“Hey guys look,
My family and I were just reaching the outskirts of Mudgee. Mum was
trying to cheer us all up by spotting road side animals.
“Gosh, a horse!”
I groaned silently. The trip to Iona Cottage was a long way from
Lightning Ridge, about several hours, I estimated. Tuffy, our dog,
jumped up and licked my face thoroughly. The only thing good about this
whole thing was McDonalds. The tastiness of the cheese burger. Just
imagining it made me hungry. And James. He was courageous and a good
mate to play with. Every year our family and his would camp out in the
Warrumbungles, but this year, we were sleeping in a house. It was worse
than the pits.
I looked out towards the black night sky and amidst mum spotting emus
and sheep, a shooting star whooshed past me. I’m not superstitious or
anything, but it meant good luck.
“Oh my goodness, a cow and a horse and,’ getting more and more excited,
Undoing my seat belt, I crept past my sleeping brother and asked mum to
cool it for the kids in the back.
“Now Wi!!iam...” Dad started to give me a lecture. His eyes turned to
face me when
‘MIAWOW-WOW-WOW!’ ‘SQUISH!’ Just before I flew back into the kid’s seat,
I caught a glance at a deathly black cat, running towards the tires.
It’s yellow eye balls caught mine and the icy stare made me turn in
“Bloody hell!” Dad swore as the witches cat’s guts flew onto the
windscreen. Squinting through the glass all Dad could see was red,
oozing cat blood. Maybe the family wasn’t going to be that lucky.
Hugs and kisses
were given out as Scott and Sally, our friends from
Newcastle, greeted our messy car. Actually the car wasn’t too bad
because dad had driven it through a car wash. The car after ours got
soaked with red water. I don’t think the owner will be coming back to
this car wash. At first James and I didn’t play. Then, gathering up my
courage, Christopher, James and I went exploring. Iona Cottage was
pretty cool. When you walked in the door, to your immediate right was a
couch with a TV sitting in the corner. Past the TV was a small, but
snug, kitchen. It included an oven, microwave, sink, cups and cutlery.
To your right was a small electric heater (Tuffy immediately made this
his sleeping spot,) that leant against yet another couch. In the middle
of the lounge room was a table. Near the second couch was a corridor.
The first door was a stinky toilet, the second, mum and dad’s bedroom
and the third was James’s mum and dad’s bedroom. It was too dark to see
outside but mum said it’s huge. Sally called us for dinner. After a
spicy meal of ‘chilli con carne’ I drank two litres of lemonade. There
is nothing to quench red hot beans better than lemonade. We mucked
around in the bedrooms for a bit and then turned the couch into a bed to
fit Christopher and James in. I slept in the spare bed. I had a pretty
big feeling I was going to be sleeping in mum’s bed the following night.
onto my face, making it so itchy I had to scratch.
Yawning loudly I peered at James. He was still asleep. Stretching my
arm’s bone-crackingly, I woke up James.
“Pssssssssttt. James. D’ya wanna go out en climb da hill?” I asked
him. He swore then punched me lightly on the arm.
“D’ya havta wake me up so early?” James asked, still half asleep.
Dragging him out of the comfort of the bed, I put him near his clothes.
“Put these on and I’ll go tell the mums and dads we’re going,”I
ordered. Halfway through getting our clothes, on Christopher woke up.
