I reach the flat part of the driveway and dive off the edge like a ninja. Sliding down the rest of the way on my bottom, I start to howl.
I have the best howl out of all my cousins. I grew up with wolves and have always howled with them. My Nana and Papaw breeds and raises them. My favorite wolf is Comet. He is the biggest one. Pure black and the one who taught me how to howl.
“Aw!! Aw!!! Ooooo! !!!! Awoooo!!!” Dustin howled back.
I roll my eyes. Amatuer.
I reach the bottom of the shoulder, I jump up onto my feet and take off towards the fallen tree that landed across the entrance of an old cave.
As I reach the tree, I can see the top of Dustin’s head wiggling back and forth as he was placing some wood across the creek to make a bridge.
A huge smile comes across my face as my heart starts to race. A cold shiver runs down my spine as I pull out my dad’s slingshot and wedge myself into the crack between the tree and the cave wall.
I glance back up to the driveway to make sure my mom wasnt spying on me. Coast is clear. I look down to the ground beside me searching for something not too big to peg him with. I dont want to hurt him too bad because if I do, the bridge wont get finished. And honestly, he’s doing way better than I would’ve done.
I spot an acorn. Perfect size. Not too big, not too small. I put the acorn into the leather pouch of the slingshot and pull it back.
“You know I can see you right?”
Panic rushes over me as I rush to cram the slingshot back into my cargo pocket.
“No you dont!” I reply sarcastically.
“Uh, yea I do. Your behind that tree.”
I sigh, knowing the game was over. I climb out and jump down onto a giant rock in the creek. Landing infront of him, the slingshot falls out beside me. Ooops.
“Your dad is going to kill you if he finds you took his slingshot.” He says as he looks down at it.
“He wont notice. And besides, ill put it back before he gets home. So where did you get the wood?” I asked, changing the subject.
“I found it in the old shed, along with this.” He leans down, picks up a small bucket half filled with mud and starts digging in it.
Curious, i take a step forward. Not wanting to get too close just incase if he was going to try to cram a handul into my mouth. I did it to him last time. I know my turn is coming soon.
After about a minute of digging, he pulls out the biggest worm I have ever seen. Its huge! Almost as long as my forearm and as fat as one of my fingers.
“Thats awesome!!!!”. I shrieked. “Lets go show my mom! She’ll freak out!”
“Yea!” Dustin puts the worm back into the bucket. And we take off running back up the hill towards the driveway.
As we reach the Blackberry Patch at the bottom of the driveway, I started yelling as loud as I could. “Mom! Mom!! Come look at this! Mom!”
My mom comes flying out of the house, almost tripping down the steps. She starts running up the sidewalk and makes it to the gate until she realizes that nothing was wrong, nobody was hurt, and we were just VERY excited about something.
She stood at the gate waiting for us to get there. As we reached the gate where she was standing, I could tell by her posture, that she still had her guard up. I cant really blame her though. Last time we came home running like this with a bucket in our hands, there was a baby copperhead inside of it.
“Mom check this out! Its huge!” I shout as Dustin starts digging for the worm again.
“Oh god. What is it?” My mom starts to look a bit too worried. Not wanting her to slap the bucket out of our hands, if we didnt answer her fast enough, I quickly answer her.
“Its a worm. I promise!” Now my guard was up. Watching both her hands closely for any sudden movements.
Dustin finds the worm and starts pulling it out of the bucket. My mom flinches and I take a good step back just incase if the worm came out of the bucket looking like a snake.
“See! Its huge!” I shouted with a rush of excitement as I watch my mom settle down.
“Thats disgusting!” In a way, she is right. It is a little creepy looking. “Get rid of it!” Since she didnt say ‘how’ she wanted us to get rid of it, my mind started wondering. The possibilities...we could bake it ontop of her hot car hood or pull out the magnifying glass and see what happens.
Suddenly I remembered about the slingshot in my pocket. Crap. Its so odvious too. I immediatly smack the worm out of Dustin’s hands as a brief distraction so I can squeeze past my mom facing the other way.
“Haha! I gotta use the bathroom, so your gonna have to let it go.” I taunt as I walk backwards up the sidewalk while facing him.
As soon as Im far enough away, i turn around and make a run for it. As im setting it down back untop of my dads dresser, I hear the front door open. Crap.
“Mom, can I have something to eat now?” I hurriedly ask.
"No, Im about make lunch.” She walks into the living room and sits down on the chair.
