Friday, July 27, 2018

Missing: One Junior Ranger - Part 6

Good morning FFFs!
I protest! It can't be the last Friday in July! It just can't be! I know I already reached my 20k word goal for Camp NaNo, and I know that there is only a little over a week of campaigning before the August elections (we'll see if my brother wins!), and I know that I start teaching writing classes again two weeks, but still!

Let's see, we did have a busy week. Not a crazy as other times. This week we had an ice cream social to attend on Monday. (It was a political event and we got to hear many of the people running for office.) It was quite fun and informative. I reached my 20k goal on Wednesday. Yesterday my aunt came down for the day, and all 7 nieces and nephews came over for several hours so their parents could have a real date. That was fun.
Today is just usual stuff like cleaning the house and then trying to feel like I should be productive. For some reason, though I may feel like getting a whole lot done on Friday mornings, by the time the house is clean, I seem to have lost all desire to do anything, and only want to sit and read, or something like that.
Tomorrow I may be out knocking doors again, but there is a chance of rain, so we'll see. And tomorrow evening I'm supposed to join some others from church to play and sing at an assisted living home. That's always fun.

But I have other things I need to do. And I'm sure you came to read the story and not my ramblings. So enjoy this last and final part of:

Missing: One Junior Ranger

    On and on the group moved, over uneven ground, through brush and briars. For a while the trail was lost in a carpet of pine needles, but it was found again and the rescue party continued on. At last Mike stopped and looked.
    “She spent the night in that tree.” He pointed to a large one.
    “She couldn’t have,” Timmy protested. “I couldn’t even get to those branches.”
    Stepping close to the tree, Sam looked up. “How did she get up there, Mike?”
    Mike pointed to a branch lying on the ground nearby. “I think she used that as a ladder. But she didn’t come down that way. She dropped here. I think she is heading in the direction of the river.”
    A gasp came from the girls. The bank near the river in this part of the forest was steep, and the water was rapid, sweeping everything in it toward one of the falls which, though not high, was dangerous because of its many rocks at the bottom.
    “Stay behind me, but let’s go,” Mike said, starting forward at a rapid pace.
    Nearing the river, they began to call, but no answer came back. Were they too late? Had she fallen into the river? Or was she just too far away?


    Moaning, Sharon clutched her ankle. Why, oh why, did she have to trip on that vine and fall? Her face and hands smarted from the scrapes they had received sliding down the river bank. The roar of the waterfall was the only sound she could hear. Rocking back and forth with her injured ankle clasped in her torn hands, she looked around. Her fall had sent her sliding down to a small level bank near the river. Both upstream and down the banks were mere drop-offs. Only this section had eroded, washed down by rains.
    “I don’t know how I’m ever going to get up that slide again,” she thought. The earth and rocks were loose, offering no good foothold even if one of her legs wasn’t injured. “A fine mess I’ve made of things. I’m no good as a ranger. I tried to mark my trail with my knife this morning, but if I had done that yesterday I might not be stuck here right now.” She sighed. Her ankle throbbed, and her face and hands hurt. And she was hungry. Tears welled up in her eyes, and she blinked them back. She had to figure out a way to let someone know where she was.
    Looking up to the grassy bank above her, she gave a gasp. “Mike!”
    “Are you okay, Sharon?” he shouted down.
    It was hard to hear over the roar of the waterfall, but Sharon caught his words. “My ankle,” she called back, her voice cracking.
    Mike’s face disappeared, and then a moment later Sam’s face appeared with Mike’s. “Mike’s coming down for you, Sharon,” he said, cupping his hands around his mouth.
    Sharon nodded. She was about to be rescued.
    In moments Mike had half slid, half scrambled, down the steep slope to her. “Your ankle is only sprained, I think” he told her after running his hands over it carefully. “Now, if you can get on my back, I’ll carry you up to the top.” This was soon done, and Sharon clung tightly to Mike as he scrambled up the loose soil to the top.
    There, to her great surprise, she found the rest of the Junior Rangers as well as Sam Oleson. Tessie and Angie washed her scratches while Mike and Sam splinted and bound up her ankle.
    “Just in case it is broken instead of sprained,” Sam told her. “Though I’ve never known Mike to make an error like that.”


