The Cave of Escape
[Luthertal, World of the Wends]
Amie pranced around the kitchen.
Amie and Joseph were by this time dried and dressed, in their jeans and t-shirts. In contrast to Amie’s and Joseph’s skin-hugging but cool twenty-first century look, this German family seemed swamped and sweating in layers of old world garb. Frau Biar insisted Amie wear a modest wool-knit tunic and blouse with puffy sleeves—colour scheme, monochrome grey and white.
For the next hour while Frau Biar baked biscuits and swept the kitchen floor, again, Amie perspired and itched in her woollen attire.
Then the Biar family vacated the house to attend to their various chores. Frau Biar had picked up her wooden bucket and headed for the barn to milk the cows. Herr Biar, with a hoe over his shoulder, tramped over to the field to nurture his barley crops. And the “kinder” Friedrich and Wilma tucked their slates and books under their arms and dragged their feet down the hill to school.
Once they had all gone and Amie and Joseph were alone in the house, Amie scurried upstairs to the girl’s room, pulled off the dress and then wriggled into her jeans and t-shirt again.
She climbed down and then commenced pacing the floor. ‘Phew! That feels better. I thought I was going to die from heat exhaustion. Now what are we going to do?’
‘You’re making me nervous,’ Joseph said. ‘You look like you’re busting to go to the toilet. If you have to go—go.’
‘But Joe, I want to go—not to the loo—I want us to go back to earth. I want you to come with me.’
‘Aw, I dunno, can’t we wait a bit?’ Joseph helped himself to the plate piled high with home-made biscuits. ‘Mmm, we don’t get bikkies like these at home.’
‘Take some with you. We’re going, alright?’
‘But we’re having roast tonight.’
‘What? Roast chook stuffed with roach? Or is it roach duck? With roach potatoes.’
‘Oh, come on, they wouldn’t.’ Joseph munched on his biscuit. ‘I’ve never had a roach—I mean roast before. And what they had last night smelt absolutely divine.’
‘You’ve never had a roast?’
‘My parents are Vegan,’ Joseph said his mouth full of biscuit. ‘You don’t know what it’s like growing up without meat, or milk, or eggs.’ He swallowed. ‘This place is heaven.’
‘Except for Boris and the plague of cockroaches.’ Amie marched to the door. ‘Come on! Let’s make a run for it before they return. When we get back to earth, I’ll have you round for Sunday lunch at my nanna’s. We have a roast every Sunday. Promise.’
Joseph gazed at the blackened wood stove, cooking implements hanging by hooks from rafters in the ceiling, and the cedar crucifix adorning the mantelpiece. ‘But I like it here,’ he said.
‘We don’t belong here. We don’t want to wear out our welcome.’
‘Shouldn’t we say, “thank you” before we leave?’
‘We’ll write them a note—how’s your German? Mine’s hopeless.’
‘Reasonable—we spent a year in Germany with relatives.’
Amie poked around the living area, sticking her nose into shelves, pulling out tins and replacing them. ‘Paper and pen—you see any of those about?’
‘Maybe we’re not meant to go—maybe we’re meant to stay awhile and help them,’ Joseph said. He picked up another biscuit and took a bite.
‘Yeah, like helping yourself to all their cookies.’ Amie couldn’t resist thinking
Herr Biar’s weight-problem might be more with the constant supply of biscuits rather than Boris and his merry band of cockroaches. ‘You’ll end up looking like Herr Biar if you keep eating them.’
‘Amie, that’s not a nice thing to say.’
‘Anyway, I’m helping him eat less biscuits.’ Joseph examined another cookie before popping it in his mouth.
‘I’m going.’ Amie marched to the door. She stopped and turned. ‘Oh, come on Joe, come with me. Your parents are worried too.’
Joseph didn’t move. ‘But I really like this place. I dig the simple lifestyle. And the food tastes so good.’
‘Look, Joe, we don’t have much time. We want to make the cave before the suns set. Besides you know you’d miss television, your computer, and mobile phone.’
‘I don’t think so. I really like the slow pace and getting back to nature.’
‘But, don’t you want to know how Breaking Bad ends?’
‘Oh, never mind. Anyway, wait till they ask you to pull your weight and work.’ Amie strode back to Joseph and tugged his sleeve. ‘Come on. If you really have the urge to come back—do. You know where the cave is.’
Joseph grabbed a couple of biscuits and shoved them in his pocket. ‘What about the note?’
Amie hauled open the door and then raced out.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017
Photo: Biscuit Treat (from my local bakery) © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017