“It doesnt look like it.” I complained. “I didnt eat breakfast.”
“Whose fault is that?”
My eyes narrow as I scowl at her. “Fine! Ill just eat bugs then!”
I storm back outside and go straight for the ant hill beside the porch. I pick up the biggest, fattest black ant I could find and I roll it into a ball so that it doesnt crawl away. As Im stomping back into the house, I tell Dustin to bring the worm.
“Mom! Do you see this?!” I hold open my hand, exposing the crushed ant. Dustin walks in the house behind me with the worm in his hands.
“Im going eat this ant and im going eat the WORM!” My face red as a tomato. Daring her to tell me to do it.
“Do it.” She crosses her arms and a huge grin comes across her face. Challenge accepted.
I toss the ant into my mouth, swallowing it whole. Not bad. No taste. I reach over for the worm. Dustin tosses it into my hand and immediately sits down, covering his mouth. His eyes wide open.
I tilt my head back and open my mouth wide. As Im dangling the worm, i start looking right at my mom to see if I was getting any kind of reaction out of her.
Nothing. She’s just sitting there calm as can be. She has to be thinking Im bluffing. But I will soon prove her wrong.
Sam walks out of the playroom and comes into the living room, stopping right beside my mom’s chair. Her eyes wide in shock as she watches me dangle the worm over my mouth.
“You want a bite?” I ask her.
“No!” She squeals as she steps closer to my mom. Whatever. I shrug and start to lower the worm into my mouth.
Dustin immediately jumps up out of the chair. Smacking my bottom jaw closed causing me to bite the giant worm in half. I feel the worm pop between my teeth and a cold gush of liquid splatter in my mouth. The taste is completely indescribable. Stagnated mud tasted better than this.
“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” I start to scream bloody murder. Gagging and spitting worm guts all over the carpet and furniture. My mom gets up out of her chair and goes into the kitchen. She comes back out with a rag in one hand and the other covering her mouth. She wipes my mouth off and hands me the rag. I already know what its for.
I look over at Dustin, giving him an evil glare and making a mental note to not hide between the tree and cave entrance next time I have my dad’s slingshot. “Thanks for the worm DUSTIN. Ill see you tomorrow.”
“No your not!” My mom laughs sarcastically. “Your grounded.”
“But, I was just grounded yesterday.” I state as I look down at my mess on the floor.
“And you’ve only been awake 3 hours.”
Dustin walks out of the door and I start scrubbing the carpet. Refusing to make eye contact with anyone who walked by. When I was done, I hung the rag next to all of the other dirty cleaning rags and went straight to my room.
I laid in my bed for what seemed like forever until I heard a piece of paper slide under my door. Curious, I get up to see what it says:
Will you eat with me? Yes maybe or no.
I circle ‘no’ and slide it back under the door. I hear my sister pick it up and start crying. I crawl back in my bed, close my eyes and try to just go to sleep.
As I start to drift off, I hear my bedroom door open. My mom lays down beside me, wrapping her arms around me.
“Baby, what is going on with you?”
I instantly feel a huge knot in my throat and tears start rolling down my face uncontrollably. I roll over facing her and I bury my face into her chest.
She hugs me tighter, kissing the top of my head, “Please tell me?”
In between trying to breath through the snot coming out of my nose, i wipe my eyes and try to choke back my tears.
“I miss when you used to wake me up like this in the mornings.” I say, as i look up at her. I really did. She hadnt hugged me all day.
“But you told me that you hated it?”
“I lied. I was just tired of being treated like a baby.” I put my face back into her chest. The smell of her perfume has always been the same since I can remember. Its always been soothing. Even when Im mad and I think I hate her, it all goes away when she hugs me. “And waking me up with the vaccum cleaner was very rude and it ruined my entire day.”
“That was the only way you would wake up. I tried calling your name several times. I tried to sit beside you and wake up nice and you got mean with me.”
“It must suck being a mom. But I know when I have kids, Im going to let them sleep until noon.” I look back up at her and she just starts laughing. I cant help but laugh with her.
“Good luck with that! I hope they act just like you too.” She sits up and pats me on the back. I take that as my que to sit up too.
“I love you and Im sorry.”
She leans down and kisses my forehead one last time before she walked out of my room. “I love you too.” As she opens my door, she looks back at me. “Forever.”
I smile, feeling like everythings going to be ok and maybe Im not too much of a rotten child.
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