Where the Grass is…
[Back on the World of the Wends]
Friedrich emerged from the cave and blinked. Mountains, shimmered blue and purple. Waves of pink and violet carpeted the hills leading up to the snow-covered peaks. Not like that dry dusty place he’d left which Walter insisted was the real Australia. Can’t be. Didn’t Boris promise a land of milk and honey? Can’t be the real earth, so barren. How could that be?
The earth Friedrich came from, the Silesia he’d left with his Mutti, Papa, und his schwester was swamped in every shade of green. Boris promised a fertile land.
And that strange man who called himself Walter? That Walter looked like the Boris who promised such a land. How could he trust him? Sure he said he was good Walter who wouldn’t hurt him. That Walter said to trust him. Trust him? Friedrich would go along with him but he wouldn’t trust him. And he certainly didn’t intend to go back. He preferred to stay with his family in the Australia with blue grass and two suns. He’d have to deal with Boris, which in that other Australia they called bad Walter. Oh, now he was all confused getting.
Friedrich glanced left and right, checking around the cave for any signs of Boris-bad Walter. Not that he expected any—he left Boris behind on the barren Australia. All clear. He stamped down the slope, kicking stones and tufts of grass as he went.
The first sun peeped over the ranges to the east. Friedrich skipped. Bald birds that resembled parrots plucked of their feathers, swooped over the valley. He liked this Australia. He had to admit it did have some strange animals, but so did the other “Australia”. Animals that looked like deer but hopped on two hind feet, they were strange too. And then there was that tiny spikey lizard he once found on a former visit to that land. He smiled as he remembered the bulldog creature high in the trees that dropped loads of “poop”, as Joseph called that smelly stuff, and always when Friedrich walked in the woods. He’d have to watch them.
Home by lunchtime. Friedrich licked his lips and savoured in anticipation his mother’s fried chicken. So much more appetising than those stale bread things they called “burgers” in the other “Australia”. Ja, he was ready for some real food.
Someone called, ‘Hey, it’s Friedrich!’
He stopped and glanced about. Boulders sparkled, the specks of gems reflecting the sunlight. A nearby bush rustled. Who’s that speaking?
‘Friedrich!’ the voice, a familiar male one, yelled. ‘Over here!’
He looked at the rock. Are the stones speaking to me?
‘Friedrich! Over here!’
The lad trod towards the rock.
A hand jutted up above the rock and waved.
Friedrich raced towards the rock. ‘Where are you?’
‘Here, are you blind?’ Amie popped her head above the rock.
Then Joseph bobbed up. ‘Schnell, before Boris sees us.’
‘Or the village folk,’ Amie added.
Friedrich skirted the boulder and joined Amie and Joseph huddling in a small cave behind the rock. ‘What are you doing here?’ he asked.
‘Hiding,’ Amie said.
‘Where have you been, Friedrich?’ Joseph asked.
‘Your family’s been so worried about you,’ Amie said.
‘I to the other Australia travelled with the good Walter but he looks like Boris, and the man with brown skin, Nathan,’ Friedrich said, ‘and they are looking for you all.’
‘How did you get there?’ Joseph asked.
‘I followed Boris down into the outhouse and through the blue light. There, I to a village like my own back in Silesia came, from another outhouse but they a morgue called it.’
‘No wonder that morgue gave me the creeps,’ Amie muttered.
Joseph gave Amie a gentle nudge. ‘Hey, Amie, if the cave doesn’t work, we can go through the outhouse.’
‘Sure, if the villagers don’t catch us and drown us in the river first.’
‘What are you talking about?’ Friedrich asked. Amie and Joseph had been talking in his language, but he couldn’t understand why they were afraid of his people.
Amie clutched Friedrich’s hands. ‘Oh, Friedrich, you have to help us. You have to convince your people we’re not evil. We’re not witches.’
‘They’re after us.’
‘Yeah, we saw a few of them climbing the mountain this morning just before dawn,’ Amie said. ‘We had to hide in this cave.’
‘Why do they think that?’ Friedrich asked.
‘Boris.’ Joseph hugged his knees.
‘Oh, it was terrible!’ Amie wiped her brow. ‘Just when your father had almost convinced the townsfolk that Boris was bad, and they must rise up against him and drive him out, Boris turned up. He grabbed Joseph, and found his camera and took some photos, then said it was an evil thing and that the pictures captured their souls and would kill them.’
‘If it wasn’t for Doctor Zwar, we’d be dead!’
‘A camera? What is that?’
‘A magic box,’ Amie explained. ‘It can take pictures of people, the land, animals—all sorts of things. But it doesn’t harm anyone. Boris was lying.’
Friedrich’s eyes widened. ‘Is that why my sister got ill?’
‘No!’ Amie shook her head. ‘No, that was the food Boris forced us to eat. You know Boris is bad.’
‘And it sounds like he’s doing bad things on our world, too,’ Joseph said.
‘Not so much,’ Friedrich said. ‘Although the food is bad. Boris, although he called himself Walter there, made me eat a bun called a burger and I felt sick in that carriage they call a car.’
‘Walter?’ Joseph asked.
‘Told you Walter and Boris were one and the same. Now do you believe me?’ Amie said.
Joseph thumped the only small patch of earth available. ‘Time this Walter, I mean Boris gets his just desserts.’
‘How are we going to do that?’ Amie asked.
‘I don’t know, I’ll think of something,’ Joseph replied.
Amie peeped around the rock. ‘Hmmm!’
‘I know, I know,’ Friedrich said. ‘The men, this Walter and Nathan are going to come through the cave if I go back.’
‘If that Walter is actually Boris, how are we going to fight them? We’ve got nothing,’ Amie said.
‘Could we block up the cave up there, and then they’d have to come through the outhouse?’ Joseph said. ‘Then perhaps with Herr Biar’s gun and mad cows and bulls and stuff, we could fight them.’
Amie stroked Joseph’s back. ‘Somehow, I think, even if we had an army and weapons of mass destruction, that Boris character would find a way to survive.’
Joseph looked at Amie. ‘Why do you say that?’
‘I saw him—it. He wasn’t human. It was alien. An over-sized cockroach. And they say cockroaches survive anything, even nuclear bombs.’
Joseph hunched over and sighed. ‘Great! We’re stuffed.’
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2018
Feature painting: The Lost World of the Wends © L.M. Kling 2017