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STRANDED

I stared at my toes wiggling in the sand, feeling the wind tug at my loosely braided blond hair when I felt it. I felt a poke in my back. I turned around, having some ridiculous hope that it was a crewmember from the cruise ship. But why would it be? That cruise ship left me stranded here on Gale Island a week ago, taking my parents and everyone else with it. Sadly, it also took my twin brother Adam, too. Adam was the only person that could understand me, and I was the only person that could understand him. Of course, we both had good friends, but we were best friends because we were so much alike. He loved adventures as much as I did, and we always snuck off to get into trouble. I really wished he was there. But, of course no person was there. It was a bottle. It must have fallen from the sand dunes, I thought. I picked up the bottle and gave it a once over. I took a double take. There was a piece of paper coiled up inside! With mounting excitement, I tore off the cork and shook the paper out into my hand. Eleven words: “Look for me. If you don’t find me, I’ll find you.”

There’s another person here! I thought. On the cruise ship, they gave us a pamphlet. Luckily, I still had mine in my back pocket. I took it out and unfolded the creased pages. I scanned the page. There it was. It said: “Gale Island is uninhabited. The only structure that has been built is the Tiki Hut Mini Bar, which we proudly own.” The cruise ship has been sailing to Gale for five years. Wouldn’t they know if there were people here? What did this person want? A memory came back from seven years ago, when I was sitting on the porch steps. My mom was talking to me about stranger danger. I remember her lecturing,

“If a person you don’t know offers to give you candy, don’t take it. If you get a suspicious or threatening note, tell me.” I shook myself back to present time. Whatever, I thought to myself. How much trouble can I get into?

The next morning I leapt out of bed ready to solve the puzzle. I pushed on my tennis shoes, and then crawled out from under the Tiki. I stood, thinking. I needed a strategic way to search the island. I love to explore, but the island is 3 miles wide. I camped out on Barefoot Beach (the closest place to the Tiki). Farwood Rainforest that wasn’t too far, but on the cruise they told us there might be poisonous snakes. Not for me, thank you very much. I figured out that the best choice (the littlest walking) was to walk along the perimeter of the beach along the edge of the forest towards Bubble Cave. I started my walk toward the Cave, not really paying attention to my surroundings; just watching the waves crash in on the shoreline.

“Grrr,” I spun around and my eyes popped out of their sockets. There was a mangy beast about 5 inches away from my left shoe. Its fangs were so large, and its ears stuck up so straight that it took me a minute to realize it was a dog. I started quivering, not sure what to do. I didn’t want to move to fast or he might attack. I slowly moved my right foot back into the perfect stance, my eyes still frozen on those sharp, beady eyes. I brought my right foot forward and kicked him right on his ugly black nose with the inside of my foot. It jumped back, emitting a strange hybrid of yipping, yelping, growling and howling. It put its front paw over its bloody nose and slowly limped away, without another glance back at me. I knew those soccer skills would come in handy sometime! I thought triumphantly. I wish Adam was there for that, I thought. He loved dogs, and he knew how to train them really well. In fact, back home we had two dogs, and both were Adam’s. I kept my fists clenched together as I walked slowly this time, my eyes darting back and forth.

When I finally got to Bubble Cave, I was beyond relieved. I sat down on the little beach that was there, picked up a rock and started throwing it hand to hand. I took a look. I was sitting on the only thing that wasn’t rock, and I would hardly call this a beach. A few yards away I could see Bubble Cave. Like the classic ones, it had stalactites and stalagmites guarding the entrance. There were tons of rocks sunbathing before the entrance. The mouth of the cave was calling me to come explore, and I just couldn’t resist. As soon as I gingerly stepped over the rocks and into the cave I gasped. All around me, on the walls, on the ceiling were marbles. There must have been millions of the stuck there. There were all different sizes, shapes, colors and textures. I turned around, trying to take everything in. There was a slit in the cave ceiling (which must have been carved) that let sunlight in on one of the walls. The marbles took the light and reflected it to leave magnificent patterns on the floor and the other walls.

