I’ve always wanted to be a writer. My dreams of being a published fiction author recently went through a reboot, allowing me to focus on non-fiction writing both for my job and in the form of this blog.
But fiction has always been my first love. Even as a 10 year old in Mrs. Greer’s 4th grade class, I wanted to write. At that age, my favorite books were the Boxcar Children and the abridged version of the Mysterious Island by Jules Verne; my favorite movies were Indiana Jones (and the Last Crusade, in particular), the Swiss Family Robinson and most Disney flicks; and my favorite show was Scooby Doo (just setting the scene here).
10-year-old Ashley craved Adventure (in the great wide somewhere….) I hadn’t yet been much of anywhere, save for the 12-hour roadtrips from 727 to 615 that we took a few times a year. I’d not yet been to Europe or the Caribbean. I didn’t remember being in Mexico. My only travel experiences were done through the pages of books, literary and much more affordable.
But 10-year-old Ashley was not satisfied to only READ these adventures. No. She wanted to WRITE these adventures. And so she set out to write a novel, at the wise and experienced age of 10 (or however old you are in the 4th grade).
That book was titled: Amy Borris and the Perilous Solvers. It told the story of a young Amy Borris, tomboy and entrepreneur (with, very auto-biographically, dirty blonde hair and two different colored eyes), and her adventurous group of friends who, like the Baby Sitter’s Club and Boxcar Kids before them, solved mysteries. Aside from the leader (Amy), there was the best friend (Samantha aka Sam); the prissy-pretty one (Missy), the smart, nerdy one (Whiz), the mystery-loving goofball (Sherlock), and the dog (Buster). They went on all sorts of mystery-solving adventures and this one, the one at the heart of my first-ever novel, was set in (of all places) AFRICA.
I never did finish this novel, though the climax is still fresh in my brain (and borrows liberally from The Last Crusade). I remember I had sequels planned. The Perilous Solvers were going to go to Europe and New York and Australia! But first they had to survive their perilous (and did I mention adventurous?) trip to Africa. As biased as I am, I think I understood structure pretty well at that age, and had a knack for cliffhangers; once the fire hits the village in part 8 the action is kind of non-stop.
What follows below is the UNEDITED beginning of this novel. 8800 words (quite a lot for a 10 year old!) and this was the early ’90s so the double space after a period was still in vogue. (Ug.)
I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have in rediscovering it
So now, without further ado, I present:
AMY BORRIS AND THE PERILOUS SOLVERS: A MYSTERY ADVENTURE
Amy Borris ( a heroic adventurer who is always looking for perils) takes her mystery/adventure team The Perilous Solvers onto perilous adventures that have mysteries tied in with them. This team has 6 members.
Amy : Age: 12
Description: Hair: Dirty Blond, above hip-lenght Eyes: one green, one brown
Height: about 5 ft 2′
Background Info: Amy, the tomboy and leader of the group is probably the bravest. Amy has a 16 year old sister named Becky and a dog named Buster. Buster is the sixth member of the club. Buster, the watch dog comes to all the meetings the club has. Since Amy comes from a very wealthy family she has good insurance so she takes her club on awesome trips. They’ve been to Disney World about six or seven times and now that they are older, they plan to go to Australia. Her dad and her favorite, Uncle Fred arranges the cool trips.
The club earns money to buy the things they need by having a system called WORK, WORK, WORK. By doing this, they can set up jobs. Some jobs might be walking dogs, gardening, painting and other things like that. ( Right now the club has earned over $600.00 and has put it all in their safe up in the tree house Amy’s Uncle Fred built!!!)
Like most any other club, The Perilous Solvers have a motto. It is “Danger? We laugh at the face of danger, Ha, Ha, Ha,Ha!” Why? You’ll find out why this group loves taking risks in the following story.
Missy: Age: 11 3/4 Description: Hair: Dark, dark brown, shoulder length Eye: blue height: 5 ft 5 inches
Background Info: Missy’s real name is Michelle, but everyone calls her Missy, because she is a bit missy n’ prissy. She hates being in danger and hates the site of mud. Everything with her has to be spic and span (she’s the one who insisted on putting up curtains for the clubhouse and she keeps it so neat and tidy, it’s horrendous). Though she hates being dirty and going on dangerous trips, Missy has stuck with the team and is willing to go on.
Missy also loves music. Any kind. Jazz, oldies, rock, pop, classical, rap, ballet. You name, she likes it. Since the rest of the club likes music too, she buys the music for the team.
C.J. a.k.a. Sherlock: Age: 12
Background Info: Sherlock. C.J. was given that name when he was 9 years old when he solved a great mystery in three days. C.J. also has beat his friends at the board game CLUE about 45 out of 59 times! And most of the time he can solve the mystery in the book he’s reading before he finds out what the answer is. As you can see, Sherlock loves mysteries. Sherlock is in to baseball and 70’s music and can get along with most anybody except his nine year old brother Jeff. Desription: Hair: dark brown hair, short hair
Eye color: one is blue and the other green! Height: 5 ft 3 inches
Tom a.k.a. Whiz: Age: 12 Desription: hair: dark blond, very short. Eyes: blue, glasses
Height: 5 ft
Background Info: Why do they call him Whiz? Because he knows everything. He’s so smart he has even built his own computer and radio. He knows everything on technology!
Wherever he goes he takes his awesome laptop. (a laptop is a portable computer with no CD ROM or floppy, but some do). But his is no ordinary laptop. His has a CD ROM, a floppy and he has a portable printer too that he can hook up to the laptop! COOL!!!
Since he’s the club’s smartest member, he comes up with all their plans and stuff like that. He’s a big help to their club.
