It was a cold morning, but the air was full of hot ashes flaming up from the newly born fire. I cuddled up in a warm checkered blanket, sitting in an old foldable soccer chair. It felt like the day wouldn’t ever start. Breakfast felt like it took decades to be ready, all because of a sprinkle of rain we had the night before and of course none of our wood had stayed dry. Breakfast consisted of bagels and coffee mocha drinks that made us all go a little crazy, especially my little brother Bram. I guess the caffeine and sugar really got to him which became clear when he started screaming to go kayaking at 7:30 am. And I don’t think the neighbors enjoyed the screaming either because soon enough they were out of their tents starting up their fires too. Not a good way to wake up… but I guess the whole family agreed with Bram’s idea of kayaking because when we were all done eating, they called us over to explore the idea of kayaking for the day.
“Of course I want to go kayaking,” Bram screamed while jumping up on top of the picnic table. He then started a chant… “KAY-AK-ING, KAY-AK-ING…”. Soon enough we all joined in chanting along his side. We raced down the hill to the kayaks to go and rent them for a few hours.
There was a small shack placed besides a huge boulder that laid out all of the kayaks, paddleboards, speed boats, and canoes. Me and Abby bolted past the boys trying to claim the best kayak, making sure we could stake our claim before they did. Of course Abby and I claimed the sleek red kudo double kayak so we could be together. While Bram and Cole argued that they deserved the kayak more. We sat in the kayak confident that we had made the best selection, while our parents talked to the man in charge of the boats. Bram and Cole tried to convince us to change kayaks so they could have our kayak, but we wouldn’t give it up. Soon enough they settled down on a wide, blue kayak with a stripe of dirt on the side.
Within minutes the young man came over and gripped our kayak, motioning it to the water. I walked closely to the kayak eagerly inspecting the sides of the boat. The man soon tossed kayak paddles over onto the smooth sand, carelessly creating a cloud of dust. I assumed this was our signal to leave him alone and paddle on off down the lake, but instead I called over to Abby.
“Abby come on, the kayak is in the water.”
“Zoe, lets race the boys,” she yelled back.
As soon as Abby answered, I witnessed her dash from behind the boat house, trying to keep up with the speed of the boys, who were a few feet in front of her. I turned around to face the water with only a few seconds til Abby would be at the edge of my heals. I quickly took grip of the sides of the boat.
“Abby would you like to be in the front, or back, “ I yelled as she ran closer.
“Come on, we don’t have time for that. Just sit down. We need to start rowing.”
As Abby climbed aboard, I reached out for the paddles a few feet away from the boat and passed one to Abby. The muddy water suctioned my feet as I held on to the back of the boat and pushed Abby out from the beach and into the water. The mud felt like a mix of slime and quick sand, as it pulled in my feet and formed between my toes. The boat started to drift freely from the mud and into the water, so I jumped onto the back, splashing some mud on my arm. I quickly sat down, and started to row with the thought of beating the boys which usually never happens, but I had faith that today would be the day.
I stared off past the muddy water on the shore to discover that the water wasn’t rough like the ocean, it was smooth and peaceful. The only sound the lake made was from the ripples that formed on the sides of our boat. I moved my paddle so it would drive into the water, pushing back the thick lillie pads that lay on the surface. I ran my finger tips through the water and watched the ripples form from my fingertips. I then reached behind me and picking up the smallest lilly pad. It had a thin layer of clear slim that felt like toy slime putty that little kids adore.
Me and Abby continued to Paddle along the lead of Bram and Cole. Inside my head, my mind rushed as my arms slowly followed my brain. “Faster, Faster, Faster,” I tell myself. I paddled until my arms ached and were feeling tingly and then I just stoped.
When I glanced over at Abby she had her paddle in her lap and was staring off into the mountains a few miles away.
“Come on Abby. Let’s catch up to the boys. We are so close.”
“Uh, oh ok,” she yawned.
We had stayed up the night before playing manhunt all over the campsite, and then decided to follow a deer path we found deep into the woods, which only scared me and Abby. “What if there’s a bear or raccoon? It might try and attack us”, Abby had told me. Despite being scared to death, the stars were beautiful. They lit up the sky and mirrored down onto the lake, but only in a burrer image. And at that moment I didn’t even mind the thirty mosquito bites that filled up my legs and arms, because I knew this would be a camping experience I would never forget.
Abby took her paddle back in hand and started to make smooth strokes, trying not to disturb the water and make a splash. “1,2,3,4… 1,2,3,4…,” we counted with each paddle. We slowly started to notice the boys picking up their pace and soon our 1’s and 3’s started turning into murmurs as our paddles turned from calm to frantic.
“Come on. Wait up a little bit. Let’s just end the contest. It’s not fair, ” Abby yelled.
“Uh, no… Zoe, they’re not even stopping.”
As I looked up they were only the size of my hand, but still so far away that they probably couldn’t hear us talking.
“Just keep going. We will get to them. We just need to row harder, as fast as you can,” I added.
With each paddle it felt harder, my arms were tightening up and it felt like more of a work out than I had imagined.
“Zoe, I don’t think we’re going to beat the boys because the boat isn’t moving, “ Abby said as she turned around to tell me.
“No, no, it moving… wait maybe it’s not…. that’s the same tree that we passed by a few minutes ago.”
I started to panic.
“Ok, ok, are we sinking? Will we have to swim back? I don’t like to swim! What if a fish bites me? What if I drown?”
“Abby no. Stop it will be ok. We just need to find out what’s wrong with the boat or call for help. Right?”
Abby started to hit the boat with her paddle to check if there was any seaweed or mud stuck to the bottom of the boat that might slow it down. I looked over across the lake, and our parents and the boys were already on shore. I wondered, “Will they wait for us? They have to wait for us… right?”
The sound erupted from such a small object, and the lake shivered from the sound that spread quickly. It soon got quiet until the sound of sirens filled my head.
“NO! Abby no, don’t!” But it was too late for me to say anything else. She had blown the whistle.
Ideas, solutions starting popping into my head, but none of them would really work.
We heard the sirens of the boat speeding down the water.
My body tensed up as I stared at the shiney silver whistle laying at the edge my feet.
“Come on Zoe. pick up the paddle, I’ve got a plan”
I grabbed the paddle and started paddling in Abby’s direction, wondering how much trouble would be get in. We paddle under a low hanging tree with many branches sticking out, some hitting my shoulder.
“It’s a little island, I guess. Maybe someone lives on it, but it’s our hiding place now.”
“Wait Abby, are we hiding from the police?” I whispered.
“Haha. I guess, never really thought about it that way, maybe just… wait yeah; we kinda are,”
We waited in silence, hidden by the overhanging branches of the tree. The only sounds that could be heard was the waves hitting the rocky shore and the police speed boat traveling down the lake.
When there was no sound and the waves died down, I peered behind the branches that obscured my view. Their police were gone and a sense of relief poured out of me.
“Come on Abby. We can go now. They are all gone.”
“Oh thank god. I thought I was going to have to explain this to my dad. And then I would be grounded FOREVER!”