©1998 by sunstruck
Only a muted echo is the reply.
For the third time, Jamie cries out his sister's name in as many minutes. He's been searching for her for what seems like hours. The sun is directly above him, glaring down, as he knew their Momma would be once they got home.
Jamie wishes he was home right now. He could be sitting in front of the T.V. watching 'Space Captives', his favorite cartoon, stuffing his face with 'Ultimate Sugar Flakes', his favorite cereal. He's only allowed to eat it on special occasions. His Momma hasn't said when the next special occasion is to be. He wishes it would come soon. "I'd like to try mixin' the strawberry pop with it this time", he daydreams to himself. "Shoul' be much better than lemon-lime. That was too ooky." Momma keeps trying to get him to eat it with milk." Grown-ups. Gee-wiz, spoil ev'rything."
"Maggie, stop hidin' an' come out. I wanna go home. I'm hun-gry."
The woods surrounding him swallow up his voice. They wait silently for more as if they are as hungry as Jamie. He continues to stumble his way along a path not knowing which way to go nor even which way he's come.
Maggie's the one who said she knew where the lake was. She's the one who said it would be easy to find. Momma had always told them not to go into the woods alone. Maggie told Jamie that they wouldn't be going there alone.
"We'd be goin' with each other, see? 'sides, Momma won't find out. We'll be home long before she gets back from seein' Gran'ma", Maggie persuaded Jamie.
So Jamie went along with Maggie. Swimming at the lake was their destination. He knew he could always get away with him being her 'baby' brother. She's going to be the one who's going to get into trouble for not taking better care of him.
But Maggie had to run up ahead 'cause she thought she saw the lake through the trees. Her ten year old legs ran faster than his littler ones. He thought she went this way around the boulder. He's been looking for her for the longest time. So far, he hadn't found her.
Jamie gave up. Plonking himself down, he sat on a lopsided rock he found at the side of the path. Tears forced themselves from his unwilling boy's eyes. He sat, quietly rocking, afraid. A spurt of anger briefly welled up and spouted. He shouted his sister's name once more.
Jamie's head cocked to the side as he listened carefully over his lessening sobs. Yes, he does hear something up ahead. Scrambling to his feet, frantically wiping any trace of baby tears off his face, he starts running towards where he knows his sister has to be hiding. Faster and faster his little legs worked as only a young boy knows they can. Into the bushes and the thicker shrubbery he pushes his way. Branches snag at his shirt, trying to hold hip captive. He fought them off until he burst through the final barrier and skidded to a halt on the soft bank of the lost lake.
Panting a bit, he looks around until he spot his sister.
Already dozing in the sun, Maggie was half undressed Jamie saw. He just knew that while he was hot, thirsty, lost and scared she was playing in the water not caring what happened to him. He stalked over to his sleeping sister and began to give her a piece of his mind. He liked the way it sounded. He once heard his Momma tell Daddy she gave the snoopy next door neighbor a piece of her mind. He remembered Daddy laughing then pulling Momma down onto his lap for a big hug.
Still spitting mad, Jamie continued to yell at Maggie. She ignored him. All she was doing was sunbathing. He was about ready to kick her in the side real hard when he notices that she has her eyes open staring up into the sun. He remembered Momma telling them not to do that or else they could go blind. He also noticed her head was at a funny angle. "Why'd she go swimmin' in her socks and only one shoe?", he questioned himself. Finally, he saw that her arm was still in one shirt sleeve.
Jamie stopped yelling and quietly stood looking down at his sister. After a minute he asked, "Maggie?" As it started to dawn on his young mind what was happening he felt a weight placed on his right shoulder. A deep gravelly voice was all he heard coming from way above him.
"Lookie what we got here", it said.
A tenor chuckle was the response Jamie heard.
As he felt himself being turned around Jamie quietly spoke to Maggie
as she stared unseeingly up at him. "Momma won't find out will she".
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