This short story was published in The Creative Kids Tales Story Collection, 2017, compiled by Georgie Donaghey.

SUMMARY: Sarah’s family are holidaying near a deserted town and a dried lake. Sarah has been told to stay away from the lake, but she’s intrigued, especially about her Nan’s old boat, which is still there, after all these years.


The lake floor is brown and cracked, like crumbly biscuits. Nan said it took years for the lake to dry out completely, but her father wouldn’t believe it, so their boat remained in the shallows, then the mud. Finally it lay there, at a strange angle on the baked earth, like a lonely statue. Nan said it made her a bit sad to see it like that.

I climb easily up to the deck and pull out a towel from my backpack to make a shady canopy. I lie underneath it and dream the boat’s moving and my towel is the sail, flapping in the breeze.

A spray of water coasts across my face and I sit up.

‘Lochie!’  I’m so over his stupid pranks. I stand up but I’m dizzy and I have to hang on to the side of the boat. That’s when I see it.

Water! Clear, gem-blue water! There are boats everywhere, kids waterskiing. A fairground sparkles like magic on the shoreline.

‘Who are you?’ The girl’s holding a bright orange can that says Soda Pop. She squints at me suspiciously. ‘Did you swim here?’