Paternoster Tales: Chapter 31

Max

“Hello. Hello-be-doe-bello … sshh … I be whispering. Hello? … Loo-cree-dee-ah, there’s no-body there.”

“There is bloomin’ well somebody here! Come on guys – joke’s over. Time to give me back my phone!”

“Shh! … I’m not ‘guys’! You’ve got to shush – whiss-sss-per, like this. It’s not your phone. I did finded it. But … I don’t like the orangey colour. Or the horrid grey shape with eyes … It is mine now, you know. Loo-cree-dee-ah says you got to Shush. And I got to Shush too. Or I’ll have to turn you off. We must be quiet. Cos we’s hiding.”

“Eh … okay – what age are you?”

“I’s four and three quarters. Oops! Sorry Loo-cree-dee-ah … Sssssh!”

“Come on … you’re kidding me. Who is this?”

“I’s not kidding. Mummy says kidding isn’t nice. You really must shush … how do I turn him off Loo-cree- …”

“No, no, no! Don’t turn me off! Okay … so you’re four …”

“… an’ three quarters!”

“Four – and – three – quarters. What’s your name?”

“Agatha … oh! Loo-cree-dee-ah says I shouldn’t have told you that. And we still have to shush.”

“Who’s ‘Loo-cree-dee-ah’?”

“She’s my friend. She’s hiding too. We’s both hiding. Together!”

“So, where are you hiding?”

“I can’t tell you! Don’t you know how to play hide and seek? What’s your name? Is it meh … ah … kiss? That’s a funny name? … Oh – Loo-cree-dee-ah reads it Max. Is that your name?”

“Ye – I’m Max. Who’s looking for you, Agatha? D’you mind if I find you?”

“Agatha?”

“… Loo-cree-dee-ah says there’s loads of people looking for me. I thought it was just Molly; she’s the seeking person. I don’t like this game anymore, Loo-cree-dee-ah. I want my Mummy … Max – Loo-cree-dee-ah says you can’t play. You can’t find us. She says I got to be ‘Shh!’ … I don’t want to be Shh! anymore … I don’t like this game … I think I’s going to be crying now …”

“Agatha! – Agatha, can Loo-cree-dee-ah hear me speaking to you?”

“Yes. She can hear all my thinkings.”

“Okay. Well … Agatha, I like hide and seek. And I’m a really good seeker. So we can have a new game – okay? Our game – just you and me?”

“… and Loo-cree-dee-ah.”

“Yes. And her too. We need to stop talking. Um … you need to shush – like Loo-cree-dee-ah says. And wait. I’ll find you. Real soon. So … so you don’t need to cry. Okay?”

“Yes. Okay. But we’s very good hiders. Even Molly can’t find us. ‘Xept Loo-dree-dee-ah says she’ll be here soon enough – with her mouth all pouty, ‘pparently.”

“You could give me some clues? About your hiding place.”

“It’s got hats. And my old yellow wellies – they were Isobel’s first. Then she gave them to me. I don’t like Isobel, she took four of my pink jelly sweets. And she blew out my candles. Mummy said she shouldn’t blow out other people’s candles. That’s not a very fair thing to do … There’s lot’s of coats too. I’m wearing my grandad’s. He looks like a bear when he puts it on. It’s a little bit too very enormous for me … There’s a big brown box – I think that’s where they put all the babies. I think I came out of that box … Um – I don’t have anymore clues. Are you seeking now, Max?”

“Yes.”

“Are you nearly here yet? I can’t hear you.”

“Very nearly. I think you’ll hear me very soon.”

“That’s good. But you is not the winner. Molly did finded me first. She’s shouting at Loo-cree-dee-ah now. About a dog with lots of snot like runny ice-cream all over his face. Will you shout at Loo-cree-dee-ah?”

“I don’t think so. Geez, Agatha! I know who you are! There’s police everywhere! Do you have a big green door?”

“Max! You did finded us! I’s wearing Grandad’s boots but I can do stomping to the door. I’s coming!”

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