I kept walking as if in a dream. No wonder it was named Bubble Cave. The whole room was shaped like a bubble. I entered the next room in the cave. I was under whelmed. The room was the same size as the marble area, yet the walls were just made of packed dirt. No marbles on the walls. No slit in the ceiling so sunlight could come pouring in. I looked straight in front of me. No other rooms.

“COME ON!” I shouted through clenched teeth, breaking the silence. I took my rock and lobbed it at the wall in front of me.

CRCH! Like a curtain being pulled to the side, debris fell to the ground. I couldn’t believe what I saw behind the curtain. A long tunnel lined with even more marbles stretched as far as I could see. I dug the brochure out of my pocket and flipped pages until I got the map. I squinted slightly at the map to make sure that there wasn’t a faint line connecting Bubble Cave and Corral Cavern. Just like I thought, there wasn’t. I just discovered a secret passage! I thought. I remembered back home when I was littler, Adam was a huge fan of the mystery books where people would discover secret passages by pressing a certain book on a bookcase. I felt like one of those characters. I wasn’t a person who liked to think things through before I did them, so I didn’t hesitate. I headed down the tunnel.

The marbles in Bubble Cave were exposed to the sun all the time, so they were bright and clean. The marbles in the tunnel were a different story. It was like walking through a cemetery. You could sense that the marbles were once alive, full of life, color and light, but no longer. They now had a thick layer of dust on them, and there was no light to twinkle through them. I was so observed in the marbles that I didn’t notice the tanned arms in front of me. I walked right into him, just as he was lunging forward to stop me. Our foreheads smashed together, harder and much more painful than anything that had ever happened in soccer. The image of the boy faded slowly then turned black.

When the world and my consciousness came back, I sat up, feeling waves of dizziness and seeing dots and swirls of colors in my vision.

“Lay down,” a gentle voice spoke. A strong and firm hand pushed on me gently.

“Adam?” I asked, not thinking straight.

“Who’s Adam?” The stranger-who’s-not-Adam replied, puzzled.

“Then who are you?”

“I’m Nesmith,” he said.

“What just happened?” I asked groggily.

“We ran into each other in the passage,” he clarified. I would have responded, but now my head hurt I didn’t want to talk. “Please tell me you remember!” he prayed.

“Don’t worry, I remember now,” I reassured him, my head still flopped on the grass away from him like a dead fish.

“My name’s Claire, by the way,” I said. Out of the blue, a realization struck me.

“You must be the person who sent me the bottle!” I gasped. I turned my head so I could see the only other person that lived on the island. His shockingly green eyes were the first thing that I saw, and then his dark brown hair hanging just past his eyebrows. The skin on his tall, broad frame was baked to a golden brown from the sun, which made his white shirt look like frosting on a chocolate cake. Surprisingly, his khaki shorts and his shirt were both clean.

“Sure am,” Nesmith smiled. He kneeled down on the grass. “I sent you the bottle because I need your help,” Nesmith said.

“Not giving me any options here, are you?” I winked and smiled at him.

“Ha, ha!” he laughed, smiling at me. Curious, I sat up again, this time without the color display or the dizziness.

“Are you the only person that lives here?” I questioned.

"Yes. My mom and dad died a few days ago.” He said it so innocently and with so much sorrow that tears immediately sprang to my eyes.

“Were your mom and dad going to help you?” I questioned.

“No. I didn’t tell them about it because I didn’t want them to think that I was putting myself in danger,” he replied.

“What do you need help with?” I wanted to know.

“Many years ago, thieves came to Milky Way Mountains, which are about a twenty five minute walk from here.” I nodded. “They came searching for the large deposit of diamonds…”

“Diamonds! That’s amazing!” I exclaimed, ecstatic. “Do you think we could find them? Did the thieves find them? I can’t believe it! That’s amazing!”

