By Carolyn Fay
The bath was too hot. The yellow duckies squirted icky water. And her favorite tiger towel was still in the laundry.
Annie had had enough.
She wrapped herself in a frayed blue towel, curled up into a ball on the bathmat, and went away. She went away to the Middle of Nowhere.
It was nice in the Middle of Nowhere. Soft. Dark. A little moist. But nice.
Annie was listening to the sound of her heartbeat in the Middle of Nowhere when from far away she heard a voice.
A shrill, scratchy sort of voice. It reminded her of her mother.
“Annie!” the shrill, scratchy voice shouted. It grew louder. It sounded like it was on top of her.
“Annie’s not here!” Annie shouted back. “She’s gone far away.”
The shrill, scratchy voice was silent. Then it said, “Oh.”
The “oh” was soft and just a little bit scratchy. It reminded Annie of her mother when she read a bedtime story.
“Can you tell me where Annie has gone, please?”
“Far away,” Annie said. “To the Middle of Nowhere!”
“Oh!” said the voice. “And where exactly is the Middle of Nowhere?”
“It’s very far away. It’s farther than Australia and Gibraltar. You have to take 17 airplanes to get there.”
“Oh my,” said the voice. “That is far away. I wonder how Annie managed.”
“Well,” said Annie, “she does run the fastest of anyone. She got there quick as a flash.”
“Of course,” said the voice. “But what is the Middle of Nowhere like? What’s in it?”
“Oh, it’s a beautiful place,” said Annie. “There are only giraffes. And no ants and no spiders can live there.”
“Really?” asked the voice. “Just giraffes. No people?”
“No. No people,” said Annie.
“Except for Annie, right?” said the voice.
Annie thought that the soft, scratchy voice was chuckling a little bit. It reminded her of her mother when she was listening to her father tell a joke.
“Yes, except for Annie. She’s allowed there. The giraffes like her.”
“Do the giraffes play with her?”
“No. They never play with her. They only eat leaves and moo.”
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