    “What happened to make you leave the path?”
    The Junior Rangers were sitting in the Ranger office with Mike Big Eagle and Sam. Sharon, her injured ankle bandaged and resting on a chair, was the center of attention. Quickly she recounted the story of the little fawn. “Everyone said you shouldn’t let an animal suffer, and the fawn couldn’t get the fishing line off his leg himself. I didn’t dream he would take me so far away. But I did get it off him at last.”
    “What did you do with the line?” Mike asked.
    “I put it all in my pocket.” Shifting in her chair, she shoved her hand into her pocket and pulled out the line, the cause of all the trouble. “I tried to follow my tracks back to the trail, but I’m afraid I’m not very good at that yet.”
    Leaning forward in his chair, Sam asked, “Why didn’t you stay in the tree until you were found?”
    “I was going to, until the sun came up. Then I could see a large clearing, and I thought that might be an easier place to find me since I would be out in the open. I just didn’t know the river was in between.”
    “Weren’t you frightened out there at night without a fire or anything?” Tessie asked, her eyes wide.
    Sharon nodded. “Yes, until I remembered the verses Uncle Ken read that morning about not being afraid for the Lord was with me. But I did scream when I heard something move beneath the tree I was in,” she confessed.
    A smile twitched the corners of Mike’s mouth. “It was a deer.”
    Sharon’s hands flew to her mouth, and she gasped. “Oh!” She gave a faint laugh. “I probably frightened it more than it did me.” Then her face grew thoughtful. “You know,” she said slowly, “Uncle Ken read some other verses yesterday morning, and one of them said something about no lion or hungry beast walking there. I thought the noise I heard was a beast out to eat me, but it was only a deer. I think God kept those other animals away last night. And,” she added, smiling as she looked around, “I don’t think I’m ever going to think the Bible is dull again.”

What did you think?
Did you enjoy this story?
Are you ready for July to be over?

Friday, July 20, 2018

Missing: One Junior Ranger - Part 5

Good morning, Friday Fiction Fans,
I don't know about where you live, but here it's hot. And humid. Yesterday it reached 107ยบ. Ugh. Thankfully storm clouds blew in late afternoon and the temperature dropped to the 80s for a while. We didn't get any rain, though there were a few rumbles of thunder.

This has been a good writing week. I decided I wanted to spend one day doing more writing than normal. So, since I usually only write later afternoon and evening, I started in the morning and got over 1k written. In the afternoon I wrote more, and in the evening I wrote again. My total word count for the day was 4,284 words. That bumped me up on my Camp NaNo goal quite a bit. I also wrote on Monday, Wednesday, and yesterday. I think I'll be able to reach my 20k goal and even surpass it.

I've been doing a lot of planning and trying to figure out what I need to work on of all my many different projects. Sometimes I feel rather overwhelmed, but when I break each project into smaller ones, then it's easier. The sad note this week is that I've hardly read anything! I read two shorter stories on Sunday, and a shorter one last night, and that is it. No wonder I want to read!

Anyway, that's that. I don't know if many of you are even reading this since it's summer and most likely you are all busy. Oh, well. I did contemplate just leaving you hanging on this story, but I decided to be nice.

Missing: One Junior Ranger
Part 5

    “She doesn’t know much about the radio. But let’s get out to the fort and check on her. She’s probably waiting for us to return.” Don’s words sent the others hurrying toward the door.
    Turning back, Don paused behind the others at the door and looked back at his brother’s serious face. “Let me know as soon as you find out if she’s there.”
    With a quick nod and a “Sure thing, Sam,” Don was out the door and running after the Junior Rangers.

    Puffing up to the gate of the fort, the six Junior Rangers paused a moment to catch their breath. The large wooden gate was shut just as they had left it, but that wasn’t unusual. Don was the first to reach the gate, unlatch and swing it wide open. “Sharon?” he shouted.
    There was no answer.
    “All right, everyone split up,” Don ordered. “Look for any sign that she might have been here.” As the others scattered across the yard, Don raced for the stairs that led to their club room in one of the block houses. Pushing the door open he looked around quickly. There was no sign of anyone having been there. “Hey, guys!” he turned to shout. “Sharon’s pack is still here.” Not waiting to see what the others would do, Don hurried to the radio set and turned it on.
    “XNV-451 to XNR-457. Come in. XNV-451 to XNR-457.”
    “XNR-457 to XNV-451. What’s the story Don?”
    “She hasn’t been here, Sam. Her pack’s still in the club house, and there’s no sign of her.”
    Sam didn’t hesitate. “You kids head back over the trail to her house. I’ll get Mike, and we’ll take the truck over the road. If you find any sign of her on the trail, radio us.”
    “Okay, Sam. Over and out.” Flipping off the switch, Don turned around to find the other Junior Rangers crowding around behind him. “You all heard Sam?” They nodded. “Then let’s go find Sharon.”

