My name is Pickles because I really like to eat pickles. Dill pickles, sweet pickles, any kind of pickles. Actually, Pickles isn’t my real name. My real name is Scotty, but only my mom calls me that when she gets upset with me – like when I break something or forget to do something she asked me to do.
I live with my mom and my two sisters in this great big farm house. We’re the only cats on the farm and our home is hidden under the porch, but it’s warm when it’s cold outside and cool when the weather’s hot.
My sisters’ names are Gracie and Susie. They’re okay, I guess, but they don’t like to chase birds, or catch mice, or climb the big tree outside. They just play house and read books. Not me. I like to run and jump and climb, but best of all, I like to go exploring!
That’s what I’m going to do today. I finished all my work, and mom said I could go outside and play. I just can’t decide what I want to do.
Maybe I could climb the big tree out front all the way to the top. When the wind blows, the branches sway back and forth. I like to pretend that I am flying to faraway places like the North Pole. Maybe I could hike down the path by the barn, past the tool shed, and under the fence until I come to the rushing river. It’s more like a small stream, but I like to think it’s a big, roaring river and I’m being chased by bad guys as I jump from rock to rock to get to the other side and escape. Once I slipped and fell into the water, and boy was it cold! My mom dried me off and fixed me some hot chocolate to warm me up. So now I’m careful not to slip off the rocks again.
Maybe I will go exploring and climb the tall mountain to see what’s on the other side. Mom warned me to never go that far, but that was when I was little. I’m almost grown up, and mom says that I am big for my age. That is what I am going to do– pretend that I am a mountain climber and climb to the top of the tall mountain. When I reach the top, I will be able to see for miles and miles.
Pickles set off on his mountain climbing adventure, and with a confident stride he marched toward the tall forbidden mountain. He had on hiking shoes and his vest with the pockets stuffed full of his favorite candy– the ones with all the colorful flavors, each one wrapped in paper. His canteen was full of water and slung over one shoulder. He was happy and started singing as he marched along. “Pickles went over the mountain,” he sang as loud as he could. After a few choruses, he was thirsty and stopped and took a long drink from his canteen. Then he remembered his pockets were full of his favorite candy and decided to have a piece.
He took out a hand full of candy and picked a red one. He un-wrapped the candy, dropped the paper on the ground, and popped the sweet cherry-flavored morsel into his mouth. Yummy, it tasted good! Then, he resumed climbing up the mountain. When the red candy was all sucked up, he picked out a yellow one, then an orange one, and then a purple one, and then a green one. Pickles never missed a step on his climb to adventure while enjoying all the candy he had stuffed in his pockets.
When Pickles had looked at the tall mountain from the top of a tree, the mountain looked closer than it really was. Finally, he was almost to the top and the hike took much longer than he thought it would. But he knew it would be worth the long hike once he reached the top. The path became rocky and steep so Pickles had to crawl and he slipped on the rocks and scrapped his knee. Ouch! It hurt. Determined, he climbed on. With one hand over and then one leg, he slowly pulled himself up on top of the mountain.
He stood up and wow what a view, but standing on the top and looking around made him dizzy. It must be the biggest mountain in the world he thought. Pickles sat down and took a big drink that finished off his water. Maybe he should have brought a bigger canteen, but going back down the mountain would be faster so he decided not to worry.
As Pickles looked around, he saw the mountain top leveled off in a small meadow nearby. He decided to explore the grassy area. It hurt to bend his knee, but he could walk if he kept his leg straight. So he stepped on one leg and swung his stiff one out, step and leg swing, step and leg swing, he limped forward. When he reached the green meadow, a large bird flew out of her nest in the tall grass, startling him. Pickles jumped back and stepped deep into a gopher hole. His foot was stuck in the hole, and he had to pull really hard to get it unstuck, and he fell and tumbled over in the grass. The large bird started flapping its wings and squawking really loud as it flew in a circle around Pickles’ head. The noise was hurting his ears. Then a mad gopher climbed out of the hole his foot had been stuck in, and shaking the dirt off his head, shook his fist at Pickles. The irate gopher started coming toward him and looked like he was going to bite him with his large teeth. All the while, the large bird was flying around his head, flapping its big black wings and screeching and squawking.
Pickles was afraid and didn’t know what to do. He stood up, and when he stepped down on his good leg, his ankle hurt. With his hands over his head for protection from the mad flapping bird, he limped on one leg and swung his other leg out as fast as he could, trying to get away from the crazed gopher. Limp and leg swing, limp and leg swing, he frantically tried to put as much distance as he could from the cat-eating gopher and black crazy bird. In his hurry to escape, he did not look where he was going. Then it happened. Pickles stumbled on a rock and fell over the side of the tall mountain.