Irritated by the delay, l told him to get dressed. When we were ready,
Christopher carried Tuffy with us. Outside was beautiful. A dozen
trees grew high, spreading shade all over the grassy slopes. A wattely
smell from the wattle trees drifted to our noses, making James cough and
splutter because he had hay fever. Thank the gods mum told us to wear
warm jumpers, you never know with Mudgee. We marched across the dewy
grass and into desolation. Prickly burrs covered the ground which stuck
onto you if you touched them. Surrounding the entire grounds was a
barbed wire fence. Past the fence were the prickles that lead up to a
hill. Our mission was to get to the top of the hill before brekkie. A
wooden post joined the fence together and we had to climb over it,
unless you wanted to get scratched to death. James and I had succeeded
in that obstacle. Now it was Christopher’s turn. Passing Tuffy over
the fence, Chris started to climb over. But he didn’t want to go over
there. So Chris walked til a fatter post appeared and climbed over
that. Problem was, Tuffy leapt out of my hands and ran for
Christopher. The dog bounded up to Chris, knocked him into the burrs
then ran off after some sheep. James and I didn’t give Christopher a
second glance. I called out to tell him that he’d had better catch
Tuffy, and off Chris went. Small shrubs and hot rocks covered the
hill. We could have stayed in Lightning Ridge and it would have been
twice as prickly. ‘Cept for the hill. I headed up the rocky slope and
James followed without hesitation. Twenty minutes later, Sally came out
of the house to tell us it was time for brekkie. James replied back to
her that we’d gotta make it to the top, it was our destiny. Destiny
smestiny, l thought. We weren’t going to make it, even though we were a
few metres til the top. There was a huge forest of prickles ahead of
us. We could see a red and black spot running after a white and brown
spot that was running after lots of little white dots from the hill.
“What a dumb bloke that guy is.” I laughed. James told me it was
Chris. I laughed harder. Suddenly my stomach started a-rumbling. So
did James’. Slowly, we started walking back down the hill. If you ran
down the hill, you wouldn’t stop running til the bottom. As we headed
back down, there was horse poo that had frozen through the night. James
and I cacked ourselves laughing. By the time we reached Iona Cottage,
all the parents were eating brekkie. Fruit salad with yoghurt smeared
on top. Yucko. I headed straight to the Coco Pops. After a bacterial
infested meal, mum asked us ‘Where is Christopher?’ that’s when we
really got worried.
where are you Tuffy? Come here boy!” Were the shouts and
cries of James and I.
Mum growled to us hissingly “There is also your brother.”
“Oh, yeah. Thanks mum!” But all the calls came to no avail. James
asked if I wanted to play passes. Eagerly I said yes. Even though it
was about minus something, a good game takes your mind off everything.
Two hours later, Scott started up his groovy little four-wheel drive to
look for Christopher. A maze of fences lay before us. Mum and Sally
had to help undo them.
Before going to look for my missing brother, James asked me this,
“Do we have to find him?”
“Of course so. Think of the adventure. Think of Tuffy, lonely and
hungry.” At last we were going up the steep descent. A beaten road led
the way up to the peak of the hill. Looking downwards, the horizon
showed us about another dozen hills. To find Christopher down there
would be like looking for a matching pair of socks in dad’s wardrobe.
Impossible. We tried anyway. 3 quarters of the way up there, a pile of
mud blocked our path. But Scott didn’t see it til the last minute and
we got bogged. The groovy little four-wheel drive pulled into throttle
and a lot of black mud flew out beneath the wheels. Groaning loudly,
the car backed out and went up to it again. It’s muddy Goodyear tyres
revved through until they were back on hard ground. The kids in the
back screamed out in triumph. Driving a bit further, red rocks made a
corridor to the hills. Not wanting to wreck his new car, Scott pulled
“The rest of it is on foot. Peter, you take the North West hill, I’ll
take the Southern two and you boys take that one over there,” Scott
said as importantly as he could. So me and James headed into the saddle
of the mountains with my dad, until we had to split up. James combed
the hill with a fine tooth comb, l used one that only had two strands in
it. (It was the only one I could find, honest.) I met up with James at
the peak of the hill and started walking down. As I walked down I got
faster. And faster. And faster until I was so fast even Superman
couldn’t keep up with me.
