THE SURPRISE

BY
Lesley Burton
A short story, written from a suggestion by the
Cabb-connections mailing list, list mom

Father had gathered all the tunnel dwellers together in the library. Everyone wondered the reason. Finally father called for attention and told everyone that he had received a letter from above, that had been delivered to Dr. Allcott, fathers friend.

"I felt everyone would want to share in the news, as some of you will still remember Lisa, from when she lived amongst us as a child .. Lisa married and moved away to Australia with her husband. They had two children, twins, a boy and a girl who are now 19 years of age." Everyone stood expectantly wondering why Father had thought this news would be so interesting to everyone. Father continued .. "Lisa's Daughter, Julia, is to perform in the winter Olympics, as one of the leading contenders for a medal on the ice rink .. Lisa wanted to let us know and to ask that we think of her daughter and wish her well. As you know, I have always been against the use of Televisions in the Tunnels, but as this is a special event, I thought everyone might appreciate seeing Lisa's daughter trying for a medal in the Olympics. With this in mind and with the help of Catherine and Mouse, we are having a television installed in the great hall to enable us to watch the event."

Everyone clapped in anticipation, some who knew and remembered Lisa, and were glad that she had made it in the world above and encouraged her daughter towards such a wonderful opportunity, and others at the opportunity to watch the Olympics down in the tunnels. Everyone dispersed back to their usual routines. Vincent returned to his chamber with Catherine to help with the list of thing that mouse needed to ensure that the TV would function correctly, down in the great hall.

As they walked back, they talked of Lisa. Catherine had known about Lisa. Vincent had told her the reasons Lisa had left the tunnels. It had taken him a long time to understand and move on from the hurt, but Catherine had helped and now, Vincent shared his life with Catherine. Vincent had overcome his doubts and fears and allowed Catherine to love him. They now shared many romantic moments as man and wife and had been lovers for two years now and Catherine was expecting their first child. Catherine spoke first. "Knowing Lisa, I imagine she has encouraged her daughter to achieve much. I cannot imagine her accepting second best, so I imagine she will be working solely for the gold medal."

"Then," said Vincent, "we will watch and hope that if this is Julia's dream, that it comes true for her." There was a lot of coming and going in the tunnels. Mouse had eventually rigged up electricity for the television from one of the helpers supplies. Catherine had provided the Television and all was set, ready for the start of the ice skating competition. Most of the tunnel community were at the door of the great hall, ready to enter, as Mouse and Vincent opened the doors. Everyone entered and stood in amazement at the site that beheld them. Expecting a normal television for them all to sit around, they were astounded to see the largest tv sceen hanging on the wall, that they had ever seen. It looked almost like a cinema screen and the sound felt like it was rebounding from every corner. Catherine had ordered the latest in tv viewing and hoped that Mouse would be able to get it working. (He had succeeded!)

The ladies ice skating was first and everyone enjoyed the different skaters and styles which were all very talented and proffessional. There was only one contestant called Julia, so everyone knew who Lisa's daughter was. When it was her turn to skate, Vincent noticed a striking resemblance between mother and daughter. Julia skated on the ice like a ballerina and far outshone the other contestants. Which showed in the judge's final marks. Julia had won both sections of the skating for the morning and all that remained was the freestyle contest later in the day.

It had been arranged for everyone to spend the day watching the contest and so William had arranged a buffet meal so that no one would have to miss out on any of the events. A few hours later it was time for Julia's last skating event. All of the performers skated beautifully and it must have been very hard for the judges to decide. Everyone at the Olympics and in the tunnels waited for the final result and as it was shown, there was an uproar of applause from both places. Julia had indeed won her Gold medal. A few minutes later, the compare asked for silence as Julia had requested a few minutes of everyone's time. There was silence. Julia skated up to the compare with a candle flickering in a holder, in her hand and took the microphone.

Dear Friends,

Today I would like to say a very special thank you, to some people I do not even know, but who have played a very important part in my life. I know they are watching from their secret place. My mother has told me so much about you, the way you guided her and encouraged her to dance, which in turn gave her the courage she needed to succeed and which she eventually passed on to me, to allow me to be here today.. To Father and Vincent and all of your family. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And hope one day I will be able to thank you in person. I have a candle lit in my heart for you all and will carry it with me where ever I go.

Thank you

The crowd in the stadium applauded and threw flowers to her...... and far below the city of New York in their secret home The family, Who's love for her had made such an impression on Lisa, that she had passed that love onto her daughter, wiped away their tears and applauded too.

THE END