Estimated read aloud time: 4 minutes.
(Have you read Chapter 6, part 1: Downtheback yet? If not, we recommend starting this adventure there.)
Flapjax dove into the brush on the side of the woodchip path, narrowly avoiding another whooshing arrow.
How could he rescue Libby? He couldn’t even stand up without getting an arrow shot at his stuffing.
Flapjax belly-crawled along the path, ignoring the woodchip splinters and bugs along the way. He was no longer afraid of all the creepy crawly creatures that lurked under every leaf. He had more important things to think about, like rescuing Libby. Flapjax made it to safety behind a big, fallen tree trunk and paused to catch his breath and think.
Flapjax peered out from behind the tree trunk. The neighbor boys were using a big wooden plank to cross a rushing stream to an island on the other side. Once they made it across, they pulled the plank bridge back with them, out of the reach of any paws.
Flapjax was mad. They couldn’t take his best friend, not without a fierce Flapjax following in their tracks! He was a bear after all, and bears were expert trackers…
But first, he needed ammunition of his own. He searched the ground for a good branch, and he found it in a pile of old, wet leaves. It was nice and bendy, perfect for a bow. Then he picked a bunch of loose twigs and put them in his pack. Bow and arrows, check!
He also needed camouflage, otherwise the neighbor boys would easily spot his bright white fur. Flapjax grabbed a handful of mud and ran his dirty paws across his face and tummy and down both arms. Then he tied together clusters of ivy and stuck them on top of his ears for a finishing touch. Camouflage, check!
Flapjax stole a look at his reflection in a little pond beside the path. He looked pretty intimidating, if you asked him.
Next, he needed to find a way across the stream to the island.
Flapjax paced the land at the water’s edge, looking all around for a good crossing. The water was deep. He wouldn’t make it across the rushing water without getting swept away…
He walked a little further into Downtheback until he came to set of rusty, old train tracks that led over a big wooden bridge directly to the island on the other side.
Flapjax scrambled up a rocky slope to the tracks and paused, listening for a train. It was silent. He stepped cautiously up onto one of the smooth, iron rails and began to tip-toe his way across, arms spread out wide for balance. It took a long time. Flapjax tried very hard to not look down at the rushing water beneath the wooden bridge beams (he definitely peeked a time or two, and regretted it when his tummy started to swirl).
All of a sudden, a whistle wailed in the distance, and the iron beneath Flapjax’s feet began to vibrate. Flapjax quickened his pace. He turned around and saw the train speeding along as the whistle continued to blow.
Flapjax ran as quickly as he could down the railroad tracks, eyes focused on the other side of the bridge. The train was approaching with more speed than Flapjax had in his feet, and he really didn’t want to get flattened.
Just as the train was gaining on Flapjax, he made it to the other side of the bridge and launched himself off of the tracks. He tumbled ungracefully down a steep hill of rocks, grateful that stuffed bears didn’t bruise. He had made it, but there was no time for celebrations…he needed to find Libby!
Come back next week to finish this adventure!