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by KS23
Rated: E · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2318065
Who doesn't?
Maryann and Donna had wandered far up into the hilly woods behind the school when they spotted a cave partially hidden by a bush. Since they were running away, or at least ditching school for the day, it looked like a good place to hide. Creeping quietly to the opening and seeing nothing dangerous inside, they crawled in.

“How long do you think we can stay here?” asked Maryann.

“I don’t know,” said Donna, “But I’m never going back. I don’t like school. I know how to read and I know how to count. So I don’t need school any more.”

“That’s what I thought,” groaned a voice from deeper in the cave.

Maryann and Donna sat frozen.

“How old are you girls?” An old woman moved toward them on all fours, then sat down.

“Ten,” said Maryann. “Who are you? Do you live here?”

“Name’s Helga. And I been livin’ here a very long time. Ever since I ran away from home ‘cause I hated going to school. I stay alive by huntin’ squirrels and rabbits, and sometimes stealin’ some vegetables from different stores around town.”

“Why don’t you get a job?” asked Donna.

“Who’d want to hire a woman who don’t read too good and can’t do fractions or those numbers with dots?”

“You mean decimal numbers?” said Donna.

“Yeah, that’s them.

Maryann looked at Donna and said, “Maybe we aught to go back. I don’t want to live in a cave the rest of my life.”

Donna nodded, then opened her backpack.

“You want my lunch, Helga? I’m not hungry at all.”

“Here’s mine, too,” said Maryann. “Can we come back sometimes and bring you more food?”

“I’d like that,” came the reply. “Just stay in school and keep learnin’.”
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