Jennifer was worried about her friend Sarah. She had called in sick to work- and Sarah was never sick. Nobody had seen her about for a few days. She bit her lip as she drove to her friend’s house.
As she pulled up outside she frowned. The front fence was falling down. Sarah was so proud of her garden, she had to be pretty ill if she hadn’t bothered to fix it. Jennifer pulled in behind Sarah’s blue Mini, her concern rising again as she saw how badly it was parked. Not only that, but the driver’s side door wasn’t even shut properly.
She knocked on the door, and tried to peer through the windows as she waited for an answer. They appeared to have been sealed around with duct tape. What on earth was going on?
The door opened a crack and Sarah grabbed at Jennifer’s arm, dragging her inside and slamming the door behind her. She looked drawn and haggard, as if she hadn’t slept for days.
Jennifer stared at her as she stumbled inside and grabbed at the banisters to stop herself from falling over. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
“It’s after me,” Sarah whispered, her gaze darting towards the door. “It’s out there. It’s trying to get me.”
Jennifer took a deep breath. Had her friend gone insane? “What exactly is after you?”
Sarah didn’t answer. She grabbed Jennifer’s arm again and dragged her into the kitchen. “Look what it did to my garden!”
Jennifer looked out of the window. The fence around the back garden was destroyed. The bird table was crushed into splinters. The neatly trimmed lawn had been trampled into mud.
“Sarah, what the hell is it? What did that?”
Sarah shook her head quickly and hugged herself. “It’s been chasing me since I got home on Friday. It chased away the birds and the squirrels. It stole all their peanuts. It won’t give up.”
“It stole all their peanuts?”
Sarah looked at her through straggly unwashed hair. Jennifer sighed and put her arm around her friend.
“Where did you get the peanuts from, Sarah? Did you get them on Friday? Do you still have them in your pocket?”
Sarah nodded slightly in answer to each question. “You know what’s going on, don’t you?”
Jennifer guided Sarah to the back door.
“No! I can’t go out there, it’s waiting for me you can’t-”
“Hush,” Jennifer said gently. “It’s okay. It’s not going to hurt you.”
She opened the door and stepped outside, taking both of Sarah’s hands and pulling her gently across the threshold.
The sound began almost immediately.
Sarah cowered as the ground shook.
“Get your peanuts out,” Jennifer told her, letting go of one hand. “Just hold them out. That’s all you have to do.”
Sarah pulled the peanuts out of her pocket just as the baby elephant broke down the last of her garden fence. She held them out with one shaky hand and the elephant walked up to her, gently taking them with its trunk.
“There you go,” said Jennifer, as the elephant scoffed the peanuts. “Let it see the packet now.”
Sarah shook the packet at it. The baby elephant let out a slightly dejected sounding trumpet, then turned and left.
Sarah smiled at Jennifer in astonishment. “He’s gone?”
Her friend nodded.
“Wow,” Sarah said, standing a little straighter and pushing her hair out of her eyes. “Perhaps I’ll just put seeds on the bird table next time.”
Jennifer laughed. “Yeah, maybe that’s best.”
© Kari Fay