International Writers Magazine: Lifestories
was always digging. Every day during the summer holidays hed
wake up, have his cereal and head down to the bottom of the garden,
under the tree. The tree curved over and tangled into a bush,
making a small cave for Jon and his sister to play in. Some days
it was a living room with a branch sofa. Other days it was a prison
with its many wooden bars keeping the criminals locked inside.
But whatever it
was, there would always be a hole right in the very middle. Jon would
start digging on the first day of the holidays and by the end of his
first day back at school it was always filled back in. But he didnt
mind because summer was only a year away and he could begin again.
Nobody knew why he dug the hole. When questioned, he would simply shrug
and so, eventually, people stopped questioning all together. The hole
had its own little routine of course. After breakfast the digging began,
at midday hed have his lunch brought out. Hed eat it when
the den was a living room and he had a branch to sit on. Sometimes friend
would distract him from the hole, but hed always check on it one
last time before bed. - I cut this part when I read in class. I hadnt
been sure beforehand if it was really needed or not.
By about mid-summer the hole would be getting deep. In an attempt to
judge exactly how deep, Jon would invite his sister to see the hole
and tell her she could help him measure it. Always willing to be involved,
his sister would agree and hed help her down. Then shed
measure the top of the hole against herself and get out, showing her
brother where it came up to. But as the summer went on, the hole got
deeper and deeper and she couldnt get out alone. And as Jon got
older he got nastier and nastier.
One day, Jon left his sister in the hole. It was almost the end of summer
and so the hole was deep and weather had grown colder. She could reach
up and put her hands over the top, but was not yet strong enough to
pull herself out. She called for her brother, but no reply came. She
called again and again and again until her cries became desperate. Her
brother had gone and she was stuck in a hole, all alone.
It seemed like hours passed as she cried for help and tried to scramble
up the dirt walls, but the dirt just kept falling and nobody came, even
as the sky began to turn grey as the rain clouds floated by overhead.
Surely her mother would want to get the washing in?
The little girl waited, sitting on her skirt in the dirt. But still
nobody came. Something landed on her head and as she looked up, another
something landed on her nose. It was cold, wet rain! It began to fall
all at once shaking the tree above her and making such a dreadful, noisy
sound like cereal boxes being shaken. Her hands went over her head,
but it was still no good. She was even sinking into the hole! She grabbed
and pulled at the muddy walls but the mud just fell away. She was going
to have to save herself.
She couldnt dig down because she didnt know anybody in Australia,
and she couldnt dig up. She was going to have to dig a tunnel
under the garden to the house! On her knees she began to use both hands
at once to shovel aside dirt, just like a rabbit. At first it fell away
easily where it was wet, but the ground was dry deeper in. She kept
digging, past the treasure and dinosaur bones until she could no longer
hear the rain or feel the cold air. The tunnel was too small to look
over her shoulder, but she was sure she would not see the end of it.
She was getting tired and close to giving up, as tears poured down her
cheeks and rubbed away the dirt. But she heard a sound. A scratchy sort
of twitchy sound. She dug a little further and the mud collapsed into
She quickly crawled through and felt something warn and squishy under
hands. It was rabbit droppings. With a squeal of disgust, she wiped
her hand on her skirt and quickly moved onward. She could feel the breeze
again and swallow fresh air. Following the light she kept crawling until
she could pull herself out of the hole. It had stopped raining now and
the sun was peeking through the clouds. She recognised the tree and
the bench and the wall. She was next door!
She climbed over the wall and ran inside to tell on her brother.
© Rebecca Wilks Nov 2006
Bex Wilks <email@example.com
Bex is studying on the Creative Writing masters at the University of
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