Chapter 19

HAPPY VALLEY SURPRISE

Next morning I rushed outside to check if Sukee was okay. It was still raining. Silver River surged along her banks. There were muddy puddles and broken branches everywhere!

Thank my lucky stars Sukee was still in the field! Her coat was soaked and her nose was a bit snotty. She gobbled up the pony nuts I offered then walked back under the rubber tree.

TT ch19 v01 slinBC looked at me with big sad eyes. I fed him because Ronny was still asleep. Then I made myself some egg on toast. Dad's radio was on: 'Beware of high tides and strong swells. Citizens are advised to keep well away from the sea.'

Tan Tan sounded nervous on the phone. 'A tree has fallen right across our front entrance,' he said. When I told him about the strong swells he wanted to come with me.

I wrote a note to Dad, tacked Sukee up and the three of us – Tan Tan sitting behind me on the saddle - set off towards the cave. Strewn leaves dotted the ground like a gigantic carpet. Sukee kept slipping in the mud.

My heart sank when I saw what a mess the beach was. The high tide had dumped bottles, cans, fishermen's nets, boots. Even a rusty engine.

A young couple was playing Frisbee near the cave. We rode Sukee down to them, pretending we wanted to say hello.

'Cute pony,' said the boy, patting Sukee's mane. 'Does she race at Happy Valley?'

'His washing line's still there,' whispered Tan Tan.

'I won ten thousand dollars on a horse once,' said a voice.

Sukee jumped and Tan Tan grabbed my waist. The tall man with binoculars was standing right behind us.

'Wait,' cried Tan Tan, as I struggled to stop Sukee from running away.

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