In the deepest part of a creek most people mistook for a river, a fish named Cameron was swimming amongst the mossy roots and well-worn pebbles with his energetic friends, Dave and Lucy. As it was Sunday evening, they had recently finished playing a lengthy game of Hide-and-go-Swim when Cameron announced to his now disappointed friends that, due to the orange glow in the sky, it was time for them to head home. They begged for one final round of their favourite game while staring up at him with their puppy-dog eyes. Not looking forward to the possibility of listening to his friends whine all the way home, Cameron reluctantly agreed to take part in another final-round of Hide-and-go-Swim, but not before outlining the dangers associated with staying out so late and reestablishing the boundaries of the game. Since Cameron was the first one to be found in their previous round, he took it upon himself to face the muddy bank and begin counting backwards from twenty, not knowing this would be the last game of Hide-and-go-Swim any of them would ever play.
The moment he reached zero, Cameron turned around and began the ritualistic call announcing his involvement in the game. “Ready or not, here I come!” Cameron wriggled his way through the water and, before getting close to the roots, he spotted Lucy’s distinctive white and brown spotted tail sticking out from behind the same log where she had hidden for the last four rounds. He called out, letting Lucy know he had found her and felt a little bit sorry for her as she giggled and reversed her way out from behind the log. Lucy swam directly towards him when she suddenly looked up over his head and said something that Cameron would never forget. “Wow! Free food!” she proclaimed. Cameron turned around to see the mythical sight of a worm wriggling in the clear water in front of them. Using her momentum, Lucy was able to swim over Cameron’s head, leaving him without a chance to act. She swallowed the worm in a single gulp and, to Cameron’s amazement, immediately gained the power of flight and took off right out of the water.
Having some idea of where Dave might be hiding, Cameron darted towards the deep holes in the bank of the creek. knowing that Dave always hid in the same spot as well, spotted his friend’s bright white scales reflecting the light of the setting sun in the third hole to the left of the dark brown boulder. Despite his conviction, Cameron was unable to persuade Dave that Lucy had gained the power of flight after eating a magic, floating worm. Dave shook his head and insisted that he should now be in charge because Cameron had clearly lost his mind from playing Hide-and-go-Swim one too many times. So, with Dave leading the way, Cameron was free to keep an eye out for any mystical or magical creatures. Turning around to look behind him for no longer than three seconds, Cameron heard Dave mumble something and spun around just in time to watch Dave himself flying out of the water.
Cameron remained still in the water for a few moments, trying to make sense of what he had just seen. Jetting off out of the water like that was certainly out of character for his two friends, especially since they knew that he would have to try and make it home on his own. And, if he did make it home, he would then be in the unfortunate position of having to explain his friend’s sudden disappearance without sounding batty. Wondering how he had managed to get himself into this mess, Cameron jumped back when, without warning, a magic worm started hovering and dancing right in front of him. Despite his desire to fly with his friends, Cameron fought the urge to snap at the worm, choosing instead to remain in the safety of the water. Noticing that it wanted to follow him, Cameron guided the worm towards the log at the bottom of the creek and, after a few attempts, managed to trap it inside the log by placing stones over the hole in its side. To his surprise, the log then tried to fly out of the water, lifting off the ground while floating straight past him. Even from the sky, his friends must have become aware of his troubles because there was an almighty splash on the surface of the creek, followed by the arrival of a dozen fish, some he recognized and some he did not. To his immense relief, Cameron managed to locate Dave and Lucy amongst the chaos and the worms fighting for their attention as the three friends dashed home as fast as they could.
When they arrived home safely, Cameron was shocked at the speed that Dave and Lucy agreed when he made them promise that they would never play Hide-and-go-Swim again.
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.
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