The Pranks {a Photostory}

Hello, friends. Here’s a warning for anyone who may have forgotten: the date is April 1st. So watch your back.

Today, my dolls will be acting out some pranks that took place at my co-op one year (my friends and I may or may not have been involved in said pranks). Enjoy. 🙂

The Cup

(Featuring two dolls sloppily dressed as boys.)

(This one may have been exaggerated a bit.)

In the empty classroom, an upside down plastic cup waited on a scuffed table. A note was taped to it, which read, in large, thick letters, DO NOT OPEN. Beneath that was added, . . . unless you are prepared to deal with what is inside.

An ominous feeling settled over the room. The walls seemed to whisper, What’s inside? What’s inside?

A light flickered on, bathing the area in harsh yellow light as the teacher marched to the front of the room. A gaggle of chattering boys and girls surged into the room, grabbing seats and dropping their backpacks to the tile floor.

Once everyone was settled, the teacher, Mrs. Dull — a slight woman with stringy hair and old-fashioned garb — coughed to get their attention.

“Welcome to Logic class. Please get out a notebook and pencil, and take notes about today’s topic: probability,” she droned on in a flat voice. Then her watery blue eyes caught sight of the cup on the table, and she made a tsking noise with her tongue. “Trash! In my classroom! Would you throw it away, dear?” she asked the student closest to the garbage.

Forcing a polite smile, the student lurched to his feet and swept the cup off the table. Moving to the trashcan, he popped the lid, and froze. He had spotted the note. He read it aloud in a puzzled voice, peering into the empty cup.

Suddenly, he whipped around and stared at the boy who was in the seat next to his, eyes wide. He let out a horrified yelp.

“Dude!” he hollered. “It’s on your head!” Rushing to his friend’s side, he began to beat wildly at his head.

A shrill shriek tore from his friend’s lips. Panicking, he slapped himself repeatedly in the face, screaming all the while. “Get it off! Get it off!”

The first boy swiped at his friend and curled his hand into a fist. “Got it!” he exclaimed. Shoving his hand into his friend’s face, he uncurled his fingers to reveal . . .


Students covered their mouths with their hands, snickering. It was a prank, and the boy had fallen for it perfectly. Too bad none of them had recorded it.

The Cookies

(Featuring only one doll dressed as a boy.)

(Much less exaggerated.)

Huddled in a corner of the vacant classroom, I put the finishing touches on my prank. I spooned a dollop of sour cream onto an Oreo cookie, then squished the two sides together. The sour cream oozed out between the cookies. I slipped the prank Oreos into a plastic bag and hurried out of the empty room, searching for a victim.

I spotted a boy leaning against the far wall, deep in thought. Maybe I could get him to taste the Oreos.

I crossed the room and gave him a slight smile. “Want a cookie?” I offered one to him.

After staring at it for a moment, the boy mumbled, “Sure,” and took it from me.

Tentatively, he took a small bite. His face scrunched up in confusion as the flavor of sour cream overwhelmed his senses. Then he shrugged and popped the whole thing into his mouth.

I stared at him in shock. He was actually eating it?!

“It’s not that bad,” he told me, wiping his mouth on his sleeve. “Do you have any more?”

I fished the Oreo-filled plastic bag out of my backpack and handed it to him. “There. You can have all of them.”

Later that day, as I was walking to the next class, the boy jogged up beside me. There was a strange grin on his face.

After a moment, he announced, “I put those cookies in your backpack.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “No, you didn’t. I saw you eating them.”

“Don’t believe me? OK, then. But those cookies are going to be sitting in your bag for an hour, and then it’ll smell like sour cream.”

I tried to tell myself that he was joking. A prank for a prank. But just as I reached my next class, I decided I should probably go check my bag for sour cream Oreos. I sprinted for the door, only to find the boy standing there, grinning and blocking my way. I attempted to skirt around him, but he caught me from behind. Laughing, we pretended to fight: I struggled for the doorway while he strained to keep me in the room. That went on until the teacher started the class, and we raced to our seats.

As soon as the class ended, I dashed to where I had left my backpack. It lay open, with a half-eaten sour cream Oreo stuffed inside.