“I know right!? That would have been so amazing to find treasure like that,” he replied, just as excited as I was, with his eyes gleaming. “Anyway, what I was going to say is the large deposit of diamonds that had been here long, long ago hidden inside the mountains, but people exported them, sadly. They then vandalized the mountain. Not finding any diamonds, they left with the mountains in ruins. They were horrible, those lying, cheating rats!” I nodded in agreement, but I was a little confused. What does any of this have to do with me? I deliberated. “The mountains have rebuilt themselves over time, and now you can’t tell that anything ever happened to them. Rumors that there is gold here have gotten around, and those rumors are true. All of the gold is buried deep inside the mountains rock, like the diamonds. The…” I spent much energy trying to hold in my excited gasp. I held my breath for ten seconds then let it out, slowly. When I tuned back in, Nesmith was saying, “…preserve the mountains and the land around it. We may have to fight them, but would you help me, please?”

“Of course I’ll help!” I exclaimed, not sure what I was agreeing to. It sounded like an exhilarating adventure, so I was in.

“Thank you so much!” Nesmith cried. “We’ll set off toward the mountains in the morning,” he clarified. I was thinking we could set off now, but a glance at the sky told me that the black curtain had swept in, and we had to sleep. We both stood up and stepped into Coral Cavern for the night. Hoping that Nesmith didn’t snore, I laid down with my head toward the opening of the Cavern. I folded my arms behind my head and stared at the stars. I was trying to decipher Nesmith. It seemed like he was hiding something, but maybe that was because I had only known him for a few hours. I liked him a lot though. He seemed really funny and nice. I was glad that I was going to have an adventure with him in the morning. It was too bad that my brother wasn’t there for the adventure. He was lots of fun to be around. Through the whole night I was tossing and turning, going over the day’s events in my mind. Sleep didn’t come easily that night.

“Claire! Claire, we have to get moving right away. Wake up!” I opened my eyes to see rays of golden light streaming out on the wall, and Nesmith standing over me holding a fish. My tentative waking up routine turned into a run for your life.

“GROSS!” I screeched, shoving myself away from it. “GET THAT THING AWAY FROM ME!” I screamed again, recoiling on the floor in disgust. To my surprise, Nesmith didn’t yank the dead fish away from me. He didn’t back away. He just started to laugh.

“How can you, YOU of all people…” he broke off into laughter again. He dropped the fish and started rolling on the floor, clutching his stomach. I just sat up like a civilized person, crossed my arms, smiled slightly, and waited for him to finish. He gasped.

“How can you be scared of this?!” Nesmith held the fish up to my face and the stench slapped me. I staggered backwards again.

“It’s just so disgusting!” I cried. Nesmith had recovered by now, and he said,

“Good thing you don’t have to live on the island forever, because this is the only breakfast around, unless you count the Tiki on Barefoot Beach.”

“That’s where I used to eat,” I said.

“Ah, that explains it!” Nesmith said jokingly, flashing his white teeth at me. “We really do need to eat breakfast and be heading out soon.” I glumly choked down the fish, and then we headed off. While we were walking, I recalled when I had interrupted Nesmith about the diamonds and the gold. What was he telling me? I questioned. He said something about maybe fighting. What are we going to possibly fight? I wondered. I should have paid better attention when he was telling us our plan. I didn’t want to ask him about it now because then Nesmith would know I wasn’t listening. I thought to myself, I guess I’ll just have to wait until we get to wherever we’re going.

