It was the last day of school and all of the kids got yearbooks. They were supposed to come a week before that but they were late. Everybody was signing yearbooks. But Barbie was so excited about going on their trip to the mountains at 2:00 that she only got a few signatures before she left to go home.
It was only 1:00 when Barbie got home but there was a lot of work to be done. They had to finish packing and put everything in the camper before they could leave.
Even though Gordon and Ann had planned to leave at 2:00, it was 3:00 before they finally did leave.
Byron got sick on the way up to the mountains. They had to stop at a gas station so Byron could have some water to wash down his car sick pill. But the water and the pill didn’t stay down once they got on that twisty, hilly, bumpy road again.
They finally got there. And the first thing Alvin, Byron and Gordon did was grab the fishing gear and leave, and Barbie and Ann were stuck with all the unpacking.
“I’d expect something like that from your father,” Ann said angrily. “We aren’t going to unpack a thing. We’ll let them do it when they get back.”
“I think that’s a pretty good idea,” Barbie agreed. “And as long as we aren’t doing anything, why don’t we go fishing?” So Barbie and Ann went to fish on the other side of the lake.
Alvin caught the biggest fish. Well, he hooked it and Byron reeled it in. A three-pound trout! Barbie and Ann got a couple of little catfish, but they threw them back. Gordon got a two-pound catfish. They ate the fish and some fried chicken that Ann had brought.
After they ate, everybody helped unpack and put up the tent. They then has roasted marshmallows and Alvin fell asleep. After awhile Byron and Barbie went to bed.
“G’Night, everyone,” Barbie said sleepily, and she kissed her mother and father good night and crawled into her sleeping bag. Barbie listened to the sound of the frogs and an owl. When she heard Ann and Gordon going to bed, she rolled over and fell asleep.
When Barbie woke up that morning, she knew something was wrong. Her mother was crying, her father was talking to a policeman and Byron was poking around in the bushes. But where was Alvin? Barbie thought he was probably still sleeping.
“Hi mom, what’s wrong?” Barbie asked her mother as she stepped out of her tent.
“It’s Alvin,” Ann sobbed. “When I woke up, he was gone.”
Barbie didn’t know what to say. The forest was big. Alvin could be anywhere.
Just then, the police officer stepped up to Barbie. He was asking questions almost faster than she could answer them.
“Do you have any idea where your brother might be? Anyplace you went to that he liked and might try to go back to?” he asked.
“No, none.” Barbie was close to tears. Alvin was only four. He could have fallen in a river, or walked off a cliff, or anything.
Barbie couldn’t think of anywhere he might be, so she took off to go look for him.
“Barbie,” Ann called. “Don’t go! We don’t want you lost, too!”
But Barbie just kept on going. She yelled back, “Gotta find Alvin!” Barbie just kept on going, marking the path she took every so often with three rocks piled on top of each other.
She had been gone for almost two hours. Her face and hands were scratched with briars and thorns. So Barbie sat down and thought that she would never find him. He probably had already been found. So she turned around and started to walk back, following her track.
Then Barbie heard a strange noise, a sort of wailing sound. Barbie was pretty scared by now. It seemed to be getting closer, so Barbie picked up a big stick and slowly, carefully, and quietly went on. Barbie figured it was probably a wolf howling at the moon, or a puma, or a bobcat.
The strange sound was only about ten feet away, behind that boulder, Barbie thought. It’s going to jump out and get me.
All right, this is it, she thought. This is like walking up the thirteen steps to the gallows.
“Well, here goes,” she said aloud.
Just then, the strange sound said, “Barbie?”
“Alvin?” Barbie asked warily.
Then Alvin stepped out from behind the boulder. His eyes were red and puffy from crying. Without a word he ran and jumped into Barbie’s arms. “Boy, am I glad to see you,” he said happily.
“I’m glad to see you, too.” Barbie said, relieved to find out it wasn’t a wild animal. Then Alvin put his head on her shoulder and fell asleep.
Barbie went back to camp, but no one was there. So she put Alvin in the tent and ate some lunch.
In about an hour everyone came back.
“Barbie,” Ann said exhaustedly. “We didn’t find Alvin, and where have you been?”
“Shhh,” Barbie said proudly. “You’ll wake up Alvin.”
“You found him? Where is he? Is he hurt?” Gordon asked excitedly.
“Yes, I found him. He’s in the tent sleeping and he’s not hurt,” Barbie said, walking over to her parents.
“Oh, thank God,” Ann said as she sat down on a stump.
“What happened?” Gordon asked.
“It’s a long story,” Barbie said.