So that was fun, I guess. I think there’s still some sour cream on the inside of my backpack. I’m not sure, though, since I haven’t used it since last year.

Anyway, happy April Fool’s Day. Hopefully you’ve played some cool pranks on your family today. If not, the day’s not over yet — you’ve still got time. You should check out Samantha’s post “April Fools Pranks 👿” for some good ideas.



Holding on to Hope

GOTY 2016 Lea Clark American Girl

I was taking a walk one warm summer afternoon, with my dog Pete trotting by my side. Deep in thought, memories of my lost family swirled through my mind. The last time I had been with my mom, dad, and my older brother Zac was in . . . January? That sounded right. Mom and Dad took me to Brazil to visit Zac, who was living with some locals in the Amazon as part of his college experience. When our trip was over, my parents decided to stay a little longer and enjoy themselves, on a no-kids vacation. They had put me on a plane back to America, but I had somehow boarded the wrong flight. Instead of landing in St. Louis, Missouri, I had ended up here. Half a year later, I was still waiting for Mom and Dad to find me.

I glanced at Pete. He had a bandage tied around his front leg. When I first found him, the dog had had an awful limp. He still had that limp, but it was getting better.

“Pete,” I asked my pet, “are my parents still looking for me? Or have they given up? Because I’ve almost lost all hope.”


Feet pounded against the asphalt behind me. I turned around and saw her: Elise Larkin, the newest girl in the family.

She waved cheerfully. “Hi, Eve! Hi, Pete!” She matched her stride to mine, walking along beside me. “Mind if I join you?”

I did mind, actually. I wanted to be alone.


“Aww, hey, Pete!” Ellie cooed. Pete bounded over to her, yipping delightedly as she rubbed his ears.

I wanted to leave this place. Yes, I had friends: Tracy and Savannah and MJ and Nevaeh and more. But at that moment, all I really wanted was to be with my family, back home in St. Louis. Or at least for Ellie to go away.


“So, hey, Eve,” Ellie began as we started walking again. “I know we’ve been living together for months, but the weird thing is, I don’t know you very well! I know you’re awesome and adventurous and good at sports and photography, but your past? Nope! I know nothing about that! So would you tell me about your family?”

I froze. “My . . . my family?” It was weird for her to bring that up now, when I’d just been thinking about them.

She nodded. “Yeah. Your family.”

Ellie was the only one who didn’t know about my past. She hadn’t been there in January when I’d shown up at the doorstep and poured out my whole story. There was really no harm in telling her. So I told her a short, to-the-point version of how I’d been separated from my family.


“Aw, man. That’s sad,” she murmured when I had finished.

Sad. I didn’t want people to describe the story of my life with the word sad. Wonderful, brave, an adventure — those are the kinds of things my life should be described as.

“Well, you know, it’s kind of funny, actually.” Ellie was talking again; I was only half listening. “I don’t really know where I come from. All I remember is that I’m from Florida, and then I was just . . . here. At an airport nearby. There was a nice lady there — she looked a little like you, Eve! — and she gave me directions to this place. I haven’t thought about her in awhile. I wonder how she’s doing . . .?”


Hope can make you completely irrational. I suddenly whirled on Ellie and grabbed her shoulders. “What did you say?” I demanded. “About the woman at the airport.”

“Uh, she — she looked like you. A little bit.” Ellie’s voice was unsure now. I felt her trembling beneath my grasp.

I pressed on. “Did she say what she was doing there? Was there anyone with her?”

Ellie looked on the verge of tears. “No!” she squeaked. “She was alone! But she did say that she was looking for someone!”


I released Ellie and collapsed to the ground, feeling deflated. Whimpering, Pete stared at me imploringly, while Ellie stood off to the side, massaging her shoulders.

The woman at the airport . . . she had been searching for someone. Was it my mom? Was she searching for me? And if it was all true, then why hadn’t she found me yet?

“Eve?” Ellie whispered. “Just after I left the airport, there was a loud boom behind me. It might have made the news. Maybe the lady was featured. Do you want to go check?”

I rose unsteadily to my feet. Then I took off like a gunshot, my legs carrying me so fast that Ellie couldn’t keep up.