“Okay,” Nesmith said, startling me out of my thinking. “There are two sides to the mountain tunnel. You go around this side,” he gestured to the right, “and I’ll go the other way. Once you’re at your post, hide in the bushes surrounding the entrance. I’m not sure which entrance they’re going to go into, so you must be very quiet. Ready? Do you have any questions?” I nodded and started to open my mouth, but he was already jogging away. I shrugged, and started toward my post. As I walked, I tipped my head upward to spot snow lining the peaks of the mountains. On my right, trees mingled with rocks until Farwood Rainforest, where I could see lush green vegetation and hear the excited chattering of monkeys. When I got to the tunnel, I found the bushes Nesmith was talking about and crouched between them. They were snug up against I found some ripe blackberries on the bush, and I popped one in my mouth, savoring the black juice that came squirting out into my mouth. After about ten minutes or so, I leaned back against the mountain rock and listened to the sounds of the forest.

My eyes flew open. Wait, my eyes flew open? I fell asleep!? I worried that Nesmith was waiting for me at his post, so I silently got up and started to walk over to the other side of the mountain tunnel. When I got there, I saw that there were identical bushes that Nesmith should be hiding in between. Feeling over exposed out in the clearing, I whispered shrilly,

“Nesmith!” I got no reply. “Nesmith! Wake up!” I repeated, a little louder this time. There was still no reply. Thinking that he was sleeping like I was earlier, I quietly moved over to the bushes and stuck my hands between them. I felt nothing. Straightening up again, I decided that the only other place Nesmith could be was inside the tunnel. I looked warily at the pointy rocks at the entrance coming up almost to my waist, and the black-gray ugly coloring of the rock. I shrugged, and then stepped around the rocks.

I breathed in the cool, dank air around me in deeply through my mouth as I looked around the interior of the tunnel for the first time. The large room had a ceiling at least forty feet tall, and the distance from this entrance to my post stretched farther than I could see. The most surprising thing was that in the center of the room, there was a huge body of water. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. Millions of colors came in from the hole and reflected down onto the water. Bright flashes of golden-yellow light skated across the water, playing an endless racing game. Shaky, watery rainbows showed up on the rock, dancing just for me. The only sound in the room was the tiny bubbles in the water popping, and the small waves bumping up against the shoreline. With my eyes still wide open with delight, I made my way around Rainbow Lake (as I had already decided to call it) and stepped out into another cavern. This time, I saw Nesmith standing on the other side of the room.

“Hello Nesmith! I finally found you!” I shouted, which turned out not to be such a good idea.

“Step back,” he said, turning on a dime to point a sword at me. An ugly, cruel scowl was painted on his face. Even though we were pretty far apart, I still took a step back. Nesmith took a look at who he was threatening. When he saw it was me, his features relaxed and his sword dropped back to his side.

“Claire!” he exclaimed. “You scared me!”

“Sorry,” I smiled as I walked over to where he was standing. “What are you doing?” I asked him, staring at an odd tool in his left hand.

“Oh about this?” he held up the strange tool. I nodded.

“This tool is to break rock to find gold. Before the thieves come, I just wanted to make sure that there is actually gold in the mountain. If there isn’t, then we could tell them that, and we wouldn’t even have to fight them.”

“Thieves are coming!” I exploded. “Why didn’t you tell me that before?” Nesmith looked perplexed.

“I did tell you that, I think two days ago,” he clarified. I thought back. Right after he told me about the gold, I zoned out. What he just told me was what I had missed.

“Oh right,” I said, nodding like I remembered perfectly now. “I thought you said you wanted to preserve the mountains though,” I remembered, perplexed.

“I still do,” he reassured me, “I just have to make sure there’s gold, and there is.” He held out his hand, showing me the yellow nuggets.

“Okay, so we still have to fight them,” I said, beginning to figure it out. “Do we have a battle plan?”

“Of course we do!” Nesmith said. “So first you…”

“Stop,” I ordered him. He stopped talking, his mouth still open.

“Listen,” I whispered. He cocked his head to the side and did what I told him to do. When his eyes widened, I knew he heard it too. We heard the murmuring voices and the many clomping footsteps a long distance away.

