In a very regular large and noisy city, in a very regular apartment on the eighth floor there lived a very regular boy. That boy had a fairly regular name — Nikita — but the people who knew him usually called him just Nick. Nick lived in that apartment together with his dad, mother, older brother and Busya the cat — and they were all pretty regular too.
However, Nick had a very unusual friend. You may wonder what it was that made this friend so unusual? The thing is that no one ever saw this friend, except for Nick himself. It may have to do with the fact that it was an imaginary friend, but there’s no telling with certainty.
The friend’s name was also Nikita, but he usually went with just “Kit” for short. Just like Nick, he was also 5 years old, and he also lived in that large city and that same apartment on the eighth floor. He was just as tall as a Lego man, but he looked and dressed as a usual boy. The difference was that Kit didn’t have to go to the kindergarten or wash himself, or brush his teeth, or ride the bicycle. When he felt like going somewhere, he just popped up wherever he wanted to go, and he could shrink to become even smaller and get though any kind of obstacle.
Most of the time Kit spent in Nick’s room staying invisible. At night, he slept when Nick did, and woke up when Nick got out of bed. In daytime, when there was no one in the apartment, Kit travelled across the apartment in a small toy car trying to evade water spilled on the table, plant stems, and stay out of Busya’s sight. It’s a well-known fact that cats see everything, even things that don’t actually exist.
But Kit didn’t spend all his time at home. As soon as Nick thought about something mischievous or did something he wasn’t supposed to do, Kit appeared right there with him. Kit turned visible, sat on Nick’s shoulder and told him a story about all the incredible adventures that could happen if Nick was as small and naughty as Kit was.
It was one of those stories that started their friendship. Once when Nick was in a shop with his mother he ran off and hid behind some clothes hangers. He thought mother would find him soon, but time passed, and she wasn’t in sight. All of a sudden, he heard a ringing voice, “Hey, Nick!”
“Who’s here?” wondered Nick. He looked round and saw a boy looking just like himself, wearing jeans and a T-shirt with a dinosaur print, just a very small one.
“I’m Kit,” the boy introduced himself. “Isn’t it you mother is looking for?”
“No, I’m not lost, you know, I’m just hiding,” replied Nick.
“We’ll find out in a moment,” said Kit. He disappeared as unexpectedly as he had popped up earlier. When he returned, he had a whole story to tell. Mother was pacing up and down the shop looking for him, and a shop assistant lady and a gentleman from security were helping her. They had probably called the police, and policemen would be on their way with search dogs.
Nick quickly got out of his hiding place. He saw his mother talk to a person from security next to the shop entrance, and he rushed to her.
“Where have you been?!” his mother exclaimed, upset.
“I was hiding. I thought you wouldn’t lose me. But my new friend Kit said you didn’t know I was playing, and you got worried. I’m sorry, I won’t do it again.”
Mother started to ask Nick questions about Kit, and she didn’t believe him. She decided he had made it all up. But since that day Kit started appearing every once in a while, telling Nick stories that might have happened. Or might not, who knows… Kit would come up with stories every day. Seven days a week, and the most thrilling Monday to Friday. His stories helped pass the time on weekdays so that weekends would come sooner.
I Feel Like Going Home!
Nick did his best to stretch Sunday for as long as possible, but eventually Monday did start. Nick often heard adults say, “Mondays are tough days!” But to himself, he always called Monday a horrible day — because he had to go to the kindergarten with the whole week still ahead. Nick felt as if he was going to the kindergarten to stay there till the weekdays ended.
Nick didn’t really like kindergarten much. It’s true he liked playing with friends, the teachers were all right, the celebrations were fine and the meat loaf for lunch was quite delicious too. He liked it in general, but it’s just that he refused to go there each Monday morning. Mother tried to persuade him, suggested that he should ride a bicycle or a kick scooter there, take some toys with him, and that she was going to buy him a chocolate bar in the evening, but nothing helped.
One Monday, Nick woke up and realized that he had to quickly think of something to spend the whole week at home. So he didn’t complain or act up right away, but wished “Good morning’ to his dad and brother, and then allowed mother to get him dressed and take him to the kindergarten. Nick had a special plan to follow. When his group went outdoors for a walk, Nick quietly walked off towards some bushes at the fence. The road home was just on the other side of that fence.
“I feel like going home,” whispered Nick.
“Hey, Nick!” he heard a familiar ringing voice. The bushes stirred, as if disturbed by some invisible wind, and Kit appeared on Nick’s shoulder.
“Have you called for me?”
“No, I just want to go home. I can’t wait for mother anymore.”
“Just a moment, I’ll think of something. Follow me,” called Kit.
Nick turned round to see what the teacher was doing, but she was busy pacifying Alex and Michael who were having a fight, and on top of that, Vasilisa started crying. Other kids came up to her to cheer her up, and none of them were paying attention to Nick. He pushed through bushes and saw green fence bars. The bars were tight, but Nick managed to squeeze through, and he walked into the path going past the kindergarten.
He knew the road home well. First one had to walk down the path past the school, then past a nine-story house and a stand selling newspapers and toys right next to the street with tramcars, cars and buses. It’s quite wide and busy, and the traffic light shows green just for a short while. But Nick isn’t a little boy anymore. He remembered mother teaching him crossing streets, and he surely could cross this one. And from then on it’s a piece of cake: the house where his friend Mike lives, and his own house just one block further. At the entrance hall next to the corner there’s a comfy bench. He and his mother like to sit there when they are returning home. He’ll take a seat there and wait for mother to pick him up.
Nick had already taken a few steps down the path when a large white car drove past him. And then another, a black one, and then a yellow taxi. Nick just had enough time to get back to the pavement.
“Wait!” Kit shouted to him. “From here, I’ll go, and then I’ll tell you what I’ve seen.”
Nick stayed behind while Kit walked the path home and soon turned round a corner.
He passed the school, the nine-story house, a lawn with stray cats playing there, then the newspaper stand, and found himself in a car park next to the busy street. He was about to cross it when a car suddenly appeared in sight. It veered into the car park and drove right at him! Kit just had time to look round to see it, stretch out his arms before him and hear the brakes screech when…
When mother came to pick Nick up, Tatyana, the kindergarten teacher, met her and told her the story about Nick’s escape from the kindergarten. “He nearly walked off! It’s a miracle I caught him on the other side of the fence. Hard to imagine what might have happened!” she gasped. Nick was standing there with a guilty look in his eyes.
On their walk home mother kept explaining to Nick that he had behaved really badly. That he could have got lost, or might have been run over by a car, or have got into some other trouble.
“How could you even think of that?!” she exclaimed.
“I couldn’t wait for you any longer,” explained Nick. “Kit said that I might squeeze through the fence, and I…”
“Nick!” his mother sternly interrupted him, “you must learn to take responsibility for what you do!”
“But Kit helped me! He said that I should stop, and then he told me the story about his being nearly run over by a car on his way home. He told me the street was very dangerous. And now I know I mustn’t walk off if none of the grown-ups are accompanying me.”
“I’m glad you understand that,” mother calmed down a little.
“I’m really sorry, I won’t run off again,” promised Nick. And then he added, quietly, “May I skip kindergarten tomorrow? Just this one time!”
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