Back home, we found the laptop sitting on Ivy’s rainbow comforter. I turned it on, brought up a news website, and looked through the archives. When did Ellie arrive? I asked myself. Early March. Look there. I kept hunting through the old stories until I found one that fit the bill. Right time, right location. The date was March 15th, 2016, and it was about a disturbance at a local airport.

A gun was fired in a local airport this evening. Officials say that only one was injured: a middle-aged woman named Melissa Cortez. She was taken to the hospital, where doctors are unsure if she will survive.

The shooter was caught and arrested.

Melissa Cortez has had a tragic life as of late. Her husband Mike and son Zac were killed in an accident in the Amazon rainforest. Her eleven-year-old daughter Eve went missing as of January 23rd, 2016.

UPDATE, 3/16/2016: Melissa Cortez was not able to recover, and passed away at the hospital. Perhaps she will be reunited with her loved ones in death.


I felt numb. I thought my heart had stopped. Mom, Dad, and Zac . . . they had been dead for months, and I hadn’t known it. The world was caving in around me.

I shot a look at Ellie, sitting on the floor with Pete in her lap. I resented her. It was so unbelievably unfair that she had been with my mom on the day she died, and I hadn’t.

Even the sight of Ellie made me angry. Cheerful new-girl Elise Larkin, with her fancy strawberry blonde curls and neat little side bangs.


She was so unafraid to speak her mind. I wished she had just kept her mouth shut and had never told me about meeting my mom at the airport.

Anything — even the false hope that my family was still searching for me — was better than this suffocatingly awful knowledge.


The Mermaids of Murky Pond


Molly McIntire marched down to the pond, muttering to herself. “‘Visit a freshwater lake or pond and identify four animals and plants living there. Take photos of the animals/plants and make a collage which you show to your family, leader, or unit.'”

She had memorized the requirements for American Heritage Girls’ Freshwater and Marine Biology badge. The one she was repeating to herself was the one she was hoping to accomplish that day.

The breeze carried a soft, mesmerizing melody to her ears. Molly rushed down to the pond and clamped her hand over her mouth. She had discovered the source of the music.


In the shallows were two mermaids. One was lounging in the ankle-deep water, her grand sky-blue tail flopping lazily. The other was perched on a rock, running her fingers through her long, wavy, dark brown hair. The pink mermaid on the rock was the one singing.

An amazed, barely audible sound wheezed out of Molly’s mouth. Mermaids.

The mers’ heads snapped in Molly’s direction. The blue one darted behind some aquatic plants, while the pink one cowered behind a boulder.

“I won’t hurt you! Please come back out!” Molly begged desperately. In the past, she’d met sprites, but never mermaids.


Slowly, the pink mermaid poked her head above the boulder. She seemed to think that Molly wasn’t a threat, because she said, “I’m Brisa. Who are you, human?”

“Molly McIntire,” she gasped, overjoyed.

Brisa waved at her blue friend, urging her to emerge from behind the pond plant. “Hello, Molly. What brings you to Murky Pond?”


Molly sat on the rocks next to the mermaids. She could scarcely believe that there were mermaids in the pond — but the fact that they wanted to talk to her was almost too much. She stammered, “I’m, um . . . working on a badge for my s-scouting troop. Freshwater and Marine Biology. I need to take pictures of . . . four animals or plants in a pond.”

“Oh, we can help with that!” chirped the blue one. “I’m Alana, by the way. Brisa, we can help her out, can’t we?”

Brisa nodded. Then she dove into the pond without another word.


“Oh, no!” Molly cried, peering into the muddy water. “Alana, where did she go?”

“Don’t get your tail in a tizzy. She swims off all the time,” Alana explained.

They waited for her to return, occasionally catching a glimpse of Brisa’s watermelon-pink tail streaking across the pond.


A minute later, Brisa popped out of the water. Her pink-streaked hair lay flat against her head, water dripping from the ends. She pointed to the far end of the pond. “Quick, Molly!” she exclaimed. “I stirred up the fish. They’re near the surface. You can get a picture!”