“The thieves are coming!” Nesmith breathed, whispering even softer than I did. “Hurry Claire, get out this tunnel and hide between the bushes.” When I started to protest, he pushed me hard and said, “Go! I’ll handle this by myself!” I staggered out the entryway into the cool wind and bright sunshine. Squinting, I walked over to Nesmith’s old post, squatted between the bushes, and peered over the bush closest to the passageway. I barely held my gasp. There must have been at least thirty of these men. They were arranged like a flock of geese. The leader was in the front while the rest of the thieves followed behind. They all had thick beards and long hair that looked they hadn’t been washed or combed in a while. The thieves also had on brown metal shoulder blades with intricate designs cared into them. Their pants had tons of rips and holes, but they weren’t blue anymore, they were a light brown tinted with the faintest blue. They all had swords or spears held in their clenched fists. Every single one had squinty eyes and I could see the pure anger, frustration, and greed in them. I shifted my gaze slightly and saw Nesmith, looking so small, skinny, and defenseless standing across from the burly men.

“CHARGE!” The leader in front bellowed raising his spear into the air as the other men rushed past him towards Nesmith.

“NO!” Nesmith said it with so much fear and shock that I had to help him. Without thinking about it, I jumped over the bush and into the tunnel. Nesmith turned around to look at me. The thieves stopped in their tracks. That wasn’t the weirdest thing, though. I expected to see his mouth slightly open, his eyes wide, his arms limp, you know. The total fear package look. What I saw was a sneer, a smirk. His eyes were turned up like he was laughing or smiling. That look I would remember for the rest of my life. He slowly started stepping toward me.

“I thought you were smarter than this, Claire,” Nesmith said as he continued to step toward me. Totally freaked out, I started stepping backwards at the same pace he was advancing toward me.

“What?” I choked out.

“Claire, just leave now, and let us have the gold. No one will get hurt,” he crooned to me like I was a preschooler.

“I thought you were my friend,” I squeaked. Nesmith chortled.

“You thought I was?” I nodded. “Then I was a very good actor indeed!” He said gloating, turning to smile at the thieves. I was still backing up when I felt my back hit hard rock instead of fresh air. Nesmith gave another forced laugh, and then lunged at me, landing only about six inches away from me. He pulled his sword from his belt and held it centimeters away from my throat.

“Are we just going to have to fight you then?” he asked, still looking at me like I was the helpless one. My anger boiled to the surface, like soup spills out of a pot. I held it in though, knowing that I had to concentrate on the best battle plan. I figured out that I needed to get Nesmith off guard.

“Traitor,” I spoke. It was only one word, but Nesmith stepped back. It worked. I lunged underneath his still outstretched sword and pushed him to the ground. He fell and rolled down the incline to Rainbow Lake, his sword tumbling across the floor. A spear came shooting past my ear, and I grabbed Nesmith’s sword off the ground and started swinging it wildly. My untrained strategy worked pretty well. The men were scrambling out of my range, not trying to fight back at all. I made my strokes even wilder. A few rebellious ones got in my face and tried to whack me, but I neatly sidestepped them. In a few seconds, all of the thieves were down near the lake. I wasn’t going to kill anyone, but if I needed to knock them into the lake to get away, I wouldn’t hesitate. I sighed with relief when I knew all the men (including Nesmith) were down at the shoreline.

“OWW!” someone screeched directly in my ear. I looked around for the person in pain, but everyone I saw was at the shoreline, looking around just like I was. I felt a prickling on the back of my neck and I swung around. There was a thieve standing behind be with a spear, the blade covered in red liquid. I reached and felt my back. When I looked at my hand again, it felt sticky, and the palm was completely covered in blood. By the time I realized that scream was me, I was already falling towards the rainbows.

“Claire! Claire, please tell me you’re not dead!” a voice called desperately. Thinking it was Nesmith acting nice to me again, I wasn’t buying it.

“Get off me!” I grunted, my eyes still closed, trying to blindly push him off.

