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.


2. The News

   Katie spotted her house from the window of Macey's mom's car and sighed.  Her fun afternoon with Macey had finally come to an end.  The two friends had finished their essay in thirty minutes, which had given them plenty of time to play.  They had swum in the pool with Macey's two younger brothers, jumped on their trampoline, and watched TV.  Now Macey's mom was dropping them Katie off in her light blue minivan.

   "Thanks, Mrs. Jones,"  Katie called as she stepped out of the car and shut the door. 

   "See ya soon, Mace!" she yelled as she stood on the sidewalk in front of her home and waved goodbye to her best friend in the leaving car.

   Katie headed to the wooden front door of her quaint house and rang the doorbell.  She could hear the faint three-note trill that alerted her family of a visitor.  As she stood on the front steps, she looked out at the houses that had surrounded her for her entire life.  Her neighborhood was the kind that someone would look at and say with their hands on their cheeks in adoration, "Aww!  How cu-ute!"  Katie looked out proudly at the many perfectly trimmed front lawns, the endless rows of little white picket fences, and the light shades of beige, yellow, brown, and green covered her street.

   Katie's face brightened as her tall father finally opened the perfectly oiled door.  She loved him, with his dark hair and goofy grins.  Katie like it when everyone said that she was exactly like him.

   "Hey Pops!" she said after gently setting down her backpack on the living room couch then jumping up to give him a bear hug.

   "How are are you, my little Katie?" he said affectionately in his deep cheerful voice.

   Katie laughed as he hugged her.  "I'm awesome," she said, enjoying her father's strong embrace.

   "Your mother's making ceasar salad and lasagna," he informed her.

   "And garlic bread?" Katie asked, pretending to appear skeptical.

   "Of course!  Now let's go eat!" her father said while turning to stride into the elegant dining room.

   Katie happily followed him and sat down in her seat at the large table.   Her mother, with her graceful movements and flowing chestnut hair, was already serving salad.  Katie smiled when she saw that her mom was wearing her favorite blue apron that Katie had made for her many Christmases ago.   Her perfect older sister, Annabell, was sitting in her usual spot with her hands folded neatly on the table and her napkin already on her lap.  Katie ruffled her twin younger brothers' hair even though they were occupied with fighting over who had the messier handwriting.  Now everyone was seated and ready to eat the delicious meal, with the smell of hot lasagna and garlic bread swirling around their noses.

   "Nathanial!" her mother cried as she gently dislodged the boy's fork from his mouth from across the wide table that had been in their family since Katie could remember, "We have to say grace first!  You know that!"  She gave him a stern look.

   "Sorry," mumbled Nate after gulping down the remaining noodles and sauce.  Jonathon, his twin, bumped his shoulder and silently laughed while their mother's back was turned towards their father.

   "Honey, will you please bless this meal?" she asked the grinning man.

   "Sure," he replied, quickly growing solemn.  "Please bow your heads and close your eyes."

   After Katie's dad had said grace, the entire family dug in to the lasagna, and even the usually last one at the dinner table, Annabell, was scafing down salad as if she hadn't eaten for a week.  After they had all pushed back their plates with their stomachs filled to the brim, Katie's mom spoke up.

   "Katie, dear, I have some important news," she began, "You - "

   "Get dessert?" Katie interrupted eagerly.

   "No, but something like that.  You see, your grandmother isn't feeling very well, and she asked for me to come and visit her.  She asked for me to cook meals for her, do her laundry, run errands, feed her pets - pretty much everything that needs to be done but can't be, since she's ill."

   "So where do I come in?" Katie asked, quickly loosing interest.

   "Well, since I have to take care of our family, I do not have two weeks to help out Grandma Betsie.  I need you to fly to Australia, by yourself, and do my job for me," her mom proposed.

   "What?" Katie exclaimed.  "But I have finals to do and school will be done before I get back!"

   "You're father and I have talked about this, and he feels that it is important for you to be able to do things like fly somewhere by yourself.  And, your teachers have agreed to give you the finals when you get back!" her mother explained.

   "Sorry, mom, I can't.  I have to many things going on to just leave for Australia!"

   "Well, sweetie, everything is already arranged.  You leave Saturday."

   "B-but that's tomorrow!"

   "Don't worry mom, she'll go.  She just doesn't want to because she's scared of flying," Jonathon explained, trying to be helpful.

   "Am not!" Katie retorted, but her obviously red cheeks gave it away.

   "It's been decided.  Your flight is at 8:30 AM," her father said, pushing back from the table.

   "I'd pack your bags now, if I were you," Annabell said over her shoulder as she headed up the stairs to her room.

   Well I'm not you, am I? Katie thought to her sister's turned back.  She still couldn't believe her mom.  She has no right to control my life! she thought bitterly while stomping up the stairs to her room.  Katie angrily opened the door and stepped inside her ocean-themed room.  She dragged her small blue suitcase from underneath her bed and started packing with an exaggerated sigh.



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