Lost and Found

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Kirsten perked up her ears when she heard her mother’s call from downstairs.  It was four o’clock, and that meant tea time with a nice sweet, then she could go happily back to playing with her ponies in her bedroom. One of them had gotten caught between the bed’s headboard and box spring, and she was planning a dramatic rescue. She would be the heroine once again! Kirsten specialized in daring acts and considered herself the saviour of all her toys, naughty things, who would get into all sorts of sticky situations as she manoeuvred them around her room.

“Kirsten!” called her mother. “Get a move on, we’ve got to go!”

Go? thought Kirsten. “I can’t possibly leave my pony in such danger, and besides I’m hungry,” she muttered to herself. But she didn’t feel like protesting; her mother’s voice sounded a little unlike herself.

Slinking down the stairs, her eyes fixed on her mother’s elbows jutting out from her waist, she arrived on the last stair and looked up.

“The library called, Kirsten. Do you remember the book you took out last month? The new one in the Hattie series?”

“Oh, yes, um, I mean sort of,” she replied.

“Well, there’s a long waiting list for that book. It’s on the children’s bestseller list. Only I never saw you reading it, and I haven’t laid eyes on it since you took it out. Go fetch it immediately; we’ve got to get it back to the library right away. The librarian sounded quite annoyed, you know, it’s been overdue for two weeks. We’ll even have to pay a fine.”

Kirsten called to mind the book. It was the latest about Hattie, a doll who lived with a family on Cape Cod in the late 1800s. Hattie had been passed down from generation to generation of the Feddersen family who originally emigrated from Denmark to fish the abundant waters off the Massachusetts coast.  She remembered the cover, Hattie on a boat dressed in a sailor uniform with a dark sky in the background, but had no recollection of reading it.

Drawing a blank expression, she immediately turned and rushed back into her room. She waded through the layer of toys and dress-up clothes strewn about and pounced on her bed, her face buried into the pillow, eyes closed, trying to remember what she did with the book.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time the library called. The time before it was Fury, the horse, a book whose pages were even faded, that’s how old it was. It was three months overdue, but the librarian was kind and scolded her kiddingly. This was different though, the Hattie books were very popular with her classmates, and she wanted to avoid any teasing.

Springing into action, Kirsten started tearing through her closet, then scoured her bookcase, and began lifting the piles on her desk and peeking underneath. She heaved a sigh of defeat. Then, having no more ideas where to look next, she got on her knees and scrunched herself under the bed.

“Squishy!” she exclaimed, grasping a little red spongy two-headed dragon that had gone missing weeks before, “that’s where you’ve been hiding!”  Flat on her stomach, she inched further toward the legs of the headboard and recognized a bright purple Barney Beanie Baby that she had tossed under the bed weeks ago as punishment for something, she couldn’t remember. The corner of her eye caught something with fluorescent yellow hair, and she gave a start. Goodness, she realized, it was the troll that Maggie had left at her house last week when they had a troll tea party, she’ll be so happy!

Reaching the end of the bed, she turned onto her back and looked upwards, coming eye to eye with the stuck pony. With a push, she managed to dislodge it with her fingers so that it popped back up onto the bed. Well, at least that’s done, she thought, though it wasn’t as much of a rescue as she had planned. She looked to the left and spied the light blue edge of a book that had also gotten trapped. Could it be?

Shifting into position, she again used her fingers to free the book, but it was jammed so tightly it didn’t budge. Oh dear, she thought just as her mother impatiently called her again. She now felt something sticking into her sides and went to touch it. Groan, it was one of the dozens of toy swords her little brother was constantly swishing about in his never-ending battle play. “Wait a minute,” she murmured, thinking that maybe one of the silly weapons he was always jabbing her with might come in handy. Grasping the sword like a warrior, she pointed it into the spine of the book, squeezed her eyes shut and thrust upwards with all her strength, setting the book free from its captivity. Two or three more pokes and the book disappeared from sight, ending up on top of the pillow above.

Kirsten rolled out from under the bed, jumped up on her feet and grabbed the book, holding it close to her chest. Oh, of course, that book! I’d forgotten! “Coming, Mom! Found it!” she said excitedly. Never had a rescue felt so real, never had she felt so grateful to her little brother for leaving his toys about, and never, ever would she misplace a library book. Skipping down the stairs with a look of triumph, Kirsten called out to her mother. “Hurry up Mom, let’s get to the library, there’s another one I can’t wait to take out!”

© Amy Stover

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- Total nr. of readings: 445 Copyright © The author [2020] All Rights Reserved. This story may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author except for personal use.

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