    The trial was quiet. Each person was intent on looking for signs. Finally, after they had covered quite a bit of ground, Bob spoke. “The way I figure it, if she’d left the trail on this side over here,” and he motioned with his hand, “then she would have found the road.”
    “But she might have gone off on the other side of the trail,” Tessie said.
    “Look!” Don pointed. “Footprints.”
    “Oh, Don, they lead off the trail into the woods.” And Angie crouched down to get a better look.
    For a moment the children stood. “We can follow the trail as far as we can, but we might need Mike.” Don paused. “I wonder if he and Sam are still in the truck.”
    “Want me to radio and find out?” Grant asked, patting the portable set he had been carrying.
    “Yeah. Sam said to let them know.”
    This was done, and Sam promised that he and Mike would be there soon. “Start following the trail, but be careful,” Sam instructed before ending the call.
    Eagerly the Junior Rangers started off into the woods. Since Don was the most experienced tracker, he led the way, and the others followed in silence. Minutes ticked by slowly. Where was Sharon, and why had she left the trail?
    “Don,” Tessie asked at last,” why do you suppose Sharon didn’t stay on the path?”
    “I don’t know. If Mike were here, he could probably tell us.”
    “Here he comes,” Bob said, glancing over his shoulder. Everyone stopped and waited as the Indian and the chief forest ranger reached the group. Mike stepped ahead of Don and crouched down to look at the faint tracks in the ground.
    At last he stood up. “I think she was following something.” Mike started off. Soon he halted. “She has returned but lost the trail and goes off slightly.”
    “She returned from where, Mike?”
    Mike shook his dark head. “That I don’t know. But these tracks are newer.”
    Angie leaned down to look. “How do you know?”
    “They are on top of the other ones.”
    Sam spoke up for the first time. “How new are they?”
    “Some time yesterday, I think.”

Have you ever had to find someone?
How long do you think it'll take them to find Sharon?
Has your summer been really hot?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Missing: One Junior Ranger - Part 4

Good morning, Me!
Oh, hi! Nice to see you. How's your week been?
Rather crazy! And it's not over yet! Here's quick look.

Saturday – Morning I went out door knocking/lit dropping with some friends for my brother's campaign. It was a beautiful morning! It did get warm though. Afternoon I built a water rocket. Later afternoon/evening we picked up all 7 of my nieces and nephews and headed to the home of a family from church who were hosting a large 4th of July party. (Only it was on the 7th.) It was so much fun! They live out in the country and have a great big, flat yard where you can see everyone. There was a play set for the little kids, volley ball net, plenty of room to run, and a baseball diamond. The night ended with a wonderful display of fireworks. (I didn't get to bed until almost midnight.)
Sunday – Normal things except that my sis and I had to stay and practice music a little afterwards. I spend most of the afternoon reading after I took a nap.
Monday – Everything I did seemed to be in slow motion because I was so tired. Got writing in.
Tuesday – I had a student come in the morning for class. Got other things done including writing.
Wednesday – My nieces and nephews came over later morning so we could practice "Hurray for Newsy Jones." (They wanted to do it as a play again for my grandma's 90th birthday.) That was fun but kind of crazy. I don't know how the play will go. :) I was able to get 1k written late afternoon which was good because I worked nursery that night at church.
Thursday – Spend the day trying to get as much done as I could. I had emails to send, things to put away, chapters to check, and more. Then three nephews came over around 4:30 and stayed until almost 9.
Friday – That's today. I'm going to see what else I can get done because this evening another set of kids is coming over. Busters is going to be here again, and the girls this time. Not sure if any of the boys will come or not. 
Saturday – Is the big day! My grandparents are coming down with my aunt, we're eating lunch all together with my brother and his family, doing the play, and hanging out together. Oh, yes. And eating ice cream cake. It'll be a crazy busy day. I hope I can get some writing in.

Wow! Sounds busy. I don't know how you manage to get any writing done!
Me either, actually. But I've talked enough. I have other things I need to do. Thanks for letting me chatter since I think my usual readers are on vacation or busy with Camp NaNo.
No problem.

