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There was little time for Amy and Jeff to think, so it was lucky they thought to have the same reaction at the same time: To run as fast they could go in the opposite direction. Although they both turned and ran at the simultaneously, Amy was able to run away a lot faster than Jeff. Having reached the end of the path and making the sharp, right turn down the street, Amy realised that she was running along the road on her own. She stopped suddenly, turned around quickly and realised that Jeff had fallen behind. She watched as the Gang of Three came running around the corner, catching up to Jeff who was unable to run away quick enough due to the combination of both his height and the bagginess of his clothes. Amy attempted to make her way back to Jeff before the Gang of Three reached him, but she was too late. They had not only caught up to him but had surrounded him and had started taunting him.
The Gang of Three was made up Billy Coates, Samson Phillips and Kyle Walters. Billy was the boss, or, at least, he was the most talkative. He was usually the one to initiate the taunts with an unimaginative thought that had popped into his head. “What a shame your legs can’t carry you fast enough, short stuff, or you might have caught up to your girlfriend in time,” Billy said, looking to his two buddies for support. They obliged and started pulling at Jeff’s uniform while using their own lack of imagination to remind Jeff how short he was.
“At least he’s got heart, you cowards!” Amy called out, temporarily distracting the three boys from their goal of tormenting Jeff. The gang turned around and glared at Amy before Billy, again, verbalized his unimaginative thoughts. “Well, well. She speaks.” Billy said tilting his head slightly and letting out a mocking chuckle. “Not much of a heart though, is it? I mean, just look at…” Billy turned around to look at Jeff and was shocked to find that Jeff had significantly shrunk even further in the few seconds he had been talking to Amy and was now as tall a grade one boy.
“What on Earth is going on with you, man!” Billy said with a confused look on his face. “This is not normal, and you need to leave Greenvale.”
“Yeah,” Samson said. “You’re freaking people out.”
Jeff went to run, but Billy put his foot out to stop him from getting past. He then used his small stature to his advantage by slipping out of his school bag and dashing underneath Billy’s legs dashing towards Amy. The sight of Jeff’s uniform nearly falling off him as he was running away kept the boys stunned long enough for Jeff to make it over to Amy without incident. “You can keep your little Matchbox friend,” Billy said as the boys backed away. “Just keep him away from us.” The boys started heading back towards the direction of the school and disappeared up the path.
Amy looked down at Jeff. She’d noticed that Jeff hadn’t spoken since he’d started shrinking at a faster pace. Amy looked around could see that two adults had come out of their house to see what the fuss was about and that they were staring at her and Jeff. She told Jeff to follow her as she took him to a nearby park, encouraging him to stand next to her while she sat underneath the shadiest tree she could find.
“Now what?” she asked him. Jeff just shook his head in confusion. Despite the fact that Amy was sitting down and Jeff was standing up, Jeff had shrunk down to a size where their heads were at the same level. It took a long time before Amy could think of anything worthwhile saying.
“You don’t know how to stop it, do you?” she asked quietly.
“No.” Jeff managed to whisper as he sat down and looked up at Amy. He continued shrinking right before her eyes as they stared at each other for as long as they could. Feeling helpless, tears began to form in Amy’s eyes.
“I wish I could come with you,” Amy said, as Jeff waved and mouthed the words Thank you before disappearing from her sight forever.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.