Molly pulled the camera out of her AHG vest’s inside pocket. She scampered over to the fish, who were gulping air bubbles on the surface, and took a picture. She glanced down at her camera screen to view the photograph:



“Perfect, thank you!” Molly beamed. “Now I only need three more pictures.”

“Frog!” Alana squealed, flopping through the shallows after the amphibian. “Don’t you worry,” she panted, “I’ll catch ‘im . . .”

Brisa caught a floating, flower-like plant with the tip of her tail and pushed it toward Molly. “How about this?”

Molly took a picture, just as Alana held a slimy mud-brown frog triumphantly above her head. She photographed that, too, a moment before it squirmed out of Alana’s grasp.


“Just one more picture! What else is there to photograph in this pond?” Molly asked.

The girl and the mermaids sat in silence, thinking. Three minutes had passed before Alana edged over to Brisa and whispered something to her. A shocked expression flashed over her face, but Alana stared at her pleadingly. Reluctantly, Brisa sighed and nodded.

Alana faced Molly and suggested hesitantly, “How about us?”

Molly’s jaw dropped. “You?” she spluttered. “But — but what if someone finds out that you live in my pond? What if they come and take you away? What if –“


“It’s OK!” Alana urged. “We want to help you. If anyone finds out that we’re here, run to tell us and we’ll move on. Somehow,” she said with a small smile.

Molly took a deep breath. “Thank you so much,” she gushed. “Thank you, thank you!”

Brisa and Alana posed, and the camera clicked.

Molly thanked them again, waved, and headed back to the house. She looked at the picture on the camera’s screen and smiled.



Isabelle’s Vlogging Dilemma


“Hi, girls, Sleeping Beauty here!” I grinned into the phone that I’d borrowed from Tracy. (Well, maybe “borrowed” isn’t the best word for it. My older sister didn’t really know that I was using her phone.) I was making a video for my YouTube channel. “Before we get started with today’s video, just look at these cute boots! I got them for Christmas.” I titled the iPhone so that the camera was aimed at my feet. The boots were tan with fringes, and there was a strip of Aztec patterned fabric around the top.

“Anyway, I want you guys to meet my family. So let me just find someone to talk to . . .” I spun in a circle, looking around for one of my sisters.


Nevaeh was walking down the hall. Her Siamese cat, Lyric, rubbed against her legs and purred. I angled the camera at Nevaeh and waved. “Hey, T Swift!” To the camera, I said, “This is one of my sisters, she’s twelve, and totally amaze at playing the guitar. T Swift, would you play a song on your guitar for me? I’m trying to make a video for my YouTube channel.”

Nevaeh snorted in disbelief. “Iz –“

“Sleeping Beauty!” I interjected. “That’s my, um, screen name.”


She rolled her eyes. “Right, Sleeping Beauty. You have a YouTube channel?” Nevaeh scooped up her cat and cuddled her in her arms.

I nodded happily. “Yep! I post, like, makeup tutorials, dance routines, fashion help, Saigie guest stars sometimes . . .”

Nevaeh continued down the hallway. “Well, sorry, but I’m helping Poison Ivy.” She seemed to have caught onto my nicknames-as-screen names idea. “She wants to take pictures of Lyric. I said I’d help her.” Nevaeh stroked her cat’s head and brushed past me.


“Oh, that’s OK!” I trotted down the hall after her. “I’ll just wait for you to finish. Ooh, and I can ask Poison Ivy to give my viewers some tips on photography!”

Nevaeh sighed heavily. “Uh, I don’t think that’s a good idea. Poison Ivy just wants some pictures. She’s not prepared to give a lecture on photography . . .”

The front door creaked open. Eve had left the house to go adventuring several hours ago; she must have returned. Nevaeh let go of Lyric and raced toward the door.


Eve was standing beside it, taking off her coat. Nevaeh rushed up to her and pleaded in a whisper, “Please get me out of here!”

Though she was trying to speak softly, I still heard her.

Eve clearly had no idea what was going on, and why Nevaeh was desperate to get away from me (I really didn’t know, either). But she took Nevaeh’s side and announced loudly, “Oh, no — I think I left my watch in the forest! Nevaeh, would you help me find it?”

Before they could scamper out the door, I pointed at Eve’s wrist. “Um, your watch is right there, Cricket.”

