can see it now, he must have told you where I worked and probably told you some cock-and-bull story that I tried to rape him, if that’s at all possible. Yes I do feel remorse now, but only for not screaming when that monster came into my room. I just didn’t want to embarrass his wife because I liked her and now I feel sorry for her. If only I’d crawled and cried, maybe I would be free, but I’d never crawl.”

“I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do now to change anything, it’s your mother’s wishes. She is responsible for you until you’re twenty-one. If you behave, you may not have to stay very long. It’s up to you.”

They had been travelling for about two hours when she saw a sign, Terneuzen, 6km. A bit further on they came to a long driveway where there was a sign, St Rudolph Institute, Erected for the Community, 1930. Must be thirty years old, Amy thought.

Getting closer, she saw a large building at the end and was surprised that there were no bars on the windows. Looking around she saw more buildings, a collection of houses, a hall, a church, a few stores; just like a small village. A bit further away, a building similar to the main house came into view and had a sign, Boys Pavilion.

Some beautiful park like gardens were around the buildings, then she saw girls coming from one direction, making for the main building while boys went in the other direction, all happily talking and no doubt looking forward to lunch.

Past the lawns and gardens there were some open fields and market gardens where the boys came from, and she knew then she’d have no trouble escaping. The front door opened and a lady with grey hair stepped out. “I’m Miss van Dam, I’ve been expecting you. Are you Amy Landers?” she asked.

“Yes, this is Amy,” the officer said. “I’m sorry we’re a bit pressed for time, we have to go back now. Do you think you can manage, Miss van Dam?”

After looking Amy up and down she said, “Yes, I think so. Thank you for bringing her.” and turning to Amy, “Come on, I’ll show you around, just follow me. I’ll take you to your room and then you can have dinner with the other girls.”

It was a small room with a single bed, small closet, a washbasin on a stand and a chair. She saw there were bars on the window, but it did overlook the gardens, which she liked. It gave her some sense of freedom on the other side.

“Now I want you to get into these clothes,” Miss van Dam said, pointing to a pile of clothing on the bed.

The top one was a denim dress which she had seen all the girls wearing. Pointing at her, Miss van Dam said, “I’ll take the ones you have on.” Amy looked at her, but did as she was told, no good making enemies now. Miss van Dam then told her, “We’d better get back to the dining room, they’re waiting for us with dinner. We have a hot meal in the middle of the day.”

In the dining room the table was set and the chef, a Miss Hoogendam, was waiting to dish up.

“Everybody, this is Amy Landers,” Miss van Dam announced. “I’ll give you a few minutes after dinner to get acquainted, then you can take her to the laundry where she’ll work with you. Amy, Miss Hoogendam is in charge of the kitchen, she does all the cooking. Now enjoy your meal and girls, I trust you’ll help Amy. You know what I mean.” With that she left the room.

Miss Hoogendam started serving and the girl on Amy’s left whispered, “We have to stop you from escaping, that’s what she means. By the way, I’m Elly Vermeer. I work in the house.”

Dinner was not too bad, basic, but all right. She learned the names of the other girls and what most of them were in for. Only seventeen, Elly, an orphan, had been in foster homes before, but it had never really worked out. Joanne, who sat on her left, worked at the house of the administrator, but she was always running away, trying to join a circus and had not given up the idea. She only came in for dinner and sleeping.

Then there were Rita, Janine, Marian, Tina, Linda and Jennifer, with their ages mostly between nineteen and twenty-one. They had committed some minor offences or their parents had split up and their mothers couldn’t control them. They all worked in the laundry except Tina, who worked in the house and kitchen with Elly. All the girls came from Protestant families; there were no Catholic people in the institute, which was ironic since the south of Holland was predominantly Catholic

Presumably Catholic girls were sent somewhere else.

 

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