I grabbed Jeremiah’s hand and pulled him along as we crept across the back of the dark sanctuary. He clutched Mr. Howard in his other hand. At least the bear wasn’t afraid of the dark. The swinging doors were closed, but light glowed around the edges. I pushed the door open, cringing at the loud squeak.
“Any piwates?” Jeremiah whispered loudly.
“No pirates.” I whispered back, pushing the door open further. Still holding hands we ran out of the door and toward the Sunday School wing.
“Walking feet!” Mom’s command stopped us both. I started to tip toe.
“We’re spies,” I said to Jeremiah, releasing his hand. "Spies are quiet." He followed me down the hall. I stopped at the first door, held up my hand, and waited for Jeremiah to stop beside me. I peeked in the doorway. Jeremiah and Mr. Howard peek in too. The room was empty. Satisfied, I moved on.
Little Matty was playing on the floor in the next room. He squealed when he saw me and stood up on his wobbly legs. I pulled Jeremiah away from the door.
“Is he a piwate, Sawa?”
“Just a bother. Let’s go.” The rest of the rooms down the hall were empty and this game was getting boring. At the end of the hall was a glass door that Mom wouldn’t let me open. Maybe I could get Jeremiah to do it.
He was too short to reach the handle and Mr. Howard wasn’t strong enough. I really wanted to know where those steps lead to. I reached up on tip toe and grabbed the handle, but the door was too heavy to move. Suddenly I heard footsteps on the other coming up the steps.
“Pirates.” I yelled, grabbing Jeremiah’s hand and rushing down the long hall. Little Matty toddled toward us. I moved to one side, Jeremiah to the other, as we ran past my little brother. Our joined hands caught Matty on the neck as we rushed past. I didn’t want to stop. The pirates were after us and Mom was just coming around the corner with her cleaning supplies in hand. She’d be mad that we were running again. I slowed to a fast walk, but then Mom screamed freezing me in place.
“Matthew!” She ran past us, and joined Pastor who was bending over Matty’s body.
“They knocked the air out of him.” Pastor scooped up my little brother and carried him to the chairs while my mom kept saying Matty’s name over and over. Jeremiah let go of my hand and rushed to his dad’s side.
“Sowwy, Daddy.” Jeremiah pulled on Pastor’s sleeve, but Pastor was too busy with Matty to notice.
My brother was so quiet. He was never this quiet except when he was sleeping. I walked forward to see what was wrong with him.
Mom grabbed my arm and pulled me onto the chair beside her. “I told you not to run.” She shook me. “Do you see what you’ve done?” Then her hands dropped away and she turned back to my brother.
I bit my lip to keep the tears inside. Just then Matty let out a scream. I pressed my hands to my ears. Mom picked up Matty and rocked him back and forth. Tears ran down her cheeks. I started to scoot off the seat, but she scowled at me again.
“You’re going to sit there until we go home, Sara.”
I slumped back in the chair and watched everyone walk away. Even Jeremiah left me. I rested my face on my hands. I hadn’t wanted to hurt Matty. I was just trying to get away from the pirates.
I didn’t see Jeremiah return until he was sitting in the chair beside me. He held out a box of crayons. “Wanna dwaw?”
I smiled at my friend and took the sheet of paper. I started to color and soon I was lost in a new adventure.
“We’re stuck on a pirate ship, Jer.” I pointed to the boat on my page. “They’ve taken us captive and our only way out is to jump over the edge and sink down, down, down to the bottom of the sea. You have to let all your air out, and not breathe back in.” Just like Matty.
Jeremiah’s eyes were big. “Is it dawk?” He pulled Mr. Howard close.
“Don’t worry.” I patted his hand. “The mermaids will help us.”
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