Timber Supplies One

Noah’s unease deepened, casting an eerie pall over the night as he navigated the dimly illuminated carpark, his steps leading him towards the luminous expanse of hardware stores. Lucas’s adage, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction,” reverberated within his mind, a mantra that had guided their scheming for this very night. Lucas, a master of calculated precision, invariably harboured a reservoir of novel concepts, perpetually concealed within the recesses of his imagination. Yet, scepticism gripped Noah, who perpetually remained uncertain about the wisdom behind these ventures—especially tonight.


Spotting Lucas and his companions clustered near the neon beacon heralding the entrance to the preeminent hardware supplies store Cheltenham boasted, Noah discreetly manoeuvred, skirting the perimeter and keeping a safe distance from the light that emanated from the open storefronts. Hidden amidst the intricacies of scaffolding and roof tiles lay concealed cameras, a facet of surveillance well-known to few. However, Noah’s role demanded unwavering vigilance, an attribute he embraced with diligence. He meticulously noted the formidable toolbox slung over Lucas’s shoulder, the nonchalant manner in which Harvey toyed with a handful of nails, and the glimmer of steel that adorned their boot tips. An eclectic assemblage of individuals, united by their stakes in an ongoing land dispute, congregated before him. Noiselessly, he melded into their ranks, his gaze shifting across adjacent establishments in search of any telltale signs of activity.


Lucas’s voice resonated, issuing forth with conviction. “It needs to be taller than that. We’re well past the Stone Age. Ladders can’t be the answer.”


He gestured towards the opposite side of the road, wherein rested one of the many establishments servicing the Cheltenham region with the best timber fencing supplies Cheltenham had. Despite the hour’s lateness, the store buzzed with activity as tradesmen, undoubtedly comprising night shift workers, swarmed its vicinity.


Harvey voiced his curiosity. “Think they’ll have what we’re after?”


Lucas’s affirmation came, marked by the incisive interplay of red neon light dancing across his chiselled features. “Cameron insists the fence must be as substantial as two individuals, necessitating more timber than that establishment can provide.” A dismissive gesture directed them towards the store they had left behind. “Prepare yourselves, gentlemen.”


Treehouse Timber

‘So Dave is up there right now?’ my sister Cheryl raised an eyebrow, leaning sideways off the couch to look out the window and into our backyard.

‘He sure is,’ I sighed, taking a long sip of my tea.

‘Son of a—’ we heard Dave yell, followed by a muffled thump.

‘Oh, my god, Jessica!’ Cheryl got to her feet, dropping her teacup onto the coffee table. ‘He just fell out of the tree.’

‘Sounds about right,’ I nodded, not turning around.

‘Should we go help him?’

‘Give him ten more seconds,’ I shrugged.

‘Ten more…’ Cheryl looked confused. A muffled groan found its way into the living room, as Dave flashed us a thumb’s up.

‘See, he’s fine,’ I pointed. ‘We have a system.’

‘What system?’

‘If he doesn’t let me know he’s fine within thirty seconds of falling out of the tree, then I call the ambulance.’

‘This has happened before?’

‘It’s actually the third time it’s happened since you got here,’ I told her. ‘He’s genuinely not well balanced enough to be building a treehouse.’

‘Is he… okay?’

‘Yeah, whenever he’s had enough he just pretends he has to duck out to our local hardware store in Cheltenham.’

‘Okay,’ Cheryl frowned, slowly sinking back into the couch. She picked up her tea again, nervously watching Dave climbing up the tree trunk.

‘See,’ I gestured, ‘no problem at all.’

‘He might be bleeding,’ she squinted.

‘It’s probably old blood, I’m making him wear the same clothes every time he goes up there.’


‘Because of all the blood,’ I frowned. Obviously.

Another muffled yelp and thud echoed in from outside.

‘Hmm,’ I nodded. ‘That was a quick one.’

Cheryl sat in a stunned silence for a few moments. Eventually the screen door slid open, and Dave stuck his head in.

‘Hiya Cheryl,’ he beamed. ‘I’m just ducking out to grab building supplies from a store near Cheltenham. Won’t be long.’

Whistling, he walked through the house and out the front door, starting the car.

‘Should he be driving?’ Cheryl whispered to me.

‘Just drink your tea, Cheryl’ I rolled my eyes.


Hardware Store Hunt

Maphira made sure that Vai entered the hardware store first, intending to never take her eyes off the woman. They hadn’t said a word on the drive over, although Vai had certainly tried, only to be cut off by Maphira after a single syllable got out. She simply wasn’t ready to listen to the lies of the snake that had slithered its way into the Resistance.

“We’re here – can I talk now?” Vai said once they were through the doors. “You dragged me with you on this little adventure for timber supplies sold in Cheltenham, or whatever it is you’re getting.”

“Would you just shut up and help me find the electrical supplies? I’m not in much of a mood to chat with the woman who stabbed me in the back and doomed humanity to this robot dystopia.”

Vai shrugged. “Fair enough. Just know it wasn’t personal. I was only doing it for the money. I convinced myself that the world was better off for being ruled by the Mechanists, but truthfully I was just blinding myself to the injustice going on so I could live comfortably. I’m not proud of it, especially now that my life hangs in the balance.”

Maphira rubbed her temples. “Would you please just be quiet? I don’t want your excuses or reasoning.”

“Fine,” Vai said. “Let’s just get this over with, then.”

And so Maphira dragged a once friend, turned enemy, turned – well, she wasn’t really sure what Vai was now – through a hardware store located close to Cheltenham, but not necessarily in the suburb of Cheltenham itself. 

As they searched for the electrical supplies, the lights of the store suddenly went out, leaving them in pitch black. Maphira pulled out her phone and turned on the torch, although the device was only on 15% battery. Stupid planned obsolescence. 

“Congratulations to our lucky shopper of the day,” said a voice over the loudspeaker. “Vai, you’ve just won yourself a great prize. Would you come to the front desk to collect it?”

“Uh oh,” Vai said. “Turn the light off. That’s the Great Mechanist. He’s here to finish me off for good.”