One Step at a Time

Lara has cerebral palsy. The doctors said she’d never walk.

She proved them wrong.

Now Lara’s got another goal, and she’s sworn her older sister Allie to secrecy.

All will be revealed at Welles Bend Primary School’s Year Six Graduation.

But can Lara and her friend Tamsin pull off their daring plan, and convince Lara’s parents to let her follow her dream?

Formats: ebook $0.99

Genre/s: contemporary, disability

Series: The Kids of Welles Bend

Audience: middle grade

Length: short story

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‘Allie? Allie, I gotta talk to you. It’s urgent.’

Allie’s stomach twisted as she looked up from her book. When her little sister Lara sounded like that – so excited she was almost panting, and her words tumbling out over one another – she’d got another one of her Ideas.

A year ago, when she was ten, she’d wanted turtles. She’d read up on them, how to keep them healthy, how to look after them, what to feed them, even how to apply for the permit to keep them. The turtles were still there in their huge fish tank (bought by Lara with her Christmas and birthday and chore money). So were the goldfish from the year before that – well, one of them anyway. He’d eaten all the others. Dad had named him Pan-size, and he joked about frying him up on the barbeque one day. The year before that, it had been jigsaw puzzles. And not small ones either. One thousand and two thousand piece ones. Ones that sat on the table for weeks while Lara fit them together.

Lara was leaning one shoulder against Allie’s bedroom door, her skinny body balanced between her forearm crutches, her legs wrapped in the light braces the physiotherapist had switched her to a few months back. Lara had cerebral palsy. Sometime before she was born, the part of her brain that worked her legs had been damaged somehow. Her legs had grown crooked, and they sometimes collapsed under her when she tried to walk. But even the heavy braces she’d worn for most of her life hadn’t slowed Lara down.

Allie doubted anything would.

Lara was like a force of nature. If she wanted to do something, she found a way to do it.

‘I need you to take me somewhere right now,’ Lara said, coming closer to Allie’s bed. ‘But it’s a secret. I can’t tell you what it is, and you can’t tell Mum and Dad what I’m doing.’

Allie sat up. ‘Lara –’

‘It’s nothing bad, I promise,’ Lara said quickly. ‘It’s just… I need to keep it a secret. And it’s too far for me to go by myself.’

Allie stared at her sister, who stared back with big, pleading eyes.

Finally Allie sighed, glanced at her page number and closed her book. ‘Fine. But this better be good.’