ONE SUMMERS DAY by Robert Tansey
It was a cold summers evening, the sun had gone down early, the sky becoming overcast and getting dark. Earlier it had been pleasantly warm, but changeable, the sun had fought its way through the clouds enough to encourage the family to sit out in the garden for afternoon tea. The children had played by the little pond at the bottom of the garden, and were fascinated by the activity of pond life, midge larva, pond skaters and the occasional plop of some unseen beastie. But as early evening approached, we were inclined to go indoors, that is we adults were, the children seemed oblivious to the encroaching cold, they were intent on continuing in their production of daisy chains on the lawn by the pond, or chasing down the street to the local woods to play hide and seek, or simply search the overgrown lawn for the rare four leaved clover, that we had told them would bring them a lifetime of good luck thanks to the little people.
We adults were settled in the lounge talking, and looking at old photographs, and having the occasional tipple of sherry or port. After a while the children came in and raided the fridge for pop and ice cream or anything else that took their fancy. In order to have some more adult time we sent the children upstairs to play in Rachel’s room, they had very soon emptied her toy cupboard, and spread everything all over the floor, as their grandma found when she went up to check on them. ‘Come on Rachel get this lot tidied up,’ she cried, ‘What will your mother say to all this mess.’ But Rachel said nothing. ‘Just a minute,’ said Grandma, ‘Where is Rachel?’ A little boys voice shouted out from the still emptying cupboard, ‘She’s not here, she never came in, she said she had to do something important.’ Grandma stood tall and put her hands on her hips and shouted, ‘She should not be out on her own, and besides she’ll catch a death of cold out there tonight.’ With that she raced down the stairs to the back door and peered out into the darkness of the garden, but could not see anything, she listened intently to the sounds of the night but there was not a sound out of place. She had half expected to hear little Rachel singing to herself on the garden seat as she was want to do occasionally when her boisterous cousins got a bit too much for her.
Grandma was by now more than a little worried, she got all the adults to leave the house and search the street and even look in the woods nearby. After an hour or so they all came back, and an anguished and fraught Grandma stood at the front door in a frantic state. They were all by now extremely worried when Granddad said, ‘Wait a minute I’ve an idea.’ A few minutes later he returned from the back garden, ‘You can all stop worrying, I’ve found her, but we must be very quiet, very quiet indeed.’ He slowly ushered them all into the back garden and told them all to very quietly sit down on the garden chairs. As they all did this they saw that Granddad was peeking over to the pond, and as they followed his gaze with theirs, they were astounded by what they saw.