“Look who you’re pushing!” the voice commanded me. I opened my eyes and saw one thieve that looked my size and age, but he had a beard like the others, so I figured he was just really short and skinny.

“Get off me!” I repeated, more urgent this time. I pulled his beard to sit up, figuring he deserved the pain. Rip! His beard ripped off and fell into my hand. Confused, I looked up.

“ADAM!” I cried, over joyed to see his blond hair flopping into his eyes.

“Shh,” he muttered under his breath, looking over his shoulder. I took the opportunity to look around. We were in a very small, white room with no windows. It looked like a very long hallway led out of the room and back to the tunnel.

“Where are we?” I asked in an extremely exaggerated whisper. Adam didn’t seem to notice.

“We’re in a room just outside the battle area,” he explained.

“Why are you here?” I wanted to know.

“I wandered away from Mom and Dad a little bit after you did, because I wanted to try to find you. I camped out in Farwood because they have all those snakes there. That’s so cool!” I shuddered visibly.

“When the thieves came to the island, they traveled right past my camp. I didn’t know who they were, so I peeked out of my tent and saw them. I tried to pull myself back behind a tree but it was too late. They had already seen me. They pulled me out and made me put on this fake beard,” he bent over and picked up the stick-on beard up. “They didn’t tell me what they were doing or anything,” Adam explained, “so I didn’t know that they were thieves! When we came here and I saw you, I knew you had come for the adventure. When you got knocked down into the water, there was my chance. I pulled you out of the lake and dragged you in here so I could get you alone to talk to you, and to fix up your wound.” I felt my back again, and sure enough, the gouge was still there, but my hand came out clean. Well, almost clean. It seemed like there was some anti-biotic, but how could that be?

“Did you put anti-biotic on my back?” I asked Adam.

“Yeah. When the thieves came here before for the diamonds, I think this was their hospital room. That’s why it’s white. I found tons of first aid kits there in the corner,” he pointed.

“What are we waiting for now?” I questioned, impatient now that all my questions were answered. “Let’s go fight!”

I cautiously peeked out the door to see the thieves in a huddle, probably deciding what they should do next. That was perfect, because they were facing away from us.

“Adam,” I breathed, and he tip-toed silently past me out into the open. He continued to tiptoe past the huddle and out Nesmith’s former post. He waved, and then he disappeared behind the rock. In my mind, I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I had to wait twenty minutes. I set my watch to count up from zero. I ducked back into the emergency room hall and worked on not thinking about Adam and thinking about just breathing in, then out. In, then out. After what seemed like five hours, I glanced down. Nineteen minutes and forty nine seconds had gone by. I checked just in time. Come on, Claire. Control your breathing. After a few deep breaths, I felt ready.

“One…two…three!” I pumped my legs and then turned my shoes in a way that would make the rocks move under my feet. As soon as I did, I felt many pairs of eyes on me.

“GET HER!” shouted one, and I heard countless feet start pounding the ground. I skidded out the entrance and turned a sharp right towards Farwood Rainforest. I tried not to pay much attention to the people who wanted to tear me apart that were right behind me. I focused on looking for the sign. There it was! The fake beard was hanging precariously off of a low tree branch a little to my left. I changed course slightly, and then kept barreling forward. What was coming up was the trickiest part of our plan. With a stich growing in my side, I squinted to try to make out a dark spot on the ground. I thought one area looked a tiny bit darker, and I was sure that was it. I gunned my speed to the max, my body complaining. I risked a glance backwards. They were still following me, not suspecting anything. Then I was positive that that dark spot was exactly what I was looking for. I looked in the tree above the dark area and saw Adam hanging there, looking scared. I tried to arrange my face into a more pleasant expression, but I just couldn’t. Here was the pit, just a few yards away from me. I sucked in a huge breath, bent my legs, and then sailed over the hunters’ pit covered with leaves and branches. I landed on my knees, hard, on the other side. I wasn’t in too much pain that I couldn’t look backwards to see if our plan worked. The man in the front had his arm stretched out toward me, and then he seemed to disappear. All the men behind him thought I had fallen, and so they were all running toward me, the easy target, not watching were they were going. With a crash of leaves and twigs, they all vanished. I heard a rustling above me, and then a second later Adam was standing right in front of me.

