The Kid and the Kangaroo

by Keira Gurney

“Evie! Duck for the love of gawd!” Nathan growled, tugging on my oversized Care Bear hoodie so that I would tumble back behind the bush. 

I shot him a hard glare, swatting his grip away and peeking back over the grassy lump. The house we were staring at was a creamy medieval manor. Like all the rich people in the town of Eackbreach, it was a dramatic, oversized thing. 

I pulled the hood over my wispy black hair, squinting intently through one of the oversized windows of the manor. “How we supposed to get ’n?” 

Nathan followed my gaze towards the window and studied the lounging furniture inside. 

 “We’re seriously doing this?” The words shook inside my throat. No … I couldn’t. I couldn’t sneak into my science teacher’s house on a stupid dare. Even if Erwin had asked me to. He thinks he’s the best—the tall and annoying thing! In a rage, I dug my fingers into my jeans pockets and slid my knees under my jumper so that I was now a rounded ball of clothes, rocking there behind the bush. 

Today, I’d hosted a party at my house. It was my eighteenth and I had planned every little detail. Everyone would arrive at ten, we’d have breaky and then go to the beach. We would stay there all day, and my closest friends would come back for a sleepover. Erwin, Nathan, Cassy, Olive and Steph.

At the beach, we played an innocent game of truth or dare and well … you can guess the rest. Erwin dared me to go and steal one of Mr. Scott’s weird chemistry bottles that he’s so secretive about. Nathan, feeling guilty, followed me. Oh, bum Nathan! I don’t need no help!

Without thinking, I jumped out of the hiding spot as I scampered across the flat turf lawn, following a pebbly path through to the front door. I could see the lawn spiral back round the house, so, half blindly in the dark, I followed it till I reached a small glass door at the back of the house. 

“Ev, what are ye doing? Stop this. Erwin is being stupid. None of us expected you to actually do this!” Nathan called after me. I wouldn’t even need to hear his voice to know he was there through the dark night. With his heavy build, he walked every two steps with one big huff and a stomp. 

“What? You think I’m too much of a chicken to do something like this? I can be a rebel,” I hissed back through the darkness. 

Trotting up the steps, I went to open the glass door but felt Nathan’s hand on mine, stopping me from grasping the handle. 

“Evie,” he said sternly. “You don’t need to do this. You’re proving nothing.” 

“Pfft,” I scoffed, as I shook away from his hand and swung the metal door open without a thought. It hit the back wall beside us, letting off a loud bang. 

Panicked, Nathan and I turned to close it, but the door handle was jammed into the brick and a night-time gardener was hurrying towards the noise. So, with hardly any choice, we stumbled into the dark hallway. 

“Over here,” Nathan whispered, grabbing my wrist and towing me down the hall towards a light. 

The passageway led to a candlelit lounge room, the one we saw from the window. The room was warm with vanilla walls and rosy-red velvety furniture and a dazzling chandelier with droplets of diamonds. The fireplace, too, gave off a welcoming, cosy scent.  

“Quick, we can hide behind this till the gardener leaves,” Nathan said, pulling me towards the velvet couch. 

Pulling my hand away, I closed the door behind us with the heel of my foot. “I am not hiding,” I whispered, taken aback. 

Nathan looked up at the ceiling with his hands on his head, as though begging for someone to help. 

“Ughh … fine, Ev. Make this quick,” he moaned, running one of his oversized hands along his shiny, bald head.  

I led him back outside the room, entering a hallway and trying to make out more doors through the darkness. As weird as it sounded, I’d been here before. Mr Scott was my dad’s old teacher (sometimes we wondered how old Mr Scott really was), so when I began at Eakbreach High School, Mr Scott invited Dad and I round. I remembered one room, down this hallway, that Mr Scott told me was where he kept his equipment. He said no one was allowed in there. 

I felt around for a door that would maybe seem like a place to keep equipment. I could hear Nathan slowly thundering behind me, with his big heavy steps. 

He bent down to tie his shoelace, tilting his phone’s flashlight on the wall so that he could see, but suddenly GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUUUU-UUN blasted through his phone’s speakers. 

Startled, he grabbed the phone, pressing the turn off buttons as many times as he could. 

“Who’s there?” croaked a voice. “I’m a big, muscly guy so ye better run!” 

If I hadn’t been about to get expelled, I would have snorted, but I grabbed Nathan’s hand and his blasted phone and made a run for it down the hall. By the time we made it to a door, Nathan had figured out how to switch off his alarm, and we were standing in silence in a new room. 

“Don’t ye hide!” Mr Scott sneered, wandering towards our door. 

The door had a small porthole window, so we peeked out of it, just to see he was holding—wait, was that a gun? Old Mr Scott, a small frail science teacher, in his dressing gown and tufts of grey hair, was illegally holding a gun. I went to scream but Nathan wrapped my mouth in his hands, and we moved silently across the dark room.