Gemma frantically searched the shed for sticks. Anything to hook rag doll from the water would do.
Rag doll was slowly going; heavier with all the water. Sinking.
The solaf was getting weary now. His arms were beginning to ache.
‘How much further.’ He began to wonder.
The fish, slowly gliding across the bottom of the pond, was searching for food.
Roger was in the kitchen, making some breakfast. He was still angry with his sister, for yesterday. Crab, was sat by the back door, waiting to go out.
Next door, Winston the boxer was frantically digging his escape tunnel under the fence. Almost there. Just a few more inches.
Roger pushed the back door open, and Crab slinked out into the fresh air.
Winston’s nose twitched, as he got a whiff of ‘cat.’
His burrowing grew more frantic.
Gemma raced back to the pond, a long stick clasped in her tiny hand, as rag doll, water drawing her further down, was beginning to panic.
The solaf was almost at the top now. He could clearly see rag doll, almost within touching distance.
The fish glanced upwards, no food to be had on the bottom. He spied movement; time to investigate.
He watched, closely for a moment, then decided to move upwards. Fast.
Crab was ambling over to the pond, curious to see what Gemma was up to.
Time seemed to slow down to a crawl, as a series of events began to unfold.
Roger was striding out into the garden. He’d seen his sister.
Winston had burst through to the other side of the fence, just a few feet from the pond.
The stick in Gemma’s hand was slowly lifting rag doll from the water, as the solaf reached out for her, inches from the surface.
Crab was at the pond’s edge now, crouching.
The fish, racing upwards, mouth open for the tasty snack dangling from the weed.
As it hit the solaf, the force knocked him flying through the air; followed by the fish. Gemma fell back in shock as the fish missile rose into the air.
Rag doll clinging to the end of the stick, was flung clear of the pond.
Crab saw the fish, and pounced, as Winston, barking, charged towards the cat.
The solaf hit the grass, with a thump, and rolled under a bush, just as Roger ran to investigate the chaotic scene.
Gemma sat up in disbelief at the events unfolding before her.
Crab had almost got the fish, but Winston had become a major threat now. He was almost upon the cat. Crab made a decision in an instant.
‘Leave the fish. Run.’ It tore off into the bushes, followed by Winston, barking frantically.
Gemma saw movement by the pond, near a small bush, and grabbing rag doll, raced over to see more clearly.
Roger had arrived now, totally stunned at what he’d just witnessed; and the fish thrashed wildly about on the grass.
Gemma bent down, not daring to believe her eyes.
There was a very bedraggled looking solaf. He looked up, and smiled. Gemma’s eyes filled with tears of happiness, as she scooped him up, holding him close to her heart.
“Solaf.” She cried. “You came back.”
The three friends walked slowly towards the house, as Roger desperately tried to catch the thrashing fish.
The back door swung open. It was Gemma’s father. He looked down at her, and smiled.
Then looked beyond her, and yelled, “Roger! Put that fish back in the pond, and then get right back here. You bad boy, that’s very, very naughty!”
The three friends were climbing the stairs to Gemma’s room, as her fathers voice was booming out its fury at her brother. She pushed the door closed, as they all fell onto the bed. She gazed at the wet rag doll and the wet solaf.
All back, safely.
Wet; but safe. She beamed at them both, and with a tear rolling down her cheek, said,
“This is the best day of my life.”