Samantha a.k.a. Sam: Age: 12 Birthdate: 8/7/83
Background Info: Sam, just like Amy is adventurous, heroic, and is always looking for something, terrifying, mysterious and of course, adventurous. Sam’s 18 year old brother, Jeff is Amy’s sister’s boyfriend. And Sam is Amy’s best friend. Since Sam is such good friends with Amy, Samantha is Amy’s backup, like a vice president.
Buster, (Amy’s dog) always acts real sophisticated around Sam’s French poodle, CC, because CC is one heck of a beauty. CC now comes to most of the meetings also, now, because when Buster met CC he didn’t want to leave, and when they ( the dogs) were separated, Buster acted like a brat and CC whined. What a handful!!
Now that you have met the team you may read the following story.
This shall be the club’s first adventure, or I should say REAL adventure. The team has been locked in the school for a night and went to school the next day, when they went camping in the woods behind Sherlock’s house they all freaked out and ended up sleeping on the porch and one night when they were celebrating Sam’s 9th birthday someone broke into the house. No one got hurt.
But this is not a small adventure like the ones they have experienced before. This… is the adventure.. that tests young adventurers like these five to see how they handle being in a dangerous….mysterious and of coarse adventures situations. Buckle your seat belts………You’re in for a wild ride
Part 1: Plannin’ a trip
” Guys I doubt that we’ll be able to go to Australia for our 2 and a half week trip,” said the club leader Amy Borris, during the club’s forty third meeting! “But I have another surprise! My dad knows some people that live in a village in Africa called The Sacred One, but who knows how you say it in their language. Anyways, the family includes two 12 year olds, a nice mother and a grandma. They will take us on tours of the village and let us stay with them. And my dad mentioned that the father said there was some real cool secret, what is it? I don’t know! This is your surprise.”
” Yes. I already knew we were going to go there, so I have set tickets up. It was more than we expected. But. For the 5 of us it will cost is $5,100. It’s the best deal I could get! We’ll be leaving in 6 days.” Replied Whiz.
” But Whiz,” said Sherlock, “How will we get all that money? I mean, we have only $600!”
“Whiz and I have worked all that out,” replied Amy. “Sherlock and Sam will have 12 extra jobs each, I will have 12, Whiz 11 and Missy 10. They will all be done in the next 6 days. Each job earns no lower than 10 bucks. Now, Missy, you better get to that job of yours. You start working in 5 minutes! Now Whiz, would you mind telling the rest of the team how much money that will be?”
” Not at all. The total will be between $500 and $600.”
Sherlock was so shocked that this is all they could make, so he shouted,
” Whiz, that only brings us to $1,000 What happened to the other 4 grand?!?!
” Whiz let me explain this part. Sam and Sherlock open your ears. You all know my dad is an author, right?. My dad has been told by his publisher, that one of his books is gonna be turned into a movie and they have already started writing the screen play. So, my dad wants to loan to us!”
Sam then said,” How are we gonna get the money to pay him back 4 grand?”
” Don’t worry Sam, he said all we have to do is do all the yard work he needs or wants for 2 1/2 whole years! Now look at the schedule book and go to your jobs.”
Part 2: Supplies
” Now, for our 44th meeting, we shall make a list of supplies. Whiz, out comes your computer.” started Amy. “I went out yesterday after my last job to a camping place and then goodwill, and with the club’s money….”
She was then interrupted by Missy,” What money?”
” Earlier in the year, I stored over $100 in a safe down stairs in my house. Well, anyway, I bought 5 canteens, 5 notebooks, and two flashlights. Now, I also went through my stuff and found some things. I found three sleeping bags, 3 big water proof bags, 3 cans of bug repellent, 2 more flashlights, and some batteries. Now, your job now is to go home and get, 5 sets of clothes, 2 swimsuits, pens, pencils, shoes, and more bug repelent. Bring, yogurts, fruit cups, 2 boxes of cereal. and one box or bag of somethin’ to munch on. Oh! and one more thing, remember that water purifier we all made, bring that too. We’ll meet here in an hour. Oh, and someone tell Missy all the necessities.” Since Amy had already packed she stayed in the club house and played a math game on the computer waiting for the time to pass.
Part 3: Headin’ to Congo
RRRing……….RRRing…….RRRing. ” Hello. Amy!!! It’s 5 in the morning! What are you calling for? Are you nuts?”
” Sam! Do you want to be left here while we all go to Congo? Now get your parents up and meet me and the rest of the team at the clubhouse in 35 minutes.” CLICK.
” She’s nuts!”
When everyone arrived at the foot of the clubhouse, Amy’s father said, “This is when we know our child is old enough to take responsibility. Our children will be gone for 2 1/2 weeks, if they come back in one piece, it’ll be a miricle, Ha, Ha, Ha!!! Now, for the ones of you that will be escorting these 6 ….”
” 6?” said Sherlock’s parents. ” There are only 5 in the club.”
” Excuse me, the 5 children and their faithful companion, Buster, the dog!!! Now, everyone who is going, GET IN THE CARS!!!!”
” Hey Amy.’ whispered Missy. ” Are we taking Buster?”
” NO. It cost too much extra and he would be too much of a hassle. So NO.”
At the airport the menagerie of parents escorted their children to the right gate. At the gate there were a lot of tears and goodbyes from the adults and “See Ya’ laters” from the kids.
Part 4: Africa is NO luxury resort
The team arrived at the airport near Congo, and had a 3 hour bus ride and only got 3 miles closer to the village.
” What a rip off, now we have to walk 3 stinkin’ miles in this scorching sun with these pesty packs!” complained Missy. ” Am I glad I brought my umbrella.”
” Typical Missy!” laughed Sam.
