“Stop!” said Tracey suddenly in a sort of hushed shout. “Can you hear that?”
I had no idea what she was talking about. Not surprising really. I can’t hear a kid yelling my name if they’re beyond three feet.
“Hear wha-?” …scrape… “-yep. I do.” …scraaaape… “What is that? Mice?”
“I don’t know,” said Tracey, standing and tilting her head to listen. “It moves about the house.”
“Maybe it’s inside the walls?” I suggested.
The oddest thing about it being inside that particular wall was there was no inside – typically for old Queenslanders like ours, it was single skin made up of tongue in grove wood.
I hated to bring it up, being how, also typical of Queenslanders, our house is made of wood, but there was no use hiding from it, “Termites?”
“I hope not,” she agreed, taking a step towards the kitchen before pausing and listening again. She put her ear against the wall just as we heard it again….scrape….”It’s right here,” she said, pointing at the wall. “I’ve been hearing it for the last couple of days, but when I go looking for it, it stops.”
“Maybe it’s under the house?” I offered as I started to press my fingers against the wall to see if it was still sound or there was only a layer of paint left. It seemed as solid as even. I knelt down to check the skirting and floor. Similarly sound.
“Maybe,” whispered Tracey as she went out the bedroom door to check the other side of the wall. “But it doesn’t sound like it’s coming from down…oh, hello, sweetie,” she said, changing tack mid-sentence. “What are yoU DOING! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?”
Changed tack straight into a shitstorm maybe? I mean I’m not great at picking up on subtle verbal clues, but it did seem possible to me she might have worked out the problem.
I stuck my head out the door and looked down. As I suspected, Miss4 was there, looking up at us with her big, beautiful, innocent eyes.
Oh, and a pen in her hands. And remember a moment ago I mentioned tongue and groove? Well, she was colouring in the groove bits.
“Hi, Mummy,” she said. Full points for recovering from her mother’s wrath so quickly, I thought. She does well under pressure this one. “Hello, Daddy. I’m sorry.”
“Sorry for what?” I asked her, because in an episode a while back we heard Super Nanny saying it was important for them to be specific about it.
“Because Mummy yelled at me,” said Miss4.
Whereas I was sorry because I remembered Tracey saying she’d been hearing it all over the house for a few days and I’ll be the one touching up the walls.
“Raising a family on little more than laughs”
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