James And The Giant Peach

written by Sona

James' parents died and he was adopted by his gruesome aunts. How does he escape?

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Chapter Five

Chapter 5
The next moment, James was running back towards the house as fast as he could go. He would do it all in the kitchen, he told himself – if only he could get in there without Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker seeing him. He was terribly excited. He flew through the long grass and the stinging-nettles, not caring whether he got stung or not on his bare knees, and in the distance he could see Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker sitting in their chairs with their backs towards him. He swerved away from them so as to go round the other side of the house, but then suddenly, just as he was passing underneath the old peach tree that stood in the middle of the garden, his foot slipped and he fell flat on his face in the grass. The paper bag burst open as it hit the ground and the thousands of tiny green things were scattered in all directions.

James immediately picked himself up on to his hands and knees and started searching around for his precious treasures. But what was this? They were all sinking into the soil! He could actually see them wriggling and twisting as they burrowed their way downward into the hard earth, and at once he reached out a hand to pick some of them up before it was too late, but they disappeared right under his fingers. He went after some others, and the same thing happened! He began scrabbling around frantically in an effort to catch hold of those that were left, but they were too quick for him. Each time the tips of his fingers were just about to touch them, they vanished into the earth! And soon, in the space of only a few seconds, every single one of them had gone!
James felt like crying. He would never get them back now – they were lost, lost, lost for ever.
But where had they gone to? And why in the world had they been so eager to push down into the earth like that? What were they after? There was nothing down there. Nothing except the roots of the old peach tree… and a whole lot of earthworms and centipedes and insects living in the soil.
But what was it that the old man had said? Whoever they meet first, be it bug, insect, animal, or tree, that will be the one who gets the full power of their magic!
Good heavens, thought James. What is going to happen in that case if they do meet an earthworm? Or a centipede? Or a spider? And what if they do go into the roots of the peach tree?
‘Get up at once, you lazy little beast!’ a voice was suddenly shouting in James’s ear. James glanced up and saw Aunt Spiker standing over him, grim and tall and bony, glaring at him through her steel-rimmed spectacles. ‘Get back over there immediately and finish chopping up those logs!’ she ordered.
Aunt Sponge, fat and pulpy as a jellyfish, came waddling up behind her sister to see what was going on. ‘Why don’t we just lower the boy down the well in a bucket and leave him there for the night?’ she suggested. ‘That ought to teach him not to laze around like this the whole day long.’
‘That’s a very good wheeze, my dear Sponge. But let’s make him finish chopping up the wood first. Be off with you at once, you hideous brat, and do some work!’
Slowly, sadly, poor James got up off the ground and went back to the woodpile. Oh, if only he hadn’t slipped and fallen and dropped that precious bag. All hope of a happier life had gone completely now. Today and tomorrow and the next day and all the other days as well would be nothing but punishment and pain, unhappiness and despair.
He picked up the chopper and was just about to start chopping away again when he heard a shout behind him that made him stop and turn.
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