Authors: Ronnie Rowbotham
Tags: #A Kirabo Adventure
KIR-A- BOO. An African name meaning: Gift
The bell rang to signal the end of the school day. Brady rushed out of the school doors and ran to meet his mum, who was waiting by the school gates. Today was Brady’s birthday, he was eight years old. He couldn’t wait to get home and open his presents.
“Hello, birthday boy,” his mum said smiling. “How was your day?”
Apart from a run-in with Neville, the school bully, the day had gone really well. Brady had worn his birthday badge at assembly and the whole school had sung ‘Happy Birthday’ for him. In the afternoon he had been allowed an extra session on the computers.
“It was okay,” he said with a shrug.
“Listen, before we get home I have something to tell you,” his mum said, sounding serious. “Kirabo is coming to stay with us for a while. Her mum and dad have had to go back to Africa. Kirabo’s grandmother has had an accident and they have gone to take care of her and to look after the school she runs.”
Kirabo’s parents and Brady’s mum and dad were best friends. Kirabo was six. She loved to play dressy-ups, have teddy-bear picnics and imaginary talks with her toy dog, Togo.
“You don’t mind if Kirabo stays with us, do you?” Brady’s mum asked.
Brady imagined what it would be like having Kirabo living with them. He imagined standing outside the bathroom door really needing the toilet, while Kirabo was in the bath surrounded by lots of bubbles.
Next he imagined himself dressed as a fairy princess sat at a table playing tea parties with Togo beside him.
“Does she have to live with us?” he asked.
“There is no one else to look after her. It will be like having a little sister,” his mum said brightly. “Please try and make her feel welcome. She’s very sad that her mum and dad have gone away. Hopefully, the special tea will make her feel better.”
Brady felt angry – it was his birthday tea, not Kirabo’s. He felt a knot in his tummy.
Inside the house, Kirabo was sitting quietly on the sofa cuddling her toy dog. Brady gave her a quick look. He could tell she had been crying but Brady didn’t care. He wished she would go away.
Kirabo was almost the exact opposite of Brady. He had blond hair that was straight and didn’t do very much. Kirabo’s hair was black and curly and was tied up in two big bunches with bright red ribbon. Brady’s skin was very pale and he burnt bright red when the sun came out. Kirabo had dark brown skin that looked soft and warm.
“Happy birthday,” Brady’s dad said, coming in from the kitchen.
“Well, say hello to Kirabo.”
“Hello,” Brady mumbled.
Kirabo gave a little smile before cuddling her dog even tighter.
“Your presents are in your bedroom. Would you like to go and get them so we can watch you open them before your tea?” his mum asked.
Brady rushed up the stairs to his room and excitedly threw open the door. His birthday presents were all on his bed, but spread out across his floor was his racing track, his posters and a box of his toys.
“Oh, I forgot,” his mum shouted from downstairs. “We’ve moved your things from the spare room so that Kirabo can have it as her new bedroom.”
Brady sat on his bed ignoring his birthday presents. He decided he didn’t like Kirabo, he didn’t like her at all.
Brady woke to the sound of giggling and the pitter-patter of tiny feet running across his bedroom ceiling. He popped his head out from under his covers. Through the crack in his curtains he could see the early-morning sunshine glow a warm orange. It’s much too early for anyone to be up yet, he thought crossly. He snuggled back under his covers and closed his eyes, hoping he could get back to his dream. There was a sudden ‘woof’ from above his room.
Brady sat up and rubbed his eyes. The attic was above his room and no one ever went up there. Just as he was beginning to think it had all been a dream, there was another loud ‘woof’. Brady was confused. There were no dogs in the house, well not unless you counted Kirabo’s toy dog, Togo.
It had been a few days since Kirabo had arrived and spoilt Brady’s birthday. Since then she hadn’t said very much at all. Girls were boring, Brady thought. He heard the pitter-patter of feet running across his ceiling once again, followed by more giggling. This time he got out of bed to investigate.
Carefully, so as not to wake his mum and dad, Brady tip-toed up the stairs to the attic. The door at the top of the stairs was already open and the early-morning sunlight shone through a small dusty window, making the attic seem magical. The room was full of cardboard boxes, old toys and trunks full of old clothes. Brady had never been up here before. He stood looking around with wide, excited eyes. In the furthest corner of the attic Brady heard giggling as two tiny feet disappeared inside a large cardboard box that was laid on its side.
Kirabo, Brady thought crossly. He walked over to the box and looked inside. It was as black as night.
“Kirabo?” Brady shouted inside the box. He heard his voice echoing ‘
boo, boo, boo
and from far away he heard a ‘woof’. Brady stood up and looked at the box. It was just an ordinary cardboard box. Brady got onto his hands and knees and put his head inside. “Kirabo, are you in here?” he shouted crossly. He heard his voice echoing back, ‘
here, here, here
Brady slowly crawled inside the box. He noticed that instead of cardboard, the floor suddenly felt hard and cold. Beneath his hands he could feel small stones that stuck into his skin. Brady looked around him. Instead of the smooth brown box he saw rough rock walls. To his surprise he realised he was in a cave, a big cave. Far ahead Brady heard a girl giggle. He stood up and began to walk forward.