SPLISH SPLOSH SPLASH
There was a certain silence that suggested trouble was brewing. Tingle’s mum, Dianne, glanced up at the ceiling and noticed a small droplet of water form. In slow motion that shapely water globule plummeted from the ceiling and landed on the end of Auntie Joanna’s nose. Instinctively Auntie Joanna, Dianne’s sister, shook her head and put her tea down. ‘That would be the bathroom wouldn’t it Dianne?’
Tingle’s cosy mum, with bobbed hair and a gentle smile, made a loud ominous sigh. ‘Tingle and Josh are in bed…’ she said trailing off. ‘There is no reason why there should be any drips.’
Auntie Joanna, who had wild, curly hair and the build of a female athlete, pulled out a mirror from her bag. She directed it behind her at the fish tank; she had her suspicions and didn’t intend to alert the culprits of her thoughts. As she suspected! She was right and knew the source of the trouble. It was only going to get worse!
At that moment three mischievous creatures watched the grown-ups reaction from inside the fish tank. Auntie Joanna knew to avoid looking directly at them because they were fast. They would disappear in a flash, that was unless they chose to play or reap havoc. When given the chance those water sprites could make all types of watery chaos. In that moment, Auntie Joanna sensed the Splishy Sploshies were scoping out potential destruction before letting loose on some epic watery escapades.
‘I think we have to take a look at the damage,’ said Auntie Joanna solemnly.
Tingle’s mother nodded and made a deflated sigh. ‘What do you think made that happen?’
‘It could be anything. You know that – but remember the stories granny used to tell us? Remember the palace, the very rude Queen and the fountains?’ said Auntie Joanna thinking back to her grandmother’s great mystical stories filled with monsters, faeries and funny creatures.
Dianne frowned at the thought of the story which told of complete watery destruction of a gorgeous palace. Surely they couldn’t have done anything bad enough to warrant a deluge of water through the ceiling – could they?
The pair put down their tea and climbed the stairs. When they stepped onto the landing the carpet squelched beneath their feet. Tingle stood drowsily in her bedroom doorway wearing her pink pyjamas covered in stars. Her dark hair defied gravity and she stood with her eyes half closed. She was medium sized for a seven year old with long spindly arms and gangly legs.
Josh, with his wispy blonde hair, stood on the landing wearing his frog Wellington boots and his dinosaur onesie. He was five and a beanpole of a boy. He ate at the speed of a hungry dog but at that moment he was half asleep and appeared confused. The landing carpet squelched and no one had visited the bathroom.
‘Tingle…?’ Auntie Joanna asked.
‘It wasn’t me,’ said Tingle quickly. She hadn’t done anything wrong!
‘It wasn’t me either,’ whispered Josh, his blonde fringe forming a quiff as he kept one eye half closed.
‘What happened?’ Dianne asked.
‘I was in bed and the next thing I know I heard splashing and singing and there was water everywhere. I haven’t looked in the bathroom I just saw water all over the floor… I promise that it wasn’t me,’ said Tingle in a desperate tone.
‘It definitely wasn’t me.’ If it wasn’t Tingle then that only left Josh didn’t it? Josh didn’t want to get the blame. ‘I was sleeping and heard splashing and singing.’
Auntie Joanna and Tingle’s mum glanced at each other with knowing expressions.
‘Did you actually see anything Josh?’ Auntie Joanna asked.
Tingle glared at Josh in a way that a big sister said ‘You dare!’ with her eyes.
‘I didn’t see anything. I just heard splashing and some funny voices singing,’ he replied honestly. ‘There they are again…’ There were a few loud splashes accompanied by a song about water coming from the bathroom. The group glanced at each other, there was no one else in the house so who was singing?
