The sun was hot. That summer was a scorcher. I remember the sweat trickling down the sides of my face. I was always sticky and grubby – I spent most of my time outdoors playing with my new friend. We went to the park, played in my back garden, and roamed the local vacant land – a very mysterious and lonely place when you’re nine years old.
The little plot was quiet and still – like a forgotten, empty writing book left over from school. It was close to home – I could see the roof of my house – and yet it was so different. There was a wild tangle all over it’s surface – a strange mix of fast growing weeds and the more familiar garden plants my mother grew at home. It felt like another country – but just around the corner from home; very handy when you wanted to play pretend.
That day we were intrepid explorers, bent on a secret mission to save – something or someone or other. We were very important anyway. It was vital that we succeeded; everything hung in the balance. I had “borrowed” my mother’s carving knife and had it stuck into the waistband of my shorts – like a real explorer I told my friend. I used it to hack at the jungle undergrowth we were slowly making our way through – the native machete wielding bearers had disappeared because of the multitude of ferocious wild animals we were always encountering.
That expedition had been very unlucky – we’d lost a couple of the natives right at the start to a huge pack of lions and tigers (Like I said, I was nine – and very shaky on geography) and then the marauding bands of wild tribesmen had polished off a good number more – but we had fought valiantly and hard – heroes both. And we’d saved the rest of the bearers from hideous certain death (having their heads shrunk on their necks, and then being boiled alive for the tribesmen’s lunch. I didn’t have much sense of a time line too at that age).
As the sun lowered in the sky, and the evening crept up on us, I wiped my eyes clear of sweat and turned to my trusty companion:
“How about we come back and finish this after tea? My Mum’s called us twice, and I know she’s got some ice-lollies in the freezer-box for afters”
“What flavour?” asked my gallant sidekick.
“’k then – race ya?”
Avis Hickman-Gibb is a newly established writer, living in rural Suffolk, England with her husband, one son and two cats. She’s had stories published in Every Day Fiction, Twisted Tongue, and Shine! and has up-coming stories in Bewildering Stories, The PygmyGiant, The Ranfurly Review and The Boston Literary Magazine. She is currently working on a book of short stories and is addicted to writing flash fiction.