Missing: One Junior Ranger
Part 4

    The fire crackled brightly as it danced along the wood Don and Timmy had heaped up. Sitting around the blaze, the Junior Rangers talked and sang, laughed at jokes, and planned a fishing trip for next week. Into a lull in the chatter Tessie said, “I wish Sharon had been able to come. She said she’d never been camping before.”
    “We’ll just have to do it again when she can come,” Don said in his easy manner, breaking a small stick and tossing it into the flames.
    Silence fell over the small group of campers sitting around the fire. Above them the stars sparkled, and a large moon rose above the trees. Angie shifted and wrapped her arms around her knees. “I have a funny feeling,” she began.
    “Should we laugh?” Timmy joked from across the circle.
    But Angie didn’t smile. “I keep think about Sharon. Maybe we should have tried to find out if she was coming.”
    “How?” Tessie asked while the boys all looked at Angie. “We don’t have a phone at the fort.”
    “I know. I guess we could have asked Sam on the radio to call the Donaldsons.” Turning to Don, she asked, “Could we do that now?”
    Quickly Don glanced down at his watch in the glow of the firelight. “It’s too late. Most likely she forgot about the trip–”
    “Not Sharon!” Tessie and Angie exclaimed at once.
    “She did sound excited about it,” Timmy put in while Bob and Grant nodded their agreement.
    “Well, maybe something came up at the last minute and she had to go somewhere with her aunt.” Don gave a half shrug. “There’s nothing we can do now. Let’s get some sleep. We’ll find out in the morning where she is. We could even stop by the Donaldson place on the way back to Little Falls.”
    There really was nothing else to do, and the group settled down around the fire in their sleeping bags under the stars.


    Crack. Rustle. Crack.
    The sound roused Sharon from a light slumber, and she gripped the branch she had been leaning on and held her breath. What was that sound? As she strained her ears in the stillness, she couldn’t hear anything but the pounding of her own heart and the distant sound of water,. Everything was dark. The leafy branches overhead blocked out the friendly stars, and even the moon was only a faint glow.
    Another twig snapped somewhere in the forest, and Sharon gasped. Her body grew rigid. Something was out there.
    A tree rustled its leaves softly, and Sharon began to tremble. Drawing up her feet which had been hanging over the branch, she was thankful for the two branches that formed a sort of chair. With one arm wrapped around the higher branch, she hugged her knees close to her with the other and waited.
    At last her breathing grew steadier and her racing heart slowed.
    “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not.” It seemed as though Sharon could hear her uncle’s voice as he had read the verse. Had it really been that morning? To her weary and taut nerves, it felt like days ago.
    “Be strong, fear not,” she whispered to herself, trying to relax. “What was that verse about the lion and the ravenous beast not being there?” She couldn’t remember. “Please, dear Jesus,” she prayed, “don’t let anything come and hurt me. And please let someone find me in the morning. Help me not to be afraid.”
    Some leaves rustled, then a twig almost under Sharon’s tree, snapped.
    She screamed.


    The late morning was just as beautiful as it had been the day before. In the Ranger Station, Sam rose from his desk and stepped over to pour himself another cup of coffee. It was nearly eleven, but Sam wouldn’t take a lunch break until his assistant arrived.
    When the front door opened, the chief ranger looked over his shoulder and grinned as his younger brother and some of the Junior Rangers came in. “Hi,” he greeted them. “How was the campout?”
    “It was great,” Don said. “We’re planning a fishing trip next week.”
    “Fine. Oh, Angie,” Ranger Sam said, looking past his brother to the girl, “Sharon is supposed to go home with you for a few days while her aunt is visiting a sick sister and her uncle is out of town.”
    “All right. Is she waiting at their house?”
    A puzzled frown crossed Sam’s face. “No, her aunt said she was camping with all of you.”
    The Junior Rangers exchanged worried looks.
    “What’s wrong, Don?” Sam asked.
    “Sharon never joined us at the fort yesterday, Sam. We thought she just couldn’t make it and left a note for her.”
    “Hey,” Grant exclaimed excitedly, “I’ll bet she just stayed at the fort. She probably came after we had gone, didn’t know how to find us, and decided to spend the night there.”
    “Then why didn’t she radio you?” Sam looked from one face to another.

Do you ever get funny feelings about something?
How was your week?
Do you want the next part of this story?

Friday, July 6, 2018

Missing: One Junior Ranger - Part 3

Good morning FFFs,

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July! Mine was rather hot in the morning since I went out with my dad, and sis, to walk in a parade with my brother. There were 45-50 people wearing t-shirts with his name on them, holding signs, flags, and passing out candy. It was a lot of fun even if it was hot. 

The rest of the day I spent pretty much inside reading, and watching some patriotic songs on youtube. One though, left me shaking my head. It was "supposedly" the "true" story behind the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner. Ha! This guy must not know his history! He called us "the colonies" as though we were fighting the Revolution instead of the War of 1812! Then he only mentioned Frances Scott Key going aboard the British ship to talk about a prisoner exchange. He neglected to mention that there was at least one other man with Key. He said the British were going to release the prisoners anyway the next day because the war would be over since Fort McHenry would fall and they'd release the prisoners. Huh? Next he said the entire British navy of hundreds of war ships all came to be a part of bombing Fort McHenry. My sister wanted to know how they all managed to fit. Anyway, it went on like that and I shook my head. I think that man needed to do a little more reading.

