Katie was never the adventurous type. She preferred to stay at home and finish her English essay or clean her room. Her whole world shattered when her mom told her that she was to visit her grandma in Australia, where on almost every corner there was a creepy crawly waiting for her. She faces many dangers and has to make some decisions that will change her life.


10. Battle

   Katie nocked another arrow on her much-used bow and aimed at a thick boa constrictor dangling above an unaware bird.  Tiffana and Katie had been crouched in their bunker behind a clump of boulders, picking off snakes from afar for three hours.

   "Phew!" Katie sat back on a rock and wiped her upper lip with her free hand.

   Tiffana did the same and said, "I know right!  Can we get a little less sun up in here?" she shouted to no one in particular.  The bright sun was blazing down at them, burning their skin and making them sweat like pigs.

   Rustling in her pack, Katie looked up at Tiffana.  "Hey Tiff, wanna take a lunch break?"

   "You bet I do!" her friend said, smiling at the thought of more nectar and oat cakes.

   As the two friends were eating and chatting, taking a break from the craziness of battle, Katie suddenly stopped talking.  She cocked her head to one side and closed her eyes, listening.

   "Uh, Katie?" Tiff looked at her like she was performing a Martian ritual, "What are you doing?"

   "Shh!" Katie hushed her, holding a finger to her lips for silence.  "Do you hear that?"

   "Hear what?  I don't hear any - oh.  Wait, ya, I hear that.  A kind of hissing, right?  Wait, hiss-"

   Realization hit the two girls a second to late.  Out of the dense underbrush a giant python lurched at them.  Both of the terrified girls screamed as a seemingly endless supply of snakes came hurdling at them.

   As her instincts kicked in, Katie sprung into action and ran about ten yards away.  She nocked her bow and aimed at the front python's head in one fluid motion.  Even as she let the arrow fly, she reached over her back to grab another.  She felt twenty arrows in her quiver, even though she used most of them in the battle, the birds had made sure to give her plenty of ammo.  That seemed far away as Katie now tried to save Tiffana and herself.  She seemed to be watching her own body move robotically as she picked off several more snakes.  She could see Tiff about ten feet away from her, apparently out of arrows.  Suddenly a huge boa constrictor lunged at her and started to squeeze the life out of Katie's best friend.

   Having finished off all of the snakes except for the one killing Tiff, Katie leaped over the fallen enemies toward Tiffana and ripped her dagger from its place at her calf.  She hacked at the dangerous snake, trying to make it release its death grip on her best friend, but the snake seemed to be unaffected by her exhausted efforts.  Tiffana was turning red and was making gasping motions, but was still unable to fill her deflated lungs with fresh air.  Tiff sank to the rocky soil, her face now almost blue from lack of oxygen.

   With one last desperate attempt, Katie hacked off the python's head, and watched as its body slowly released its grasp on Tiffana.  Katie rushed over to her best friend, tears in her eyes as she knelt by her motionless body.  She twirled Tiff's long blonde hair in her fingers, her tears slipping down her nose and dripping on Tiffana's beautiful locks.

   Suddenly, just as Katie thought that her best friend was gone forever, Tiff groaned and shifted.

   Katie jumped up from her crouched position and laughed out loud.  She felt like she was on top of the world.

   "She's alive!!!" she cried with joy, "She's alive."

   Tiff's eyes fluttered open and she struggled to sit up.  Katie swooped down to help her friend.  She quickly found some leftover nectar in her pack and dribbled some in Tiffana's mouth.  

   Tiffana looked up at Katie blankly and weakly murmured, "What happened?"

   "Nothing," Katie said, holding Tiff's head in her lap, "Nothing happened.  Just relax and we'll see if we can get you back to the birds, eh?  Ya, that's a good idea  Yup, that's what we'll do…"

   Katie stroked Tiffana's hair as her friend drifted off in a peaceful sleep.

   After a few minutes, Katie gently lowered her friend's head onto her soft pack and hurried to collect her arrows from the snake's limp forms.  She tried not to gag at the sight of the pools of  black blood surrounding their fatal wounds.

   After she had finished ripping out all of the arrows, she sorted though the ones that were damaged and separated them from the ones that could be reused.  The useless ones she threw into the bushes and the unbroken arrows, half in her quiver and the rest in Tiff's. 

   Having nothing else to do but wait for Tiff to wake up, Katie searched in her pack for the rest of the oat cakes.  Katie crouched next to Tiffana with her loaded bow across her lap and munched on the remaining food.  

   Suddenly, Katie heard a shout.  She stood and whirled around, the cake flying into the bushes.  Picking up her bow, she turned just quickly enough to see the biggest snake she had ever seen come lunging at her.  A few feet from her face, Katie forgot all of her training and dropped her bow to cover her face with her arms.  Peeking though her fingers, she saw its beady eyes and its fangs trained on her neck.  

   As if in slow motion, she saw its green scales glint in the sun.  Just as the snake was about to sink its fangs in the soft flesh beneath her jaw, she saw its black eyes glaze over.  The snake thudded to the ground with a knife in its neck, dead.  

   Katie slowly opened her eyes and stood up from her defensive crouched position.

   "Matteo?" she asked.  She shielded her eyes and through the haze, saw the young page from the castle in the shadows of the trees.  He came out from the trees and walked toward her.

   "Hey," he said breathlessly once he had reached the little clearing. "Are you okay?"

   The shaken up girl wiped the dark blood of the snake off of her cheek. "ya, thanks to you. Nice throw by the way!" She smiled and started walking towards Tiffana.

   "Oh my gosh!" Matt exclaimed, his eyes lighting upon the sleeping form. "Is she alright?  What happened?  What's going on?"

   Katie tried to hide her grin. "She'll be okay.  A python choked her up for a bit, but she should be fine after a little bit of rehab."

   The relief was obvious on Matt's face. "Oh thank goodness!"

   Katie couldn't hold it in any longer.  She burst out laughing, tears streaming down her face.  

   Matteo looked confused. "What happened?"

   Katie doubled over, laughing at his ignorance.  "Do you like Tiffana?"

   "What?  No, of course not!  I mean - well…" Matteo trailed off, ending up more confused than ever.

   "It's obvious, Matt," Katie explained. "You like her."


   "So, I don't know, ask her out or whatever you do on this crazy island," Katie instructed.

   Tiffana sat up. "Ask who out?"

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