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Rodney to the Rescue: A Short Story By cam, Part Two (of2)
Link to Part One
- Rodney to the Rescue: A Short Story by cam, Part One (of 2 posted)
Tom, Rick and Rodney are excited the migrant workers, including their two friends, are coming for tomato harvest. To Rodney's consternation, little Lucía is coming as well, and love is in the air.
Rodney to the Rescue
Five boys had spent the day hiking through the woods along the creek, fishing, rock hunting and having a great time. When they returned to the barn where they intended on sleeping in the hayloft that night, they heard people in the woods beyond the house calling for Lucía, one of the children of the Mexican migrant workers picking tomatoes on the farm owned by Tom’s dad.
“It’s my sister,” said Marcos. “Something’s happened to her.”
He took off in the direction the voices were coming from, and the others were close behind. Marcos found his father and learned that Lucía had been missing all afternoon. All of the people had stopped picking tomatoes and were out searching for her.
The five boys stood in a circle, each thinking about where they should start looking.
“Where did we see her last?” said Marcos, his voice quivering with emotion.
“Remember? She was standin at the edge of the field when we left on our hike. She wanted to go with us, but you told her no,” said Rodney.
“Do you think she followed us?” said Tom.
“We have to go back and look to be sure,” said Marcos. They went into the barn and grabbed three flashlights they kept stashed there for when they camped out in the hayloft. Rodney stopped when they got to where the tomato field ended and the trees began.
“This is the last place I saw her,” said Rodney “She stood right on this spot and waved at us, and I waved back.” They looked around, trying to decipher what had happened.
“The woods from here to where we went fishing is narrow,” said Rick. “We can see the creek from right here at the edge of the field. Even a six year old couldn’t get lost in there.”
“Yeah, it would be like walking down a grocery store aisle,” said Tom.
“But the creek turns east after the spot where we went fishing, right?” said Juan.
“And the woods gets much wider there too. It’d be easy for a little girl to get lost there,” said Rick.
“But we were right there fishing. Wouldn’t she have heard us?” said Marcos.
“We were over the hill and being quiet while Rick told us the story about his Uncle Bob’s box. She could have walked right past and never known we were around,” said Tom.
“We ought to go fast until we get to where we were fishing, and start searching from that point,” said Rick.
So the boys moved along at a quick pace, watching the area around them, but knowing that the little girl was likely much farther ahead.
The end of an old wood fence post stuck out of the ground at a low angle with rusty barbed wire hanging down from the top to where it became entangled in the grass and weeds. Rodney stopped to examine the wire using his flashlight. A piece of fabric with ragged edges dangled from one of the barbs. He pulled it off and looked closer.
“Hey, guys. Come take a look at this,” he said. They all gathered round and looked at the fabric. Marcos grabbed it and held it close to his face.
“This is from my sisters dress,” he said. “She’s out here somewhere. He spun around and began to search again. The others joined him and they proceeded through the trees, more cautiously than before, moving slowly, checking around each briar patch and every brush pile.
“This is where we stopped to fish,” said Juan.
From there, the woods broadened as the creek swung sharply to the left. The boys spread out in an attempt to cover more ground. The moonlight and a light breeze filtered through the leaves, casting eerie, moving shadows on the ground. They began calling Lucía’s name, then pausing to listen for a response. Half an hour later, Marcos stopped walking.
“What is it, Marcos,” said Tom.
“We should go back for help. My sister is here, and all the others are searching in the wrong places,” said Marcos.
“You’re right,” said Tom. “Two can go back while the others keep looking. Where’s Rodney?”
“He was over that way,” said Rick, pointing ahead and to the left. He called to his brother and they waited. A dark shadow was moving toward them through the trees, the shape not quite right for the ten year old boy. As the figure got closer, they could see that it was Rodney, and he was holding Lucía as one would hold an infant, her arms encircling his neck.
“She was curled up sleeping beside a big fallen down tree,” said Rodney. “I’m lucky I didn’t miss her.”
“You didn’t miss me?” said Lucía in her small voice. They all laughed and Rodney assured her that, yes, he had missed her. The boys took turns carrying the exhausted child until they reached the house.
Soon there was celebrating in the yard as everyone returned from searching. Someone started playing a favorite tune on their guitar while others joined in with maraca and tambourines. There was singing and dancing under the stars.
The five heroes of the day snuck away from the festivities to the hayloft, the music still cheering them from the distance.
“Hey, Wodney,” said Marcos. “Thanks for finding my sister.”
“You know, she had crush on you before,” said Tom. “I think she’s going to be in love with you after tonight.”
“Yeah, I thought of that already,” said Rodney.
“What are you gonna do?” asked Juan.
“I’m thinking about asking Uncle Bob if I could move into his box for a while. I could lock it from the inside.”
“No, I’ve got a better idea,” said Tom. “We’ll just hide you under a pile of hay.” Tom, Rick, Juan and Marcos each grabbed an armload of loose hay and proceeded to do just that.