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