Barbara@TGWSTW

Storyteller. Traveller. People Person.

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Barbara@TGWSTW

Storyteller. Traveller. People Person.

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Hide and seek6 min read

One, two, three, four –
Eh? They are all gone already…
Five, six – Ha!
If I look through my fingers I can still see Max…
Seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven –

I’m just gonna grab a piece of cake before I take off. If the adults haven’t eaten it all already. They’re always telling me to be decent and share, and if I –

Crap, they’re at the table again. Why couldn’t they stay at the grill.
Now I don’t have the guts.
If I go back for it, they’ll ask a thousand questions. Like something earth-shattering has happened in the last few days.
Hello? It was only a few da…
What?
More coffee?
Sure. And some pie, too.
Even two more?! Uncle Phil really needs to take it easy, fat as he is. He could sure do better if he had some vegetables.
They always make sure I eat enough of them, but they…

Oh, yes – thirty-four, thirty-five, thirty-six, thirty-seven, thirty-

Now they’re discussing it again… ten more goddamn years… ten more goddamn years… teeen… mooore… goooddaaaamn… yeeears…
Why is Mom getting so upset about this?
I like it here.
In fact, I’d like to stay in Aviana forever.
Yeah.
I will.
If Max doesn’t move, I’m not going either.
I won’t. We’ll just hide out until we grow up.
Then our parents can’t do anything.

They always feel so important when they discuss.
Does this Lucas have to wave his hands like crazy? He shouldn’t get so upset.
Maybe that’s why he’s bald? Ha ha ha.
What did he look like when he had hair? I’ll bet he used to pull a trail of fallen hair behind him…

Like Shushu…

Oh, I miss her so much. Why couldn’t we take her with us? There are animals here too. I’m sure she’d track Sam, Katie and Max down by now with her super nose… And I’d win.

Right.
Focus Hannah. Seventy-eight, seventy-nine, eighty, eighty-one and eighty-

Aw, boy… I’d love that piece of lemon cake…
Can’t get enough of it…
So yummy.
Oh, no. Now Aunt Charlotte’s grabbing one too. With her spider fingers.
In a few moments, there’ll be nothing left.
And who knows when Mom will have time to bake again.

Come on, Hannah. Don’t be a chicken!
Okay. I’ve already been in the cave. Without a flashlight!
The stupid cake is nothing compared to it. Yeah. Exactly.
I’m gonna get me one!
And then I’ll say we’re playing hide and seek, and then I’ll just run along.
Great! Aunt Emma goes to the bathroom. So I can get past the table faster.
This is my chance.
 
 
 
 
 
SO, WHERE ARE YOU RUNNING OFF TO AGAIN?
 
JUST PLAYING HIDE AND SEEK!
 
HANNAH! STICK TO OUR AGREEMENT!
 
YES, MOM! WE’LL STAY HERE IN THE FOREST!

 
 
 
 
 
She always treats me like a baby. I’m already 12 and a half.
I’ve looked after little Sam so many times.
No big deal.

Oh – nine… ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one hundred.
Coming!

Okay. Katie’s probably in the hammock.
She always acts so smart. But she has no idea at all. I’ve already figured her out. She’s just trying to suck up to Max.

Stupid cow.

I gotta find her.
Oh, yeah. The hammock’s moving. She probably saw me and bolted like a hare. Do you think I don’t know what you’re up to?
She thinks I’m stupid.
She must have run back to the cabin.
You’re such a chicken. Yeah, yeah. Stay close to your mommy.

Shh. I have to be really quiet. The floorboards squeak like crazy in some places. That sounds really creepy. Sometimes I think someone is following me. And when I turn around it squeaks one more time, as if someone has run away.
Okay, she’s not in my room.
The bedroom? Under the bed? No.
In the wardrobe? No, she’s not.
Hm.
Dad’s study is open. I could…
No! I’m not allowed in there.
I got in real trouble last time. But…
What if that’s where Katie is hiding?

Quick! To the window!

Okay – I can almost see everybody. They’re sitting at the grill again. And waving their hands again.

