I was going stir crazy! Day after day, confined in a small space. Whenever I had the chance, I peeked outside to see if it was sunny or rainy, to watch the leaves fall or listen to the crickets. I didn’t understand why I had to stay in, and after what felt like weeks, decided to run away. So, one night, I packed everything I could carry on my back, and when I was sure everyone was asleep, I quietly, and ever so slowly, inched along so I wouldn’t get caught. I did my best to avoid leaving a trail, but I was more concerned about being free, and it sure was good to feel grass again.
I would be lying to say I wasn't tired after slipping through unchartered land, so as the sun began to rise, I crawled behind a large boulder to rest. To my surprise, a nearby raspberry bush had dropped its fruit, so I snacked until I couldn’t eat another bite. Then I was too full to move.
Finally, my energy returned and I was ready to continue my travels. However, until they surrounded my hideout, I never realized how afraid I was of screaming birds, chattering squirrels and slithering snakes. I froze in place and kept my head down until the screech of a red-tailed hawk made them all scatter. By then, it was almost sundown, which made my journey a bit safer, or so I hoped.
I steadily crept along, but eventually noticed a family of wild turkey attacking a trio of lizards. It was a horrible sight, and I knew enough to steer clear. Getting around the carnage wasn’t going to be easy, so I hid under a pile of rotting logs to figure out what to do next.
This definitely wasn’t going as planned. It felt like I had been gone a week, but it was barely 24 hours. The only positive thing that happened, was finding a feast for breakfast. Other than that, I was forced to face my fears as well as real danger, and could have been dessert for some long-legged hens and gobblers.
What was I thinking? Of course, I wanted to break out of isolation, and spent a lot of time planning this escape. I didn’t give much thought to where I was going or what challenges I might face. Those decisions and responsibilities were always left to my parents. Maybe there was a good reason for keeping us inside, but I might never find that out, unless I could find my way back. That’s what I had to do.
Fortunately, I have great night vision, but retracing my trail was another matter. I wasn’t sure if it was my imagination, an accident or a lucky break, but as I turned around, I noticed a silvery line behind me. There was nothing to lose if I followed it, so I did.
The moonlight helped guide me along, and by sunrise I needed a break. To my surprise, I ended up beside the same boulder I hid behind the day before and there were a fresh bunch of berries for the taking. It made me happy to know I was definitely heading in the right direction.
Moments later, I heard a commotion which seemed to be coming toward me. I quickly buried myself into the moist soil and hoped whoever was approaching wouldn’t see me.
Tommy and Alice were eight-year-old twins, with completely different personalities. Alice was adventurous and challenging, especially of rules and expectations. Tommy, on the other hand, didn’t like to cause trouble and did his best to keep Alice in line. As you could have guessed, he was always unsuccessful. At five o’clock in the morning, Alice tiptoed into Tommy’s room carrying two bulging backpacks. She jolted him awake, held her hand over his mouth so he wouldn’t say anything, then demanded he get dressed and quietly follow her out the door. Tommy did what he was told, but tried to make Alice stop walking and explain what was going on. Instead, Alice began to run and Tommy had trouble keeping up.
“Hey Tommy! Hurry up! Look what I found!” screamed Alice.
“Aren’t you hungry? This is the biggest raspberry bush I’ve ever seen! I wonder if my skin will turn purple if I eat all the berries,” continued Alice.
After catching up, and gasping for air, Tommy answered, “Alice, this isn’t funny.”
“What do you mean? It was time we got out of the house and I thought going on this adventure would be good for us,” responded Alice.
“I don’t think you really understand how much trouble we’re in,” said Tommy, trying to calm himself down.
“I guess I don’t,” answered Alice with a mouthful of berries.
“Look, I know it’s been horrible stuck at home with Mom doing her best trying to teach us and Dad having to work long hours at the hospital. Don’t you realize there’s a dangerous virus going around, which can make everyone really sick? That’s why they want us to stay inside,” said Tommy.
“Don’t believe everything you hear. Do you know anyone who caught the so-called virus?” asked Alice.
“Well, no. But people usually get it when they don’t follow the rules and even animals can come down with it,” said Tommy.
Oh, no! What if that’s the reason my parents wanted me to stay home? I don’t even know what a virus is, let alone what happens if you get infected. I hope these kids leave so I can get home as soon as possible.
“Hey Alice! What are those purple blotches on your skin?” asked Tommy.
“I don’t know. Maybe it’s a reaction to all the berries I’m eating,” answered Alice.
“It looks like a rash to me. We’d better go home,” said Tommy.
“Maybe you’re right this once. I have a headache and I think I’m getting a fever,” added Alice.
“Oh, no! Those are symptoms of the virus Mom and Dad warned us about. We have to get back right away,” said Tommy.
Alice could barely keep up with Tommy as they sprinted home.
It felt like forever before I saw my parents sitting at the opening of our rock home. I knew they were looking for me, and noticed there were many neighborhood snail friends keeping watch too.
I don’t know about those kids, but I definitely learned my lesson. Parents always have reasons for what they do, and I won’t pull another stunt like this one ever again. I’m going to happily accept my punishment since it will be safer and easier to handle than being out here alone.