August glanced nervously behind him. He was running out of time and energy. However, he could not give up running at such a crucial point of time.
His black, silky, wavy hair bounced repeatedly, blocking his beautiful brown eyes. Sparkling beads of sweat flew from his tall, lanky body. His breath was coming out in wheezes now, but he didn't care. His survival mattered more.
He looked behind him once more. There was a complete mob of people after him now.
A familiar voice shouted out to him, "August! Come back here!"
Yep. His mother was chasing him- with the whole neighborhood.
August pleaded his feet to work faster. "Come on, come on, come on...!" he whispered, apparently, to his legs. They were not in a particular mood to save him, though. They seemed to have waged war with the rest of his body and also, his life.
His mind drifted back to what had happened that day.
He had returned home from school, and was rather ecstatic. He had won second place in an elocution contest. He had never been good at public speaking, so this was quite an achievement.
He was leaping around in excitement very vigorously, and was not paying much attention to his surrounding. He pulled his backpack off his shoulders and flung it towards a corner of the living room.
It went and hit the expensive Ming vase with scientific precision. He wasn't able to celebrate his accuracy, though. He was more worried about how his mom would react to the loss of an expensive item.
Karma caught up with him real fast, too. His mom returned before he could fix the mess. She took one look at the smashed remnants and strode directly into her bedroom. She came out a few minutes later, went into the kitchen, and came out holding a knife.
"August..." she began. His hair stood on end. Without another word, he dashed out of the house.
And now, he was in trouble. She had followed him successfully, and the neighbors had entered the fray without actually knowing why they were pursuing him.
He looked left and right for an outlet. There had to be some way to throw them off his trail. He did find a small alley and dived right into it. He rushed into the second shop and hid in there, fully puzzling the lady who was running her business. As he had expected, the whole mob went straight past the store without giving it so much as a glance. He sighed in relief and ran out again.
But Karma stepped in again, grinning maliciously.
The shopkeeper yelled at the top of her lungs, "The kid hid in my shop! He's going the opposite direction now!"
August scowled at her. "WHAT WRONG DID I DO TO YOU?" he yelled furiously back at her and started running again, the mob back at his heels.
His emergency reserve of energy was depleting fast. He took in a few gulps of air and took off at top speed again. This was not even what he had always dreamt of! If he were being chased by gangsters, that would have been much cooler!
He turned in three different alleys, and successfully left half the pursuers behind. All the time, he was forming an apology in his head. Different explanations of how the vase broke popped up in his brain, but all of them were lame.
He looked over his shoulder once more. This was bad... they could keep on chasing him to the ends of the earth if they wanted to, and would eventually catch up with him. He had to try a different tactic.
He plunged into another store, from where he never came out. His mother and the neighbors arrived just a second later. His mom scanned the whole area.
"He must have entered a shop again. Search all the shops! Fast!"
All of them obediently nodded and began their hunt. She herself entered the store August had run into. But except for a few women, there was no trace of a lanky young boy.
A person stepped out from a dressing room. His mom huffed. Another woman. She continued looking all over the shop and began interrogating the owner. The woman who had just arrived clutched her clothes and said, "I like this piece. Here's the money."
And she laid a small bundle of notes on the counter and walked casually out of the shop.
As soon as she was outside, the 'woman' took off her wig and burst into peals of laughter. What she didn't realize was that her mother was standing right behind her.
The pretend woman went stiff with nervousness.
"Wh-Who are you calling August? I'm- I'm Mary," he replied.
His mother chuckled. "I'd recognize your frame, gait and explosive laughter anywhere, son. You can't fool your own mother."
He gulped and turned around slowly.
She opened her mouth to speak, but it was a golden opportunity he couldn't miss. He fled right from the scene, leaving her cursing behind him. She started chasing him again, without the rest of the people this time.
"AUGUST!" she shouted. "WHY ARE YOU RUNNING?"
He rolled his eyes even as he ran. She was trying to be funny, wasn't she?
"DON'T KID ME, MUM! YOU KNOW VERY WELL WHY!" he screamed back. She looked nonplussed. "DO I, NOW?"
He huffed. She wanted to listen from his own mouth, right? Well, that might make her stop running after him.
"I BROKE THE MING VASE!"
She screeched to a stop.
"Why would I care about a Ming vase?" she said breathlessly. He halted too.
"Wait... so isn't that why you were chasing me?"
His mom frowned at him. "I never started chasing you. You were the one who rushed out on seeing me."
"Well- you had a knife! You looked ready to murder!"
"The Ming vase can go to the trashcan for all I care. I didn't say anything since you were already cleaning up."
He walked further towards her.
"Why the knife, then?"
She giggled. "Oh, that? I was about to ask what you wanted for dinner."