Submitted into Contest #138 in response to: Write a story about an afternoon picnic gone wrong.... view prompt


Kids Fantasy Fiction

Chapter 1- The Picnic

It was April, but the day wasn't stuffy and warm like usual. Aamras yawned like the MGM lion from the movies. He was a handsome looking beagle with bright yellow patches (thus the name Aamras or mango juice). He stretched, rolled on the soft grass, and fell into a nap under his favourite mango tree.

That afternoon, Prapti and Meera had come to Tintin aunty’s house to have a girls’ day out. Her garden was their favourite picnic spot. It had large mango trees with broad branches that stretched and bent like a dancer’s arms.

- “Did you know that mango trees can bear fruits for up to 300 years? So, when we return as robots in the future, this tree will still have mangoes!”

Prapti was known as Little Miss Factoid at home. She could tell you which was the world's longest river, tallest building, the fastest sea creature. And whenever she would learn a new amazing fact, she would say, “Zis fact smells funny, but I like it”.

Prapti had lost two of her milk teeth, the front two. Although new ones had begun to appear, she pronounced "this" as "zis” as her tongue kept escaping from in between her teeth.

Meera was Prapti’s best friend.

Meera wore a fringe that kept slipping over her pink coloured spectacles. But you could always see those bright, mischievous eyes peering through them. A new experiment was forever brewing in her head, just like the one she tried the previous weekend.

- “See Papa,” Meera had said proudly, holding up a bowl with a crimson red substance, “I made this two-minute dish!”

- “What is it?” her father had said in dismay, looking at the splodges of tomato ketchup on the kitchen wall.

- “I mixed ketchup with curd and made tomato raita. So now, Ma doesn't need to spend time cutting the tomatoes. Instead, she can use this shortcut.”

Another experiment, another cleaning job, had thought Meera’s father pursing his lips.

This afternoon, it was all about mangoes. The two friends sat under a tree with a large bowl of sweet mangoes. Meera wanted to make a pathway with the mango seeds. And she encouraged her best friend to gobble up as many mangoes as possible, so the path could be long and winding.

- “Ewww,” said Meera making a face, “my hands are sticky. Let's go and rinse them.”

- “Mine too,” said Prapti as she got up and walked towards the house.

- “Where are you going? There's a tap here in the garden,” said Meera pointing at a tap with a big sign hanging over it that read DO NOT OPEN.

Prapti frowned at Meera and said, “Those pink spectacles, do they work properly?”

- “I am not walking till the house when a tap is just here. Maybe it’s an old sign.”

Meera had that look on her face. She knew she was about to do something she was not supposed to.  And sure enough, she went right ahead and opened the tap.

A loud thundering noise shattered through the afternoon air. It startled Meera that she tripped on her own feet and fell. Prapti crouched down, with her hands on her ears, shutting her eyes tight.

Thud. Thud. Thud. The air filled with crashing sounds.

Meera looked up. She could see countless small green-coloured objects appear behind the white clouds.

- “Run, Meera, run!” she heard Prapti shout.

Meera jumped up and ran to take shelter in the kitchen. As she was about to reach the porch, her glasses slid off her nose and fell. Meera stopped to bend down, but Prapti’s strong hands yanked her inside the porch of Tintin aunty’s house.

- “Are you alright?” Prapti asked Meera.

They were both breathless. The clamour that surrounded the two girls was getting louder.

Prapti stared at the garden. She simply couldn’t believe her eyes. The grass was covered with bright, green mangoes.

- “Mangoes?” exclaimed Meera disbelievingly

Could it rain mangoes, thought Prapti. If so, why hadn’t she read about it anywhere before?

- “Good afternoon, young ones,” said a friendly voice from somewhere near Meera’s feet that startled both the girls.

"My name is Aamras the Magnificent,” and I have come to rescue you from the Mango Showers,” said Tintin aunty's beagle.

Chapter 2- Aamras the Magnificent

 - “Meera,” whispered Prapti, as a thousand thoughts ran through her head, “do you hear the dog speak?”

- “Of course, she can hear me,” replied Aamras, before Meera could reply, “really, young ones, we do not have time to waste. We need a plan to shut the tap you opened. It has released the destructive Mango Showers!”

The din outside had grown from loud thuds to a deafening downpour. The girls looked out the window and saw a bright yellow liquid pour down from the skies. Tintin aunty’s garden had transformed into a giant puddle of mango juice. The whole thing was incredulous.