She smacked her forehead gently. “Wow, would you look at that! So it is. I can be so stupid . . .”


Eve turned to Nevaeh. “Hey, want to go watch a movie? Finding Dory is playing today.”

Nevaeh smiled and let out a relieved sigh. She grabbed her purse from a hook on the wall while Eve shrugged into her denim coat. “That sounds great,” she said.

Finding Dory? I’d been waiting for that movie to come out for years! “Awesome!” I exclaimed. “I’ll come with you; I can buy the popcorn. And after the movie, you guys can help me vlog a review!”


From the collection of purses hanging on the wall, I picked a handmade leather one. To the camera on Tracy’s phone, I explained, “I can’t seem to find my favorite gold purse, so this leather one will have to do instead. It’s still pretty cute!”

Before I could follow Nevaeh and Eve to the movie theater, they slipped out the door and closed it behind them.

“Sorry!” came Nevaeh’s voice from outside. “But this a sister bonding thing.”

Then they were gone.


I slumped against the door and fought back tears. Why did no one want to be with me? I was just trying to make one stinking YouTube video.

“So here I am, without a good vlog, alone,” I muttered dejectedly to the camera. I blew a halfhearted kiss, the way I ended all of my videos. “Sleeping Beauty out.”



Also, probably, how annoyed my family and friends get when I shout “I’m going to blog about this!” whenever something cool happens.


Serpents — Episode Six

Part one, two, three, four, and five.


Serpents | Happy House of AG

Xena’s mouth was hanging open, and she stared at me, dumbfounded. I waved my hand in front of her shocked face, but she didn’t respond, so I slipped into the tent to get dressed.

As I shimmied out of the dirty clothes that I’d slept in, I could hear Xena pacing in front of the tent. There was the snapping sound of an elastic smacking against hair. Xena was playing absently with her red tresses, like she often did when she was upset.

What did I do to make her so angry? I wondered as I pulled on a gray hoodie to ward off the early-morning chill.

Serpents | Happy House of AG

Fully dressed, I stepped out of the tent, and was instantly met by Xena’s hand slapping against my cheek. I yelped and touched the stinging spot of skin. “What was that for?” I cried.

“To knock some sense into you,” Xena growled, shaking me by my shoulders. “‘Who is Claire?’ She’s your best friend! She’s my best friend! We need to save her!”

I brushed her hands off my shoulders. “Sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about . . .”

Xena looked on the verge of tears. She murmured, “Mrs. Atkins, the Fairfaxes, and now you? Why does everyone keep forgetting?”

After a minute of uncomfortable silence, Xena blurted, “Where did you get that necklace, Steph?” She tapped the compass dangling on a cord around my neck.

Serpents | Happy House of AG

I grabbed the pendant and fingered it. I hadn’t noticed the necklace until Xena had pointed it out — how weird. “Um . . . a friend gave it to me?” I wasn’t exactly sure how I’d come to own the necklace, but looking at it made me strangely sad. “I don’t know.”

Xena slapped me again, and I shouted.

“Stephanie. That necklace belongs to Claire Fairfax. She’s missing. The compass can lead us to her. Please concentrate — you need to remember!”

My cheek still throbbing, I closed my eyes, and Xena started describing someone to me: long, curly, white-blonde hair; aqua eyes; a soft, understanding voice; a sharp mind. A vague picture was forming in my head.

Serpents | Happy House of AG

“Claire!” I shouted.

I collapsed on the ground next to the tent as memories came rushing back. I felt so ashamed; how could I have forgotten Claire? She was the reason I was out here. I aimed a grim smile at Xena and whispered, “Thanks for slapping me.”

My friend prepared a cup of tea and an energy bar for me to eat while I tugged on my boots.

Serpents | Happy House of AG

My breakfast was gone in a blink, and I brushed my teeth as Xena started packing up camp. She hadn’t gotten far when she yelled “Blast!” and started kicking her hiking boots around in the dirt.

“What?” I asked, toothpaste foam spewing out of my mouth.

