I shook the limp bedcover off my even limper body. I glanced over at Ken, my little brother. For a moment lightning illuminated his face. I heard Papa snoring, and Mama’s hair curlers scraping against the wood of the bedhead in the other room.
I thought about how mean my foster parents were to me, and the scraps Ken and I were given from my parents’ massive roast dinner we cooked. I decided, once and for all, to run away into the forest behind our house. I’m sure Mama and Papa would not care at all. So, I shook Ken awake, grabbed all the books on plants and animals I could find and joined Ken in the kitchen. We raided our own home that night, filling bottles with water and lemonade and bags with bread, cookies and lollies. I decided we would run to the waterfall and live in the cave I had found and furnished. Mama and Papa didn’t care for the woods, and never went there, so they didn’t know I owned a waterfall home.
Ken and I stood outside the door to our massive home, complete with its greenhouse, aviary, pool, tennis courts and small private beach. But no matter how rich my parents were, we still slept in the basement on a small straw mat. Mama and Papa slept above us, in a room overlooking the aquarium. Because the aquarium was above us, our floor was often flooded with leaking water. I decided I would not miss that house. I started in the direction of the waterfall, not glancing back.
Half an hour into our trip I regretted completely the idea of running away, despite the leaky room and the beatings; but I kept marching on, not telling Ken we were lost. It was pitch black and I could not see where I was going. The torch that I had brought along was nearly dead, so I decided to save it for any emergency. The wind howled its icy fingers at me and I shuddered. My mouth and throat felt like sandpaper and my tongue was stiff like cardboard.
Then, all of a sudden, there was a sound. A sound like no other. Water. I glanced in the direction it came from and saw a trickle like a creek. Relief filled me. I kept running further downstream, exploring it eagerly. Soon a river stood in in my way. Ken and I pulled our shoes off and threw ourselves into the water. The sun started to rise and the trees returned our laughter. My throat was parched no more, my hair not greasy. I rarely took a shower, and that was only when the aquarium developed a larger hole, and the occasional seaweed or fish fell down, until I patched it up with my underwear. But this was nothing like that.
As we swam upstream, we saw it. As in ‘it’, I don’t mean the word it; I saw THE it. The waterfall it. I saw its shining rays and spray. I say my ingenious platform directing the water to make a water door. It had painted on it KERRY. I made a mental note to add KEN as well.
I pulled my platform into position. Everything was there: the wood fire, the discarded rocking chair, the grass-stuffed mattress, the fancy bits of driftwood and my food store. We were home.
Orange Grove Public School