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Elephant Summer
Only three weeks had passed since I had arrived in Africa with my two best friends, Jackie Cooper and Smiley O'Dell. We had left our small town of GeorgeAnn, Texas, to spend the summer with my Uncle Keeno in the jungles of Kenya. As an archeologist, it was his job to explore the region for clues of pre-historic man. For Jackie, Smiley, and me, it was just supposed to be a lot of fun. Now, we were running for our very lives! With others from the camp, we hung to the trail as it wound along the riverbank and over grassy knolls on the outskirts of the village. Jackie was about the fastest girl in our class and Smiley had always been able to run like a deer. I knew they were holding back, waiting on the rest of us who were struggling to keep up. I was gasping for air, trying to concentrate on my legs, to keep them moving. I didn't want to think about what might happen if I slipped and fell. My tennis shoes were almost brand new and I could feel the strong rubber soles grabbing into the soft earth with each step. Just ahead, in the moonlight, I could see Jackie's long, blonde ponytail dancing back and forth on her shoulders. Directly behind, Smiley poked me in the back with his finger, urging me to run faster.