‘Water water everywhere
With a splish and a splosh we don’t care
If our water is not respected
Then we will do the unexpected
And make water run and run
Because watery destruction is so much fun…
You have been warned…’
Auntie Joanna tucked her long skirt in her underwear and knelt on the floor. She took the mirror from her bag and gestured for Tingle and Josh to Shhhhh! She then stealthily placed the mirror in the bathroom doorway. She pulled out a yoga towel from her bag and arranged it on the floor. When she was ready she gestured for the children to sit on her lap and watch. When everything became still a number of watery shapes formed in the pool on the floor. At first they resembled rising water bubbles like a geyser before it burst from a hot spring. Those bubble-like creatures skimmed over the soaked surface and checked the area was safe. When the three watery forms thought no one was looking they swirled around the bathroom like little waterspouts. Two lady sprites twirled in flowing dresses and the third spritely-chap whirled wearing a little suit with three-quarter length trousers. As the group spun, other nymphs rose into the air in the bath suds. Bubbles launched with sprites spinning inside just like bubble zorbs! ‘Weeeee!’ they called, giggled and sang as they drifted about. Others rose like fountains and balanced on the top as though they were surfing the fountain wave. One thought it was rather amusing to travel across the watery surface riding a bath duck. A few other of the nymphs noticed the rubber duck racing fun and joined in. That turned into synchronised duck dancing. Quack!
Josh and Tingle’s mouths opened in surprise. The creatures messing around in the bathroom were water-like faeries or water sprites. They used their magic to lift the water and zoom around the bathroom.
‘What are they?’ Tingle whispered to Auntie Joanna. Whatever they were they were beautiful, naughty and fun.
‘Those are the Splishy Sploshies, and for some reason they have decided to come and play here.’ Auntie Joanna adjusted the mirror and noticed water streaming down the wall. One of the pipes had burst and looked like a waterfall as it cascaded into the bath. Some of the sprites stood in a circle singing and making the water travel in different directions according to their chant.
Tingle’s mum crept across the landing and peered through the door, all manner of Splishy Sploshy boogied about the bathroom. She glanced back at Tingle and Josh and smiled; their facial expressions were hilarious. They looked like they accidentally sat on a whoopee cushion. Thwarrppp!
Auntie Joanna sighed. It seemed they had an infestation of Splishy Sploshies who had burst a pipe to start the drenching destruction. It was terrible because they could destroy a home in a day should they choose. Unfortunately, there was a lesson to be learned and some apologies to be made. The first step was to discover what had made the Splishy Sploshies visit?
‘What do we do?’ Tingle asked, watching the dancing ducks bob along to a rather pumpy rhythm.
‘We are going to have to disturb them and seal the pipe. The thing is they will be back and break the pipe again and again until we have learned our lesson. We need to take responsibility for whatever it is we did to draw them here. That means we are going to have to go to the source and have a conversation otherwise they will flood us over and over again.’
Tingle frowned. ‘Why would they do that?’
Tingle’s mum smiled at Auntie Joanna and took a deep breath. ‘Tingle… Tingle… What is going on?’ She called as though she was accusing Tingle.
Tingle frowned and looked confused.
Her mum crept back towards Tingle and crouched down beside her. ‘Tingle don’t be concerned,’ she whispered. ‘I am doing this to let them know we are close. It’s okay I know you didn’t do this.’
When the Splishy Sploshies heard the adult voice they all froze and turned towards the bathroom door.
‘There is water everywhere… did you leave the bath taps on?’ Dianne said loudly.
The group watched the watery shapes giggle and dance around the puddles on the floor. They then made lots of splashing noises and rode around on the water flowing from the burst pipe. All the while they kept their eyes on the door. They intended to play until the very last moment!
‘Darling I am going to say this loudly so they think you are in trouble,’ whispered Dianne in Tingle’s ear.‘ As I said, this is just to let them know we are nearby.’ She said and ruffled Tingle’s hair.
Tingle nodded and watched her mum curiously.
‘Right that is it! Tingle… this is not a water fun park!’ Dianne cried.
Tingle was quiet as she watched her mum make a loud stomp across the water-logged carpet. She squelched and squished her way over to the bathroom, pausing for a moment before she burst through the door. When her mum arrived the water shapes quickly reversed into the puddles and hid. Josh shook his head in amazement, the Splishy Sploshies disappeared as soon as they saw his mum.
‘That is what they do,’ whispered Auntie Joanna. ‘They like to play in a home where there are children so that the children get the blame for the moist mess. They then reap havoc as they flood people’s homes and turn them into Splishy Sploshy water parks. Those that didn’t have children had their homes flooded with no trace of a Splishy Sploshy to be seen.