“The bag the tent goes in is gone. It was pretty windy last night, so it probably blew away. I’m glad that nothing else is gone, but now there’s no way to carry the tent!” she exclaimed. “We’ll have to leave it here. Mama will be so angry if we come back with no tent . . .”

When I was done brushing my teeth, I helped Xena stuff our sleeping bags into our backpacks.

Serpents | Happy House of AG

I checked the compass to see which direction we needed to go in to find Claire, and we headed deeper into the forest.

* * *

Using Claire’s compass to track her down somehow drained our energy, so Xena and I traded it back and forth as the day wore on.

By lunchtime, we were hot and hungry, and it didn’t help matters that it felt like we were going in circles.

Serpents | Happy House of AG

Eventually, with Xena in charge of the compass, we left the forest and found ourselves on a quiet road. Xena consulted the necklace and pointed at a large brick house on the end of the street. “There.”

That’s where Claire was being held prisoner? Call me dramatic, but I had envisioned having to break into a castle with a crocodile-filled moat in order to save her.

We marched up the drive to the house.

Serpents | Happy House of AG

Before we could come up with a brilliant plan to rescue Claire, Xena knocked on the door with a steeled expression. It swung open a moment later to reveal two people: a redheaded woman dressed in pajamas, and a man in work clothes.

These were the people who were guarding Claire? In their late thirties, with kind blue eyes, they didn’t look like security.

“Hello,” greeted the woman. Her cheeks were flushed; she was clearly embarrassed to be seen in her nightclothes. “Can I help you girls?”

Serpents | Happy House of AG

Straight-forward as always, but with an odd tremble in her voice, Xena asked, “Did you ever put a child up for adoption? Maybe a girl named Xena.”

The woman, the man behind her, and I all gasped at the same time.

“How . . . how do you know about that?” the lady demanded, tears brimming in her eyes.

Serpents | Happy House of AG

“My name is Xena Fletcher,” my friend said coolly. “Thank you for your help.” She turned on her heel and ran down the street, leaving the stunned husband and wife standing in the doorway.

I sprinted after her, shouting her name. I caught up with Xena on the other end of the street, snagging her arm and forcing her to face me. “What . . . what was that about?”

Serpents | Happy House of AG

Xena was blinking furiously. “Stephanie — have you ever noticed that I look nothing like my parents?”

I nodded slowly. Of course I’d noticed — I’d just never bothered to wonder why.

“My mom is Chinese,” she continued, her voice thick. “My dad has blond hair. I look nothing like them. In the back of my mind, there’s always been a nagging little voice whispering to me that I don’t belong in my family . I never wanted to believe it. But now . . .” She fingered Claire’s necklace. “This compass points to your heart’s desire. I wanted to find my birth family.” She laughed a bitter, sad, hollow laugh. “And to think — all these years, they were in the town just on the other side of the woods.”

I didn’t know what to say.

“Maybe you should lead, Steph,” Xena said, and passed me the compass.


Update on my doll camp: instead of doing a sports theme, I’m going to do “Summer Days” — fancy speak for “General Summer Stuff.” I made this camp, I can change my theme if I want to. 😉


Mini Rebecca Rubin the First and Her Sidekick Kelsie Return

Ever After High dolls

It was a sweltering summer day — the first day of summer vacation. And, surprisingly enough, I was bored.

Naturally, I turned to my friend Aciana for entertainment. But her owner, a fashion-obsessed doll named Saige Copeland, had plans in store for Aciana: a day full of trying on clothes and experimenting with new hairstyles. Aciana had kindly asked me if I’d like to come with her (“I’m sure Señorita Saige would love another model”), but that sounded dreadful. I’d politely turned her down (“Ew, no way, Jose!”).

I decided to find my sidekick Kelise. She would go adventuring with me.

I searched for her all over the house, and eventually found her outside, sitting with the Ever After Highs. The teenagers were lounging about in the shade and gossiping, while Kelsie looked on, excluded but content to be close to them.

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

I motioned her over. “Hey, Kelsie, want to explore with me?”

She grinned brightly. “Ooh, I’d love that!” She turned to wave at the EAHs. “Goodbye!”

Giggling, they blew kisses to Kelsie before returning to their conversation. We set off into the relentless heat, searching for trouble — or at least another spot of shade.

