“Henry! . . . Wake up . . . Henry! . . . Wake up. Its morning, we need to go check.”
Fresh dawn light, seized its opportunity and peeked in through a small gap in the zip. The sleep filled air inside the tent was an electric blue, as warm sunshine forced itself through the navy canvas. Outside, birds were in the final throws of another rendition of their classic, Dawn chorus. One by one, taking to the wing in search of breakfast. Bumble bees and butterflies, elegantly shared a morning dip in richly coloured, heavenly scented flower beds. June, once again without even trying, had effortlessly delivered another perfect day.
Henry sat up with a start. His curly golden locks, a beautiful pillowed mess, only a 4-year-old could wear. He stared at Martha with sleep filled eyes, swaying gently, trying to get his bearings. His Spiderman sleeping bag refusing to let his arms free, he struggled for a moment before giving up. Hiding behind his floppy curls, he wilted back onto his pillow with a delightfully dull thud. Martha was tugging on her fairy wellies as quietly as she could peeking at Henry from under the fluffy hood of her dressing gown. Henry opened one eye, all he could see was a fuzzy ball of pink, rocking around near the door of the tent.
“Put your wellies on Henry . . . we need to go and check.” She put her finger to her mouth. “Sssshhhh . . . Don’t make a sound, we don’t want to wake up Daddy.”
“It’s ok Martha.” Henry whispered. He wriggled around in his sleeping bag trying to break free. In a final flurry of rustling nylon, his legs appeared. He waved a pair of pink fairy wellies in Martha’s face.
“I couldn’t find my wellies, so I borrowed your old ones . . . I slept in them!” Martha raised her eyebrows.
“You slept in them?” She grinned. “You’re so clever Henry . . . You’re the same clever as me, because we’re twins, and we’re the same . . . But I’m cleverer, because I’m ready to go.” Martha slowly unzipped the tent and her world changed colour. She squinted back towards the sleeping house letting her eyes adjust to the bright morning. A huge Bumble bee, drunk on nectar, took a wrong turn and blundered into the tent. In the silence it sounded like a fighter jet. Henry and Martha stared wide eyed at each other and froze.
“It’ll wake Daddy . . . Ask it to leave Henry . . . It will listen to you if you ask it nicely.” Martha whispered, without moving her lips.
Henry nodded, without really moving his head. The Bumble be bounced against the canvas sounding louder with every bump.
“Ok . . . Can you leave Mr. Bumble bee?” Martha shot Henry a look.
“Oh . . . Please?” The Bumble bee took one last bounce off the canvas and flew from the tent, winding himself back on to his original flight path.
“Phew! . . . That was close Henry, I was right again, I told you they listen to you.”
Henry and Martha stood on the lawn rubbing their eyes. The colours turning from the blues of the tent to a rainbow of vibrant greens, reds, yellows and pinks. The smell of freshly cut grass was heavy in the air, and a silvery dew dripped from every blade, stalk and petal. They crept away from the tent clunking in their wellies, dew flicking up on their little bare legs. They ducked under a bush and behind the shed. Henry stopped abruptly leaving Martha nowhere to go, she piled into the back of him. Straightening herself up, she pulled down her hood, blowing a golden curl from her face.
“Martha . . . Do you think the dinosaurs that lived here–You know the one’s that drank the beer and left the really old bottle tops we found–would have been twins, like us? And you know we’re 4 years old . . . And dinosaurs are really old, so would they have been 20 years old or older?”
Martha answered without hesitation.
“I think all dinosaurs look the same, so I think they were all twins Henry. And you’re right, dinosaurs are really, really old, like Grandpa. They must have all been 50 years old!”
“50 years old?” Henry raised his voice . . . “That’s really old Martha.”
“Yes Henry, that’s why Grandpa’s skin is all wrinkly, like a dinosaur, and he has no hair, like a dinosaur.” Martha dramatically put her hands on her hips. “Grandpa, is a dinosaur . . . I heard Daddy tell Mummy that.”
Henry watched a caterpillar dangling from a nettle leaf like a trapeze artist. He poked it gently with his finger.
