“Where did you see it last it?” Pia asked, her hands resting on her hips as she raised her left eyebrow.
“Yeah,” continued Mia, “You can’t just tell us that the ball went “over there” and expect us to know what you’re on about.” She threw her hands up in the air and let them drop by her side to emphasise her point.
“Well put, Mia,” said Pia, nodding as she spoke.
“Thank you, Pia,” replied Mia. The two girls folded their arms.
“You want to know where it went?” Reggie asked, attempting to get the girls frustrated by having to repeat themselves. Instead, they stared at him until he finally gave in.
“Behind the shack, O.K?” The smiles on the girls’ faces vanished and their faces dropped.
The shack was the last place anyone in the town of Quairading wanted to go. No one had maintained it for years, and the neglect was obvious. In fact, the distance anyone was willing to travel around the shack was directly related to the number of nasty rumours being spread about it, and, lately, there were a significant amount of rumours to choose from.
“Oh boy, you are strife!” Pia announced to the audience of two. “Once Mrs Squiers finds out that you’ve lost that ball, it’s going to be detention for a week!”
“Well, at least you’ll have some company,” Mia replied cheekily. Pia gave her a tap on the top of her right arm with the back of her hand, playfully expressing that she was not at all happy with the comment.
“I can’t lose that ball,” Reggie explained, his eyes almost pleading with the girls. “I can’t be that detention room for a week. Not again.”
“Well, we’re not going past that fence, let alone over to the shack,” Pia insisted. “You’re definitely on your own there.”
“Yeah,” continued Mia, “I heard there were all sorts of mutant bugs coming out from under the doors and living in the sand around it. They flew out after the light show and forced Ella off her bike and that’s how she broke her arm. You couldn’t pay me enough to go there just for a ball.”
Reggie made a clicking noise with his mouth. “What about two ice-creams from the canteen? Would that do it?”
The shack was already the most potent source of rumours for the quiet, country town, so being anywhere near the place was never considered a smart move. “This is such a terrible idea,” said Pia as the three of them peered through the wire fencing separating the school from the shack.
“Couldn’t agree more, Pia,” said Mia. “Why were you, Laqueena and Wazza playing football down here, anyway? And why aren’t they down here helping you retrieve your little soccer ball?”
“Too suspicious if three of us disappear for too long,” replied Reggie. “So they’re up their playing while we’re down here.” The three of them tightened their grip on the wire fencing and stared at the shack.
“This is such a terrible idea,” repeated Pia.
They took it in turns to lift the wire so that they could crawl through to the other side. Pia and Mia spent more time than necessary dusting themselves off and the three of them started making their way through the overgrown grass. They were no more than five meters away from the shack when the sound of the shack’s door opening caused them to freeze. Their eyes followed a disturbance in the grass. They were about ready to run when they noticed that it was Reggie’s blue and black soccer ball was rolling towards them.
“Well, that’s freaky,” commented Pia.
“That’s more than freaky,” replied Mia. “That’s downright scary.”
Just as they were getting their head around what they had seen, the shack started shaking. Lightly at first but getting stronger and stronger, as if it were being blown about by a strong wind.
“Give me back my ball!” a deep voice from within the shack yelled. This was enough to cause Pia and Mia to scream so loudly that several crows abandoned their posts and flew towards to the tree lines in the distance.
The girls made their way back under the fence and were running across the school oval so fast that Reggie was surprised by how quickly he lost track of them. “You can come out boys! The job is done and the coast is clear!” Wazza and Laqueena emerged from the shack, laughing harder than they had ever laughed before. “Now that’s how to spend a lunchtime!” commented Wazza.
“We better get back before Mrs Squiers finds out where we are,” suggested Laqueena.
They were walking back towards the fence, laughing and giving each other high-fives when they felt some movement in the brown dirt under their shoes. One by one, several large bugs were coming up out of the ground.
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.
Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.