Anyway, . . . This has been a good writing week. Since Camp NaNo started I have managed to get 4,400+ words written. I'm aiming for over 5k this week. Tomorrow I won't be writing as a family from church is hosting a 4th of July get together at their place.

But I know you all must be busy, so I won't keep you.

Missing: One Junior Ranger
Part 3

    The little fawn turned his head and looked at her a moment before giving a few hesitant steps forward. Then, with a sudden bound, he trotted off to disappear into the forest.
    Carefully Sharon gathered the fishing line and tucked it carefully into her pocket. “I don’t want something else to get caught.” After she was sure she hadn’t left a single piece, she stood up, suddenly realizing that it was growing later. “I hope I’m not too late! I’ll run.” With that thought she set off the way she had come, jumping over large sticks, ducking under low branches, and dodging around rocks and tree trunks until she was out of breath. Stopping, she rested her hands on her knees, her breath heavy.
    Feeling her air returning, she straightened and looked about. “Now, where is that path?” she muttered. “I didn’t go that far into the woods, did I?” For a long minute she stood still looking about her. “Perhaps I shouldn’t run.” Once again she set off, this time at a slower pace.
    The path refused to be found. Instead, a small clearing popped up.
    “Now where did you come from?” Sharon demanded, planting her hands on her hips and glaring at the clearing where the prints of a small deer and a child were clearly to be seen. “I must have gone in a circle. Now I’ll really be late. I wonder if they’re waiting for me.” With a sigh, Sharon unscrewed the lid on her canteen and took a drink. “Well, if I’m careful, I should be able to find my way back to the path.”
    Though she hadn’t lived in the forest for long, Sharon had spent hours with the other Junior Rangers and Mike Big Eagle, an Indian who worked as a guide around Little Falls when he wasn’t teaching the Junior Rangers something or off on his own. Now, trying to remember everything Mike had said, Sharon started off again, taking care to look for footprints.
    This was easy at first, for the ground was soft. But later the footprints disappeared, and Sharon was left bewildered. “There has to be a way to find the path again,” she said. “What else did Mike say about tracking?” Frowning in thought, she stood still and looked around her. Suddenly her face brightened. “Branches. I probably broke some small branches because I was so busy watching the deer.”
    With renewed energy, she set forth once again. It was slow going, and several times she spent several minutes searching for some broken twig or a footprint. “I know I’m going to miss the camp out,” she thought, “but when I find the trail I can go to the fort anyway and get my things. Maybe I’ll sleep there.” That thought didn’t sound too appealing. “Maybe I will just go into Little Falls and see if Sam can tell me how to get to the Prestler’s.” With these happy thoughts, Sharon began to look for signs again, but while she had been thinking, she had been walking. There were no signs to be found.


    The sun began to set. The light in the forest faded into gray as the sun sank lower and lower. Sharon shivered. If only she could make a fire to keep herself warm and to keep away any strange animals. “I’d better find a place to spend the night,” she thought dismally. She looked around. Not too far from where she stood was a large tree. Several sturdy branches grew not too far from the ground and seemed to offer a place to sit and rest. Quickly Sharon hurried over and looked up.
    A sigh escaped her lips, for the branches stretched several feet above her head. “I don’t think even Mike could reach those, or Sam either,” she said, thinking of the tall Indian and the forest ranger. “Perhaps I can find a branch or fallen tree that I can use as a ladder.”
    It took some searching before a suitable branch was found. Then Sharon had the difficulty of dragging it over to the tree and getting it situated against the large trunk. But at last it was up. Breathing heavily, Sharon surveyed her work. She wasn’t sure she liked the idea of spending the night in a tree, but it was better than on the ground without a fire.
    Carefully she climbed up her shaky ladder, testing each step before trusting her full weight to it. The ladder didn’t quite reach the large branch, but it was close enough so Sharon could grab it and pull herself up. As she did so, however, her foot kicked her ladder and it slid along the trunk.
    “It didn’t fall though,” Sharon reassured herself once she was safely in the tree. “It’s too dark to try and do anything now. I’ll worry about it in the morning.” She had no hope of rescue that night, for her aunt would think she was with the other Junior Rangers, and the kids would probably think she hadn’t been able to make it. “Unless they radioed the Ranger Station and Sam called Aunt Penny to ask where I was.”

Have you ever been lost in the woods?
How was your 4th of July?
Are you doing Camp NaNo this month?