My best friend

`SteadilyI stealthily, I crawled through the grass, edging forward, getting ready to pounce on my preyI Actually it was my sister's grey speckled buffalo teddy which I had secretly taken out of her room to practise my hunting.

I was seven but not a normal seven-year-old. I was an animal.

Yes, some people may think I'm talking rubbish. But it's true. Really. A tiger that's what I am. My overgrown and wild garden is the Savanna and the moss-covered bench, my home.

ROAR! Oh there's my friend calling, I must go, you can come if you like!

I ran swiftly on all fours to number seven's garden, round the rusty garage, up the gnarled winding tree and onto my perch. I had a tiger friend called Sheila. Some people said she was imaginary, but I knew she was there. Only I could see her.

We used to go everywhere together; climbing trees, catching food, everything. One day I especially enjoyed was when my mum had got the paddling pool out. She had left the hose on and had gone inside to get a nice cool drink, for it was a very hot day. Sheila and I secretly snook into the garden and started jumping around like maniacs in the pool, like we were trying to see who could get the wettest. We started a game of battleships. Sheila was an enemy ship and it was my job to save the country. I took the hose and fired it at her. (It must have looked very strange to a passerby, or to my mum.) Again and again I fired my cannon like my life depended on it, until the enemy was defeated! We both lay down on the grass, exhausted. All the water had crept out and escaped from the pool. It had sunk down into the ground and the mud was swallowing us up like a boa-constrictor. It was bliss. Nothing could go wrong. Until the day I moved.

It came over me like a cold rush, like I was turning into ice. It wasn't the fact that I was moving but the fact that I was leaving my companion, my best friend. WeI we were like Siamese twins!

Gradually, a shiny force-field formed over my eyes and a large Cox's apple had been shoved down my throat. I tried to go out to Sheila but my mum stopped me. By now my eyes were streaming. My heart was breaking. I crawled up-stairs to my bed where I cried myself to sleep.

The next day we moved. I didn't want to, but I did, I had to, I had no choice! Just before we got into the car, I ran swiftly on all fours into number seven's garden, round the rusty garage, up the gnarled winding tree and onto my perch. I shouted for Sheila. On and on I called like a swan who has lost her mate. Suddenly, I heard somethingI It was my mum calling me back. I didn't go though. I kept on calling, I wanted to say goodbye to Sheila! However, my dad started calling me. I knew it was time to go. The aroma of betrayal swam in my head. I was melting inside. She hadn't come to say goodbye, but I knewI I knew she wouldn't have meant it. I climbed down and slouched back into the car. I slammed the door shut. My dad started the engine and we drove off.

It's been two years since we left. I haven't been in the garden, yet anyway, but it looks just the same. It's grown a bit wild. The grass hasn't been cut regularly and all the plants are fighting for space. I don't mind though, that's how I like my gardens, all overgrown with grass that you cannot be seen in by your mum and dad. Your own little haven. I wonderI I wonder whether Sheila's still there? MaybeI maybe tonight I shall sneak out and crawl through the grass, steadilyI stealthilyI Amelia Lester-Hinchliffe, now 11, is a pupil at Castle Cary primary school, Somerset

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you