Tingle’s mum studied the damage. When her back was turned a watery shape rose from the toilet and did a little dance. Josh pointed at the mirror with an amazed look on his face. ‘There’s one…’ he whispered.
‘They go everywhere there is water, and they are very good at hiding,’ said Auntie Joanna.
Tingle watched the toilet in amazement. The watery shape continued to dance behind her mother while some other shapes emerged from the puddles and rose from the sink’s plughole. One watery figure drifted behind her in a bubble and another rode the yellow rubber duck across the floor. When Tingle’s mum looked down they all hastily hid.
Josh giggled, the watery creatures were very naughty.
Tingle’s mum turned full circle, she felt like she was being watched and heard a few little splashes and then… the Splishy Sploshy in the bubble drew parallel with her. The bubble collided with her nose and it burst. Pop!
The Splishy Sploshy in the bubble dropped from the air and somersaulted into a dive. Splash! He disappeared into the puddle on the floor. There was a moment of silence, a chorus of mischievous giggles and a huge wave of water rose into the air. Tingle’s mum froze when she realised what was about to happen and closed her eyes. Splash! She was soaked! A moment later there was a mass of watery gurgles, chortles and chuckles.
‘Right that’s it!’ said Auntie Joanna gesturing for Tingle and Josh to move across the landing.
‘You might enjoy this Tingle and Josh… Watch what happens.’ Auntie Joanna stepped into the bathroom. Her sister stood dripping and was actually rather amused.
‘Can you reverse it Jo?’ asked Tingle’s mum.
‘I will give it a go.’ Auntie Joanna glanced around the bathroom. ‘Splishy Sploshies I know you are here… I also know what you are!’
A few shapes peered from the pool on the bathroom floor. They were curious that a human had called them a Splishy Sploshy. Most humans didn’t even know they existed.
‘Now I am going to ask you to leave politely,’ Auntie Joanna said in a courteous tone.
The watery shapes glanced at each other and giggled. ‘We’ve been busted!’ said one of sprites.
‘Or you’ll what?’ replied another of the watery figures.
‘Or I will have to force you to leave, or…,’ Auntie Joanna was definite.
‘Oh and how will you do that? We are water. You can’t force water… water can travel anywhere. We can dribble, trickle and drip. You will never catch us!’ They were right water couldn’t be forced. It couldn’t be controlled but it could be directed.
Auntie Joanna smiled, ‘I know I can’t control water, but I can use magic.’
There were stunned gasps amongst the Splishy Sploshies. Most humans had lost that ability to use magic. She had to be playing with them, didn’t she?
‘Now you can go nicely or I will have to use the Splishy Sploshy removal rhyme.’ Auntie Joanna placed her hands on her hips, she wasn’t joking!
The Splishy Sploshies glanced at each other. They were going to be stubborn, they weren’t going that easily. The removal rhyme was a secret so she could be tricking them couldn’t she?
The watery figures rose and stood firm. In defiance they folded their watery arms. ‘We will not go!’
‘Have it your way then,’ said Auntie Joanna with a mysterious expression.
‘With a splish splosh splash
You will depart in a flash
All that watery mess
Will disappear no less
Our home will be dry
As you say goodbye
And even though you had fun
You will clear any damage done
Our home will return to how it should be
And my darlings we shall see
That you return to your Splishy place
With your happy Sploshy face
‘How does she know that?’ One of the water sprites asked in complete surprise.
Auntie Joanna grinned smugly as all the water began to retract towards the pipe. The water lifted, reformed and reversed back up through the pipe. As it retreated it formed a whirl of water that spun as more water droplets rose and were sucked backwards. Tingle and Josh stood completely stunned by the sight and didn’t know what to do. The water rapidly transformed into an airborne whirlpool. All the soggy beads in the carpet rose into the air and hung for a moment as though waiting to depart. After a short time each globule joined the whirling watery tube. All the water that had dripped through the ceiling travelled as a wall of droplets up to the landing, joined the watery whirl and spun. A number of Splishy Sploshy faces peered from the whirl of water. Even one of the bath ducks circled in the whirling water until the last of the water was sucked back into the pipe. When all the water was gone the bath duck plopped into the bath tub and made a quack.
