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Cosmic Camel

Donal sat by his rucksack on the grass…
…Tired, dull, dusty grass, scattered with lollipop sticks and crisp packets. Next to
the wire fence nearby was a small, newly-drilled hole in the ground, about the size of
a tennis ball. A pair of long-lashed eyes watched through the fence as the last gleam
of the Skywheel sank out of sight.
The camel looked up and regarded Donal solemnly.
“Better put that translator away,” he said.
Donal felt for the silver box around his neck. He squeezed it to switch it off,
slipped it over his head and buried it in his rucksack. “That better?”
“Rarunngh!” insisted the camel, stretching out his long neck.
Donal followed his gaze. Mrs Hendry was bearing down on him, along with
Toby’s Mum and her group.
“Oh, no!” he said. “Now I’m for it!” As he scrambled guiltily to his feet, he
checked his watch and frowned.
How could only twenty minutes have passed since he had last been here?
“Hyperspace,” he muttered. “Speed of light, or something.”
“What’s that?” asked Mrs Hendry. “Donal, did you get lost?” She didn’t sound as
angry as usual, and Donal took heart.
“I got left behind in the monkey house,” he said, “and I didn’t know where to find
the others. Sorry, Mrs Hendry! I didn’t mean to be so slow.”
“But where have you been?” squealed Toby’s Mum. She looked almost as pink as
her coat.
“I’ve been with this camel the whole time,” said Donal.
“But you can’t have been, you silly boy, we’ve been looking all over–”
Mrs Hendry silenced Toby’s Mum with a glance.
“It was very sensible of you to stay put, Donal,” she said. “I thought you couldn’t
be too far away. And what have you been doing here?”
Donal held out his clip-board. She looked at it, and gasped.