- “It's insane,” said Prapti in amazement.

- “As I was saying,” Aamras interrupted in an impatient tone, “you have accidentally released this deluge of juice, and we have to stop it.”

- “I cannot see clearly without my glasses. I need to find them, now,” said Meera, without paying heed to Aamras' words. And in a flash, she picked up a big saucepan from the kitchen wall, covered her head with it, and rushed out into the garden.

- “Come back at once!” Aamras shouted, galloping behind her, but he stopped abruptly at the edge of the porch. He was scared to step into the downpour.

From behind the sheet of yellow rain, Meera re-appeared with the glasses on her nose. As she came charging back, she tumbled right over Aamras.

The two of them fell to the ground and rolled on the porch.

-“Ouch !”

-“Ouch !”

-“Ouch !”

Meera was flat on the floor as if she were glued to it, drenched in thick mango juice.

Prapti picked up Meera’s glasses which had flown and fallen on the kitchen floor and licked them.

- “So yummy,” she said, “this juice is delicious.”

 Chapter 3- The Saucepan Soldiers

The girls watched Aamras as he tried to lick the mango juice stuck on his paws. Then

he shrugged hard, but the liquid stuck to his coat. He was a bright yellow dog now. And he was not happy. He looked up at Meera and said with a hint of anger.

- “We need to execute our plan and shut that tap in the garden. NOW!”

- “We are ready,” replied Meera, trying to avoid his eyes and looking at Prapti instead.

Aamras took out a watch from somewhere inside his coat and handed it to Prapti.

- “Wear it around your wrist. Through it, you will hear my voice. I will guide you from here because you will not be able to see anything through the Mango Showers. You can get wet in the rain, but I cannot. So we have to help each other”, he explained.

"Do not remove the watch, do you understand?" Aamras warned.

- “Yes. Wear watch, listen to your voice, run to tap, shut the tap. Got it,” said Meera in a single breath.

Armed with steel saucepans on their heads, the two girls looked like soldiers. Meera was still dripping in mango juice, her hair flat and stuck on her face. Prapti tightened the watch around her wrist, looked at Aamras and said with a grin, “zis plan smells funny, but I like it.”

- “Chaaaaargeee!” shouted Meera and ran towards the garden. Prapti was taken by surprise, for she was waiting for a signal from Aamras. But it was too late now. So off she ran behind her friend.

The downpour was thick and heavy. The weight of the mango juice pushed down the saucepans to their heads.

- “I can’t see anything!” shouted Meera through the noise of the rain.

- “Stop talking. The juice will enter your mouth,” garbled back Prapti and spat some juice out.

The strong sweet smell of mango that they usually loved was too strong now, almost suffocating them.

- “Ten more steps,” said Aamras’ voice from the watch, “keep going straight."

The ten steps seemed to take forever. But, with shoulders leaning in front and legs pushing the ground, the two girls wrestled the force of the rain. There was juice everywhere, and their feet couldn't get a grip on the grass.

- “Move to the right, a little more to the right,” said Aamras with urgency, “come on, young ones, just two more steps, and you will reach the tap!”

Suddenly, Meera slipped and fell, and her saucepan went rolling away.

- “Meera, hold my hand,” said Prapti, trying to grab onto the saucepan with one hand while stretching the other. But the force of the rain was too hard, and she fell too.

- “Ouch!” screamed Meera as Prapti fell on her hand.

The girls were blinded. They groped in the yellow sticky juice, found each other’s hands, and slowly crawled ahead together.

- “Ouch,” it was Prapti’s turn to shout, “I hit something with my head!” she said.

- “You have reached the tap!" shouted Aamras.

Prapti moved her hands above her head till it hit something that felt like metal.

- “I found it! I found the tap,” she screamed at the top of her lungs, “help me shut it, Meera!”

Prapti grabbed Meera’s hand and pulled it towards the tap. And then, with all the strength in their bodies, the two of them turned the tap shut.

- “Aamras, we did it!” Meera shouted in glee, throwing her hands up into the air.

 Her voice echoed through the air as all the noise disappeared suddenly.

The rain stopped short, the sky cleared up, the grass went dry, and they were no longer drenched in mango juice.

Meera and Prapti found themselves lying on the grass. They turned towards the kitchen, to search for Aamras. Instead, they found Tintin aunty standing at the porch with Aamras curled up near her feet.

- “Come on, girls," she said waving at them, “I have made mango ice cream for the two of you.”


March 19, 2022 10:07

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