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       website are the copyright of Kathryn Cave

How the running battles began , , ,

  It was November.

  I was watching the little kids' programmes on television, wondering what life was for and where all the chocolate biscuits had gone, when the front door slammed and in came Lynda.

  Lynda is my little sister, and when I say little I mean little. I'm more or less normal, my sister Annie is thin, but Lynda is a girl you cannot see sideways. If she didn't remember to get out of the bath before letting the water out she'd have slipped down the plughole long ago and be growing up in the sewer.

  "Don't go on about it," Mum said when I mentioned it. "You'll give her a complex. She's only eleven. She'll grow. Here, have another  biscuit, Lynda."

  That's where the biscuits went to in our house, of course (and the chocolate bars, the bread and honey and the cans of fizzy lemonade) - into Lynda so she wouldn't drop down a grating and be lost to us for ever.

  And here she was, homing in on the sofa as usual, a bit dishevelled and speckled with mud but basically OK.

  "Guess what!" she said as she flopped down beside me. "I won the lower- school cross country."

  "Ha, ha," I said. Lynda win a cross country? She's quick on her feet (all the practice she's had nipping off with her sisters' things, I expect), but that course round the fields is a killer. I've done it myself in my time and it takes the best part of an hour. Most of my lot didn't make it to the finish, and those that did took a week off to recover. And we were Year 3 then, remember. Lynda was only Year 1. Anyway, she was Lynda. The wind would have blown her away on that open stretch along the hockey pitches.

I thought she was having me on. 

  "Pull the other one."

  "No, honest." She heaved her school bag up onto her knees and poked about in the front pocket. "I got a letter. I'm in another race next week, Mr Williams says. I'm in it, and Clare Fenning, and ..."

  Clare Fenning was in Year 3 and as big as me. "You beat Clare Fenning?"

  "Of course I did. I came first, didn't I?"

  She showed me the letter.

  She wasn't having me on.

  "Are you sure it's not a mistake? Could they have got you mixed up with someone else?"

  "Look, I won, right? Give me back that letter. I've got to get it signed by Mum."

  I gave it back. "Well done," I said, because, after all, she is my sister. Maybe I should have said it sooner.

  "Don't strain yourself," she said as she slammed the door.