It was dark and getting darker, and Pickles’ mother had been outside calling his name over and over. But no black kitten came running home for the dinner he missed. Mother was becoming very worried. Pickles had never been this late before. She finally went back inside the house but left the porch light on to help Pickles find his way home. Mother sat down in her favorite chair to wait, anxious to hear the sound of his little cat feet.
Gracie and Susie were worried too. They had listened to their mother calling and calling for Pickles. Their brother had never been outside after dark, and it was dark tonight because there was very little moonlight to light the sky. The girls got out a blanket to keep mother warm because they knew she was not leaving her chair until Pickles came home. They both kissed their mother good night as Gracie whispered in her ear that Pickles was big and strong and would be okay. The girls were not sure if their brother was okay, but they did not want to cause their mother further worry.
The girls snuggled up in their bed and pulled the big fluffy quilt over their heads. They spent a long time under the quilt whispering and planning before they went to sleep that night. What Pickles did not know about his sisters was their favorite books that they read every day. They made up games and dreamed of being “RESCUE GIRLS.” The RESCUE GIRLS books are about two girls that solve mysteries and find missing things and help with all kinds of problems.
Gracie and Susie played for hours making up rescue games. They rescued a lost puppy and brought him back to his owner. They saved a stranded seal and even helped a hippo find its missing tooth. They were confident they could find and rescue one missing brother, no matter what trouble he was in this time.
It was early the next morning when Gracie and Susie woke up. The rooster hadn’t even started his crowing. The girls dressed in their Rescue Girls outfits of blue jeans, green long sleeved shirts, and boots that laced. Mother had bought their outfits a few weeks ago, and this was the first time they had worn them. They packed a backpack with everything a Rescue Girl would need: a flashlight, a compass, two bottles of water, a rope, and a couple of apples for a snack.
During the long, lonely night, their mother had fallen asleep in her chair, and they didn’t want to wake her so they left her a note.
“Dear Mom, Don’t worry. We will find Pickles and bring him home.”
Signed, Gracie and Susie, Rescue Girls
The two girls quietly opened the door and tiptoed outside. Once they were far enough away not to wake up mother, they looked at each other and shouted, “Rescue Girls on the job!” Then they high fived each other and started off to find their brother.
First, they looked up in the big tree in the front yard and called, “Pickles, are you stuck in the tree?” No answer so they called again. Still no answer. Susie crossed ‘Check the Big Tree’ off the list they had made the night before.
They walked down the path to the barn. Most of the animals were still sleeping, but not for long. Standing in the middle of the big barn door, they shouted as loud as they could and their voices echoed in the large barn. “Pickles are you in the barn?” They got a lot of answers, but none from their brother. From the grouchy, grumbly replies they heard, the girls decided not to call for Pickles again and backed out of the barn. Susie crossed ‘Check the Barn’ off the list.
They hurried to the next item on the list, the tool shed. The tool shed was always locked, but you could squeeze inside between the loosened boards. They had to leave the backpack outside on the ground to be able to fit between the boards. It was dark inside and hard to see and it took a minute for their eyes to adjust. They could see rakes, shovels, and some old buckets, but Pickles was not to be seen. The girls squeezed back out and crossed ‘Check the Tool Shed’ off the list, still confident they would find their missing brother.
Only one item remained on the list. It was the small stream at the end of the path. Gracie picked up the backpack and off they went to check out the stream. As they walked, Susie mentioned that maybe Pickles slipped on the rocks and fell and couldn’t walk. The Rescue Girls hurried faster, thinking their brother could be hurt and wet and cold from spending the night outside.
The girls reached the small stream and saw a gray squirrel with a big bushy tail getting a drink of water, but no Pickles. They scouted around like Rescue Girls do, looking for a sign to show that he had been there, but found nothing. The girls sat down and Susie crossed the last item from the list ‘Check the Stream’. Susie looked at Gracie and asked, “Now what?” Both girls were puzzled. They had checked all of Pickles’ favorite places. Where could he have gone?
Gracie and Susie started back toward home, trying to figure out what to do next. All of their planning the night before had not solved the problem of finding their missing brother. As they slowly walked, they ate the apples they packed, trying to decide what to do next. Gracie finished her apple first and threw the core out far out into the big field behind the house. A big black bird swooped down and scooped up the apple. Both girls watched as the big black bird flew off toward the tall mountain behind the farm.
