Continuing The Pond People. If you missed the beginning, click here to Meet the Mirlings
Riding the Current.
He was still figuring out where he was when Eddy landed beside him. ‘Flash… how …? Magic! I might have known.’
Flo joined them. ‘You’re bleeding. Let me look at that.’
He moved his hand away and watched Flo kneel to inspect the wound in his side. She looked up with concern in her eyes. Shows of strength and feats of heroism would never be the way to get Flo’s attention.
But now he put his hand over hers and rose to his feet. She rose with him as he searched from side to side, staring out into the water. ‘Where’s Grandad?’
She stepped back. ‘Is Grandad with you?’
He launched like a reed-shot to where the ball had bobbed away from the waterfall and ducked inside it. Eddy joined him, but Flash had already seen it was empty. Outside, Molly and Flo reached them.
He asked, ‘Are you sure he hasn’t fallen out into the pond? Maybe when the ball hit the water?’
Molly shook her head. ‘I didn’t see him, but I don’t see everything.’
Flo was scanning the waterscape around them. ‘Neither did I.’
He covered his eyes. Think!
‘He must have fallen out while we were in the air.’ He swam to the plants growing by the waterfall that hung over the water. ‘He must be in the garden.’
Eddy called, ‘Flash, what are you doing?’
He had started climbing, but dunked his head under the surface to reply, ‘Maybe I can see him.’
‘And then what?’ asked Molly, her words just reaching him on the air. ‘You can’t just run out and get him.’
‘There’s nothing you can do, mate,’ Eddy shouted from the pond’s surface. He started to follow up the hanging plants but was too weak to climb far out of water.
Glancing back, Flash was relieved to see Eddy had stopped climbing. Flo came to watch beside her brother, both ducking their heads at intervals to breathe as Flash sought footholds between pebbles that were slippery with blanketweed
He climbed far above them, up the edge of the waterfall and around its curve until he could no longer see the pair below.
He needed to breathe, so he hung on to a firmly lodged pebble and dipped his head in the turbulent water. As he came up, he thought he’d seen eyes peeping from behind a stone. How far up was the ball when it skimmed the wall and landed in the waterfall, to begin its bumpy roll?
He could see no eyes now; it had been his imagination. Wishful thinking.
‘Whoopee-ee-ee!’ The cry drew nearer.
Skeltering down the waterfall, riding the cascade, was Grandad.
Veering between stones and slithering over blanketweed, Grandad’s tail thrashed like a dodger, steering him through.
‘Just like the riv-e-e-r…’ Flash caught, as Grandad bounced past, swerving at the last minute around the stone at the end.
Did he hear a tiny splash among the tumblings of the water, before Eddy’s ‘Yay!’ filled his head. He threw himself into the waterfall and hurtled after Grandad.