” Hey guys, look ahead, it’s a guy with a mule we can buy and use till we get to the village and then sell it again!!’ mentioned the hot and sticky Amy.
” Good thinking Amy.”
Amy ran up to the man and said,” Excuse me mister, would you like to sell that mule for 12 dollars?”
” Man, would I ever!!! Here ya’ go. Her name is Rosebud. Here, have fun!”
And with that, the man ran off in happiness.
After the kids loaded all their stuff onto Rosebud, the team moved along smoothly, untill Missy’s shoe got a speck of mud on it. “AAAAAAAAAAA!EEWWW!!!! Mud!!! Let me on the mule!”
” Missy, look at my shoes, there all muddy and even holes are wearing into them. Please stop complaining”
” Yeah! You are slowing us down, we have only 1/2 a mile to go. Now keep walking!”
When the club arrived at the village, they stared at it surprised. The houses were made of mud,sticks, straw and big leaves. They were small, only about the size of two king size beds put next to each other. ” Man,” Sherlock exclaimed. ” Ya’ know gang, I was expecting houses with 3 or 4 bedrooms, the size of my house, a floor and a bathroom, I’ve been holding since the 1st mile!”
” Bathroom? Does someone need a bathroom?” the club heard someone laugh. ” Right out there, in the grass, ladies behind bushes. I am the head of the village, and you?”
” I am Amy Borr…..” she didn’t get to finish because the man interrupted her.
” Oh, Miss Amy Borris! Yes, your father told me all about you and your team. I am Chief Mowhahwig. My name in English would be Darryl, just call me Chief. This is my wonderful wife Domonique, and these are my two lovely children, Minka and Carlos. Carlos, why don’t you introduce Amy and her friends to Granni.”
” Yes sir.”
As Carlos escorted the girls to Granni’s home, Missy noticed two strange men talking to another strange man. but had no time to say anything, for they had reached Granni’s house.
Part 5: Granni’s Humble Home
” Welcome to my humble home. I love it when guests come. You girls may sleep in my hut as the boys sleep in my son’s hut. Boys, you better get ready for bed, you must be tired.”
” Goodnight everybody have a good night.” comforted Granni.
” Guys are you gonna write in your journals, I couldn’t sleep without doing so.” whispered Amy, she didn’t want to yell, cause Minka was already asleep.
Everyone, event eh boys started writing; this is what a few of them said:
Missy’s Journal: Dear Diary, day one
Today I arrived in the uckiest place in Africa. The people we are visiting didn’t put any floors in their houses, only rugs and mats. Can you believe it, I have to stay here for 2 1/2 weeks, I might die!!! Though Minka is nice, I can’t stand this place. Minka and Carlos said I would get used to it, yeah right!!!
Today, I saw 3 strange men walking around, one I think belonged to the village, but the others, looked like Americans. They walked around quietly like they were hiding something. I want to know who they were and fast too!
Sherlock’s Journal: day one
Today we all came to the strangest place. All the huts have only mats and rugs for floors. Well, guess what, I saw some odd men, 3 of them. One looked like an African, but the others, they had on business suits and were Americans. Now, listen, the African guy went into his hut, but the buisness men went behind another hut. This is what I heard one of them say,” Where is it? We’ve been looking for it ever since we got here. I’m tired of waiting.”
Then the other one said,” You must be patient, you must wait.” That’s all I heard. I wish I knew what they were talking about.
Part 6: Rise and Shine
” Rise and shine sleepy heads….. It’s already 7:35 A.M. Your story time is at 8 A.M.” Carlos beckoned. ” We have to have to wake up the girls.”
” Rise and….Yawwwwwn…..shine at 7:35. At home I never wake up before 8:30. This is nuts.” Sherlock said sleepily.
” Sherlock, that’s the thing. Story time?……For us?…..We’re 12 years old practically. Gimmie a break!!” and Whiz lay down to go back to sleep.
Carlos was shocked,” You guys don’t listen to stories do you?” Not waiting for their answer, he said,” My father’s stories are different.”
” How could one story be different from another story? A story is a story.”
” Oh, Whiz! No! My father’s stories are different. His stories are myths.”
” Carlos what’s so special about a legend?” Sherlock wanted to know.
As Carlos was stepping to leave he said,” What’s so special about these legends? They’re true.” And with that, he went to wake the girls.s
Part 7: Storytime
Once everyone was up and at ’em, and in Carlos’s father’s ( Chief) hut, he began his story:
” In the ancient times of this village, some mysterious rumor spread about that the many gods were angry at the chief… Mohatu. Why? I’ll tell you why. Mohatu was a very greedy, selfconsided, lazy and selfish person. He would never share any of his treasures with anyone, not even with his own kids!!! When any explorer would come they would make peace by giving Mohatu gifts. Mohatu always thought himself as a god and would never give away any of his treasures. You can sort of see why the gods would be angry, can’t you?”
” Well, one day, the gods had it up to here!” he pointed to the top of his forehead. “They came down to the land, which they only do when they are beet red furious and said, not quietly, to Mohatu,” For your greediness we shall turn you to vapor. For your selfishness, no one shall see or hear you. And for your thinking of yourself as a god, we shall vanish you and your treasures to the Cove of Treasures.” With those words, he did just that!!”
Sam then blurted out laughingly,” Thankyou for telling us that, Missy really needed that story! HaHaHaHeeHeeHee!!!”
” What is that supposed to mean?” Missy hissed.
” Nothing, but the fact that you are greedy, selfish, lazy and selfconsisded!!!” Sam exploded.
” Oh shut-up, I have a question to ask!!!”
“Go on Missy.”
” You’re telling me that this Mohatu guy and his treasures are in this cave place?”
” Guys!! This is the best thing that could happen! I’ll be rich! It’s better than the mall!!”
