"Urgent Announcement: Hi, Caroline Autumn here, Chicago is expecting to undergo a snowstorm in the next 4 hours, hence we are closing the factory at its current position, resuming the daily production. As our first priority is our workers' safety. And we hope you all will reach your destinations safely. Thanks for your cooperation. Stay safe." - Caroline
After announcing that, Caroline started instructing the men to switch off every single machine and shut the factory immediately, while climbing down the stairs.
"Caroline…" - Rhett called
"You're here Rhett, you gotta leave, hurry up" - Caroline asked him with a smile of concern on her face.
"Yeah…..wait but are you sure, the company's gonna face a total loss of one full day's production, which means really a lot in terms of dollar."
"I understand, but we need to do this, I can't just let the hundred of workers stuck over this place, they have their own families and who must be worrying about them………."
"Yeah……..And their old parents must be waiting for them. I know you often say this, I don't know why."
Caroline looked at Rhett for more than a second and then replied soberly - "Yep"
"But I think that you should think that Mr. Carter won't like this."
"I'll see it, Rhett. And you know Mr. Carter never denies my words." - Caroline replied, winking at Rhett
"Believe me or not, but You're damn smart Caroline."
"Oh yeah, anyways you should leave before the storm strucks, and yeah Rhett if you could help me in one thing, I'm going to the control room to cross-check every machine meanwhile can you go and find Barney in the refrigerator?"
"Barney? What is he doing there?" - Rhett asked surprisingly
"Well, officially he's there to supervise the refrigeration of the bars produced since the morning, but I'm sure he must not be doing that……….just call me if you don't find him there. Huh?"
"Alright" - replying, Rhett went on towards the refrigerator.
Caroline walked to the control room and checked whether the entire system has been shutted down properly, she directed the technicians to switch the elevators and cranes off once everyone is out of the factory. She was still instructing them when her phone rang up. She picked up her phone and gestured to the technicians to leave for their homes after completing what she had asked them.
"Hi Rhett" - She spoke on her phone
"Hey Caroline, Barney is not here."
"Follow me to the kitchen" - Caroline asked Rhett and left for the building next to the factory in the same campus.
She went to the first floor and entered the kitchen where all the chefs were sitting at the dining area, listening to Barney of course. Caroline stood at the door, when Rhett arrived breathing heavily.
"I came up running by the stairs, What is this man doing here"
"What he usually does" - Caroline replied laughing
"It's been a long time since people have liked what we make and there's a huge demand for our chocolates in the market around the entire continent, but now it's the time that we give our customers a new start, that is to make a new product rather than just a chocolate. Oh yeah, I know what you guys are thinking about, I know………….I know…………
Listen to me Chefs," - Barney picked up a piece of chocolate and waved it,
"This is not just a normal chocolate, this is the description of the work of the world's best chocolate maker…………………."
"Yeah and that is, Barney Parker…….woah………….come on chefs please give an applause."
"Caroline, you're not supposed to be here." - Barney said in a low voice
"And are you?" - Caroline asked smiling
"Barney, why are you here? Do you know, I climbed almost a floor by the stairs to reach here." - Rhett said loudly
"That's not a big deal man" - Barney replied
“Okay Chefs, I’ve something to tell you all, there’s a blizzard arriving the Central Chicago in just 4 hours and I need you all to leave for your home right now, all of you including Barney” - Caroline announced
Everybody started to pack their stuff up in order to leave on time. But Barney kept staring at Caroline. She turned to Barney and asked to leave.
“How can we shut the factory Caroline, we’re gonna face a great loss if we do that so.” - Barney sounded tensed
“It’s okay Barney I’ll see to it, you please don’t worry and leave for your home before the blizzard reaches.” - Caroline replied calmly
“Ok fine, you’re gonna cover the loss anyhow but what about Mr.Carter? I mean………...how are you gonna deal with him by the way? ”
“Hey, come on Barney, you know Mr. Carter never denies Caroline. So just leave everything on her, she’ll do it, trust me.” - Rhett replied in a way too relaxed
The chefs started to leave wishing everyone a goodbye. Caroline went to the door, she bowed and wished them to be super safe. She turned to Rhett and Barney, and asked them to leave as soon as possible. She smiled and went off.
