Nadine put her yellow t-shirt on. It was the one that matched her bright straw colored hair. The shirt snagged a bit on her ponytails.
After finding her sneakers under her bed and putting them on, she hurried to the kitchen to find a bowl to collect the berries in. Her mom was not up yet and the bowls were up high in the cabinet. She used a chair to get one down. She smiled. The plastic blue one was in reach.
She put the chair back quietly. Her mom must not know. This was suppose to be a surprise for her.
The sun was shinning brightly. It hurt her eyes some when she stepped out the door with her bowl in hand. The wooden door slammed shut behind her. She stood still for a minute listening for sounds coming from the house, hoping her mom did not hear the slam.
Not a sound came from the house. Nadine ran to the hill and began to climb it. It was grass covered and slightly steep with large rocks imbedded in the ground. These were great for holding on to.
She found the berry patch almost immediately and began to pick. The ground was covered with small blueberry bushes which her small nimble fingers found easy to pick.
It took her a while to pick enough berries to fill the bowl. She had no idea how much time had passed. The sun was now high in the sky.
Nadine began walking in the directions she thought she had come. The trees suddenly did not look like the ones she remembered. She turned around and began walking toward where she had just come from. The berry bushes were gone. She was afraid she might be lost and again turned and started walking in another direction.
A tree branch cracked behind her. She stopped to listen. Some thing or somebody was following her in the woods. She hoped it was not a big animal like a fox or bear. Nadine called out, “Who’s there?”
No answer, just the sound of branches and leaves crunching under foot. Nadine called out again. “Mommy?”
No answer, the sound was getting closer. Nadine felt scared. She did not know what it was, what she did know was that she was lost and her mom would be very mad at her.
She began to run from the sound.
A tree branch caught her right foot and she went down on the ground. The bowl of berries flew out of her hand and spilled all over the ground.
She did not hear any more sounds behind her. Nadine spent the next few moments picking up her spilled berries. When she was done, only half the bowl was full. She was hungry so she ate them while she picked them off the ground.
The sound of foot steps in the woods began again behind her. But this time there seemed to be more of them. Voices…she heard voices coming with them.
“Nadine!” One of the voices called.
“Nadine!” Another voice called.
Nadine answered. “Yea! Over here!”
The foot steps sounded like several people running toward her.
“Coming baby!” That was the sound of her mom.
She watched the woods in the direction she had come from, there in the trees she saw her mom followed by a police man and a woman with a German Sheppard.. It wore an orange vest.
The dog spotted her and ran right for her.
It stopped before her and began sniffing her pant leg. It’s tail was wagging. The dog began trying to lick her face.
“Good girl, Bobby!” The woman said to the dog.
She was so happy to see her mom. The police man picked Nadine up and handed her to her mom.
“Nadine, we have been looking for you all day!” Her mom said.
Nadine showed the bowl of berries to her mom. “I picked these for you…for breakfast.”
Her mom held her tight. “Thank you Nadine. But little girls like you should not go into the woods alone. You had me so worried.”
“Okay,” Nadine said reluctantly. “Can I when I’m seven?”
“No, that is still too little.” Her mom replied. “Maybe when you are ten. But five year old little girls should never go in the woods alone.”
Nadine held tight to her bowl of berries all the way home.