“Wait a minute! You’re going too fast!” Kate followed Darlene down a path she had not seen before. She stretched her neck and stubby legs as far as she could. Concentrating on speed, the descent into the ditch surprised her. She slowed on the wet rocks when she saw where they were headed.
She’d avoided this edge of the woods because of the awful whooshing noises. Her Uncle Harold had been smashed flat, an ugly, gruesome mess his shell could not prevent. Her neck retracted some with that awful remembrance. “Darlene, Mama said to stay away from the road. Terrible things happen here.”
Her friend kept on walking around a curve in the ditch. “It’s okay, silly. Look! The great big super-noisy machines that were here just before the last big rainstorm did this.”
The ditch now went under the road! They walked through the smooth-rock tube and came out the other side as safe as could be. Climbing up the ditch, she looked around at this side of the woods. Then she looked at the dreaded road. Oh no!
“Darlene, over there! That’s Daddy at the side of the road!” Her Dad was going to cross the road to find her! The path back was too long, how could she show him a safe way across?
Her Dad started across the road, his neck stretched out very far.
Kate went to her side of the road and a big noisy car rushed by. She panicked, then withdrew her head to see her Dad was okay, his head slowly emerging from his own shell. He resumed trudging deliberately across the road.
Another big noisy came, very loud and slow. Kate trembled as it crept toward her Dad. The big green noisy stopped very close to him. A two-legged animal, a human, got out and picked up her Dad. The human set her Dad down on Kate’s side and went away.
His head raised very high when he saw her. “Kate, I told you not to cross the road!”
“Dad! Let me show you the safe way across!”