I hope you’re enjoying reading this story as much as I’m enjoying writing it. It dawned on me belatedly that my home-school friends might enjoy incorporating this story as a writing exercise, so I’ve put some discussion questions and writing exercises at the end of this segment, along with the regular ‘where should we go next?’ type questions. I’d love for you to participate!
If you’re new, the story starts here: Flash Flood: In Search of Dragons, part 1
“Did something take a bite out of the moon?” Laurel asked, eyes locked on the night sky.
Alexa pushed to her feet and brushed the dirt off her jeans. “What do you mean?” She peered over her shoulder then rotated her full body to face the used-to-be-full moon. “Weird. Maybe there’s a lunar eclipse tonight. It’s not like anything can bite the moon.”
“You know what I meant.” Laurel chewed on her lip as she teeter-tottered between wanting to continue her search for the dragon and heading back to the safety of the cabin and her parents.
In the end, the cabin won. The sliver of moon didn’t provide enough light to follow the tracks in the dirt. Plus, they could always come back after breakfast with Dad, as Alexa had suggested.
Laurel stuffed her fists in her pockets and shuffled on the heels of her sister’s boots toward their beds. Hopefully, Mom and Dad were still asleep and hadn’t noticed their escape. Explaining what she was doing out of bed in the middle of the night would only result in a long list of penalty chores once they reached home. Unless they told Dad about the eclipse—that might distract him enough to make him forget to punish them. It would never work with Mom, but she was such a heavy sleeper there’d be no way she’d wake up.
Lost in her thoughts, Laurel didn’t realize her sister had stopped walking until she smacked into her back and nearly knocked them both over.
“What…” Laurel’s question died on her lips as she looked past her sister to their cabin.
It wasn’t there. Neither was the fence, the gate, or their parents’ SUV.
Were they lost? Laurel looked back the way they had come. She could barely make out the line of scrub brush in the darkness, but it was still there. “Alexa?”
Her big sister crossed her arms across her stomach the way she did when she’d eaten way too much ice cream.
“I don’t know, Laurel.” Alexa’s voice was soft and quivery. “Let’s go up to the main lodge. Maybe someone there can tell us what happened to the cabin.”
Hand in hand, Laurel and Alexa headed up the limestone and dirt incline toward the main complex. Their cabin was closest of any of the guest cabins to the barn and stables, which stood between their cabin and the lodge. With its hayloft, the barn was the tallest building on the dude ranch, and should have been clearly visible from their cabin.
They stumbled in circles, fumbling around the location where the main lodge, cabins, swimming pool, parking lot, and fire pit should be, until they convinced themselves that the dude ranch was really, truly gone—just like the cabin.
“I think I should have stayed in bed.” Laurel’s voice sounded small and pitiful even to her own ears. “Now, what do we do?”
Alexa put her arm around her sister’s shoulders. “We get comfortable and wait for daylight. And I think maybe…we should pray.”
The two girls held hands and whispered pleas for help. As they finished, Laurel felt a drop of molten peace warm her from inside, growing and spreading throughout her, until three things happened: a coyote howled in the distance, large drops of water began to fall from the sky, and a snuffly voice spoke from behind them.
“What are you waiting for? C’mon. It’s about to start pouring field mice and lizards out here.”
Laurel turned toward the voice. With the clouds drifting across the sliver of moon it was hard to be certain, but it looked like the creature speaking was a rabbit. A large one with antlers.
FOR MY READERS: So, the girls have met a jackalope. The two things I need from you are (1) his name, and (2) where he lives (tree, burrow, cabin, etc.).
FOR OUR ARTISTS: Can you draw/sketch/paint? If so, I’d love for you to send me a picture of our Jackalope! I can draw a stick-figure one, but it would only make you laugh.
FOR OUR WRITERS: It’s fun to think about where the story should go. If you’re up to it, you could write one of the following and email it to me or put it in the comments:
- A scene that shows what happens when Laurel and Alexa’s parents wake up the next morning.
- A scene that shows us what the dragon is doing now. Where did he go?
- A scene with Laurel, Alexa, and the jackalope.
- Which of the characters in the story do you like best? Why?
- If you were Laurel and Alexa what would you do?
- What do you think will happen next in the story?
- What do you do when you’re afraid? Who do you go to for help?
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