Tingle’s mum grabbed some sealant and coated the area where the hole had appeared in the pipe. She then darted down the stairs to the kitchen drawer, and a few moments later she bounded back up to the bathroom and put some gaffer tape over where the pipe had burst. It was clearly a weak point and there was no way it was going to happen again!
‘It’s not worth getting a plumber in yet,’ said Auntie Joanna. ‘They have picked this house, they were in the fish tank too which means they have checked out all the watery wrecking potential. They will be back.’
Tingle twirled her hair as she studied the bath duck.
‘Auntie Joanna are you a witch?’ She asked.
Auntie Joanna smiled mysteriously, ‘Not in the classic sense. I don’t have a broomstick and a pointy hat. If you mean a woman who likes to be out in nature and likes learning about the mysteries and secrets of nature then… maybe. What you don’t know Tingle and Josh is that your mum and I have met the Splishy Sploshies before, with our grandmother, your great grandmother. So I remember the rhyme. I will write it down on some paper so you have it Dianne,’ said Auntie Joanna to Tingle’s mum. ‘We will tell you more about them tomorrow because we are going to go out and have a little chat to them.’
‘What about Dad?’ Josh asked.
‘Well he is working the night shift tonight, so he will probably need to sleep for quite a while on Saturday morning. We don’t need to worry unless the Great Splosher descends upon us.’
‘The Great Splosher?’ Tingle was curious, whatever that was sounded huge.
‘Oh yes… We will talk about that tomorrow. Now you have both had far too much excitement for one night… Tomorrow I will tell you a story about what the Splishy Sploshies did to a Queen and her beautiful palace.’ Auntie Joanna glanced at her sister and looked sympathetic. ‘We need to get this sorted before your mum goes back to work on Monday because we don’t want her worrying about Splishy Sploshy floodings while she is working figuring out technology.’
Tingle’s mum looked concerned. ‘This is just the beginning isn’t it Jo?’
Auntie Joanna nodded, ‘We need to sort this out as soon as possible. Thank goodness tomorrow is Saturday because we have time to go to the source and have a little chat with them… I will be free in the afternoon because I have clients in the morning.’ Auntie Joanna said considering whether she could change appointments.
Tingle and Josh glanced at each other. What did that mean? Where did they have to go? Where was the source? Was there another adventure about to take place?
‘Oh the root cause,’ said Tingle’s mum, she remembered what happened when she was a little girl.
‘The thing is we need to see them sooner rather than later because they have already found the fish tank and the bath… Think about all the other watery areas in the house. We have essentially become the water fun park for the Splishy Sploshies. Every new opportunity for water weaving will grow bigger and more spectacular until there is nothing left.’
Tingle studied her aunt. ‘Why are they here?’
‘Tingle it’s your bed time. All I will say is that the Splishy Sploshies like to visit when there has been some extreme splashing or water over-use. Take for example dive bombing in a swimming pool, excessive puddle jumping or when people purposely drive through puddles to splash those walking on the pavement. Bath time sploshing is often what invites them into the house, when someone excessively splishes and sploshes and water covers the floor. Oh and another one is when someone accidentally leaves the tap on, or when someone flushes the toilet far too many times. Somehow that signals to them that the house has lots of potential splash and will be a fun place to play and potentially destroy. Other times they visit to see who has been wasting precious water. They watch the culprits for a while and then teach them a huge lesson. Actually there are a lot of reasons why Splishy Sploshies come to visit.’
Tingle glanced at Josh, had they flushed the toilet too many times or splashed in the bath so the water went over the edge?
Josh was caught up in his thoughts. He did like to splash but usually the shower curtain stopped any water hitting the floor.
‘Right bed time,’ said their mother.
Auntie Joanna and their mum tucked Tingle and Josh into bed, ruffled their hair and kissed them on the head. ‘Splishy Sploshies are nothing to worry about because we know what we have to do,’ Dianne said.
‘We need to tell dad,’ said Tingle in a troubled tone. ‘He flushes the toilet a lot.’
‘Yes we will tell your dad,’ said Tingle’s mum with a smile.
‘I have put the rhyme on a piece of paper on the hall table,’ said Auntie Joanna. ‘It’s there if you need it, and I sense that you are going to need it!’
With that Auntie Joanna gathered up her stuff and prepared to leave. ‘Remember we can only use the rhyme three times in one house. So use it wisely.’