Adventures in reading, p.24
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       Adventures in Reading, p.24

          
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  Chapter 3 – Blood

  Okay, so we were running in a straight line, jumping over logs and stuff and brushing spider webs out of our eyes. I managed to stay in front. Longer legs, you know. It wasn’t that I was any more scared than anyone else.

  “Wait, you guys!” Callie was calling from the back of the pack. “Hey, Morning, slow up. I can’t run in these sandals.”

  I did a quick glance back. Austin was right on my heels with Sydney a few feet behind him. Callie was lagging. Sandals or not, she had better put a move on, hustle, put the pedal to the metal, get the lead out.

  Oh my gosh, I was starting to sound like old Mrs. Buckley, the fourth grade teacher. She was a font of knowledge, a treasure trove of information, a . . . oh, there I go again.

  “Morning! Stop! I think we’re going the wrong way,” Callie was just trying to make me stop. Well, yeah.

  I glanced back again and Syd and Austin had already halted and were doing that swivel-head thing again. Up and around, looking everywhere, eyes and heads moving in every direction at once.

  So I stopped, too. Might as well. No sense in me getting separated.

  “What makes you think we’re going in the wrong direction?” I asked.

  Callie pointed up at the sky. “The sun.”

  Now I know that Callie gets good grades. We all do. But it just wasn’t fair how she would know some stuff and could do some stuff that just didn’t fit for kids our age. Like always know what time it was without a watch. Like know when the car was going north or east without looking at the compass on the dashboard. Like look at an outdoor photo in my mom’s family album and say what time of year it was taken because of the shadows (and mom said she was right).

  So when she said, “The sun,” I was instantly in agreement with her.

  “Right. Okay. Which way should we go, Callie?”

  She spun around and pointed pretty much back the way we had just come.

  “But what about the monster?” Austin said.

  “Yeah, the monster,” Sydney echoed.

  Callie simply shrugged her shoulders and reached down to tighten her left sandal.

  “Okay!” I hollered. I wasted absolutely no time at all in refocusing my single-minded quest for the way out of these woods.

  Again Austin was right on my tail, in front of the girls. I’ll have to teach him about manners sometime, you know, ladies first and all that, but for now it was everybody for himself.

  Sydney waited a bit for Callie and then it was the four of us pounding through the underbrush. It still seemed to be getting darker and the trees were taller and the ferns were thicker and the spiders were bigger and now the mosquitoes were buzzing our faces.

  “Watch out, Morning!” Austin warned me, but it was too late. I had been swatting frantically and I missed seeing the fallen branch across the trail. My long legs took the impact in the middle of my shins and I went sprawling.

  I was cool, though. I did one of those tuck rolls we learned in gym and for the first time ever I sort of popped up like it was a planned acrobatic move. Must have been some natural ability I didn’t know I had.

  “You okay?” Sydney bent lower and inspected my legs. “Callie, more wipes.”

  She popped out two more wet wipes and I soaked up the blood that was running down my shin and into my shoe. I tossed the bloody wipes on the trail and Callie instantly scolded me. I wasn’t thinking. Callie is like the neatest person ever. There’s no chance of getting away with littering when she’s around. I retrieved them and stuffed them into my back pocket – something fun for mom to find when she does the laundry.

  “You’re still bleeding,” Sydney said. “Callie, band aid.”

  Now, this is where the world gets really scary because Callie checked every pocket and she didn’t have even one band aid. And then she got real pale.

  “It’s okay,” I said, “It’s not like I’m going to leave a trail of blood for the two-toed giant Bigfoot creature to follow. It’s almost dried.”

  But Callie wasn’t thinking about that and she wasn’t pale because she got another whiff of Sydney either. It was something else.

  “I can’t tell which direction to go now. I can’t see the sky.”

 
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