“It feels like we haven’t seen A Bud the goblin, for ages Henry. Do you think he will like what we left him? . . . And you’re sure it was the right one? Tell me again what you did Henry.”
Henry, continued poking at the caterpillar and watching it swing.
“I waited for Daddy to fall asleep yesterday, in the garden. Then I sneaked into the kitchen and took the beer bottle, and hid it under the butterfly tree.”
“Ok. So, was it full up with beer? A Bud is only a small goblin, and wouldn’t be able to drink a whole bottle full of beer, like Daddy does.”
“No, it wasn’t full up to the top, but I think there was enough for A Bud.”
“Ok, so then what did you do?”
Henry poked the caterpillar a little harder and it somersaulted into the nettles.
“Before we went to bed last night, I put the bottle under the magic Oak tree, where we saw A Bud the goblin. I’ve been sooo excited, I could hardly sleep last night . . . Daddy really snores, doesn’t he? Anyway, I also found some more of A Bud’s favourite bottle tops, so I left them on the floor with the beer bottle.
“Well done Henry, we’re so clever . . . I hope A Bud liked the presents . . . he is part of our secret family. Let’s go and see if he took them.”
Martha grabbed Henry’s hand and they stomped out onto the lawn, pushing through a huge dew drenched fern that had set up camp in the shade of the shed. They clomped down to the bottom of the garden. When they got to the oak tree they stopped suddenly in unison, and crouched down, trying to make sense of the scene in front of them.
“Is he . . . dead?” Henry said slowly.
Martha leaned forward a bit more. She sat perfectly still for a few seconds.
“No Henry, he’s not dead. I can see his big round hairy tummy going up and down.”
“So, he must be sleeping?”
They watched A Bud’s tummy going up and down and listened. A tiny snore came from the funny little creature.
“Oh dear Henry . . . Can you see there is a tiny green puddle next to him? I think I know what’s going on here.”
Henry’s legs could hold him in a squat no longer and he sat down, holding on to Martha’s dressing gown to stop him rolling backwards.
“What is it Martha? What is the green puddle . . . is he ok?”
“Do you remember our birthday party?”
“Yeah, it was brilliant, my friend Albert ate a snail . . . He said it tasted of marshmallows.”
Martha screwed up her face.
“Oooh Henry, that’s disgusting . . . That’s why I don’t like boys, apart from you. They are disgusting. And they smell . . . Well, do you remember Uncle Mark and Daddy drank lots of beer bottles at our party?”
“Well Henry, I saw Uncle Mark walk down the garden to the compost heap, he was wobbling. It was like his legs were made of strawberry jelly. When he got to the compost heap he rubbed his tummy, then he was sick . . . Like Ruby was in the sand pit at playschool.”
Henry stared at Martha without blinking, trying to figure out what she was talking about.
“Don’t you see Henry . . . Beer makes some people sick.”
Henry thought for a moment.
“So Ruby drinks beer at Playschool?”
“No silly, Ruby drinks juice at playschool. I’m not sure why she was sick in the sandpit, maybe she ate a snail. But Uncle Mark, was really poorly. He fell asleep on the sofa and snored louder than Daddy and Grandpa put together.” Martha’s eyes widened. “He stayed all night on the sofa. In the morning he said he needed lots of magic coffee to make him feel better. He said it was made with magic coffee beans. Mummy was cross with him . . . But guess what Henry . . . I heard Daddy say to Mummy that Uncle Mark was turning into a real fairy! a real fairy!”
Martha stared at Henry, waiting for him to say something. His mouth opened and closed but nothing came out. Martha sprang to her feet and spun round, slapping Henry in the face with her fluffy pink hood.
“Last one back’s green Goblin sick!” She giggled, as she stomped off.
“But Martha, wait!” Henry called, as he struggled to his feet, “Where are you going?”
“That’s easy Henry.” She called back over her shoulder. “I’m going to get Daddy’s flask from the tent . . . It’s full of magic coffee! . . . Maybe we can turn A Bud into a real fairy after all!”