Barney looked at Caroline leaving and turned back to Rhett,
“ ‘Wyatt Luke Carter’, the only owner of ‘The Carter’s Chocolate’, the biggest leading chocolate company, and he acts like a puppet for Caroline Autumn. I know he's a man of age and Caroline is also awesome in terms of her responsibilities but she is too young before an experienced man who can actually run this company on his own, then why Mr. Carter has given everything in Caroline's hands, Rhett? I want an answer. ” - Barney asked annoyingly
“How would I know Barney, maybe if you someday, somehow get a chance to find that out then do tell me too, but for now let’s leave before we get stuck here.”
“And when that day would come?.........Ah……...anyways, you leave Rhett, I need to complete some work and then I’ll take a leave.”
“ Are you sure, Barney? Because the blizzard could be severe this time.”
“I’ll be fine Rhett, you do leave and be on a safe side, Take care.”
“Okay then, See ya….” - saying, Rhett left
Barney walked towards the sink, washed his hands and looked around for hazelnuts. He took some and walked out of the kitchen, closing its door properly. He went downstairs, went into his cabin and started preparing mails for the next launch of a new flavour, which has been planned to be in the next month.
After an hour or two, Barney woke up from a nap, “Oh-no, when did I fall asleep?”
He stood up from his chair and looked out of the window, he couldn’t see even a single thing. The snowstorm has been reached and not even a single man was out there. Nothing was clearly visible.
“OH-NO Man, this should have not happened, How am I going to reach home……………...there’s no way.”
He came back and sat silently on his chair, as now he had understood that he couldn’t get out of the building, he took out a rubik’s cube and started rotating it’s layers. In just a few minutes, he got bored and started to complete his mails. His mails were already done, he made cheesy expressions and walked in his cabin anxiously. He looked again through the window and took deep breaths.
“Okay, let’s be calm” - he said to himself and took the glass of water. After having a full glass of water, he walked out of his cabin and roamed quietly in the corridor. After walking for a while, he came before Caroline's cabin, he stopped there and looked up at the board - "Caroline Autumn," he read out. "Though you are younger than many of us here Caroline, I don't know why Mr. Carter trusts you so much." - Barney said to himself looking at the board. He typed the pin and the door got unlocked. He stepped in and looked around the cabin. Picking a pen, he examined it carefully and pressed it downwards, he got a shock "Ouch…….what is this thing?"
He kept the pen in its place and picked up Caroline's picture from on the desk. He looked at it with kinda jealous expression on his face. Keeping it back, he moved on towards the frame which was a super strange painting.
"What a drastic picture is this……...seriously Caroline your choice is so bad." His eyes catched the curtain beside the painting, "Wait, why's this curtain here?" He tried to look behind it and " what……...a secret door, we never knew about this, none of the time did we see Caroline going through this door."
He opened the door and looked through, now this was Mr. Carter's cabin.
"Oh-man, There's a door attaching Caroline's and Mr. Carter’s cabin. What a surprise!"
Barney thinks of getting in, but he suddenly remembers that they are not allowed to get there. "I'm not supposed to get in there, not even Caroline is, she once told us…….but……...No'one here in the building except me…………." Thinking for a minute, "Alright, let me break through. Just keep the secret". So he finally decides to get in, and he did so.
"Oh- wow, it's quite big."
He looks around the entire cabin and walks slowly as if he's checking for any cameras or sensors. "They don't put cameras in the cabins right, our cabins also don't have any."- He said to himself, he started looking at the door and heard a sweet couthy voice from behind - "Are you searching for someone, young man?"
Barney turned back and saw an old yet beautiful lady standing behind him. He cleared his throat and asked in a confused voice: "Do I know you Ma'am?"
"Maybe not, but I know you very well Barney Parker." - the woman replied smiling.
"Wait...wait…….I'm confused, how do you know my name? And if I don't sound rude then may I ask you why, I mean…... how can somebody be here in Mr. Carter’s cabin?"
"Well, it's not somebody but Autumn Jane Carter, Mr. Carter’s better half."
"Oh ma'am, I'm so sorry, what a big fool I am. So sorry ma'am if I said anything which I wasn't supposed to and I express my apology for getting in without permission. I broke the rules I'm sorry……...I'm…..I'm really very very sorry."
"No, it's okay Barney, I understand you are stuck here due to the blizzard. And you didn't have any wrong intentions."
"Yeah, exactly ma'am, thanks for understanding. "
"Yep now please stop calling me ma'am. My name's Autumn."