It didn’t take very long to find an adventure.

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

Right next to the house, where there used to be a sprawling green lawn, was a deep, gaping pit in the ground.

Kelsie and I ran over to check it out, plopping down at the edge of the hole. Looking down into it made me slightly dizzy.

We glanced at each other and grinned. We’d found our adventure.

There was an area on the other side of the pit that sloped downward more gently. If we could reach it, we’d be able to climb into the hole.

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

“Come on, Kelsie,” I urged, scrambling up a rockslide next to us. “Let’s get going!”

The chunks of dirt poked my bare feet as I dragged myself up the incline. Handholds crumbled away. Kelsie, who was having a hard time, grabbed onto my hand.

I was sweating by the time I reached the top of the hill. Exploring was exhausting!

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

It took us nearly half an hour to reach the peak above our destination. I just wanted to lie down and take a nap; that’s how tired I was. But Kelsie had other plans.

She scampered to the edge of the cliff and peered down into the pit. “We’re almost there, Becca!” she sang, leaning farther forward.

“Yeah,” I puffed, wiping my brow.

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

Suddenly, the hard-packed dirt Kelsie was leaning against gave way. With a shriek, she tumbled forward, rolling down the hill head-over-heels.

“Kelsie! My sidekick!” I gasped. I rushed to the edge of the cliff and watched in horror as she bounced down the slope. “Hold on, I’m coming!”

I picked my way down as quickly as I could.

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

Kelsie had come to rest at the bottom of the hill amidst clumps of rock and stone. She was lying on her face, motionless.

I collapsed on the ground next to her. “Get up, loser . . .” I prodded her arm urgently.

A moment later, she groaned and rolled onto her back. Her knees, elbows, and face were a bit scuffed up, but overall, she was fine. I scolded her about safety to cover up the fact that she had scared me half to death.

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

Once my lecture was over, I took Kelsie by the hand, and we hiked into the pit. Orange-ish cliffs rose up around us. Soft, uneven ground stretched out in every direction.

“So we’re here,” I muttered. “Now what?”

Kelsie pointed in front of us and a little to the right. “What’s that?”

I shrugged. “Let’s check it out.”

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

We sprinted over to it. A deep, circular hole was cut straight into the ground.

“Ooh, we should go down there!” I suggested.

Kelsie crawled up to the drop off, gazing down into the hole.

“Careful, Kelsie,” I cautioned. We didn’t want a repeat of the rockslide incident!

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

Of course, she didn’t heed my warning. The dirt beneath her shuddered and crumbled, and she keeled over into the abyss.

But I was prepared. My hand shot forward and clamped around her ankle. “Kelsie!”

She flailed about, sobbing, and swung into the side of the hole, getting a mouthful of dirt.

With almost superhuman strength, I hauled her up over the edge. She buried her dirty, tear-streaked face into my shoulder and cried.

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

She got over her near-death experience fairly quickly, and we set off to find a way into the hole. After poking around for a bit, I found a long, sturdy stick. I stood at the edge of the pit and jabbed the end of the stick into the soft dirt below. I wobbled it back and forth; it was fairly secure.

“Wait here,” I ordered Kelsie, wrapping my legs around the stick and inching down it. “I’ll help you once I’m down there.”

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

I landed in the mud below with a squelch. “OK, come down!” I called up to the sidekick. “Just grab the stick with both hands . . . wrap your legs around it . . . edge your way down . . . good, good . . .”

“Eep!” She was halfway down when the stick shifted. She fell off and landed in my arms.

“Was that too bad?” I asked, setting her down.

Shaking her head, Kelsie stomped in the mud, giggling at the sucking sounds it made.

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

“Whoa . . .,” I breathed as I spotted something in the mud.

A dent.

A huge, foot-shaped dent.

The huge, foot-shaped dent of a human.

Humans were trouble. They could step on you without realizing, and not care at all as you laid dying beneath their great big smelly foot. If the human that made the track returned, Kelsie and I would be toast. And as much as I loved adventures, I didn’t fancy dying while on one.

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

“Kelsie, we need to go,” I announced forcefully. When she didn’t respond, I picked her up and stuck her on the stick. She climbed reluctantly.

