#165 – The Tale of a Life Underground – Part 1 of 2

The ocean breeze felt significantly colder against Christopher Duckworth’s pale skin than when he’d entered the crystal clear water less than fifteen minutes ago. Lawson’s Bay presented itself well to tourists and locals alike on most days but, today, Christopher had come here to make sure that he spent his remaining moments above the ground in a meaningful way. Struggling to think of a time when the emerald greens and the sky-blues surrounding the bay carried more vibrancy, Christopher resisted drying himself with his blue and white towel for as long as he could before turning his attention to rocky cliff faces surrounding the bay. The sounds of families laughing faded into the distance as Christopher used his eyes to trace his route across to Henrietta’s Cave. Christopher turned from the cliffs, smiling at the immense delight beaches, particular Lawson’s Bay tended to cultivate in people. Christopher reasoned that Lawson’s Bay must be one of the most highly sought after places to live on Earth, so it made sense for him to be here given that today, he had made the decision to live underground forever.

After shaking his head and redirecting his attention towards his belongings, Christopher threw his towel over his right shoulder and picked up his T-shirt before making his way towards the boulders marking the bay’s edge. Once behind the boulder, Christopher threw his T-shirt back on and looked around to see if anyone was watching. Not surprised to discover that no-one was particularly interested in him or his activity, Christopher ignored the strategically placed warning signs and continued rock hopping across the dangerously jagged surfaces at the base of the cliff, occasionally leaning back to avoid the splash-back from the waves aggressively ending their long journey across the ocean beneath him.

Having made it safely across the narrow ridge snaking its way up the cliff face, Christopher was rewarded with an opportunity to calm his nerves and to regain some energy while trekking across of a larger, flatter rock surface for the next few minutes. Christopher’s thoughts scattered far and wide, with uninspiring thoughts.

What if Billy forgot to put the shovel where he said he was going to leave it?

What if even more sinister events prevented him from reaching his goal?

How long before he could work up the courage to complete this task again if he failed at it today?

The terms of the deal between Christopher and Billy were agreed upon following a serendipitous encounter in the school’s cafeteria the week before, where the more entrepreneurial students gather to trade food for favours. Due to the rare nature of at least five of the food items on the canteen’s menu, a favour of equal or lesser value is never hard to come across. For fear of being mocked, Christopher remained silent for most of his school day. On this day, however, Christopher stuck his neck out of his shell long enough to walk away with a commitment that the shovel would be delivered, all for the reasonable price of three hamburgers purchased over as many weeks. A handshake was made and the deal was set in stone.


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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