He followed, ’Key Key’ up the little dirt hill. Key Key was what he called the family pet whose real name the toddler would not be able to pronounce for years.
Wearing nothing but the wide, padded diaper that securely fastened around his hips—a diaper that sagged heavily at its lowest point—and a pair of shoes, Noah scrambled through the loose soil. It quickly filled every available space inside his sneakers.
Key Key, much quicker and more nimble than the boy on short, pudgy legs, daintily waited near the top for Noah to catch up. Once she was sure that he was paying attention, she began to deepen the hole that she’d started that morning. Bracing herself on her hind legs she leaned her upper body on her forepaws and made a scrambling motion that sent rooster tails of dirt shooting up in the air behind her.
Reaching the same vantage point as the cat, Noah got down on all fours to peer down into the hole. “What doin’ Key Key?”
Pausing, Key Key purred loudly and wove herself in and out of Noah’s arms and legs.
“What in Key Key?” he asked as he plopped down on his bottom and inched his feet down into the open space. Making his way to the bottom, some of the dirt around the edges fell back in. Once there, Noah mimicked Key Key, scooping out more earth. Something felt funny in there, something hard and cold. Noah stopped as he noticed a new smell. Not the rich, loamy dirt smell he loved…but something else.
Carefully, and slowly, Noah excavated more earth. He could see a little bit more of the thing they’d uncovered. He stopped and then he looked up at Key Key.
She sat there at the edge purring and whipping her tail from side to side.
Noah extended a finger and poked it. Then he frowned and looked back up at Key Key. Shaking his head from side to side, “No, no, Key Key!”
Noah climbed out of the hole and turned around to push the loose soil back into the hole.
It was unusual that a boy so young could stay focused on a task like this, but Noah stuck with it until all the dirt was back in place. He stood up on his little legs and stamped his feet on the spot. “Fixed. All done!” he said as he smacked his hands together to knock off the dirt that still clung to them.
He trundled back to his house with Key Key trotting along beside him.
As he walked in the door, his mother said, “Hey, No, what’cha been doing?”
“Dirt. Key Key.”
“I see that,” she said, “let’s go get you cleaned up and change that dirty diaper shall we?”
Story Prompt: WriteOn writing challenge – 500 words or less – repair a hole.
Inspiration: A rediscovery of some old family videos. My son was two. It was a hot summer day. He was exploring the yard wearing only his sandals and a diaper.