Charlie was indestructible, at least in his own eyes, and he couldn’t keep it out of his mind, it attracted him like a magnet. It was Henry’s fort, an old abandoned fortress wedged up high in an old Elm on the property that lay just outside their backyard. He remembered the very first time he saw it, and even then he was in complete awe of it. His quest was to take the fort over, and nothing could keep him from it, nothing but his mom. Her warnings resounded in his ears even then, as he stood looking up at it from a distance. “Charlie Benjamin, you are not to ever try climbin’ up that tree, it is dangerous.” His parents had even built him his own fort, but he was already tired of it, and now he longed for Henry’s fort again.
Mr. Henry would not take the fort down, it was his childhood fort, and he couldn’t bear to part with it. Charlie was glad he didn’t destroy it too, because one day, Henry’s fort would be Charlie’s fort.
As he contemplated making a run for it, he knew his older sister was one to be reckoned with, because she would surely give him away. She was no fun whatsoever, and had put a damper on his adventurous pursuits many times before. This day would be the day of victory. Mother was busy inside baking cakes for church, dad was at work, and Jessica was nowhere to be seen.
He flew like the wind. His heart was racing as fast as his feet were running, until he finally reached his treasure; there it was, a juvenile’s delight.
He looked up at it, and realized from the new vantage point, it was actually pretty high up there and would be quite a climb. He recalled the words, ’….it is dangerous’, and for a moment he almost backed off, but the inviting ladder was beckoning him up.
When he reached the top, it was all that he thought it would be and more. In his young eyes, he was on top of the world. The door was slightly ajar, but he heard something inside scurrying about. Not sure what it was, he quickly shut the door. The creature was now trying to claw its way out. Charlie was in a predicament, If he opened the door, whatever was in there might pounce on him, and it did sound really mad! If he tried to climb back down, it might run after him. He wondered where Jessica was when he really needed her. So he stood there for the longest time holding the door as tight as he could.
“Charlie, where are you?”
It was Jessica, he yelled back as loud as he could, “I’m up here!”
Soon, she was at the foot of the tree looking up at him. “You are going to get into so much trouble. What is wrong with you?”
“Don’t scold me now, I really need your help. There’s some kind of ferocious animal inside and I can’t open the door or it will get me.”
“You’re in quite a predicament, aren’t you? I doubt very seriously that it is ferocious, but it could have rabies or something worse. It’s probably a squirrel or something. Do you have that ball of rope you always carry with you?”
He looked in his pocket and answered, “Yes, here it is.”
“Ok, you’ll have to work with one hand, and find a way to tie that door shut?”
He looked it over and figured out how to tie it shut and then he scrambled down in a flash.
He hugged his sister as tight as he could, and asked her if she was going to tell on him. She replied that it would be for his own good if she did, because he should be held accountable for not listening to the voice of reason. He was sad at the answer, but glad she had saved him that day.
After that day, Charlie never gave Henry’s fort another look, but has been more than happy playing in his own fort in his own back yard. His dad had built it just right. It was not so high up, and it was solid enough to keep out all ferocious animals.
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