Rikki and Tom were sitting under some trees with their parents, munching through a mountain of sausages and washing them down with hot chocolate. It was starting to get dark, and everybody was tired after a long drive and hours of fun in the creek.
Dad pulled out his guitar and just as he was about to play, a screechy, squeaking noise rang out from nowhere. It was even worse than Dad’s guitar playing.
“Cicadas.” Mum explained when she saw Tom and Rikki look startled. They waited for it to stop, but it kept going. Louder and louder.
“It’s hurting my ears!” whined Tom.
“It’ll stop soon!” Mum yelled above the noise. “Let’s go for a walk.”
They followed a track and saw wallabies nibbling grass and koalas dozing in high branches. The sun had set by the time they returned. The cicadas were now silent, so everybody got into their pyjamas and wriggled into sleeping bags.
Rikki was nearly asleep when a whining sound made her groan.
“There’s a mozzie in the tent!”
“Oh, no, I left the bug spray at home,” Mum sighed. “Well have to slap it.”
Everybody sat up, listening. Soon the whining started again. They all stumbled around the tent, trying to squash it.
“I missed!” cried Mum.
“Ow!” said Dad and Tom bumping into each other.
The mozzie seemed to be dancing around the dark corners, and the family all pounced on where the sound was coming from. Finally, Tom called in delight:
“I got it!”
By the time he’d washed squashed mozzie off his hand and everybody settled again, it was late. Rikki closed her eyes. She was nearly asleep when a long grunt, like a choking pig, tore through the tent.
“It’s a monster!”
“No,” mumbled Mum. “It’s your father snoring. Try to sleep.”
“Sleep with that racket?” Tom groaned.
“Ok, let’s go for a night walk. When we come back, he might have stopped,” said Mum, grabbing a torch.
A walk in the cool air was wonderful fun. They shone the torches through the trees and saw possums’ eyes glowing silver. Tom was sure he saw a bat. By the time they got back to camp, Rikki was tired enough to sleep through an earthquake or even her Dad’s snores.
They all settled back into their beds, and for a while all was quiet. Until . . . “Squawk! Squawk!”
This time a faint light was shining into the tent. It was only 5am, but the birds were already up and getting ready for the day. Hundreds of them screeched and flapped around the camp site.
The bleary eyed family got up and yawned.
“That’s the loudest alarm clock I’ve ever had,” groaned Mum.
It was no use getting back to bed, so they started breakfast.
“You know what?” said Rikki. “I can’t wait to get back home to the peaceful and quiet city.”
©Jo Antareau 2012