Barney hesitates to call Autumn by her name and looks at his shoes.
"Okay, call me Mrs. Carter. Now fine?"
"Yeah….yeah thank you. So what are you up to I mean……….we never saw you, nor did we ever hear about you and your name reminds of my colleague."
"Is she Caroline?"
"Do you know her?"
"Well, more than anyone else in this world."
"Wait….how?......I don't understand."
"Ahaha……….I'll tell you everything, but would you like to join me for a coffee and some snacks?"
Autumn led Barney to her house through a passage starting from the same
cabin. Reaching her house almost 400 metres away from the building, Barney remembers that it's the same house which is beside their factory's campus.
"Come, Barney" - Autumn called him gently and walked into the kitchen to prepare coffee.
"Wow, your house is beautiful. So you and Mr. Carter live here?" - Barney asked, walking around the drawing. He looked at the antiques and showpieces decorated all around.
"Woah……..they look expensive."
"Yeah, they are but we like antiques, you know, they give you a vintage feeling even in this modern era."
Barney nodded with a smile on his face and walked towards the couch when his eyes catched the pictures hanging on the wall under the staircase by each step. He went forward and looked at them carefully.
"Is this Caroline?" - Barney asked loudly yet shockingly
"Shush……...Barney don't shout, or else Wyatt may get disturbed."
"Wait……..what? Mr. Carter’s here? I'd better leave Mrs. Carter, he would get angry at me, I first broke through his cabin and now I'm bothering his wife for coffee and snacks. No…..no, I'm leaving"
"Where are you leaving for Barney? The blizzard's still there, and it can kill you……..you know very well. It's very severe this time. And please relax, Wyatt would never get angry at you, he's not such a man. He respects everyone who works for his company. In Fact he would be glad to see you. Come follow me."
Autumn led him upstairs with three mugs of coffee and some chocolate cookies of their own company on both her hands.
"So tell me,When did you meet Wyatt last?"
"I don't remember exactly, but maybe a year after I joined Carter’s Chocolate, when we won the best chocolates award in New York City and that was quite a long time ago."
"Oh, I see." - Autumn opened the door replying to Barney and asked him to come in.
Barney gets in solemnly and sees Mr. Carter is sitting on the bed, reading a magazine which has a cover page of 'The Carter’s Chocolate' as the most favourite chocolate, featuring Caroline, Barney and Rhett. Barney gently bows and wishes Mr. Carter respectfully.
"Hello Barney, How are you doing? I was just reading your interview in this magazine. You know I'm really glad that men like you work for The Carter’s Chocolate. Well, please have a seat. Have you met Autumn? Did she offer you coffee or not?"
"Yeah I met her, she's so generous and thanks for your compliment Mr. Carter. I am also so glad to work at The Carter’s Chocolate. It's a huge success for all of us. The Company's rocking and is the leading one among the chocolate producing companies."
"Yes, my son it could only be possible because of you all and especially Caroline." - Wyatt said, having tears in his eyes. "I never knew when my little girl became so big to take all the work upon her shoulders."
Barney looked Wyatt in shock and turned to look at Autumn.
Autumn nodded in yes, smiling with tears of joy in her eyes.
"You might not be knowing that Caroline is our daughter. She was 21 when I met with an accident and couldn't manage The Carter’s Chocolate so long. But you know what she said - "I'll manage, Dad", I couldn't believe my eyes, that was a great feeling for her parents, me and Autumn. Though she never wanted us to reveal before anyone that she's our daughter and so she told the world that her name is Caroline Autumn instead of Caroline Carter."
"Yeah, only because she thinks that you all will treat her as the boss and not a colleague……….Ahaha" - Autumn added laughing.
"She is 25 now, time passes so fast Barney…………..I don't know when that day will come when I'll be standing with you three posing for The Carter’s Chocolate………...hahaha……….."
"Very soon Mr. Carter, and I must say this, I was a little jealous of Caroline only because she's younger than all of us but now I totally agree, she's damn good, she's so hardworking. I'm 28 now, when I was in my early 20's I had a lot of fun with my friends and did whatever I wished to do. And the day when I joined The Carter’s Chocolate I was somehow so satisfied that I'm growing with my age and it's fine if I do join a Company now. Cause I've grown enough now to do a job. And I could have never imagined taking up responsibility at the age of 21." - Barney exclaimed
Wyatt nodded and offered Barney some cookies.
