|Jane approached the mansion. Everything inside appeared dark and deserted (1) but she could clearly see the tiny pinpoint of light indicating that someone was inside searching. "Someone with a torch (2) she gasped. What should she do now? Should she run back to the beach house and call the police? What if it was too late by the time the police arrived (3) She could not take any chance. She pushed open the heavy door with bated breath. With her heart pounding wildly, she tiptoed inside. All of a sudden, the lights flickered and Jane saw only a shadowy figure; there was no one.|
|It was very crowded at Dupers as they were having their annual sale. The|
atmosphere put my baby sister in a bad mood. I was (1) flustered too, because I simply dislike crowds. We quickly headed to the Children's Department. I helped to keep an eye on my sister while my father chose suitable toys. My sister became restless; she started to throw tantrums and did not allow me to (2) placate her. So, I was beginning to feel really angry with her. My father glared at her (3) grimly and told her we would just cut short the shopping trip and return home. My sister cried more loudly. She sat on the floor and kicked her feet, wails loudly. Her loud wailing soon drew the attention of the other shoppers. My father was (4) piqued. He tried to drag my sister up but she refused to (5) budge. I squirmed with embarrassment and tried to think of a quick solution.
|In a village in Selangor, Malaysia, where I grew up, coconut trees shaded the wooden houses, where fathers bowed to the earth working the paddy, mothers stayed at home and their children ran around barefoot.|
When I was ten and my sister Aini was seven, we had a hard time; Father was not earning enough from his jobs at the rubber estate and the paddy factory. Finally he decided that he could make a better living collecting rattan from deep in the forest and selling it to a nearby furniture manufacturer.
Mother was extremely worried that tigers would eat him, but Father said that it was better to risk his life being eaten by a tiger than sit at home and not eat anything at all. So early one morning, he set out on his motorcycle looking for rattan. Suddenly, Aini and I had no way of getting to school, which was far from our home. I could think of nothing better than to miss school and play with my little sister. As we stood at the front door waving goodbye to Father, I whispered to Aini that we were going to scoop up tadpoles from the backyard pond and put them in a glass jar as pets. We both grinned in anticipation.
Our happiness did not last long. Mother suddenly appeared behind us with her hands on her hips and said, "What are you both doing here? It's getting late."
"Get dressed," she ordered.
"Get dressed for what?" I questioned. Mother's eyes bulged. "My, surely not for your wedding. For school, of course," she replied assertively. My jaw dropped. "Father is gone, and we can't walk to school, if that's what you mean," I cried. Mother shook her head and answered, "You're not walking. I'm going to take you to school today. There's your father's bicycle."
Looking towards the lawn, we saw an extremely old bicycle leaning against the coconut tree. The handle was bent into an odd, twisted shape and the right pedal was nothing but an iron rod. It had been quite some time since anyone had used the bicycle and I wondered if it even worked. I told Mother that the bicycle would be so slow that we would be old by the time we reached school. Irritated by my insolence, she told me sharply not to get smart with her or she would make my ears hot and tingling.
I looked at Aini for support. She declared that she would be ashamed forever if she went to school on that bicycle. Mother shot back that she did not remember adopting the prime minister's daughter. "So you're going to school on that today," she said. End of the argument. With hearts as heavy as the house, we got into our school uniforms with sour looks on our faces and stomped out of the house.
Adopted from Reader's Digest. August 2007
|(A) across||(D) away||(G) in||(K) off||(N) through|
|(B) against||(E) by||(H) into||(L) on||(P) up|
|(C) and||(F) from||(J) of||(M) past||(Q) with|
|A few weeks into the lung holidays, I was beginning to feel rather restless. I had gone shopping with my friends, caught the latest movie in town, read all the books I wanted to, and now I did not know what to do with myself. I even contemplated on getting a part-time job, but I was too lazy. As I lay on my bed, my grandmother sighed and said, "Susan, why don't you tidy up your room? It is such a mess. Come on, you have slept enough. Get up now!"|
Slowly, I dragged myself out of bed and wearily set about the mammoth task. It seemed impossible; so much junk strewn about the floor, magazines and books all over the table and cobwebs decorating the corners.
As the afternoon wore on, I began to feel happier actually. I suppose the sight of my tidier room must have lifted my spirits. Soon I found myself humming cheerfully.
After wiping the dust off my writing table, I sat down on my chair to rest awhile. My eyes fell on a sturdy metallic box at one corner of my room. I felt elated suddenly as I remembered what I had put in there. Inside were my most precious belongings: souvenirs, badges, friendship bands and other knick-knacks that I had kept as a schoolgirl. The thought of rummaging through those belongings further brightened my day.
I dragged the box to the centre of the room and tried to pry open it. It would not budge. Locked I thought; where did I put the key? My mind worked furiously. Oh yes, the key was in the left-hand corner of my writing table. I distinctly remembered putting it there. I opened the drawer and searched inside, but the key was not there. I removed the drawer and emptied its contents on the floor. After a few minutes of searching, I found myself boiling inside. There was no key. There was no key in the other drawer too. I wanted to scream.
Muttering oaths and curses under my breath, I searched all the possible places in the room. I spent a good part of an hour going twice over all these places, but I still could not find the missing key.
Finally, I stormed out of the room and yelled at my parents, questioning them about the key. Nobody could help me. They were unhappy with the way I had behaved. I went back into the room, stared at the offending box and gave it a kick. All I got was a painful foe.
I considered prying the box with a crowbar, but I decided against it because it was too beautiful to be destroyed. Then I tried opening the stubborn lock with whatever keys my hands could get hold of. It was futjie apd I gayejjpjn_despafe-J pushed the box back into its corner.
Later that week, Mike, my younger brother, invited me to go fishing with him. I accepted his invitation. I dug up some worms while he prepared the fishing rods. Soon we were at our favourite spot by the river. I cast my line and waited for the fish to bite.
Suddenly, Mike yelted in delight. He had a bite and began pulling in his line. He had caught a big bass. Then from the corner of my eye, I saw something familiar. The weight that Mike had tied to his line. I grabbed the weight and looked hard and long at it. It was my missing
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