The Hollow-Amazing Grace
by Kelly McDonald
Aiden ignored the branches slicing into him as he ran through the dry, scrubby bush land.
Sweat ran into his eyes and the sun scorched his back, but still he ran. It was the one morning that Aiden couldn't get down to the tree early. It would be just his luck that the girl would wander down this morning, with no one there to protect her. It was no use trying to tell Grandad that he couldn't help him with the horses because the young city girl staying at old Mrs Sloan’s was at risk of tumbling into a magical land where monsters lived.
He paused briefly, should he go back and get help? Aiden shook his head adamantly, and continued running. He snorted at the thought of crying for help to his Granddad or uncles.
He could see his Grandad’s reaction now. The bushy eyebrow would go up, then that look would appear in his eyes again, the one that said more than words could, the one that said how much of a disappointment he was to his Grandad.
“This time they’d lock me up in the loony bin for sure.” He added to himself. “It’s not worth going through all that again.”
“Damn.” Aiden cursed as he tripped over a log, scraping his knee. He got up, and ran on. The girl wouldn't last for more than two minutes if she fell into the Hollow.
Aiden ran on, red in the face. He had to stop as he came to the edge of the dam. He was doubled over, out of breath and gasping. The girl was there, just as he had feared. She was gazing into the branches of a gigantic gum tree.
Aiden cursed again. He was too late. It had already started.
Aiden was separated from the girl by the water and the broken fence which ran between his grandfather’s property and old Mrs Sloan’s. He began to edge around the muddy bank, and clambered over the rotting wood posts, entwined with rusted wire.