Chapter One – Shining a Light on the World.
No two children can be considered the same, but Zack was different for a boy of his age. Gone on his travels not one week after he turned six, no amount of peskiness from his parents or pitying from his teacher could prevent him sneaking away from the little world he had grown so bored of in his brief life.
This little boy was ready to take on the world, and nothing, not even his 3-foot frame was going to stop him from meeting it head on. He would miss his grandparents, admittedly, but that was about it. Mum and dad were acceptable in the main, but they insisted he eat vegetables, which was an example of their innate cruelty as far as he was concerned. Even his twin brother was beginning to cause him grief, and last night’s episode was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Their torchlit faces beaming like little moons, long after the lights had gone out the both of them instead were circling the globe their uncle had bought them on his last visit home from the place he called abroad.
Zack’s brother, Oscar, had pointed to a spot on the globe where two huge landmasses collided. The result was a very oddly-shaped bit, like a rhino’s head with the horn about to impale the poor country at the end of it.
“There,” his brother pointed, “is where our uncle lives.”
It was there, at the tip of the rhino’s horn, where their uncle was reputed to dwell. Since they could remember, their parents had filled the boys’ head with so many tales of their uncle and his exploits in that land they called abroad that their father’s only brother had grown inestimably in their minds, almost to the point of becoming as exotic as the countries themselves.
Zack then took his torch and shone its light inbetween Asia and Africa. To him it was unremarkable from all the others, except for the fact that it was where their uncle lived.
“So where do we live?” asked Zack of his brother.
Gently rotating the beach ball-sized globe, a gift from their uncle, Oscar trained his torchlight on an island high on the crown of the globe. They gazed in silence at the shape and what they saw was an island staring out across a great ocean of blue from a jagged head attached to a body with a belly, pointed toes and a hefty rump aimed at the huge landmass behind it.
‘That’s us with the big bum,’ declared his brother.
‘How do you know that?’ asked Zack, who was a little put out by his brother’s knowledge.
‘I don’t know why I know. I just know,’ he said sketching the rump with his finger.
Curious, Zack ran his finger from the island on where his brother claimed he lived, all the way east and south to the rhino horn where his father told him his uncle lived. The reality was of course that it was an awfully long way from here to there, but being only four finger lengths by Zack’s measurement, it couldn’t be that far.
Seeing him plot a straight line between himself and his uncle, Zack’s twin brother was moved to enquire.
‘What are you doing there?’
Zack answered him, but not with the words he expected.
‘Oscar, how far is to to walk from our house to our school?’
His brother mulled on the question, then guessed a figure of about half an hour.
‘And what about walking to Beverley?’
Oscar laughed his torch into zigzagging over all the northern hemisphere.
‘Four hours, twenty-eight minutes and four seconds.’
Even on his little legs, he wasn’t too far off the truth.
Both boys let their torchlight wander all over the globe.
‘And how long would it take to walk to where uncle Henry lives?’
‘One hundred at least.’
The distance sure looked small on that globe.
‘You exagerrate. The world’s not that big’
‘You are silly, Zack. It’s bigger than you think.’
‘I can walk that distance in one, two, three, eight, ten days. I’ll show him.’
So that night he slept, but not very soundly. In his dreams he was seeing places he had never seen before. He was facing mountains that rose up to the sky, hearing languages that were not his own, seeing men and women wearing white and black sheets down to their feet, standing amid sands that stretched to the horizon in every direction.
Early the next morning while his parents slept, Zack awoke, quietly reached for his school satchel and went to the chest of drawers where he kept all the special items he would need for the day he would move into his own room.
When his brother awoke an hour later, Zack’s torch was gone. And so was Zack.
To Be Continued………………