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Picture Book
Chasing Seagulls

"Come back here, seagull," Mackenzie Sinclair called out as the white and gray bird flew towards the sea. "Come back," he cried again. He ran as fast as he could, through the heather and sea grasses until the came to the beach. Mackenzie watched sadly as the bird flew off towards the horizon.

Mackenzie looked down at the beach. It wasnít a sandy beach. Instead it was covered with small pebbles, shiny and wave beaten. The rough sea pounded against the stones and roared in Mackenzieís ears. He walked onto the beach and started looking for seashells, driftwood, and bits of flotsam that had washed up.

At first he found a bright orange plastic buoy that had been torn from a fishing net. He was going to carry it home but it was too big. It was tossed back into the water and it bobbed up and down on the waves. A few pieces of smoothed and polished glass, bits of shells and even some seaweed were placed in his pocket. One piece of driftwood was lying against a large rock, so Mackenzie picked it up and carried. He turned and looked back and hadnít realized heíd walked so far. He was lost.

Mackenzie didnít know which way to go. Should he walk back along the beach? If he did, would he remember where he came onto it in the first place? Confused and a little afraid, he started running away from the pebbly beach up into the grasses again. He ran for a long time. "Why did I follow that seagull?" he pouted.

Up ahead was a castle. It was ancient, crumbling and time worn. Mackenzie had never seen it before so he didnít dare go exploring it. Besides, he just wanted to get home. Soon he came upon a river. It ran into the sea. Mackenzie stood on its banks and looked into it. He saw some salmon and trout swimming upstream. Not sure of what else to do, he followed the river.

A few deer went prancing by. Mackenzie was excited. They were red deer and one had huge antlers. His grandfather had a rack of deer horns just like that on his wall. He passed by a flock of wooly sheep. Their wool was all different colors of browns, grays and creamy whites. Mackenzie looked down at the jumper he was wearing. It was made from wool and looked the same color as one of the sheep. They went baa and ran away from him as he walked by.

Further up the river three highland cattle were grazing. Mackenzie loved to watch highland cattle. They had long horns that stuck out from the side. Their hair was rusty colored and shaggy. One had hair so long that it hung to the ground and Mackenzie couldnít even see its eyes. They were friendly cattle and allowed him to pet their rope-like hair.

Mackenzie noticed that the sun was starting to go down. The air was getting colder and his fingers were getting stiff. He still didnít know where he was. All he knew was that he was horribly lost. There was a fallen tree lying off to the side of the river. Mackenzie walked over to it. He sat down and began to cry. "Whereís my home?" he wailed. "I donít want to be lost anymore. I want to go home." He sobbed out loud.

A wren flew down and landed on the tree next to him. It tipped its head back and forth, wondering what all the noise was. Mackenzie looked at the bird, rubbing the tears from his face with his sleeve. Suddenly it took off. "Iím not following you," Mackenzie called to it. "I got lost following a seagull." The bird flew away.

As he walked aimlessly through the heather-covered hills, he came to a waterfall. It was loud and splashed into a deep river. Mackenzie knew it must be the same river heíd walked beside earlier. Just then he heard, "Mackenzie. Where are you? Mackenzie Sinclair. Where are you?"

It was his father. "Iím here, father. Iím here," he screamed, waving his arms about. He saw his father coming on a big brown horse and ran towards him, crying and relieved.

"There you are, Mackenzie. Your mum and I have been worried about you," his father said, happy to have found his son. "Climb on the back of old Bessie here and weíll go home."

Mackenzie got up on Bessieís back and climbed up on his fatherís shoulders. He didnít say a word. He was so happy to see him and so happy to be going home. Bessie carried them back down the river a ways, where it wasnít so deep. They started walking across it. Mackenzie saw several men and boys sitting along the banks, fishing poles dangling in the flowing water. "Oy. You found Mackenzie," one called to his father. "Lad, you had your father worried sick. You ought not be wandering about alone in the highlands," he added.

Mackenzie whispered, "I wonít anymore," and squeezed his father tighter. The horse trudged out the opposite side of the river. The men all waved so long to Mackenzie and his father and they headed for home.

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