“We did it!” Adam called, raising his arm up in the air to celebrate.

“How did you come up with such a great plan?” I asked him. We had come up with the whole plan in the Emergency Room, but Adam didn’t tell me how he knew about the pit.

“When I was camping, I was exploring, and then I found the pit. From the books I’ve read before, I knew that this was a hunters’ pit.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s a pit that hunters cover with branches and leaves. When an animal steps on the pit, the leaves and stuff collapse, and then the animal falls in. The sides are very steep, almost vertical, so I know the thieves won’t get out.”

“You’re brilliant, Adam, just brilliant!” I praised. His already huge smile grew larger, and then it drooped.

“Claire, how are we going to get home?” he asked me, looking beyond sad. I laughed to myself, thinking, this is the only thing you thought through that Adam didn’t

“We’ll take the thieves’ boat,” I explained. His face went back into a grin.

“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s get out of here!”

Adam told me that the thieves told him that they parked their boat in the same bay that the cruise ship parked in, which was only a fifteen minute walk from this part of Farwood Rainforest. While we walked over, we talked about what we should do when we got home. Adam wanted to tell our parents about our adventure, but I argued that we couldn’t because they wouldn’t believe us and we would get into a huge heap of trouble. I wasn’t sure what to say if they asked us what we were doing on Gale Island this whole time. When we got to the bay, I wasn’t sure what kind of boat I was expecting, but this was not it.

“A rowboat?” I asked simply.

“Well, they are thieves,” Adam said, “So what do you expect? Of course it’s not a high-quality, state-of-the-art speed boat!” I just shook my head in disbelief. Adam was right, but this thing was in horrible condition. It was ridiculously long, and there were about ten holes in all, and it looked like it would disintegrate if you touched it.

“How did they ride in this thing?” I muttered to myself. Adam leaped into the boat with no reservations, and it swayed back and forth vigorously, almost tipping him out into the salt water as he held onto the rickety sides. As he laughed with pleasure, I rolled my eyes and got in gracefully, taking the seat in the front. As I backed out to sea, something occurred to me that I should have thought of earlier. I groaned,

“How are we supposed to find our way home?” Adam just grinned and then reached into his back pocket. He pulled out a GPS that he had gotten for his birthday the year before.

“When we were traveling to the island, I set it to record our distance,” he said, showing me the exact path we were going to take to get home. We then started off towards home.

After about ten minutes of listening to the computerized voice, the holes in the boat started to fill with water, bring us down. This had apparently happened with the thieves before, and they were smart enough to put a bed sheet under one of the seats. While I kept rowing, Adam worked around me and stuffed the sheet in all the holes. Since we lived in Miami, the GPS said there was only ten more minutes left.

“We’re almost there!” Adam squealed, excited. I was excited to see our parents too, I just didn’t show it. I don’t think anybody knew how happy we were to see land. When we pulled up on shore, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. We got out of the boat, leaving it just sitting on the shore. Unsure of what to do next, I asked,

“Should we just go home now?” When I didn’t get an answer, I started walking, looking for a road I recognized. After only a few minutes of searching, I found 1st Street, which was only two minutes away from our house! I turned right, began to walk faster, then to jog. I couldn’t wait much longer, and then I began to run. I was still running when I reached our good-old front door and pounded on the doorbell. We were both excited and nervous, and I had no idea what was going to happen next. I heard the muffled pounding of feet rushing down the stairs. After a few more seconds, the doorknob began to turn, and the hinges squeaked as the door was thrown open. As Adam and I flew into our parents’ arms, we winked at each other, now sharing one more thing that kept us inseparable.