“Kelsie, hurry up!” I snapped.

“W-why?” she inquired innocently, not going any faster.

I pointed back at the mud. “You see that track? It belongs to a human. They’re enormous, mini-doll trampling beasts. It might come back, so we need to get a move on!”

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

We hurried out of the hole and scaled the cliffs swiftly.

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll and Barbie doll Chelsea

We scrambled up the rockslide Kelsie had tumbled down earlier.

American Girl Mini Rebecca doll

In under twenty minutes, we had escaped the pit.

I stood on the grass beside the first hill, breathing hard. “Kelsie — we’re safe –” I panted. I turned to smile at her . . . but she was gone. “Kelsie?” I shouted.

She must have fallen behind when I wasn’t paying attention. But where had she scampered off to?

 Barbie doll Chelsea Happy House of AG

I yelled her name again and heard a giggle. I rushed to the edge of the pit and caught my breath. She was down in the hole with the human footprint, singing to herself and playing in the mud.

“Kelsie!” I screamed.

She glanced up at me, waved, and returned to dancing in the goop.

I held my head, pacing back and forth. It would take me close to an hour to trek back into the pit and drag her out. The human would surely stumble by in the time.

I raced off toward the house. I needed a hero. I needed Tracy.

Happy House of AG

I dashed through the house until I reached the lime green room on the second floor. It was the one my owner, Tracy, shared with her adopted sister Savannah Kingsley. Tracy was reclining on her bed with her iPhone, oblivious to the danger Kelsie was in.

“Help! Help!” I begged, rushing up to her bed. “Tracy, you’ve got to help . . .” I poured out the whole story and stared at her beseechingly.

Happy House of AG

Groaning, my owner tucked her phone into her pocket and stood up. She perched me on her shoulder and trudged out of the room. Her dog, a chocolate lab appropriately named Chocolate Chip, stirred from his nap and followed us out.

“Ugh, I can’t believe I’m doing this,” Tracy muttered. “This is summer vacation — I’m supposed to be lazy, not rescue annoying mini dolls . . .”

Happy House of AG

Soon, we arrived at the edge of the pit in the lawn.

“See? She’s down there! She needs help!” I squeaked in Tracy’s ear. To Kelsie, I shouted, “Just a minute longer, soldier, help is on the way!”

Tracy sighed and put me on the ground next to Chocolate Chip. “Stay here,” she told both of us, and jumped down into the pit.

I perched on top of Chocolate Chip’s head to get a better view.


Tracy had just reached Kelsie when the ground started to shake. Gigantic, pale legs appeared, and a terrible voice from the sky asked, “What are you doing in the pond?”

Pond? I wondered, gazing up the terrifying human. She must have been talking about the pit in the ground. But it wasn’t a pond. Ponds are filled with water a lily pads and little fish, and this was just a hole.

“Well? What are you doing in the pond?” the human repeated.

Happy House of AG

Tracy’s voice came from the hole. “Hey, Mom . . . Uh, my doll said her friend had gotten stuck in here. She wanted me to help her out. But, as you can tell, I have Rebecca’s friend” — she held up Kelsie so that the human, “Mom,” could see — “so we’ll go.”

Kelsie squealed, “Heeeeelp, it’s an enormous, mini-doll trampling beast!”

Happy House of AG

The human picked Tracy up and deposited her on the grass next to me and Chip. I was shaking. What would she do to us?

“I’m glad that you got outside, Tracy, but I’d like it if you stayed away from the pond for now. It’s not exactly safe for people your height,” the human said with a slight grin. “Head inside and clean up your feet, girls — they’re covered in mud!” And she stomped away, each footfall making the earth tremble.

Happy House of AG

We hurried inside, and Tracy fetched some wet paper towels for us to clean up with. She leaned against the wall and started texting someone as we wiped the mud off of the floor and ourselves.

It wasn’t too bad of a day, I thought to myself, picking a stray clump of dried mud from my frizzy curls. I’d had an adventure with one of my best friends, spent some time with my neglectful owner, and even met a human!

If the rest of summer was like this, it would be the best one ever.

-Mini Rebecca Rubin the First