Eleanor Tevendale won third place in A Write Highland Hoolie’s Children’s Writing Competition,
S 4-7, and here’s her entry…
My Highland Home
My legs swung off the high bar stool, a cool drink in my hands. The condensation on the small glass, slowly made its way down until it sunk into the Highland Park coaster, resting on the cracked wooden bar. Voices swam around the thick air of the pub; a waft of fresh fish sailed past my nose; the smell of bitter alcohol washed its way through me, settling in my lungs. I slurped my orange juice, idly waiting for the cloud to pass over the sun. When the cloud was over the sun, it was chilly, and I wanted to go outside. I’d been playing on my island, which no one else could access except from me and, sometimes, Jonathan. Mum and Dad knew about my island, and maybe Mary-on-the-bar, and Carol-Carol. The last of my juice slipped down my throat, and into my belly. I clambered down the wobbly stool, and jumped onto the floor, skipping through to the kitchen. In the kitchen, Dad was in charge, and right now they were running around, like frantic chickens, seemingly pointlessly shaking random pots and making unnecessary noise. I moved through all of the people and gently rested my cup next to the sink. Dad looked over and smiled, but he was banging too so he couldn’t hug me. The cloud had left the sun.
I was just finishing a day of serious rock throwing into the ponds surrounding my island, when Mum said there were sandwiches. I leaped and sqaushed through the treacherous terrain of the grassy beach in front of my house, clambered up the mound of craggy rocks that led up to the elevated road, scrambled up my garden and into the house. I munched quickly after a hard day’s work, sitting on the kitchen counter while Mum bumbled around the kitchen.
Then she said the thing I had been waiting for, my entire almost 5 years of living. She gave me a pound and asked if I wanted to go to the shop and get an ice cream.
The shop was a green hut about a hundred metres from my house, but between me and the shop was a road. On this road, cars didn’t lumber, or stroll. Cars sped. They zoomed like they were running for their lives without a thought to the outside world. They were probably trying to get to the real shop 18 miles away, before it closed. Jonathan was equally awestruck. We shared a look of determination and straightened our shoulders as Mum gave us our briefing: look both ways, hold hands, cross road swiftly, don’t run, make sure shoes are on securely so there is no chance of tripping. We were set, we were ready. Off we went, on the defining expedition of my life.
The first half of the expedition went smoothly – our hands stayed securely held, and neither of our shoes malfunctioned. We both knew our lives were at stake, but we powered on anyway, knowing the hot weather would be gone and this opportunity would disappear. We came to a halt, the main road sitting before us. In the distance the roar of an engine threatened. Jonathan and I waited. The rusty red car approached quickly, and Jonathan and I exchanged glances, knowing these could be our last moments. Anything could go wrong. What if we tripped? What if the car got angry and charged into us. It was all to play for. The car approached. I felt Jonathan’s sweaty palm in my own, a silent reassurance. The car zoomed by, a rush of wind slapping us as it went past. We were still alive. I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing I could live another day. We cautiously stepped onto the road, putting one foot in front of the other. We reached the gravelly dust surrounding the shop. We had made it. We were alive.
Usually, we had babysitters. Cassy had a strange voice that was slightly whiny, Mum said she was Australian but I wasn’t sure what that meant. Cassy had two sides to her. She was fun one moment, and then annoying. We were out on the hill beside the hall (where all the people from Glenuig go to have fun at nighttime) on the rope swing. The rope swing was the best thing about Glenuig. Cassy liked to play this game was, honestly, far too young for me, where she would use my hands to pat me, asking me to stop hitting myself. In all of my lifetime, I had never seen something so absurd. Cassy must have realised that it was she who was hitting me. But no. For days, she would have these outbursts. Every time, I would fight back a smile or giggle, laughing at this lady’s insanity. When she disappeared, and a new lady came in, I was thankful she wasn’t quite so silly.
Another evening, I was dressed as a princess. The reasons I dressed as a princess were plentiful: the main one being that I was one. Me and Jonathan were playing in the garden, when suddenly, a bee was buzzing around my face. I wearily examined its chubby, fluffy body in the brief seconds it surrounded me. I had heard stories about bees. Their full name is the bumble bee, and although me and my fellow nursery friends enjoy drawing them, in reality they are no picnic. You see, on the end of their fluff, they have a sharp sword that can sting you, and that is very very bad. I had never yet experienced this horror, but had only heard whispers in the playground. And here it was. Dancing right before my eyes. Of course, I had seen bees before, but never had the risk truly hit me before. We were told, that if you annoyed the bee it would sting you, but if you remained still, it would leave you unharmed. Every cell within me was screaming and running with flailing arms, but I didn’t. I remained
still. The bee assessed me, judging whether I was irritating. My muscles stated clamped tightly together, a bead of sweat forming on my forehead. Jonathan looked at me in awe, slowly backing away. I remained still. The bee had come to its decision. It flew past me, carrying on with its journey. I breathed a sigh of relief, and a smile unfolded on my face.
We carried on playing, sneaking through the back garden, and exploring the back of the pub. I felt something vibrating beneath my sparkling shoe, as I stepped into the dangerous land of behind the pub. I cautiously lifted up my foot and there lay a bee. I screamed. Panic unleashed itself, rampant throughout my system, and all went wrong. I stomped on the bee hoping to briefly detain it so I could get away. I knew it wasn’t dead. I could hear the deadly buzz in the distance. I ran, and kept on running until I was safely inside the bar. Mum and Dad were in there kitchen, making lists, looking tense. They both smiled at me and Jonathan as he followed clearly shaken by the bee incident. We went to our bar stools and climbed up, ready for a drink.