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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2250855
For Writer's Cramp. Full Counts All Words: 496

"It's no use," Fredrick said. "We have to face it. The rainbow flag is gone. It isn't anywhere."

"Our beautiful rainbow flag!" cried Elizabeth. "It took us ages to make, and now it's gone! Do you think someone stole it?"

"Well," Fredrick responded, "All we have is this clue -- one red tennis shoe just under the hummingbird feeder."

"Strange, isn't it?" Elizabeth said. "The rainbow flag was in the summerhouse. The hummingbird feeder is far away. Can it have been the same person who took the flag and lost the shoe?"

Just then, the two of them heard something loud and insistent. A barking dog. Not just any dog, Elizabeth's pet poodle, barking urgently, shrilly.

They ran to the kitchen, where the dog gone for his meal. They found him near his empty bowl, pawing at ...

"The second shoe! Another red tennis shoe! Whatever does this mean?" Elizabeth gasped.

"Whoever ti was came here ... and dropped another shoe ..." Fredrick sounded dazed. "This is getting crazier than ever!"

"There's Daddy," said Elizabeth, as a sleek blue car pulled into the driveway. "He's been to the pool, you know. He's training for lap swimming. Daddy, Daddy, we can't find our rainbow flag!"

Her father took the two children into the house. "Now, tell me slowly," he said, as he sat on his armchair with a cup of tea. "You've been going on about flags and shes and Pippikin barking, and I haven't understood anything."

They told him all about the lost flag.

He listened, and then came out to the garden and summerhouse with them. He noticed some things that they hadn't noticed. There were footprints, leading from the summerhouse to the hummingbird feeder. These were hidden under the grass and it was difficult to spot them, but Daddy did.

"And Pippikin barked?" he asked. Then he called out "Pippikin, Pippikin!"

The dog came rushing up. Daddy made him smell the footprint, and said 'follow'.

Immediately, the dog, nose to the ground, trotted off. He went down the driveway, with Fredrick, Elizabeth and Daddy following. Pippikiin went all the way down the driveway, and then, to everyone's astonishment, turned around and went back up it, barking.

"Now what?" Daddy wondered, puzzled.

Pippikin led them to the back, where the clothes were hung to dry.

There, hanging on the line, was --

the --

rainbow --

flag!

"There it is, there it is!" shouted Elizabeth.

Mummy poked her head out of the back window. "What's all that noise?"

"Our rainbow flag is here!"

"Yes, it was looking all messy with splatters of glue, so I thought I'd better wash it. Doesn't it look lovely now? And, oh, for your play, Elizabeth, I found a pair of red tennis shoes, but I was trying to carry them along with the flag and must've dropped them somewhere."

"Well, well," Daddy smiled. "Here's your culprit, my dear - your mother! But somehow, I don't think you want to punish her!"

"No, I don't!" replied Elizabeth, happily.
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