An extract from an as yet untitled Children’s book I’m working on:
It felt like they had been walking for hours. Dad was leading the way along the narrow, stony path which led them through the trees and slowly up the hillside. Several times they had stopped to catch a breath and have a snack before Dad urged them onward.
“How much further?” asked Evan for the hundredth time.
“Not far now” replied Dad for the ninety-ninth time.
“It wasn’t far last time I asked him” Evan said to Lilly, who was skipping alongside him.
“Never mind Ev, it’ll be fun when we get to the campsite” replied Lilly, ever cheerful.
The trees started to thin a little as the path got steeper and when they turned a sharp corner on the trail the woods parted to reveal a spectacular view down from the mountainside, onto the biggest lake they had ever seen. They could see a few tents pitched on the edge of the lake and a plume of white smoke coming from a welcoming campfire.
“There you go Evan, I told you it wasn’t far” said Dad, “and it’s all downhill from here, let me carry your rucksacks and you and Lil can run on, just stay on the path and you can’t go wrong”.
Lilly didn’t need a second invitation, with a hop and skip she sped off down the mountain side leaving nothing but a dusty trail behind her.
“Will you be alright with the bags Dad?” asked Evan
“I’m sure I’ll manage” Dad replied “off you ………”
Evan had already gone before he could finish his sentence. Dust and pebbles from the path flew in all directions as he skidded away to catch up with his little sister. They sped into the campsite, ran straight past the tents and towards the inviting water of the lake. Stopping briefly to remove their shoes and socks, they dived in and happily started splashing each other. They were concentrating so hard on splashing each other they didn’t see their Mum and Brother sneaking up behind them with buckets full of water.
Dad came into camp just in time to see Mum and Isaac tipping their buckets right over Evan and Lilly’s heads.
“I’ll stoke up the fire” he called. It would be getting dark soon and the last thing he wanted was cold children all night. Even though it was warm in the daytime, it soon became colder once the sun started to set. The parents sat the children by the campfire and dried them off with a towel before Dad handed each of them a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
“Mmmmmm” they all said together.
“Ok” said Dad “once you’ve drunk that up, the three of you can go and find some more firewood. Do you all remember the rules?”
“Yes Dad” replied Evan, “No breaking branches off trees, nothing too wet, and don’t go past the first row of trees”
“Good, right then off you all go, Mum and I will make supper for when you get back”
“Don’t be long and stay where we can see you” called Mum as they ran towards the treeline.
Lilly caught up with Evan and Isaac just as the boys were about to go into the woods.
“Remember the rules boys” she said to them gently
“What’s the matter Lil? You’re not scared are you?” Isaac asked her
“No it’s just that its getting a bit dark and it’ll be darker in the woods and we won’t be able to find any sticks for the fire”
“Scaredy Cat!” Isaac shouted as he dived into the trees. Evan followed, leaving Lilly standing on the lakeside by herself. She looked back towards the campsite and could see the glow of the campfire and if she listened really carefully, she could hear Mum and Dad laughing about something. She took a deep breath and followed the boys into the trees.
It was definitely darker in the woods, and quieter. Lilly could hear the boys giggling quietly away from their hiding place. She knew they were going to jump out on her to scare her it was just a matter of when.
“BOO!” they shouted together as they leapt out from under a low hanging branch.
“You’re not funny!” she shouted back to them, “come on, we need to find some firewood before Mum and Dad get worried”
Just then they heard a branch snap and a big rustling noise coming from the trees in front of them.
“What’s that?” whispered Isaac.
“Oh nothing,” said Evan “it’s probably Dad coming looking for us”
“What if it’s a bear?” said Isaac, very softly
“Or a wolf?” murmured Lilly
“A wolf!” shrieked Isaac, quite alarmed by this point.
“Don’t worry, there’s no wolves around here so stop panicking” said Evan in his best, ‘I’m the biggest so I’m charge’ voice.
Suddenly the rustling started again, closer this time and the three all stared into the trees in front of them. Only this time, something was staring back. They turned on the spot and ran, dodging branches and jumping roots. Evan turned his head to see if it was following them, stumbled into Isaac who, in turn knocked Lilly onto the floor. Whatever was following them was right on top of them now and they curled up on the woodland floor, hoping if they stayed still they wouldn’t be seen. They heard it moving towards them, slowly now and Evan dared to peek. He lifted his head and opened his eyes just enough to see…. A big, black, muddy pair of Wellington boots.