This complimentary excerpt from G’DAY: Aints. Read the The Magic Man and Family Roots also.
Driew had never known anyone to die, and he wouldn’t let today be that day.
Driew fought! Bound and gagged inside the suffocating supply box, his sing-song voice now restrained by his bindings remained unable to save him. Driew feverishly peeked through the cracks of his locked wooden coffin of doom. His eyes burned with pain from the sliver of sunlight upon the horizon.
His Tasmanian Tiger joey, squealed from the tormenting blows of two masked teens. Dingo hung from the rusty wire clothesline bagged like a papoose in a sinister’s dress—Gayle’s. With two wooden baccastix, the teens walloped Dingo like a celebratory piñata.
Disguised in a black hooded sweatshirt, the boy tormentor commanded the girl, “Let’s take the mongrel to the river.”
“You never mentioned drownin’ it,” the girl tormentor said, wearing a matching disguise.
“If it swims, it won’t drown. If it drowns, then it would’ve died sooner or later,” the boy said.
Fraught with urgency, Driew wriggled against his painful confines.
“I’ve never seen claws on a dog before. I’m not touchin’ it,” the girl said.
“We’ll use this stick for totin’ the mongrel down to the river,” he said, handing the girl a wooden baccastix, normally used for firing dark tobacco.
Driew rubbed his cheek against the wooden floor, snagging the gag cloth on a splintered board. Nostrils flaring in anger, he peered through the cracks of the box as Dingo slid off the clothesline onto the baccastix carrying pole.
Driew pressed hard against the splintered board, grimacing as it pierced his cheek. With a fitful yank, the gag ripped but remained cinched.
The tormentors dragged Dingo to the supply box where Driew struggled. The boy tormentor kicked the box near Driew’s head. The forceful kick cracked the board against Driew’s temple. He winced, knocking back urges to cry out his pain. The bully stole Driew’s happiness but he wouldn’t find satisfaction in Driew’s pain.
Dingo’s marsupial cries subsided into low, fearful whimpers. He, like Driew, sensed potential danger.
“There’s no family crueler than ours,” the boy said.
This all too familiar phrase Driew learned and understood bloody quick. He pulled at the slobbery gag a third time, freeing his clenched jaw. Inhaling a much needed breath, he was able to sing-song, bellowing to the baccastix supporting Dingo.
The baccastix ignited, engulfing stick and dress with teal blue flames. Startled by the sudden fire, the tormentors dropped the flaming stick and cargo onto the unforgiving soil.
Ripping through the dress with his cat-like claws, Dingo escaped, scurrying to a nearby tree for safety.
“You’re full of bad ideas! The dog is loose and mad!” The girl yelled as she ran from the flaming baccastix out of Driew’s sight.
“Come back you big sissy. We’re not done with him!” The boy hollered, chasing behind the girl.
Driew rolled onto his back and sighed, “As always, left like a magician to free myself.”
Lured by his curiosity to the opened yard supply box, Driew had spent nearly an hour locked away in solitary confinement. While peering into the box, his twin tormentors wrangled him like a rodeo calf, locking him inside.
When faced with difficult situations, Driew sought out his own solutions to problems. This meant not asking others to do something he wouldn’t. He calmed himself rather than bellyaching and calling for help.
His oldest sister and brother, Killiope and Pester, both graduated and moved away. Killiope served in the US military, and Pester played college lacrosse. Their absence offered no comfort as Driew’s twin siblings sealed his little bother fate on the farm.
Driew lay staring through the darkness of the confining coffin, focusing on the wooden box lid.
“Torments must be what the last born deserves,” he said to himself.
Sing-song, a spooking voice called from the familiar spook, finding Driew once again in despair.
Hopeful his sing-song controlled this wooden box as it had many other wooden objects on the farm like the baccastix, Driew sang. The supply box lid rattled against the lock outside. Driew turned his song’s focus toward the end of the box at his feet and sang his sing-song intently. The end fell open and a joyful tiger-striped flash bounded into the box over his feet and onto his chest. Dingo’s joyous licks showed Driew his parents weren’t the only ones who loved him unconditionally.
Shuffling feet first from the box, Driew scooted outside in the sunlight’s freedom.
“I must be a magic man to escape their box of doom.”
Text and illustrations copyright © 2018 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.