Faintly James called out to me “H-y Wi--i-m -low d-w-n.” Or that’s what
I thought l heard. At this point I couldn’t even feel my legs. Being
like I am, no, not full of sick humour, I planned where I would run, or
fall. I would run to the base of the hill then up against another hill
like a marble in a semi-circle. Alas, the plan failed dramatically. A
tree stump lay in my path. I could feel water pricking in my eyes
because of the speed. I......... Hooowoosh!
(This would’ve usually taken about three seconds to be over and done
Hello, this is
James Lucas narrating because Wi!!iam is slightly
damaged. Another few seconds and he’ll be all right. Tick tock. Tick
tock. Okay Wi!!iam is okay now and ready for narrating. 5, 4, 3, 2,
“This is not
happening. Just a dream. Oh God.” I looked down at my
bloodied hands. One eye could only see because the other was drowning
in blood. James was calling out for help and that a piece of my head
had fallen off. I swore. I tried to roll over but a thousand stings
dug into me. Suddenly dad came running up to me. He tore off his red
shirt and wrapped it around my head. Struggling to pick me up, the
burrs stuck into me hard. Howling in pain, dad finally lifted me up and
started to run towards the car. Trying to cheer me up, he sang me his
version of Jack and Jill.
“James and Bill
Went up the hill
To look for their lost brother
Bill fell down and broke his crown
And there was hardly any water!”
I tried to laugh but it hurt. Dizzyingly, I could see mum and Sally
climb the hill. Thankfully, dad reached the car. Dad got Scott to open
his First Aid Kit. Fortunately, there were still some bandages left.
“Okay guys you can stop it now.” Mum said. She was in the back and
couldn’t see me. Dad lifted up my red arm then continued wrapping.
“I think I know where that shirt came from.” Scott said grumpily. He
had spotted the ‘Newcastle’ letters that were soaking up the red blood.
Dad quickly shouted out orders.
“ Wen, can you please go with Scott to the Hospital. Me n’ Sally’ll
keep looking for Christopher.” Giving Dad the thumbs up, Scott started
the engine. James was slowly walking down the hill towards Iona
Cottage. Arriving safely at the cottage, Mum ran in to get her
handbag. While she was doing it, Christopher walked up to the car and
looked at me dopily.
“Get lost.” I managed to rasp. He was in for it big time when I got out
of hospital. A few moments later mum came back and jumped in. “Let’s
go.” I croaked.
At the hospital,
I had to hop in with me leaning against mum. The
receptionist took one look at me then called Dr. Something. I hobbled
into the sick bay. Throwing myself on a white bed, a thousand stings
drove into my poor body. Mum had to pick all of the burs from my
clothes before I was okay. A nurse came up and put an ice pack on my
head. Unwrapping the bandages, she wrote down on a note pad that my
head had split.
“My foot, my foot.” I croaked softly. The nurse pulled off my Nike
shoe. It looked as though an elephant had crept under my skin and down
into my ankle and then farted. Get my drift? Not the elephant’s drift
though, too stinky. My foot had bloated up ginormously. Then she said
that the Doc wouldn’t be long. I went to sleep.
A couple of hours
later, my body had been through living hell. It had
been frosted by the ice pack, been a giant needle board and that the
needles kept hitting my head and stitches drove into my hair line. The
Doc said he could actually see my brain flap. I was even more amazed
that he could see it (I wasn’t sure I had one). My foot had been
x-rayed three times, and after the third one I knew I wasn’t going in
the Cross Country. When the nurse asked where we were staying, I
mumbled “ Iodine Cottage.” When I was through with all the torture, the
nurse came over and handed me a bravery certificate. On it was a
picture of Ronald McDonald saying you’re allowed to get a free meal.
Outside I blew my top! I went through all that just to get a bravery
certificate. Oh well, I did get a free McDonalds meal. I can’t wait to
P.S. Christopher got punched with a walking stick twice then I thought
he had got what he had deserved.
P.P.S I ended up with a twisted ankle, some stitches in my head and some
days off school!
Thank you for
reading a story with a twist---of the leg!
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