” Missy, I hate to burst your bubble,” Amy said. ” I’ve read just a little bit about it but I know you just can’t walk in and take whatever.’
” That’s right Miss Amy, I was just going to tell you about it. You must pass 3 tests, 1.) You must pass the Pathway of Gods. 2.) You must pass the Legend of Boobies and 3.) You must pass the Temple of the Gods. Now, let me finish my story. About 10 years after Mohatu was vanished, one of our people took the risk of passing those tests. He made it to the wondrous cove and while he was journeying he was making a map. You see, he believed everyone should get their share in Chief Mohatu’s treasures. He was walking out of the cove with his map and the most beautiful ruby necklace. It had 14 beautifully bright red rubies. But then, a big horrible something took the paper and the necklace away, ripped both into many pieces, we believe 14, one ruby for each piece of the map. It then scattered the pieces around the jungle.”
” Okay, let me get this straight. Some horrible something put each ruby with a piece of map and put each one, somewhere in the jungle, Right?
” That’s right Sherlock.”
” Could he see it?”
” After running for his life and reaching the village, he said he saw nothing.”
” So, maybe it was Mohatu!!”
” Sherlock, are you okay?”
” Whiz. Why wouldn’t it be him?”
” My point exactly. It was probably him because he wouldn’t want anyone stealing his treasures. So he ripped up the map making it a challenge to anyone who dared look for the map. I have one more question. Were there any clues about how to pass the tests?”
” Yes. There……”
While they were talking, Amy and Sam were scooting towards the window. They heard some voices. ” Shut up! They all might here you. Hurry up and get out your lighter.” Amy and Sam decided to jump out the window and catch those two cooks off gaurd. ” HIIIIIIII YYYYYAAAAAA!” The action began.
Part 8: Trouble’s abrewin’
The two cooks threw the two girls off of them and into a pit of mud.
” Hey. Those are the same two men!” yelled Missy and Sherlock in unison. The men ran into another hut and brought out their African friend. By then the rest of the village had joined in. There was rock throwing, name calling, dirt flying and lots of noise. They all hated those men, but who cares. Each man( bad guys) took out a lighter and lit each house. Everyone started panicking. Over 5 people fainted and nearly everyone but the gang was gathering there valubles. Amy then said panicked,” Get your bags and journals, that’s all we need and run that way.” She pointed towards the woods thinking there was a path to take them to safty.
Part 9: We’re not in Kansas anymore
Walking on for about 2 1/2 miles now, the team decides to stop and have an emergency team meeting. ” Gang, I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more.” Amy teased. ” Now listen up. I only have 3 things on my mind now. 1.) Where the heck are we? 2.) How do we get back to the village to get help and 3.) I’m HUNGARY! Where’s the food?”
” Right here. I only brought 25 Milky Way bars, 7 squeeze its and 12 4 packs of pineapple. You’re welcome to pigout, just I also only brought 2 canteens of water! Sorry.” said Whiz.
” It’s alright. While were munching, we should at least write in our journals.”
” Nice thinking Missy.”
Amy’s Journal 2nd day
Today was a most exiting day. We heard a real interesting story and then bad guys were lighting all the huts on fire. The gang and I got lost in the jungle and we are now eating. I don’t feel like writing now but I’ll fill you in later.
Whiz’s Journal 2nd day
Carlos got us all up at 7:35 A.M. just to hear a story. The story was real good. There is supposedly a hidden treasure. While were lost here in the jungle we should go on and look for the map that leads to it. Well, I’m still hungry, I can’t write anymore.
Part 10: Remembering a story
” I’m hot!” MIssy complained.
” We’re all hot!” Sam shouted.
“Hmmph.” As Missy turned around, she became face to face with a poisonous tree frog.
” Missy! Get away! It’s a tree frog! They’re poison!” Whiz warned.
But typical Missy just gave it her best scream: ” AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” Then ran and hid behind Sam. ” C’mon Missy, it’s only a frog.”
” Well, it ain’t a treasure either!’
I suppose those very words struck both Amy and Sam like a bolt of lightning, cause they said at the same time,” The Treasure!”
Part 11: Finding a clue
Around dinner time the group started worrying about two things 1. Where are they going to sleep? 2. Where can they get help?
“Hey, guys, start thinking about how we can make a shelter that will survive that storm. If my calculations are correct, that storm should be here in about 47 minutes.” Whiz warned.
So the gang got all the sleeping bags, 3 king size blankets and found some long branches & elephant ear plants. They walked carefully making sure not to trip over to this huge tree and found a long, strong branch sticking out of it. They took a blanket and hung it evenly over the branch. They stretched the blanket out on each side and held it down with big stones. It was getting darker now and all the tall trees over head didn’t make it any brighter. The shelter the group just made was only big enough for 3 sleeping bags and their owners. So Sherlock offered to share the next shelter with Sam, now that Whiz had his computer set up in the other tent. As nighttime neared the team got sleepier from all the excitement that day.
Later that night Sam woke up unexpectedly. She sat up in astonishment. She looked around franticly for a flashlight. When she found it, she slipped on her black indoor/outdoor slippers and tiptoed toward the opening in the tent. She had obviously woken up Sherlock because in his croaky morning voice, he said,” Sam, where are you going?’ HE looked at his glow in the dark watch. ” It’s 6:30 in the morning.”
” SHerlock, just go back to sleep.’ But as usaull, he didn’t listen. HE slipped on his sandals and followed Sam. When Sherlock caught up to Sam he asked again,’ Where are you going?” And this time she answered. ” Well, I just had this dream……And in this dream some guy told me where the first piece of the map is and it’s supposed to be over here.” Sherlock looked puzzled. ” What map?” ” The map to the treasure you dimwit. Help me find it.”
