Updated: May 12, 2021
Nile was floating in a frail boat that rocked back and forth as the stream brought him farther and farther into the mossy, shadowy river. He was scared but he didn't tremble, he was hesitant but he didn't turn back. He knew nothing about this peculiar place. He did not know what he was expected to do. Someone just put him there. Nile could hear toads croaking and the wind hissing, he reached out and touched his hand, it was ice-cold. All of a sudden Nile heard a deafening roar from... right beneath him! He only had a second to gasp and a huge figure burst from the river: it was scaly and had sharp horns, its eyes were yellow and its teeth bared.
"Nile! Wake up, sweetheart!" it was Martha Risenburn speaking in her soft usual voice. She stroked her son's tangled hair and muttered something to herself. Nile woke up with a jump, he was breathing heavily and his eyes were opened wide "are you alright?" inquired his mom, it took a few minutes for Nile to come back to his senses and realize that it was all a nightmare. "yeah...yeah..." he mumbled Mrs.Risenburn knew that something was wrong "spill it out!" she ordered with her hands on her hips, "otherwise you get the tickle attack" Nile rolled his eyes, he was too old for this stuff "it's nothing... I always get this nightmare anyway..." "nightmare?" Martha asked, " yeah... it's about this creature, in the river... and it attacks me when I'm alone in a boat that's falling to pieces..." Nile said, now sitting up on his bed and feeling the warm rays of sunlight on his arm " You don't like this place, don't you? You liked the city better." Martha stated and when Nile didn't answer she frowned "listen, It's safe here and It's a good place for you to grow up. You would have never found Imari and Ade in the city, plus, the Nile flows here!" she pointed out " yeah, maybe you're right... I'll give this place a shot" Nile said and hugged his mom.
So far, Nile was fully enjoying the last few days of his summer holidays. His parents were still working so he watched an action movie with Imari in the morning. Then they went to see Ade and lucky for them, she made pancakes for breakfast! They all tucked in and enjoyed the amazing food while cracking jokes and talking about school. The three hung out at Ade's house the whole day, she showed them the river turtle that she had rescued the day before; it examined Imari and Nile from behind the glass container it was in. "I've gotta admit, he's cool!" Imari stated, " yeah, he's totally rocking it with his curious attitude!" Nile added and Ade grinned, "of course he's amazing!" she said happily "and he'll be going back home today," she added. The friends spent the day lazing around, playing cards, truth or dare, and other games until it got boring " I think it's safe to release Flippy back to the river now, he's all cured!" Ade announced after examining the turtle thoroughly. The teenagers made their way to the river, Nile carried the container while Imari and Ade were way ahead of him "Come on Nile!" Ade yelled from the river "coming," Nile responded- the turtle's container was heavy! Once at the river, Imari removed the lid from the container. Ade carefully reached out to the turtle with her soft hands and took him out of the container; she had a last glance at the little mark where its wound was and smiled confidently, then she gently placed him on the river bank and it hastened to the water, quickly disappearing into its rocky depths. Imari, Ade, and Nile smiled at each other; true happiness is always found in service to others.
Ade suggested that they went to their 'special place' and the boys agreed. Even though they had not been friends for long, the trio had developed a strong bond of friendship, they had discovered a nice place near the river about a month ago; it was their sort of spot.
"Isn't it just beautiful!" said Ade in a relaxed tone "yeah, we're lucky to have this," agreed Imari. The 'special place' was surrounded by bamboo trees, on which they engraved their names and the important things in their lives (Nile engraved various words amongst which were: God, Service, his family, friends, being hopeful, Happiness...). With the help of their parents, they even built a table and some stools out of wood, they built a little birdhouse on the trees and occasionally brought seeds for their feathery friends.
They sat around the table while Ade went to put some sunflower seeds in the birdhouse "what if I dyed my hair green?" Imari suddenly said Ade made a funny 'what's-gotten-into-you' face and sat on a wooden stool, Nile was like: "yeah and I'll dye mine pink!" in a fake imitation of Imari which made both his friends crack up.
"guys, school's starting soon," Imari said "yeah, and if you'll be looking like a walking rainbow, I won't be here to help you out" Ade jocked "Ade! you know we won't survive a day without you, we'll look like... like" but something made Nile stop "did you hear that?" Imari whispered, Ade, stood up and walked to a bush a few meters from the table the boys followed. Now that they were not talking and the place was quiet, they could hear a sort of hissing sound that came from the bushes... Nile reached out and moved some of the branches... that's when he saw it. It had a long tale that was pointy and curled up that the end, its skin looked rough and smooth at the same time, it was covered in little scales and yellow and black stripes, its claws were so sharp that it looked like it hurt the soil when it pierced its claws into it. At the sight of Nile, the animal revealed its forked-tongue, making Nile yelled in horror. He bumped into Imari, who was right behind him "Nile! what's up with you?" Imari asked, pretty terrified at Nile's reaction to the animal. Ade glanced at Nile anxiously then moved some branches to find a young Nile monitor!