1. Playing Mummy
Word count: 258
I was given a big bag of blocks for my birthday, red and yellow, green and blue. With them I knew I could build the best tower, a tower to the moon! I sat and worked, I worked so hard, my brow wrinkled in concentration.
Despite my care the blocks fell with a crash. I took a deep breath, refusing to cry and simply started again. I kept at it, smiling at my efforts knowing that everyone would see and know that I had done it. “Look at that!” they would say, “How amazing,” they would gasp. I could almost hear the applause as the tower slowly grew taller and taller.
Then one day I put my hand into the bag and realised that it was empty. Without more blocks I’d never finish my tower. I looked around, I knew my friends had some, but they were all too busy doing their own things. One had a toy car, Beep, Beep, Zoom, Zoom, another was playing house. They took no notice of me and I didn’t have the right words to ask.
I sat and cried alone for awhile. Then wiped my nose on my sleeve. I plastered on a broad smile, smoothed down my pretty skirt and tucked my sadness in.
I left my unfinished tower where it was, I went and picked up my dollies. They stared at me blankly with their frozen faces, as if they didn’t know the thing for me to do was to give up and resign myself to simply playing mummy.
2. The Meaning of Life
Word count: 275
“It could mean …”
“or it could not!” the other interrupted.
“Or it could not!” the first had to agree, but added, hastily to avoid re-interruption, “DANGER!”
Splat! Crunch, crunch, crunch, Burp.
Some time passed.
“Oh my!” Papa Cicada said, and, “Why didn’t anyone warn them?”
Even protected by hardened green skin, his innards felt even greener; like they might soon become outtards. And outtards they became in a rush as his biggest little’un came running up shouting, “Daddy! I found a spare leg. Remember when Grandpa’s last leg was bitten off by that orange cat? He’ll like this spare leg, won’t he, Daddy? Look there’s another, and another. Daddy, you said I should become an entrepreneur. Is this a magic spare leg supply source? We cicadas have six fragile legs each. We’ve got demand. Now we’ve got supply!”
“That’s awful,” Mama Cicada said, her voice the shrillest of all the family.
Something orange flashed across the greenery that Papa always said the humans referred to as “the garg-en” though Mama Cicada had thought that it sounded more like “guard-den.” The human child often said, “whoosh!” standing, just as she was now, at the edge of the grass blades’ mass planting; looking towards the barks of the trees where many cicadas lived.
“Oh, oh, oh!” Mama Cicada shrilled; past top C.
“Not ‘awful’ Mama, but ‘awesome.’ Shut up Mama! Listen, the human child’s saying ‘shoosh!’ not ‘whoosh!’”
Yes, Papa had had a flash of brilliance. His green hide re-toughened. Silence. Magically, the orange flash stilled; a cat confused by the sudden quiet.
“Come Kitty,” the human child said, “there’s a bowl of milk for you inside.”
3. The Magic Rings
Word count: 274
You can see me?
You may be small and green but I am not as blind as a boat. Give me your unicorn and I’ll whisper you a secret not even the trees know?
I’ll be as quiet as a marshmallow if you tell me your secret but I cannot give you my unicorn.
If you’re quiet as a marshmallow on a hot summers day and make me a new pink and purple unicorn I’ll tell you the secret about my magic rings.
Magic rings you say, ok but if I make you your very own unicorn you can’t tell the albatross that you got it from me.
Oh I promise I won’t tell the albatross that you made me a pink and purple unicorn, but do it quietly or the trees might tell him.
Now whisper to me about your magic rings, you have your unicorn as beautiful as fluff.
These rings in my ears are magic they allow me to see things others can’t. My uncle bought them from a land far away, a gift for my birthday.
If I made you another unicorn would you give them to me?
If you made me a gazillion unicorns I would not give them to you.
A gazillion and three would you lend them to me?
I would if you turned your snot to gold.
My snot to gold that’s as easy as windows on a mac.
*Second quiet poof*
The third loud poof had the trees attention as she tickled under his nose with a feather and the gold, unicorns and rings were all hers as his head was shed.
4. The Upside of Down
‘Shush, you can come in but you must be loud,’ Annabel whispered as she opened the door.
‘Loud?’ I asked as I ducked my head. ‘Don’t you mean quiet?’
‘Yes, that’s what I said,’ she replied, indignant.
‘You said loud.’
‘No, you said that.’
I blinked, and moved into the small cold room.
‘You can sit over there on the upside down chair.’
‘How can I sit on an upside down chair?’ I asked, perplexed.
“Silly you, you can’t sit on an upside down chair.’
‘But you just told me to.’
‘No I didn’t say that, you said that.’
I shook my head as I looked around the room – the dolls sitting upside down, the doll’s house perched on its roof, the toys all upended.
‘You can pour us a cup of tea,’ Annabel demanded, waving her hand towards the teapot, its spout pointing downwards. Beside it sat the cups, the saucers resting on top.
‘I have unmade a cake,’ she smiled, going over to the table. The icing lay thick on the bottom of the cake, spreading out over the plate.
‘Why is everything upside down?’ I ventured to ask.
‘Nothing is upside down in here silly! You are standing upside down, don’t you know that?’ she giggled.
My head was swirling. ‘I have to go now,’ I said, suddenly feeling dizzy.
‘Yes I think you should stay, and don’t come back until you are standing the wrong way up!’
I quickly closed the door and hurried off.
‘Pooh! Grownups say such silly nonsense!’ Annabel thought, returning to her upside down world.
5. The Secret
I’ve got a secret – a great big secret that’s bubbling up inside me like a fizzy drink. I have to close my lips into a tight straight line so my secret won’t burst out of my mouth. Mum made me promise not to tell ANYONE, especially NOT DAD! No; definitely not Dad – not after what happened last time.
When Dad found out that secret his face went all red and he shook his head a lot. He said it was ridiculous and unbelievable; then he went for a big walk like he does every night after work, only this time he forgot to change out of his suit. While he was gone Mum cried and I watched TV, just like I do when HE is taking all Mum’s time. When Dad came back they cried and talked. He said he forgave her, even though she did it on purpose. He said that everything would be alright.
It’s really tricky not to tell – maybe I could just give you a hint. If you guess for yourself I won’t be breaking my promise. Last time, after Dad went to work each morning, Mum opened the door and there he was. She hugged him, kissed him and stroked his hair. I was allowed to watch lots of TV so she could spend time with him and now it’s going to happen all over again.
I don’t know what Dad will say when he finds out. Have you guessed?
Yes, that’s it – you’re right! I’m getting another baby brother!