DREAMSCAPES YOUNG FICTION
Why dont you come down. Maurice called out.
Phoebe lived in
a pink house with a purple roof.
The other children in the lived in neat little white cottages with green
slate roofs, rose bushes and picket fences.
Phoebes house was a two-story kind of house and the best room
in the house, the room Phoebe liked most was HER room in the attic.
It had criss cross windows.
Phoebe had a gorgeous yellow room. As yellow as the center of an egg
or a daffodil.
From Phoebes window she could look out at the street below.
She watched the neighboring kids playing.
Look there she is! One of the boys called out.
Phoebe scowled and stepped back from the window.
Annie! Maurice. The boy called out again. Shes
Phoebe stayed behind the curtain.
A dark haired boy and a little girl with sticky fingers holding a lollipop
waved up at the now vacated window.
I cant see her said the little girl Annie.
Me neither. Said the boy Maurice.
I saw her. She was there. Gerard said. Shes
Why dont you come down. Maurice called out.
Yes! Said Annie. Come down and play with us!
Not today Phoebe shrugged but didnt say.
Now the three friends put their heads together in conversation
Phoebe wished shed said Yes! with the confidence of
the little girl Annie instead of just turning away.
Phoebe sat on her bed. She stared into space. Then her eyes rested on
the jungle print on one of the walls. The print was full of colour and
Phoebe stood up and walked over to the window and looked out. The street
Go on. A gentle voice said to her. Go outside and
She expected to see her mother standing at the door but her mother wasnt
Phoebe ran out into the hallway.
Papa? She called out.
But her father couldnt hear her. He was in the bathroom. She could
hear water running in the shower.
Phoebe went back inside her room. She looked again at the picture on
the wall. The tiger on its branch seemed to be stretching. It seemed
to be stirring. Breathing. She was certain she saw its tail swishing
back and forth.
You are alive! A voice said.
Swing on your swing! Another voice called out. Hang
upside down like me!
Again she looked at the print on the wall. The monkey who ALWAYS hid
behind the palm leaves was definitely swinging on the branch where the
tiger usually was and the tiger had completely disappeared!
She ran back out the door into the hallway.
Papa is taking his bath. She said. No his shower!
She could hear her mother whistling a tune downstairs in the kitchen.
Mama is making the breakfast. Croissants for three and coffee
for Papa. She said aloud. Everything is normal. THAT IS
THE PROBLEM! Everything is SO NORMAL around here!
Phoebe backed out into the hallway.
Then she heard it. The tiger was prowling!
She PUSHED the door shut firmly and leant against it.
But the tiger wouldnt stop prowling. And now the monkey was gibbering!
Phoebe listened. She listened to them.
Then she listened to her own thoughts.
A tiger is prowling in my bedroom. A monkey is gibbering. Lifes
not so boring. But it is confusing!
Phoebe! Her mother called out. Whom are you talking
No-one. She called out.
Then she heard glass shattering. The monkey was turning the furniture
Stop it! She called through the keyhole.
The monkey screeched back at her. I am YOUR MONKEY MIND. Phoebe!
Can you HEAR ME?
Phoebe began thinking. She asked herself a question.
What do monkeys like to do best?
They love to play tricks on you. The monkey put his lips
to the keyhole and blew a raspberry at her. Im making a
MESS in here Phoebe. Do you want me to break a few more things? Just
give me the ok.
Phoebe wasnt smiling.
But YOULL have to CLEAN IT UP! The monkey screeched
and was off again!
No! Stop! Dont do that. Phoebe called through the
Then everything went QUIET. Very quiet.
She took a deep breath. The monkeys tired.
Then she heard it. She heard the tiger BREATHING. It purred SOFTLY through
the keyhole. Then it purred LOUDLY!
I AM YOUR tiger POWER! It roared behind the door.
Phoebes jaw dropped.
My tiger power?
If you dont OWN ME Ill do MORE DAMAGE THAN THE MONKEY!
Own you? Phoebe said. But I hardly KNOW you?
I like to run in the open and stretch my limbs. To use my STRENGTH.
The tiger purred.
I dont act well when Im locked inside. I can turn
What will you do EXACTLY? Phoebe said.
The tiger ROARED!
I do OUT OF CONTROL TIGER things.
Phoebe knew what the tiger meant but she wanted to hear MORE about HER
own power. So she asked the tiger.
Whats owning my power?
The tiger purred. Be flexible. Know your strengths and your weaknesses.
Go outside and PLAY.
Or go CRAZY! Screeched the Monkey.
Phoebe KNEW EXACTLY what the tiger and the monkey were on about.
You can choose anytime old time. The tiger added. Between
acting like a monkey or a tiger.
I cant choose! Phoebe snapped. This is really
WEIRD! You CANT MAKE ME!
Then she ran down the stairs so FAST that she nearly tripped. She ran
SO fast through the kitchen that she slid across the floor tiles
Phoebe! What are you doing? Her mother scolded.
I need some air! Phoebe said grabbing the door handle.
Phoebe! Her mother said Your breakfast!
Phoebe was out the door and she was running. But the tiger wasnt
The tiger roared INSIDE HER.
I am your tiger power. Use it wisely and have FUN doing it!
The branches of the trees shuddered and shook as she ran underneath
them. She knew it was the monkey jumping from branch to branch through
Im always available! The monkey screeched.
I AM YOUR MONKEY MIND
And together they called You can choose between us any old time.
Down through the garden Phoebe ran. Faster and faster. Down to the big
old tree to where the swing was.
Phoebe sat down on its wooden seat. She hit her heels into the hard
earth again and again.
I dont want to choose. She dug these words into the
Then she sidestepped her feet in crab-like movements in diminishing
circles. The ropes of the swing twisted tighter and tighter.
I wont choose. She thought to herself.
Phoebe leant backwards. The ropes unwound and sent her spinning.
Suddenly the swing jerked to a stop.
She leant forward and hung her head down.
Do I need to choose? My monkey mind or owning my tiger power?
Then Phoebe looked up into the blue sky. Blue sky with monkey clouds
racing. Blue sky with tiger clouds prowling.
She stood up and braced herself against the seat of the swing. She held
onto the ropes and pushed hard against the seat beneath her. She bent
her knees under the swing. She kicked her feet forwards.
Phoebe chased the monkey clouds through an empty blue sky. She followed
the tiger clouds prowling.
Her heels hit the ground on the rebound but she wanted to go higher
She bent her legs back under the swing. Then kicked them outwards.
She stretched her body backwards. Blue of the sky. Phoebe rushed with
her monkey clouds through the empty blue sky. She prowled with her tiger
The monkey clouds disappeared and the tiger clouds billowed above her.
Phoebe sat upright. She bent her legs back under the swing. Then kicked
She leant her body backwards. She stretched as far as she could into
the empty blue sky.
On the rebound her heels hit the ground but she kept on going higher
Phoebe began singing.
I am stretching. I am stretching my monkey mind. This is tiger
Then Phoebe heard laughter.
Then she saw Annie, Gerard and Maurice leaning over the fence giggling.
Gerard called out. Phoebes a Tiger!
Annie smiled. You ARE a Tiger.
ARGGH! The floppy headed Gerard growled and held up his
shield with the imitation tiger skin.
We are the TIGERS! We are the TIGERS!
© Janice Slater
2003 (Revised version Jan 27th)
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