"Caroline never let anyone know this right?"
"Yeah, I am so amazed to know this all, anyways I'll keep the secret you don't worry."
They all laughed and talked till the night fell. The blizzard calmed down and Barney spent that night with Wyatt and Autumn. Before going to bed, Barney took his phone and started recording a video of himself telling what had happened today. He often does that to save some special memories.
"So this was an awesome day, I couldn't believe that exploring a cabin where we aren't generally allowed to get could show me the most shocking truth of my most hated colleague 'Caroline',but now I respect her even more than before. I'm spending this night here with the Carters only because Caroline no longer stays here with them as to hide her identity but she comes to meet them very early in the morning. So I need to wake up before she comes and go to the factory. And for that I need to sleep early……...so Bye and keep the secret, yeah?."
"Morning everybody" - Caroline greeted
"Hey Caroline, A very Good Morning How you're feeling?" - Barney asked with a wide smile on his face
"Hey Barney, I'm feeling great. But what are you up to? I mean you're sounding different."
"No…...not at all. Well, I have good news for you. I have done all the official work for the launch of our new flavour next month."
"Yeah that's amazing…….but…….you're sounding…………."
"Hey guys, 'Morning" - Rhett arrived
"Yeah Rhett, What's up dude?" - Barney asked and walked away whistling joyfully.
"Great Barney……..but………….hey Caroline What has happened to him……..I mean he's sounding different."
"I eventually could never understand, Rhett" - Caroline replied
"Hey dear readers, don't let Caroline know that I know that she is who she actually is…………..did you understand? Nope? It's okay. Just keep the secret. 😉
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Nice story! The dialogue flowed well
Glad you liked it :D
Hello, I liked the mystery aspect, nice reveal at the end about Caroline. Critique wise, maybe watch how often you use adverbs. It can be easily overdone. Nice story 👍
Thanks for reading.........please keep in touch :)
Thanks :) Please keep in touch.
Prakriti, you have a gift for mystery. You did an excellent job creating and building tension toward Caroline and then paralleling that rising tension with the snowstorm brewing on the horizon. You keep the story moving... From evacuating the plant to revealing its and its inhabitant's secrets. It takes patience to uncover layers the way you do here. You deftly walk us through the estate's reveal with just enough detail. I look forward to reading what more secrets the Carter family empire is keeping. Keep up the good work.
Oh thank you so much Elliott, this means a lot to me........I really appreciate your compliment😁 and I'm glad that you liked it...........you may read other of my stories as well, whenever you are free. Anyways thanks once again, please keep in touch😀
Great story, I like stories with a hint of mystery. It kept me reading to the end. Great job! Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Robert
No problem Robert and thanks anyway. Glad you liked it😊
Hey everyone, I’ve posted another incredible story to Reedsy. Check it out and let me know what you think. By the way, I can’t thank you enough for following me and commenting on my stories. I’ve started a website. If you’re interested in keeping in contact, please visit me at robertgrandstaffhomepage.com
Hi, checking your recent story right now...............
Overall, a very good story. Imagination is always key in stories and you did quite well. Here are some recommendations. "Yeah…..wait but are you sure, the company's gonna face a loss of one day's production, which means a major drop in revenue." "I understand, but this is a necessity. I can't just let hundred of workers become stranded in this places. They have their families who must be worrying about them………." "But I wonder what Mr. Carter will think about closing down." "I understand, Rhett. You know Mr. Carter never denies my wo...
Oh Thank you so much Corey😀, I would definitely like to get more suggestions from you. Maybe I won't be able to edit this one, but your suggestions and tips could help me to use a better descriptive language while writing my stories in future. Please keep giving feedbacks and suggestions😁. Thanks once again for the concern, I'm so glad😄
Let me know when your next story comes out and I will check it out
Yeah sure, Thanks anyway😊
Great short story. Thanks for sharing your talent.
Good job! This was really interesting! I loved how it changed from following Caroline to Barney instead, and I loved her secret. Great work!
Thanks Aaron. I'm glad you liked it😁
Hi there, thanks for reading my stories. Keep following and tell others too so that I can gather more feedbacks. And the next time you read my stories, don't just read, like and leave, please do comment and give your feedbacks on how you feel the story is and what you imagine for it to be next...........and please read my story "Keep the secret" and don't forget to like and comment. I hope you'll like it.😊