Aunt Abigail and Uncle Victor were really nice. Too nice actually. They always wanted to know where Charlie and Mouse were; they read them stories at bedtime and made sure they ate their veggies.
Charlie and Mouse enjoyed the attention for a while and they definitely enjoyed Abi¹s cooking. Mum hadn¹t really been able to cook for them for a while and they were used to eating a lot of bread and tins of beans! Fresh meat and veggies were great – and the desserts! Heaps of steamed sponges and apple pies, ice cream. They hadn¹t eaten so well in months.
There were a lot of cousins to keep them company and they all had a great time, running through the fields and making camps, hiding in the tree house when it was bedtime.
After a while, Mouse started to get a bit sick of all the attention. She had been so used to doing things her own way – what she wanted when she wanted – that she was finding it hard to share her time with everyone else.
She started to spend more and more time hiding in the treehouse and keeping the door locked tight so that she could have some space to herself. The only person she let in was Charlie and soon they were back into their old routine. Together again, they only really needed each other.
The cousins would head off to school every morning and Charlie and Mouse would head off into the countryside. They would spend hours fishing and chasing rabbits. Then they¹d go back up to the tree house. Charlie would grab some supplies from the kitchen and they¹d enjoy cold leftovers for their supper.
The cousins eventually got tired of trying to get into the treehouse or to get Charlie and Mouse to join in the fun.
Abi and Vic were getting more and more angry at the behavior of their niece and nephew and started to physically drag them to school. But no sooner had their aunt or uncle left the playground, then Charlie and Mouse would sneak away.
Abi got sick. She started to look really old really quickly. It was then that Charlie and Mouse knew that things would get a lot worse in this household.
Vic no longer had the energy to go chasing after Mouse and Charlie. He was slowing down himself as he spent every second he could looking after his wife and making arrangements for his children. Charlie and Mouse decided to run away.
Although they had been playing up lately, they still loved their aunt and uncle and didn¹t want to watch them fade away to nothing like their Mum had done.
They took a last look behind them at the farmhouse and headed off into the night.