At 7:07, they found it. ” Hey, Sam! I think I found it! And a red rock too!” ” Oh Sherlock! you did! And you found the first ruby. That looks exactly like the one in my dream! Lets go tell the others!”
When the two returned to the camp site, everyone was up searching for the missing pair. “Where have you two been?” Amy cried.
” You won’t believe what Sherlock helped me find. Sherlock, show them what you found!!” He held out the piece of map and the ruby. Whiz and Amy’s mouths were hanging open. Missy…..Well, all she said was,” IT’s so dirty! Don’t get it near me.”
” Missy, don’t you understand? This is the first piece to the puzzle. The puzzle that will take us to the Cove of Treasures.”
As you can see, Missy had forgotten about the Cove of Treasures. When she was reminded, her face lit up and her brain started thinking…….Thinking of how to get all the pieces first
Sam’s journal 3rd
IT’s 7:11 AM. Sherlock and I were in the same tent and when I woke up he did too. He followed me out to the big tree. I told him about the weird dream I had and he started looking for the first piece of the map. when he found it we ran back to the camp and told them all about it. I hope we can find the pieces before the animals find us.
Part 12: Take a hike
“Since we’re all up,” said Amy. ” Lets get ready to pack up and take a hike down the road, or I should say dirty, filthy, buggy path. On our map, we are in the Zaire rainforest and Whiz says if….”
” If my calculations are correct, we are 2.34 miles from the Zaire River.”
” SO we have to start packing up.” Amy announced. ” Where did our donkey go? I know we didn’t sell it!” RIght after she said that everyone started laughing. ” What’s so funny?” she demanded. ” HE’s right here!” giggled MIssy. ” He must’ve run for his life at the fire and followed our sent.”
” MISSY!!!” Sam shouted and startled everyone. ” That’s the smartest thing I’ve ever heard you say!” Missy’s face was red with anger…Friendly anger that is.
” You little….You little…”
” Missy, you wouldn’t dare call me that!”
” You little princess!”
” AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! How dare you call me a princess, when I’m a tomboy!” All Missy said was,” Hmph.” and turned away.
” You two are such a pair.” Sherlock exclaimed. ” Now everyone, to make this hike easier, lets pile as much stuff on the donkey as possible. Then we’ll carry the rest.” They all got to work putting all the folded up blankets on the donkey, then put sleeping bags on Rosebud’s back and the food basket the Granni made for them around her neck and tied them on with one of the two pieces of rope Whiz found laying around. The only thing they all had to carry were their backpacks. Then, Whiz and Sherlock put their heads together to make a fishing pole….For 2 reasons. 1. To fish and catch lunch. 2. To hook a carrot at the end and hold out in front of Rosebud. Missy rode on the back of Rosebud and held the fishing pole out in front with the carrot dangling 1 foot ahead.
About half a mile away from their decentered campsite Missy was already complaining that Rosebud was too slow and she was a @#%!X!!##%! ” Missy, stop talkin’ about yourself!” warned Amy. ” Everyone will think you’re bragging!” She laughed but Missy was sulking. She didn’t have a smart alek remark to say back.
A long, tough, slowgoing trip it was, but they ventured through it. WIth blood-sucking mosquitoes covering your arms and legs, bushes with their branches out to attack, and poisonous plants all around, it would be very diffacult to cross a jungle.
On their way Sam met up with a hercules beetle. It was sitting on a low tree branch with it’s atteni sticking out forward and when Sam was walking towards that branch she happened to look and see that ugly thing and,” AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! A big ugly bug! It’s here to attack us from outer space!” Well lucky enough Missy wasn’t looking, but with her snotty attitude she said, ” Oh Sam, don’t be such a wimp,” she then looked over at what Sam was scared of,”that’s n-n-n-n-n-n-noth-noth-nothing to-to-to b-be sc-sc-scared of, GULP!” She ran like she’d seen a ghost and hid behind Whiz.
” Sam, don’t move, I-I-I mean run!” Sherlock yelled.
“Let’s let Sam ride on Rosebud for a while. She’s had a scare. Let’s go, we’re almost there.” Amy finally said. Sam hopped on Rosebud and laid down on her stomach with her arms around Rosebud’s neck. Within 10 minutes, she was fast asleep. 30 minutes later, she woke up with a shout,” STOP!”
Part 13: S-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s
Everyone was so startled, they all ducked down to the ground and Missy shrieked. ” What the heck was that? I would like to know.”
Sam didn’t answer. Instead she jumped off Rosebud and headed straight for a _____________ tree. She kept looking up.
” What are you looking for?” asked Sherlock. ” While I was asleep on Rosebud, I had another weird dream. The same guy told me that the second piece of the map was up in this very tree. Help me climb up.” Sherlock looked up at the 100-foot-tall tree and looked back at Sam, who was gathering the rope to tie around herself and climb up with. ” You gotta be kidding” Sherlock mumbled. ” Guys, can you get that piece of rope over there. Man, look how long it is! IT must be 50 feet long. ” ” Why do we need it?” asked Whiz. ” Whiz, I thought you knew everything.” She chuckled. ” I need to tie it to the others so I can climb up and hang it over that branch up there.” she pointed to a really high up branch.
“Sam,” Sherlock whispered.” I should be the one doing this!”
” Well, I’m a…. and you’re a…..”
“Oh give me a break. Just help me up to that first branch, um, I can get to the rest of them.”
Watching Sam climb a tree was very amazing. She climbs trees like she lives in them. She was half way up to the top when she stopped, and climbed onto a branch next to her. She reached out and tied one end of the rope to the branch and the other end to her waist. She started downward to a skimpy little branch with a little wrinkled piece of paper on it. ” Sam, be careful!!!” yelled Amy.
