“Have you got your torch, Kiki? You’ll need it in those tunnels, I’m still uncertain about them...!”
I patted a small lump in my jacket pocket. I was going to some old ruins; Carn Euny. I was so excited; apart from our energetic dog, Loobie, I was going all by myself! That meant no nagging about hygiene when lunch came, or the long winded history dates about the place. I could really enjoy myself properly. I was staying for the day, exploring, and then coming back home when it gets dark because Mum wouldn’t budge when I’d asked to camp there overnight. “Are you sure that’s your torch? And have you got your lunch? Wellies?” my Mum continued fretfully. Kim, my elder brother, came in the room and shot me a grin from behind Mum’s back as if to say, “Rather you then me!” before sidling out of the living room and into the kitchen, probably to make himself a snack. I grinned back at him, sarcastically. “YES, I HAVE EVERYTHING MUM, seriously! I have my lunch, I have my wellies, and I have my torch okay?” I got a bit annoyed then, Mum agreed that she would let me go and now here she is battling on about if I have everything! I despair sometimes, I really and truly do. If people can’t keep their promises, why bother making them?
“Now don’t get cheeky with me, madam, I can see where you’re going!” Mum retorted. “I wasn’t!” I protested. “I was only saying can I please go now, mum? Thank you for trying to help,” I bluffed. Anyway it worked in a miraculous and unbelievable way. “Hmm...If you’re sure you’ve got everything and you’re not going to be cheeky...I suppose you can go now...” she relented. Joy spouted through me like when you turn on a fountain and the water shoots out in a rush – I was going finally at last! I’d been up all night waiting to go. I had put my clothes on speedily that morning and wouldn’t have been in the slightest bit surprised if my top’s on back to front or something like that! I’d done that at school once.
I wasn’t teased at school. In fact, I was really popular. I had good exam marks and a good reputation. Only, I wish I had a proper friend at school instead of loads of people liking me. Like a best friend. Meg and Emma were best friends, never away from each other. Even Ginger and Tanya had a friendship I was jealous of. Over the years I’d learnt that being clever and a know-it-all doesn’t get you anywhere. People think you love school and you think you’re the best at everything. I suppose at school I pretend to be bored about History and everything else but actually, I don’t think it’s as bad as people make out. The facts are boring and our teacher’s droning voice could send anyone to sleep but I’m still giving History a chance for now. Maybe I’ll even find a best friend. One day.
“Brilliant, bye then!” I said, cheerfully to Mum, opening the door, hurriedly, before she changed her mind. “Come on Loobie!” I added, clapping my hands together. “See you tonight, Mum.” I called. Loobie raced towards me. Whilst she is a typical English cocker spaniel, loves to lick total strangers, very cute and very bouncy, she still has a gentle, calm nature deep within. I stepped out into the fresh, spring day, breathing, deeply. “Now remember, don’t talk to any strangers, and come straight home when it gets dark, and most importantly, ring us if anything happens, for goodness sake...” Mum told me, yet again. “Okay, mum, don’t worry, I’ll have a fabulous time and I’ll keep safe, honestly! Bye!” “I know, darling, see you, bye!” she called after me.
I walked away from our house, with a slight skip in my step. I kept waving until I turned a sharp corner and was out of sight. I was feeling in high spirits so I continued to skip down the path, Loobie trotting at my heels, obediently. In a surprisingly short time, I reached the woods on the outskirts of town, where we live. The town’s name is Emeriver. Apparently, at the bottom of the river bed in our town there used to be chunks of Emerald, hence the name Emeriver. Mum and Dad thought it was a quirky name, well thought out, when we moved here a while ago. I must admit, the name is pretty cool.
I took one step into the woods. There were bluebells sprouting up from the forest floor. Furthermore, moss surrounded all the trees – some of which looked extremely old, hundreds of years maybe. I started to daydream, my favourite pastime. The trees spied soldiers marching past, in their khaki uniform whilst crying, “Left, Right, Left, Right,” simultaneously. The trees spied children, laughing, picnicking, and having fun. The trees spied a mother, wearing a checked apron wearily calling for her child, “Brena! Your father needs some help in the workshop...”
Reality brought me back with a bump. The birds were all twittering in the tall, leafy trees, sounding beautifully sweet and musical. I strolled on further into the woods. Every now and then, there was a scuffling sound, and a blackbird would hop out from behind a bush or a lively squirrel dart across the path. Sun filtered through the trees sparkling like fairy dust. It was certainly a magical-looking spot. I walked on a little stopping now and then to peer up into the trees at dazzling sunlight to warm my face, which was looking unusually tanned because of all the lovely weather we’d been having recently. I’m normally quite pale and am often asked by shopkeepers and even teachers (who surely should know more about me by now!) if I feel ill. Freckles swarm my face like buzzing bees and I wish I hadn’t got quite so many. My hair is chestnut and it tumbles down to my waist; I have been growing it since the age of five. I’m now thirteen although you would never believe it. I’m a midget and I hate being small. I especially loathe it when the school nurse comes in and takes our height and I always have to take a letter home saying I am too slight. It often contains the local doctor’s phone number too along with a letter stating I need to be seen. I mean, my Mum knows that I’m short so why does the nurse have to interfere with it? What exactly is the doctor going to do? Stretch me on a stretcher, or what?
Whilst I thought this, I strolled on for a relaxing half hour or so, stopping ever so often to peer up at the trees, shielding my face from the sunlight or to take a gulp of my water. Loobie was enjoying the walk as she never got a walk this long before – we were far too busy what with school, work and after school clubs. I was taking my time to stroll and enjoy the scenery (as I was in no hurry.) Soon, I reached a row of steep steps. Did they lead up to an opening with the ruins I had been searching for?