(Note: This story was written for school with a target audience of approximately 11.)
Lucy ran down the bank as fast as her legs could carry her. Flowers poked up from the ground in every direction, sloping down toward a burbling creek. At the water’s edge, pebbles replaced the usual dirt of the meadow. They soon made way to river stones and fast-moving water.
Lucy giggled as she splashed around. Her light yellow dress was soaked. Brown pigtails clung to her neck.
“Lucy,” came a voice. Bubbles rose in the creek. A woman’s face appeared just below the surface. The outline of a blue gown showed around her.
“Maratha!” Lucy squealed. She stopped playing in the water at once.
“Having fun?” asked Maratha.
Lucy nodded. “Lots.”
“Good,” said Maratha. “Do you want to go on a hunt with me?”
Lucy looked scared. “A hunt! For bunnies? For stags? I can’t hunt an animal!”
Maratha’s forehead crinkled. “No, not for animals, for pebbles.”
“Oh!” Lucy cried. “But there are pebbles all over.”
Maratha’s smile widened. “I’m not looking for just any pebble. I’m searching for a rainbow pebble. I’ve only ever seen one rainbow pebble in the entire creek, but I hear there are many downstream.”
“I’ll go, I’ll go,” said Lucy, jumping up and down. “Lead me there.”
Maratha’s face disappeared, then reappeared a few paces down the creek. Lucy skipped along the bank to follow.
The grass beside the water looked like it went on for miles before dropping into a misty valley. Maratha swam until the creek turned into a small waterfall, droplets flying up onto Lucy’s pale, sweat-covered face. There, she had to flatten herself on the bottom and inch slowly down the fall.
Lucy sat down at the foot of the waterfall. “Can we rest awhile?” Lucy asked.
Maratha nodded. “I’m sorry. I forgot that we’ve gone a long way for a little girl.”
“That’s okay, Maratha,” Lucy said, breathing heavy. “Just let me smooth out my dress and catch my breath.” She ran her hands down the folds of her dress. Suddenly, she stopped. Her finger wiggled inside a hole over her tummy. Lucy began to cry.
“Why are you crying?” asked Maratha.
“I tore my dress,” Lucy sobbed. “Mama and Papa won’t be very happy.”