” Yeah.” mumbled Sherlock looking down at his feet.” Don’t get injured before I have the guts to tell you that…..” HE was interrupted by Missy’s “EWWWWWW”. ” What is it now?” Everyone, including Sam said annoyed at Missy. ” Look! A-a-a-a-a-a SNAKE!” Well, that almost made Sam fall out of the tree. But since Sam is such a skilled tree climber and even took classes on how to keep from falling out of a tree, when she did fall, she grabbed the skimpy little branch, wrapping her fingers around it as tightly as possible and with the rope holding her up, managed to get back up in the tree, and put the piece of map back into her pocket. Sam climbed back to the trunk of the tree and looked above her. A big, slimy, green tree python was getting closer, and closer to Sam. ” Sam! Run…I mean, climb down as fast as possible. Ya’ know, like in Jurassic Park, when the car was in the tree! Hurry!” screamed Missy at the top of her lungs. Sam did hurry…..But not down. She went up to untie the rope. She did just in time too! When she did she held her breath and swung from branch to branch racing down as fast as her athletic legs could carry her! Everyone below was praying. In hope Sam would make it safely down to the ground. Sam was almost to the last branch when something slick slithered aross her shoes. ” Don’t panic Sam.” Sam was saying to herself. ” I’ll make it. Just don’t panic!” And with that she closed her eyes and JUMPED………
Part 14: Almost there
Everyone screamed and closed their eyes. Whatifs were floating through their minds. ‘What if she breaks her leg or neck.’ ‘What if she get paralyzed from waist down?’ What if she…dies?” They were all to busy worrying about what might happen instead of what did happen. Sam didn’t break anything, or get paralyzed, and no, she did not die. She landed like a cat…..On two feet.! “Everyone look! I’m not dead! Do you think I’d die on you? Ya’ gotta be joking. Sherlock ! You’re crying!!! What’s the matter.?” ” I’m happy you aren’t dead! I wanted to tell you……” He was again cut short by Missy’s sassy remark.” Did you get the map? Good. Let’s get out of this place. It gives me the creeps.” Before they left, Sam bent down to pick up the 2nd red ruby.
” We need to start looking for a place to campout.” whined Missy. ” I’m tired…..It’s nearly 8:00 and we still aren’t to the river yet.”
“Missy,” Whiz spoke up. ” If we keep walking we might make it by Midnight.”
Missy pouted but kept walking with the rest of the group.
At 8:00 everyone was yawning. They had had a very long and tiring day and everyone was about to conk out any minute. Sherlock pulled Whiz to the side and told him his great idea. “Tell the rest of the group Sherlock.” So Sherlock told the group what to get. Amy got her 50foot rope out of her backpack. Missy found an elephant ear plant with 10 foot leaves. ” Come help me Whiz. We can use 3.” Whiz got out his pocket knife to help cut the leaf, but it didn’t help much. The stem of the leaf was an inch thick. Well, they did get 3 finally by cutting and cutting and cutting and… They cut the rope into 3 pieces. Tied one end of each rope piece to Rosebud’s pack that was on her back. And tied the other end to one of the leaves. “There, we now have three beds,” Sherlock said. “One of us can guide Rosebud part way and the other one the rest of the way. Let’s draw straws.” ” With what I would like to know?” Amy queried. ” With….. Paper Scissors, Rock. Whiz against Amy and Me against Missy. The losers from each group against each other. At the “finals” It was Missy against Whiz. And Whiz was the watch. Sam had been riding on Rosebud and was already asleep when it was done. Missy, Amy and Sherlock slept on the beds, Sam slept on Rosebud and Whiz lead them all part way to the river.
” Missy, get up! IT’s your turn, it’s 10:00. My watch is over.” hissed Whiz into Missy’s ear.
” Can’t you let beauty have her beauty sleep,” said Missy in her sweet innocent sound. Missy finally rolled out of bed and took Whiz’s place. Whiz fell asleep immediately.
Missy felt a chill go up her back. A cold chill. “Where’s my jacket?” she wondered. She found it, wrapped around her shoulders and kept going. Another chill swept across her face. It felt as if swirls of wind were twirling around her face and hair…But then it was gone. The cold feeling was gone. She reached up to brush a fly off her face when she felt the grease and sweat in her brown hair. “I’ve gone 4 days without washing my hair! No wonder it’s all greasy and slimy.” she complained to herself. ” I can hardly wait till we get to the river. I’ll wash my hair after we purify it.”
Sam yawned, stretched and almost fell off Rosebud’s back. She glanced around to get a glimpse of where she was, and fell back asleep. Missy stopped to stretch when she heard a sound like a moan. It grew louder and louder as she approached it. She stepped through some brush, looked ahead and…And there it was…The river
Part 16: The River
Missy nearly jumped for joy, but not wanting to wake the others quietly guided Rosebud through the brush, making a path as she went. Then it dawned on her. The moaning sound was the flowing water! Missy found a tree practically in the water with plenty of branches to climb. She glanced at her watch. ” Whiz was right!” she whispered. ” It’s only 12:08! We made it just in time!”
She went over to Samantha’s bag, grabbed flashlight then tried to wake her. Missy shook her slightly and whispered something in Sam’s ear that finally woke her up. She couldn’t believe her eyes either. It was the river! she realized. Sam wanted to shout and scream so loud, that the monkeys on the other side of Africa could hear her. But she also didn’t want to awake her companions so abruptly. SO instead, Sam headed over to Whiz’s backpack looking for the water puifyer. She soon found it and followed Missy to the river. They gathered 3 ounces of water, ran it through the tubes and jars and found 2 ounces of water left. They measured the water in half and gulped down in one gulp. Sam had to have more! So instead of just 3 ounces she slowly put in 5 ounces of water. “Missy, if you want to wash your hair, you’ll have to wait for about 5 more minutes.” Sam said casually. Missy couldn’t stand it anymore.
