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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Where’s Boomerang?

"What a lovely day for a walk in the bush!" Daku smiled.

"Daku, we’re not walking in the bush! We’re lost! You’re a silly wombat," Tinka sighed.

"We’re not even walking. We’re inside Wandi’s pouch and she’s hopping. I don’t now if I even remember what it’s like to walk," Jiba mumbled.

"Stop your complaining. Just because we’ve been wandering around in the bush for days, is no reason to moan about everything. Where are we anyway?" Banjora asked, looking at Kiah.

Wandi stopped hopping and stood in the shade of a tall eucalyptus tree. "You might as well get out, all of you. I’m tired and want to rest."

"At least there’s food," the koala grinned and climbed out of Wandi’s pouch. He headed straight to the top of the tree and began nibbling on its tender leaves.

The others stretched and yawned and walked around. Yindi flapped her wings up and down and flew up to a tree branch.

"Where are we, Mum?" Boomerang asked, looking around. "All I see is sand and rocks."

"I don’t know where we are. One of these days we’ll make it back to the baobab forest, where we met Maya. Why don’t you hop around and see if you can find some water, but watch out for crocs," Wandi warned. The joey leapt away behind some rocks.

An hour passed and they all seemed to be well rested. "Time to get a move on. Everyone back in the pouch," Wandi said. Banjori climbed down from the eucalyptus. He brought a few small branches to nibble on as they traveled. Daku had a handful of bugs that he’d found under a stone. Jiba had a snout full of wriggling black ants. Tinka had a moth in her mouth. Yindi had a beak full of long, slimy worms. Kiah was too hot to eat and Nimu had finished off a large fly and seemed content. "Are we ready to go?" Wandi asked.

Crowded, yet satisfied, the animals found a comfortable spot in the pouch. "Let’s go," Tinka shouted and Wandi hopped away. The animals slept soundly as the sun rose high in the sky.

One of Jiba’s spikes started poking into Kiah’s bill. "Jiba, stop that. Your spikes are sharp. Turn around. Poke Boomerang for a while."

Jiba opened her eyes and suddenly shouted, "Stop jumping, Wandi! Right now! Boomerang’s not here."

Wandi stood still. "Boomerang’s not there? Look in the pouch. He might be sleeping under Yindi’s wing or something."

The animals moved about, but there was no sign of Boomerang. "Yikes! We left him back at the eucalyptus tree," Banjori gulped.

"He went to find some water and we left him. Oh no!" Wandi cried. "We’ve got to go back and look for him!" She hopped as quickly as she could. It was hot. It was dusty. She was tired, but nothing would stop her from finding her joey.

They came to the eucalyptus tree. "Everybody out!" Wandi ordered. "Find my joey. He’s looking for water. Oh, my poor joey," she wailed.

"I hope a croc didn’t eat him," Jiba said.

"Don’t say things like that. I hope that Old Man and Boomer didn’t get him," Kiah added.

"I’m sure Boomerang’s fine. He’s probably curled up in a ball sleeping soundly," Nimu said.

"Spread out and look for him. When you find him, give us a shout!" Banjori said.

The animals went off in search of Boomerang. Banjori climbed to the top of the eucalyptus trees and looked from north to south and from east to west. "He’s not anywhere in sight," he shouted to the others.

Daku crawled through the dark underground tunnels. He found some witchetty grubs, a few slugs and snails but there was no sign of Boomerang. "He’s not down here!" the wombat shouted.

Jiba walked slowly through the bush. Her spikes tore at the leaves as she passed them. She lifted up fallen branches, crawled around rocks, and looked underneath tree roots. "Boomerang’s not down here!" she called.

Tinka ran across the ground. Nimu sat on her back, holding onto her thick scales. "Not so fast," Nimu said. "You don’t want me to fall off do you?" he asked the skink.

Tinka’s blue tongue slipped in and out of her mouth as she ran around the tree trunks. "Do you see Boomerang?" she asked the trap door spider.

"No joey here," Nimu answered.

Yindi flew into the branches. "Banjora, I’ll fly around and look for the little joey. He’s got to be close by. Wandi must be frantic with worry," the kookaburra said. She flapped her wings and flew from tree to tree, looking at the ground.

Wandi hopped down to the billabong. It wasn’t the same one they’d spent the night at; it was a much smaller one. "Boomerang! Boomerang!" she called to her baby.

Kiah came waddling out of the water. "He’s not in the billabong," she told Wandi, "but there sure are a lot of barramundi."

"Where is he?" Wandi cried.

Just then Wandi heard a noise. "Mum," something whispered.

"Boomerang? Is that you?" Her ears stood straight up, turning from side to side.

"Mum, I’m stuck in here," he whispered.

"Boomerang? Where are you?" Wandi asked.

"I’m stuck in this hole," he whimpered.

Wandi hopped toward the voice. "Boomerang, how on earth did you get stuck in there?" She was very happy to see him. His head was sticking out of one end and his tail from the other. His body was wedged tightly in between two large rocks. "I’m glad you’re all right. We were worried about you. I’m sorry I left you behind."

"Mum, just get me out of here. I’m thirsty," the joey said.

Yindi flew overhead and saw Wandi. "You’ve found him?" she laughed.

"Yes! Get the others. I’m going to need some help," Wandi shouted.

Kiah, Tinka, Jiba, Daku, and Banjori all went around back and started pushing from behind. Wandi, Yindi and Nimu pulled the little joey’s arms. "All together now, one, two, three, push," Kiah said. The animals pushed as hard as they could. Tinka’s tongue hung out of her mouth and she nearly bit it off. Daku’s fur got covered with dirt. His back dragged along the ground as he pushed. Jiba’s spikes poked straight up into the air. Banjori’s face turned purple. He was pushing with all his might.

"Pull!" shouted Wandi. The spider and the kookaburra helped her pull Boomerang’s arms. Wandi felt him move. "Keep pushing back there. He’s coming loose!" Just then Boomerang popped out of the hole. The animals in back fell into the reddish-brown dirt as the joey came loose from the rock’s tight grip. Yindi flew backwards and landed on her feathers, bending a few of them in half. Nimu went flying through the air and landed against a tree. "You’re free," Wandi giggled, hugging her joey. "Why did you go into that hole anyway?" she asked.

"I was chasing a guana. It ran into the hole and I went in after it and got stuck. I kept shouting, but you never came," Boomerang frowned. His mum gave him another hug. "Mum, can I have a drink now?" the thirsty joey asked. He hopped down to the billabong and drank until he was full.

"I think we’d better be on our way. We’ve got an hour or two of daylight left. We might get lucky this afternoon and find the baobab forest. I’m ready to go home," Wandi sighed. "Climb in the pouch, one by one," Wandi said.

"Boomerang, you can get in first and find the most comfortable place," Banjori said. The koala squeezed in next to him. Once the joey was inside, he fell fast asleep. The others gently climbed inside the pouch.

"Everybody there? Banjori, count them all. I don’t want to leave anyone else behind," Wandi said.

Banjori started to count, "Boomerang’s here, so is Daku, Jiba, Tinka, Yindi, Kiah and Nimu, and of course me. That’s eight of us, and you, Wandi make nine. We’re all here!"

Wandi hopped towards the setting sun, happy to have her joey safe and sound, sleeping inside her pouch with the others.

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