Campground Raiders

story & illustration © 2001 Bruce Van Patter

"R
accoons," said Jon. "It's gotta be raccoons."
Jennie didn't think so. The yellow crumbs on the picnic table were all that was left of the bag of lemon cookies, and something had taken them. But she knew: raccoons steal at night. This was the middle of the afternoon, and she and her brother had just come back to our campsite from swimming in the lake. Besides, she thought while searching the screen tent that surrounded the table, raccoons don't do zippers.
"Aha!" she said, pointing to a hole in the screen. "That's where our thief came in."

They looked at the hole. A six-inch square had neatly been cut out and laid on the ground. Jon frowned. "Whatya think -- a raccoon with scissors?" he jeered.

Jennie was just thinking of something smart to say back when she saw a spot of yellow on the leafy ground part way up the hill behind their site. She ran over, Jon stumbling after her. It was a crumb. "Come on," she pointed. "Over that hill."

Breathless, they reached the peak and looked down on a private campsite.

"So what?" sneered Jon. "Just a camper. Except for that satellite dish, it's just a beat-up silver camper like we used to pull behind our car."

But Jennie didn't think so. That satellite dish looked very weird. Just then, the door opened and a strange creature stepped out. It lifted its arms to them and made a wailing sound. Jon started to back away, but Jennie grabbed him. "Come on," she said. "It needs our help!"


It's Your Story - Beam me up an ending, Scotty! There's a lot left to figure out...

What is the alien doing in the campground? Is it in trouble? Is it lost? Is that camper its spaceship? Can you write an ending where Jennie and Jon help it get back into space? And... will this adventure be intense or in tents?

Have fun -- finish the story -- and be creative! Hey, email me your ending!

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