She went over to the bank, looking at it in a way that looked as if she were asking herself, DO I dare? Well, she did dare. She took off her headband, flipped her head over and dunked her head. To her surprise, she found things in the water moving around her head. Missy stumbled backward and balanced herself out. ” There’s… there’s…Something in there!” she finally managed to stammer.
” Missy,” replied Sam,” it’s only fish. When everyone’s awake, we can try to catch some!” ” With what? ” Missy demanded squeezing her sopping wet hair.
Sam stood up and said, “Keep an eye on the water in the purifyer. Fill it up more if you want.” and she walked away to get a flashlight.
Sam didn’t return for 2 hours it seemed to Missy. But to tell you the truth, she had only been gone about 20 minutes. When she did return, she had her hands full of sticks, rocks, broken twigs and dry leaves, and some thin rope she had gotten from her bag. She layed them all down infront of Missy. ” I’ll be right back. I left some more rocks over there.” Missy gulped down another 2.5 ounces of water and left the rest for Sam. She started fixing more because she knew that there was no more water left in the containers in the bags, and if there was, it wasn’t enough to last an hour with her friends. Sam returned in no time at all. She put 18 rocks in a oblong circle and piled some of the dead bark, twigs and leaves in the middle. She found two rocks, and started to rub them.
Missy watched with admiration. You would have to admire Sam. She never quit giving up. She tons of patience.
Both Missy and Sam found it was a long way to before you could get to fire. When Sam had been working on making fire for almost 30 minutes, Missy couldn’t put up with it. She grabbed two more rocks and robbed until her hand got blisters on them. ” Ow, you shocked me!’ cried Missy. ” I didn’t touch you!” They both looked at each other and knew.
They hit sparks.
Missy was the first to get some. She aimed at the dead bark. They hit and went out. She tried again. More sparks, but they died out. This time both aimed their sparks at the same place and saw it burning. Sam started fanning and blowing at it. They sparks were growing.
Part 17: Fire!
Fire! They hit the jackpot! They had been working for almost 2 hours before they realized what time it was. IT was nearly 3 in the morning. Rosebud had fallen fast asleep and they wind was blowing slightly. ” Missy,” Sam said in a low tone. ” We need more dead bark. There’s a tree about 10 feet behind that brush. Take my windbreaker and fill it with bark. We need all we can get. I won’t let this fire go out!
When Missy didn’t return, Sam was getting worried. The fire was low, and she’d been gone for more than 20 minutes. As Sam approached the brush, she heard humming. IT was Missy! ” Where the heck have you been?” hissed Sam. Missy didn’t have to answer. Sam looked down at her windbreaker, saw it zipped up and Missy was holding it like a basket from the sleeves. Inside she did not only find bark but also berries. ” How do you know they aren’t poisonous? ” Missy only answered, ” I remember from Science class.”
Missy and Sam hurried over to the fire. They threw in some of the bark and ate a couple of berries. ” These berries are good,” complimented Sam. ” But we had better save some for the gang. We never know how long we’ll be stranded here.”
Sam scooped up some more water with a measuring cup, and poured it in the machine that they had invented and had used to win 2nd place at the school science fair: The Water Purifyer. Missy handed Sam a handful of berries. Sam took the berries and squeezed them into another measuring cup. Sam mixed the juice from the berries with a couple of teaspoons of water and Presto! Sam had just made punch. IT tasted pretty good too! Sam told Missy to keep getting more and more water, because she was going to go get another couple of pounds of berries. Sam walked over to the bush where MIssy had found the berries. There must have been a million berries. Sam picked berries for almost forty-five minutes before she realized she had over 5 pounds of berries. She stumbled back to the fire with bright red juice dripping from her mouth. She grabbed her back off the donkey once she had dropped the windbreaker full of berries. She took out her bugspray, sprayed some on her legs and handed it to Missy. She took out her journal and wrote:
Journal, Day 3
Tonight, or I should say this morning Missy started to purify the water and we both made a fire. We have more than 5 pounds of berries, believe me they are not poisonous! I invented a new kind of punch by mixing berry juice and water. IT tastes real good. But I don’t think we all can live on punch, candy bars and berries. We need more than that. Since we are by the river, maybe we could eat fish, but who knows? There could always be crocodiles. It’s now 5 A.M. and they gang hasn’t woken up yet. Well, I wouldn’t blame them for wanting to sleep, but we need to get a move on.
Sam then shoved her journal into her bag and got out all her candy bars. She had brought: five Milky Way bars, ten 3 Musketeer bars and five Hershey bars. ” Yeah right,” she thought, ” Like I’m gonna survive on candy and berries this whole time we’re lost.” Missy looked at her and said,” What are you going to do with those?”
“Do you want some? I can’t lug around all these while we’re trying to survive out in the jungle in Africa! That would be stupid.” She handed Missy a Milky Way. Missy ripped off the paper and bit into the melted candy bar. ” You’re right. You can’t take all this melted candy around!” She reached for another, and then another, and another, until she felt as if she was about to barf! She gulped down a couple of ounces of water then looked at her watch. It was dawn. The two glanced over to where the sun was popping out of the ground. Sam heard a moan. She jumped. Missy just laughed. They turned toward the donkey. Whiz was waking up. They both looked at each other and grinned. They tiptoed over to where Whiz was lying. They got down to his face. ” On three.” whispered Missy. ” 1…2…3! WAKE UP!” They screamed. Whiz nearly jumped out of his skin. ” Why the heck did you do that?” yelled Whiz. Whiz and the girls must have woken up both Amy and Rosebud who almost kicked Sherlock in the head. Sherlock and Amy sat up, stretched and looked around them.
