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A Ball in the Woods

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Chapter 1

Here’s a preview of the first chapter of the book.


Chapter 1

The Big Kick


Caitlin Harris raced toward the far end of the yard, trying hard to keep the soccer ball away from her little sister Molly.

“I’m going to score this time, Molly!” she shouted as she headed toward the goal.

Molly pumped her shorter legs as fast as she could, hoping to catch her big sister and kick the ball away from her before she could score.

But Caitlin had too much of a lead, and she began to dribble closer to the goal.  She got ready to give the green-and-white ball a hard kick to the goal.

Just then, their dog Matey, a frisky yellow Labrador Retriever, scampered right in front of her.  Matey bit at the ball just as Caitlin tried to kick it.  The spunky dog nudged the ball to the side of the yard with his snout.  Caitlin swung her foot but missed the ball.

“Way to go Matey!” yelled Molly.  “That’s a good boy.”

“No fair,” replied Caitlin. “I was just about to score.  Matey is not on your team.  That would make it two against one.  That’s cheating!”

“Hey, you are bigger and faster than I am,” said Molly.  “Matey was just trying to make it fair for me.”

Caitlin sulked and walked slowly toward Matey, who was still trying to figure out a way to get his mouth around the big ball.  “Give it back, boy,” she commanded.

Matey got distracted by a squirrel running down a tree in the corner of the yard and ran off, finally leaving the ball alone.

Caitlin was mad at Matey, and she decided to take her frustrations out on the ball.  She took two quick steps toward the ball, drew back her right foot and gave the ball her hardest kick.  The ball flew high in the air and went over the fence at the back of the Harris’ yard.  The ball smashed through some tree branches and disappeared down the hill that led from the Harris’ yard into the woods.

“Now look what you’ve done!” yelled Molly.  “You lost our new ball.”

“Have not!” said Caitlin.

“Have to!” said Molly.  “You know we’re not allowed to go into the woods.”

“I can find it,” said 10-year-old Caitlin confidently.

“I’ll tell,” said Molly, her eight-year-old red-headed little sister.

“So what?” replied Caitlin.  “I will be back before you can tell Mom.”  And she ran off toward the back fence.

“Wait!” said Molly.  “Wait for me.  I want to come.”

“I thought you said we’re not allowed?”

“We’re not, but I’m going if you’re going.  It’s cool in the woods.”

“I know,” said Caitlin.  “Let’s go.”

So even though the Harris sisters were not supposed to go into the woods without an adult, off they went.  They climbed up a small red maple tree.  The girls used a limb to get high enough so that they could jump over the fence.

“One, two, three, jump!” yelled Molly as the pair leaped over the fence.  They landed safely on the ground and started giggling.

“That was fun,” said Caitlin.

“Let’s do it again,” Molly replied.

“No, not now.  Let’s find the ball and get back before Mom knows we’re gone.”

“Right,” agreed Molly.

As they began to go down the leaf-covered hill, Matey ran past them, shooting up leaves with his paws.

“Hey, Matey!” shouted Caitlin. “How did you get back here?”  But the dog ran off, going deeper into the thick and dark woods.

“I bet he jumped the fence,” said Molly.  “He’s a really good jumper.”

“I don’t know,” said Caitlin.  “That fence is pretty high.  But with Matey, you never know… Hey, where is he going?”

“He’s probably chasing another squirrel,” said Molly.  “He’ll come back… So where is the ball?”

“I’m not sure,” said Caitlin.  “This hill is pretty steep.  It must have bounced all the way down.”

The sisters followed a small dirt path down the hill.  They quickly got to the bottom and started searching for the ball.

“I still don’t see it,” said Molly.

“It should be easy to see since it’s new and still shiny.  Keep looking….”