• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 06
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What Tom Saw

Simon’s looking glass was not showing him anything.

‘I think,’ said Tom, ‘that we’ll see it better after dark.’

Simon and Animal laughed. They made noises like the ones the hyena made. Tom had often seen the hyena after dark. It lived behind the plant with the big leaves and had teeth that sparkled in the moonlight.

‘What, the grass bugs, or your hyena?’ said Simon.

‘What do you mean, my hyena?’

‘There’s no hyena.’

Tom sighed. ‘I saw it.’

‘You said.’

‘I did.’

‘Stop squabbling,’ said Animal. Sometimes Animal was like them. Sometimes she was like their mother. Now she had wiped the smile off her face and was being like their mother.

‘Animal,’ said Tom, ‘you saw the hyena, didn’t you?’

Animal shook her head, nodded, shook her head and nodded again.

Tom and Simon looked at her and then at one another. Sometimes Animal confused them. Now she was walking away, her tail trailing in the way it did when she was sad or disappointed in them.

‘No! Wait! Sorry!’


What Tom Saw

Animal didn’t turn. She disappeared behind the plant with the big leaves.

‘What if hyena eats her?’ said Tom.

‘Even if hyena exists,’ said Simon, ‘he won’t eat Animal.’

‘Why? How do you know? I thought you didn’t believe in hyena.’

‘I didn’t say that.’

‘Talking of eating, I’m hungry.’

‘Me too.’

But the boys had eaten their sandwiches in the bus in the morning. They tried to find something to eat using Simon’s looking glass, but it still showed them nothing. So they sat and played ‘Who am I?’ until Animal came back.

‘Hyena didn’t eat you then,’ said Tom. ‘I’m glad.’

‘I’m glad too,’ said Simon.

The three of them sat and watched the sun set behind the trees. Tom saw hyena step from behind the plant with the big leaves and wink at him.

‘Look!’ he said. Simon and Animal smiled, but they didn’t laugh at Tom.

They heard the noise of the bus coming.

‘See you tomorrow, Animal,’ said Tom and Simon. They waved to her from the bus. And from behind the plant with the big leaves Tom saw the flash of the hyena’s sparkling teeth. But he kept that to himself.