Instantly both girls turned and stared at each other, having the same scary thought. They moved their heads back and forth – NO – Pickles wouldn’t go that far from home. But being wise to their brother’s ways, they changed their head nodding to up and down and agreed that the Rescue Girls would need to check out the forbidden mountain.
It was still early in the morning; the sun was barely peeking out as the Rescue Girls started toward the tall mountain in the distance. When they reached the narrow winding trail that goes to the mountain top, Susie noticed that someone was a litter bug because candy wrappers were scattered along the trail. After a few more candy wrappers, she stopped so suddenly that Gracie bumped into her. “Look Gracie,” Susie exclaimed as she picked up another wrapper and held it out for her sister to see. It did not take a genius to figure out whose favorite candy this was. Gracie grinned really big. This was the clue they were searching for and it deserved another high five. The Rescue Girls had found proof that Pickles had gone this way.
The girls were almost running following the candy wrapper trail. Up and up they climbed. They were the Rescue Girls and in hot pursuit of their missing brother. Almost to the top they stopped a minute to rest and drink some water. They looked up at the steep climb to the top and Gracie said, “I’ll go first and take the rope and you can tie it to the backpack and I’ll pull it up.” “Good plan,” agreed Susie.
Being careful and taking their time, the two girls made it safely to the mountain top. They both gasped when they looked at how high they had climbed and how steep the mountain sides were. They were not sure what to do next when Susie pointed to the small grassy meadow, and Gracie led the way, walking very carefully not to trip and fall.
When they reached the meadow, they began searching for clues. “Look, all the grass is stomped down over there.” Susie pointed. Gracie walked over for a closer look and just as she got near, the disgruntled gopher poked his head out and began yelling and shaking his fists at them. The gopher had just finished pushing the all dirt back out of his home, and he wasn’t about to have these trespassers cave it in again. Gracie laughed and said, “Only our brother can get someone that agitated.” “Look!” Susie gasped, pointing to paw prints heading toward the edge of the mountain.
Pickles shivered; he was relieved it was morning and the cold scary night was over. He had fallen over the mountain side trying to get away from the crazy bird and biting gopher. He was cold, hungry and thirsty, and his knee was scrapped and his ankle swollen. He was feeling sorry for himself and knew he was in a dangerous place. He could not go up or go down. He was stuck on a ledge just below the top of the mountain where he had fallen off. He knew his mom would be worried and would not know where to look for him. If he ever made it home, he would NEVER come back to the tall mountain. His big adventure had turned into a big nightmare.
Pickles was lost in thoughts of food, home, food, mom, food and he even missed his sisters. He thought he heard his name being called. “Pickles, Pickles, where are you, you, you?” The words echoed over his head. Could it be his sisters calling him? He stood up and, balancing on one foot looked up, but could not see anyone. Just in case, he decided to answer and cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled as loud as he could, “I’m down here stuck on a ledge.” He looked up and saw Gracie leaning over the steep mountain side. “Gracie, be careful,” Pickles warned; he didn’t want her to fall and get stuck on the ledge too.
Gracie looked down and saw Pickles standing on the ledge with no way to climb back up. She turned to Susie and said, “Time for the Rescue Girls to engage. Get the rope and tie one end to that big rock. We can throw the other end to Pickles and pull him back up.” Susie went into action and in less than a minute had the rope secured and ready to toss to Pickles. Once again Gracie leaned over the ledge and told Pickles the plan.
Getting Pickles pulled back up did not take long with both Gracie and Susie pulling on the rope and shouting as they pulled, “Rescue Girls are the best! Rescue Girls pass the test!” Hand over hand they pulled and shouted until Pickles was safely on top.
The walk back home took longer with Pickles’ sore ankle and skinned knee, limp and leg swing, limp and leg swing he went. His sisters kept asking questions that he did not want to answer, like why did he leave the farm without telling anyone, or why did he go to the tall mountain when he was told not to. So he kept his head bowed as he slowly limped for home. He knew he would be in big trouble when he got there. Mom would probably ground him, and he would not able to go out and play for maybe ten years. That he could handle; besides, he hurt all over. His knee hurt, his ankle hurt, and his back hurt from sleeping on the hard ledge as he held on in fear, thinking he might tumble further down the mountain during the night. And he was really really hungry. But it was his pride that hurt most of all. The worst part would be hearing over and over how he was rescued by his sisters. The Rescue Girls would never ever let him forget it as Gracie and Susie chanted all the way home, “Rescue Girls are the best. Rescue Girls pass the test.”