” What have you guys been up to ?” Amy inquired. Missy jumped in before Sam had time to think about the question.” Me and Sam made a fire, purifyed 1 gallon of water and made half a gallon of punch by mixing berry juice and water. We also have more than 5 pounds of berries.” Missy blurted that out all so quickly that everyone was still trying to make out the first word. Once Missy repeated what she had said, everyone had caught on. They all stumbled up and walked over to the fire and berries. They all noticed the candy and everyone pitched in to eat it all, except Missy and Sam Even Posebud enjoyed the rare treat of choclate. When only a few candy bars remained, everyone thought it was a pretty good idea to let the rest go to waste.
“But what are we going to put all the garbage?” inquired Whiz. ” I mean, we can’t just let it sit here. It’ll ruin Mother Nature.”
” Whiz is right.” Amy said. ” We can’t just leave it to rot. We need somewhere to put it.” ” Well, I don’t see a garbage can anywhere around. What do you suggest?” Sherlock replied.
There was a long silence while everyone thought and watched the incredible sunrise.
” Why don’t we just stuff it all in our backpacks so that way we don’t pollute the earth.” Sam finally said.
Everyone did the easy task and finished watching the beautiful sun take its place in the sky.
Part 18: Another clue
The Perilous Solvers decided to wash off in the Congo River. ” I’d like to know how we are going to do this.” Missy said. Amy thought. Then she replied,” We change into our bathing suits and swim in the water. We have to. We all smell like garbage.”
Everyone found a bush to get behind and soon everyone was in the water splashing and laughing. After a while, they all got out and dried off after washing their clothes.
As Sherlock was washing out his shirt, he noticed something buried in the sand. He pulled it out and soon found it was part of the map.
Sherlock stood up and held the piece in both hands. “What is it?” Missy asked.
” I think it’s part of the map. How many pieces is this now?’ Sherlock wanted to know.
” Its exactly 3. Did you find the ruby yet?’
” Not yet. Let me look around for it.”
As the others dried off Sherlock found the ruby and rinsed it off.
Missy then said,” Now that we have 3 pieces, let’s put them together and see if we can make out anything.”
When they put them together the pieces formed the top right hand corner. When they looked at the pieces they figured something out. On the back of the map there were words written, almost in a foreign language. “What the heck does this say?” Sam cried out. “How are we ever going to get out of this place if we can’t even read the stupid clues?!”
” Don’t freak out Samantha. I have it all figured out.” Whiz explained. “All it is, is cryptograms. My mom and dad taught me how to figure them out. Watch.” Everyone watch as Whiz scribbled down what they had of the message. “What’s it say? what’s it say?” Missy shrieked. I could make out the completed words. They say “kneel”, “you” “step”. Those are the only words I could decipher.”
Part 19: Moving along
Around 10:00 AM, the group was all packed up, loaded everything onto the donkey and was soon again moving along the river’s edge. They found they could not always stay along the river bank and had to cut through some brush and head back on over to the river. The walked…And they walked… And they walked, until they thought they could not take another step forward. They all collapsed onto the ground and sat sweating, staring at one another with dull, blank looks on their faces. Sam was tired of Missy complain, Missy was complaining about mud and sweat messing up her profile. Sherlock was way too tired, Whiz had turned his head one too many times and Amy’s head was spinning from trying to think of how to get them out of this mess.
Sam sat up, and looked around. She stood up and found her hiking boots practically stuck in the ground. She forced them out of the ground and stood on a low branch of a close by tree. She saw the others’ backpacks sinking. A horrifying thought flashed through her mind. She must help them…Quick!
Part 20: Quick Sand
She untied the rope from her waist and called out, “Amy, Catch!!” Sam threw one end of the rope to Amy and of course, Amy caught it. ” Sam, why are you…” She looked down and screamed. Everyone looked down and screamed. “Everyone, I’ll pull you out one at a time.” Yelled Sam. First she pulled Amy and Amy’s bag, Whiz and his computer, then, Missy and her bag, and finally Sherlock with his bag. The only thing lost was Whiz’s bag. Not a big loss.
Once everyone was safe in the tree and had caught their breath, they started to worry about Rosebud. “Hey guys, where’s Rosebud? We really need her!” Sam cried out. “Oh, I hope she wasn’t pulled under….all of my makeup and food is on her back!” “Missy, is that all you care about?” Amy asked Missy. Missy hung her head down. “no.” Then she looked up.” I know where she is!” Sam helped Missy down from the tree using a rope and her strength. Believe it or not, Sam is pretty strong. She use to be in Karate and she also lifts weights . Weird, huh? Before Sam could get down off the branch they were all standing on, Missy was practically out of sight . She ran behind some bushes and in a minute, she was leading the frightened Rosebud out into the clearing. “Stay away from the Quicksand, Missy.” Sherlock cried. “Missy, that’s the 1st unselfish thing you have done all day.” Sam smiled and Whiz said,” That’s true. Maybe she’ll learn after all.” Missy just glared at Whiz. “ Well, let’s just get going. Missy, how did you know Rosebud would be there?” Amy asked. “ Well, earlier, I introduced her to those berries we all loved. Eve dentally, she loves them too. And she lags behind us sometimes, so…….”Missy explained. “ Missy, that was very smart of you. I wouldn’t of thought of that.” Sherlock said. Sam then said,” Lets stay away from quicksand for a while. Deal?” They all laughed.
As they started off again, Missy noticed something glistening in the sun. Something shiny. Something small. Something red…………..