A group of teens go exploring when an accident happens. Will they all make it back alive?
Adventure at Willow Creek
It was a crisp, cool spring afternoon when Max and some of the neighborhood boys came by Tommy's house. The sweet smell of early spring flowers floated through the air, yet it still got quite cold at night and remained cool all day. They were fairly high up in the Smokey Mountains, and there was still a little snow in the shady areas on the top of some of the mountains. Max Harper had lived in Pine Wood Hollow all his life. The farm down the road belonged to the Harper family for nearly four generations and Max was proud of the fact that he knew every inch of Pine Wood Hollow and nearby Willow Creek. The boys spent much of the spring and summer hiking and exploring the mountains down by Willow Creek. At this time of the year, the creek had some ice patches high up in the mountains. The beginning of the creek was a fresh water, underground spring near the top of Mount Hatochee. It stayed ice cold all year long and the children would use it to cool off when they went exploring. As the winter's snow and ice melted off, it would run into Willow Creek and follow the twisting, curving, flow of the creek all the way down the mountain into Sequoyah Lake. By the time it got to the lake, it had grown into a pretty good sized creek.
Max was the oldest of the boys and liked to take charge of everything. He was a big boy for his age so no one else would dare cross him.
When Max knocked on the door, Tommy's mother answered.
"Hello, Mrs. Witherspoon. Can Tommy come out?" asked Max.
"Yes, if he wants to," said Tommy's mother. "I'll go get him."
As Max waited for Tommy, he thought back to when they had first met. Tommy's family had moved to Pine Wood Hollow last fall. His family had inherited his grandparents' farm and his father said he wanted to keep it in the family, so they all moved to Pine Wood Hollow. Tommy hated it at first. He had grown up in Boston. He was used to the big city and life in the country was very different. Tommy didn't know anything about living on a farm. He had never been around horses or chickens or cows and had no idea how to do the farm chores that would be required of him.
Tommy was an only child and had no brothers or sisters to help him with the chores. On top of that, his mother was pregnant, so he had to help her with many of her chores as well. Tommy did not mind helping his mother, but sometimes he missed out on "fun" things because his mother needed his help.
As Max thought about the first time he saw Tommy he chuckled to himself. He had walked over to see if the new neighbors had any children his age. When he got to the edge of the woods that ran along Tommy's family's pasture, he saw Tommy. His father had told him to catch Speckles, the black and white Appaloosa mare the family owned, and put her up in the barn. Tommy had never caught a horse from a pasture before. His father had told him to walk up to the horse and hook the lead rope to her halter; then lead her back to the barn. Sounded simple enough. The only other thing that Tommy's father had said was to never walk behind a horse or let a horse turn its rear on you or you might get kicked. So, Tommy took the lead rope and went to the pasture to find Speckles. Max had stopped and hid behind a tree to watch. As Tommy approached the pasture, he saw Speckles grazing quietly under a big oak tree. Confident that he could do the task set before him, he walked toward Speckles. Now Appaloosa horses are very smart and they can sense if you are scared or nervous. She stood very still as Tommy came closer. She cocked her ear toward Tommy so she could hear right where he was. Just as he reached for her halter, she shot off like a bullet and ran half way across the pasture. Tommy realized that this was going to be harder than he thought. He walked slowly around to where Speckles was again quietly grazing. He tried to hide behind a tree so he could grab her as she walked by. She could smell him and knew exactly where he was. Just as she walked past the tree, Tommy leaped out to grab her. She jumped quickly to the side and was off again.
Now Tommy had always been a fast runner. In fact, he was the fastest runner in Massachusetts at the state track and field competition last spring. He thought he could catch Speckles by chasing her. He chased that horse all over the pasture. Tommy started to realize that Speckles was playing games with him because she would let him almost catch up to her, but just before he got there, she would put on a burst of speed and take off.
Then, as Tommy slumped down in an exhausted heap, he heard laughing. There was someone in the woods who was laughing uncontrollably. Tommy was tired and in no mood for jokes.
He shouted, "Hey!, who's there and what do you think is so funny?"
Max came out from behind the tree. His face was red and his eyes were all watery from laughing so hard.
"Did you really think you could outrun a horse?" Max said, still having a hard time controlling his laughter.
Tommy said very sternly, "Look, I grew up in the city and I have never even seen a horse except in zoos or circuses. My dad said to catch this stupid horse but he didn't say how."
As Max finally got his laughter under control he said, "Well, that horse is far from stupid and you sure ain't gonna catch her by tryin' to outrun her. Go back to the barn and get you a bucket. Put a little grain in it and bring it to me. I'll show you how to catch a horse."
Tommy ran back to the barn and got the bucket. Then he went over to the feed bin and put a scoop of feed in the bucket. As Tommy came out of the barn he saw Max coming toward him from across the pasture. Tommy took the bucket to Max and they started slowly across the pasture toward Speckles. She was grazing quietly but when they got closer to her, she picked up her head and stared at them. Tommy watched as Max began to shake the bucket and talk to her in a calm, quiet tone.
"Whoa girl, I've got something for you," he said.
Speckles started sniffing as if to see if he really did have anything in there.
Max continued, "Whoa girl, easy, good girl."
Before Tommy knew it, Max was standing beside her and petting her as she ate some of the feed.
"Tommy," Max said quietly, "Walk over here slowly with that lead rope. Don't make any sudden moves or noises."
Tommy did as he was told and walked slowly toward Max and Speckles. He handed Max the lead rope and Max carefully hooked it onto Speckles' halter.
Then he said, "Come on girl," and gave a gentle tug on the lead rope.
Speckles walked quietly beside them back to the barn.
#7. Adventure At Willow Creek Chapter 8
ID #960346 entered on June 17, 2019 at 8:15pm
#6. Adventure at Willow Creek Chapter 7
ID #746143 entered on June 17, 2019 at 6:51pm
#5. Adventure at Willow Creek Chapter 6
ID #639882 entered on June 7, 2019 at 12:45pm
#4. Adventure at Willow Creek Chapter 5
ID #639750 entered on June 7, 2019 at 12:40pm
#3. Adventure at Willow Creek Chapter 4
ID #639591 entered on June 7, 2019 at 12:30pm
#2. Adventure at Willow Creek Chapter 3
ID #639566 entered on June 7, 2019 at 12:33pm
#1. Adventure at Willow Creek Chapter 2
ID #639108 entered on June 7, 2019 at 1:06pm