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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Ian & Mac Stories - The Rescue

Gold, burnt orange, maroon, and russet leaves fluttered like hummingbird wings in the breeze. Ian and Mac sat in an oak tree nibbling on acorns, spitting the amber helmets down to the ground. "I say there, Ian, Iíve had just about enough acorns for now. Iíve got my mouth set on some mussels and I know just where to find some," Mac said, scrambling down the tree trunk.

At the mention of mussels, Ianís mouth began to water. He was tired of acorns too. "Wait for me," the raccoon called and soon followed Mac down to the ground.

They raced through the woods towards the sea. Both raccoons could smell the salty ocean as its waves pounded the rocky shore. "I can almost taste those mussels right now," Mac drooled.

"Me too," Ian agreed.

They hurried and soon found themselves standing a few feet from the beach. "Ah, mussels," Mac said. "Where are you hiding?" He climbed over some rocks and started searching for the shellfish.

Ian went the other direction. He found the rocks slippery and had to fight to keep his balance. He nearly fell in when a wave rushed in a little further than heíd expected. That is when he noticed the bottle. It was green glass and had something inside of it. He took his left paw and reached for it, grabbing it just as another wave rolled in and washed him off the rock. Gasping, he called, "Mac! Mac! Help!"

Mac looked up and saw Ian floundering in between two rocks. Wave after wave was drenching him. "Iím coming," he yelled. He carefully climbed over the rocks and reached for Ianís paw. He pulled him up and they scampered off the beach. Ian shook the water out of his fur and then they both collapsed on a patch of soft green grass at the edge of the woods. "Whatís that you have there?" Mac enquired.

"Itís a bottle. I found it. It was bobbing up and down and it has something inside," Ian rambled.

"I wonder whatís inside?" Mac said, curious. "Letís have a look." He took the glass bottle from Ianís paws and pulled the cork out with his sharp teeth. It popped loudly. Mac tipped the bottle upside down and a piece of paper fell out. He unrolled it and read, "To whoever finds this: Please help me. Iím stranded on a small island. HELP!"

"Who wrote that?" Ian wondered.

"What island? Do you know of any islands around here?" Mac asked.

"There is one island, off the coast about half a mile. I saw it one day but didnít pay much attention to it. Come on. Iíll show you where it is," Ian said, leading the way. They walked along the shore for an hour. "There it is," Ian pointed.

Mac looked out into the sea. There was a small island and as far as he could see, there were only three trees on it. "How will we get to it?" he asked.

"We could build a raft?" Ian suggested.

"Good idea, Ian. Why donít we gather up some fallen branches and tie them together. Weíll need rope or vines and a long stick to steer," Mac explained.

"Okay. Iíll get the branches. You go and find some rope and meet me back here as quickly as you can," Ian agreed.

The two raccoons worked quickly. Ian gathered dozens of good-sized branches and laid them out in the wild grass. Mac found a coil of rope stuffed inside a hole in the trunk of a tree. Not caring why it was there, he picked it up and took it to Ian. They spent the next several hours tying the branches together. "Weíd better hurry. It will be dark in a couple of hours," Mac pointed out as they slid the raft into the water. "Hereís the pole for steering." He stuck it into the water and pushed them off. The waves carried them out to sea and soon they were on their way towards the island. Mac set the bottle down on the raft. Whoever sent it would be waiting for them.

It took them ninety minutes or so to reach the island. They jumped off the raft and pulled it onto the beach. "This is a small island. Whoever, or whatever, wrote that note and put it in this bottle," Mac said, holding it up, "will be here somewhere. You go that way and Iíll go this way."

They searched the island from top to bottom and couldnít even find a spider, or a mouse. They were so busy searching that they didnít notice that the tide had come in and carried their raft out to sea. "Mac, thereís nothing here but these three trees," Ian said, exhausted from the search. "They arenít even oak trees. Theyíre pine!"

"Youíre right, Ian. Whoever was here must have found a way off. Letís just head back home then," Mac said. The two walked down towards the beach. An alarm went off in Macís head. "Whereís the raft?" he asked.

"I donít know," Ian replied, his eyes searching up and down the beach.

Just then Mac spotted it bobbing up and down on the waves. "There it is!" he called out. The raft is gone.

"Oh no, what are we to do?" Ian whined.

Mac sat down in the sand. They sat quietly for several hours. Finally Mac noticed that the sun was setting and soon it would be dark. "I think we have only one hope," he muttered. He pulled out the bottle with the note in it. "Iíll have to toss this bottle in and hope it floats to shore and someone finds it, like we did," Mac sighed. He pushed the cork in so that the note wouldnít get wet and then he lifted the bottle as high as he could over his head and threw it into the sea. They both stood and watched as the waves. "The tideís going out so itíll carry it to shore."

It took three days before Cedric, the deer, found the bottle and swam across to rescue them. When they reached shore, Mac announced, "The next time we find a bottle floating in the water, weíre leaving it alone!" Ian agreed. They thanked Cedric and ran as fast as they could to the oak tree. They climbed up high and found a branch filled with autumn leaves and a lot of acorns. "Forget the mussels. Iím happy to have acorns," a hungry Mac said.

"Me too," Ian agreed.

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