All right. Very briefly.
I’ll just take a quick look.
Maybe she’s behind the server wall?

Crap! She’s not here either. Where the he – what…
Huh?
That’s my slingshot.
And it’ s fixed.
Dad. You’re the best.
Cool. I can’t wait till we start shooting at cans again.
I remember Mom back then… How she screamed when a piece of rock hit her in the middle of her forehead.
And what happened? She immediately forbade me to shoot ever again.

Luckily dad talked her out of it again.

Nah. I’m going back down.
Whew. It’s really warm today.
Do we have any orange juice left?
Yeah! Yummy.
Umm – the pantry. I haven’t even looked there yet.
I wonder if she’d dare go in there.
 
 
 
 
 
KATIE?
KATIE, COME OUT! I CAN HEAR YOU BREATHING!
SAM? IS THAT YOU?
HELLO?

 
 
 
 
 

Brr. Cold and dark.

Nobody would want to go in there voluntarily.
Aaah! Close it.
That’s it.
Cabin’s checked.
I guess everyone’s outside. I’m running out.

This is… Ha! Sam’s butt!
He can’t see me. Goof.
He’s gonna pee his pants any second.
 
 
 
 
 
BOO!
GOTCHA!
HA HA HA.
HEY, EASY. IT’S JUST ME. TAKE A BREATH.
IT’S YOUR TURN NEXT.
SEE YOU AT THE CABIN.

 
 
 
 
 
Eh? I don’t believe this.
Did they run that far out?
Darn it. What if they’re hiding out together? She’s probably sucking up to him again, trying to hold his hand.
Pff.
I don’t care.
Better for me. I’ll find them both then.
Two birds with one stone.
Hahaha. No.
One bird and one fly. Hihi.
That hits the nail on th-

What’s going on over there? There’s a van in front of the cave.
I have to take a closer look.

Research Unit for the Conservation of Rare Species.

I’ve never seen it before.

What are they doing?
Should I get my gumboots first…
Don’t be silly. Mom would get it right away.
It doesn’t matter. I can go in like this.
The water only gets deeper further down.
 
 
 
 
 
HANNAH!
HANNAH!
PLEASE COME OUT, HONEY! THE GAME IS OVER!
HANNAH! THIS IS NOT FUNNY.
 
COME ONE, GEORGE. RELAX.
SHE’S GONNA SHOW UP.
CALM DOWN.
THIS IS AVIANA. NOBODY GETS LOST HERE!

 
 
 
 
 
Relax? You want me to relax? What the hell does that fool think he’s doing. If this was about Katie, he would have alerted all units by now.
And what if Hannah got hurt? What if she’s lying somewhere – unconscious – and can’t call for help?
 
 
 
 
 
SHIT! I GOTTA DO SOMETHING!
KATHERINE! HONEY! BRING ME THE FLASHLIGHT!
I’M GOING TO WALK THROUGH THE WOODS TOWARDS THE CAVE. YOU LOOK AROUND HERE.
AND SOMEONE SHOULD STAY IN THE CABIN WITH THE CHILDREN.

 
 
 
 
 
Hannah. Sweetheart.
Where are you.
Please come out of your hiding place.
Please make a sound.
Come on.
 
 
 
 
 
HANNAH!
HANNAAAH!

 
 
 
 
 
Fuckin’ hell. My heart. I have to calm down.
Take a deep breath.
Think.
Where else could she be?
The Sanders’ cabin? No. Too far.
Down by the creek? No.
Her gumboots. They were still in the cabin.

The cave.
No.
Not after last time. She wouldn’t do that.
Would she?
No. I don’t think so.
Please don’t, sweetheart.
You didn’t go in there, did you?
Without gear?
Without company?
Without saying a word?
 
 
 
 
 
WHOA!
WHAT HAVE YOU GOT THERE, MA’AM?
THOSE AREN’T LITTLE FIRE GLIDE BUGS THAT MY DAD TOLD ME ABOUT, ARE THEY?

. . .

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