By James Brissenden, age 10, New York
Chapter 1: An Adventure
James bounded down the stairs of his school and leapt off when he got to the third stair from the bottom. He landed on his feet and started running. He ran right past the playground, and his friend Thomas was wondering where he was going, as he usually stopped there to play after school.
But not today…Today he had somewhere much more exciting to go. He was going camping in the Adirondacks! He would stay there for a week with his sister Riley, his friend Luca, his dad, and his dog Trooper.
On the other side of the road, James saw his dad, holding Trooper on a leash, with Luca and Riley standing next to him.
“All right, is everybody ready to go?” asked James’ dad.
“Yes!” yelled James, Luca, and Riley all together.
They climbed into the car, and his dad turned on the engine.
“Well, then, let’s get going,” James’ dad said, and they started to drive.
Three hours later (it felt like years), they had arrived at the mountain. They had looked at maps before they left and had found a good spot on the mountain to camp.
James, Luca, and Riley jumped out of the back car. James’ dad opened the door, and Trooper leapt out of the passenger seat. He walked around, sniffing the ground. James smiled. He couldn’t wait for the adventure to begin.
Chapter 2: Arriving at the Campsite
“Time to go,” called James’ dad.
He showed them where to go, and they started up the mountain trail. They hiked for a long time with Riley climbing tiredly in the back and James’ dad waiting for her. James and Luca were ahead of them, hiking up giant boulders and then down again. And Trooper was in front of everybody, bounding happily up the steep trail.
After a long time of hiking, the trail finally opened up, and they stepped into a wide clearing.
The clearing was amazing. On the side that they had climbed up, there was a dense forest of trees. In the clearing itself there was a nice grassy, flat spot with some rocks and trees around it. And on the other side of the clearing, there was a tall, sheer cliff that overlooked a lake and the mountains all around.
“Well,” said James’ dad, “let’s set up camp and go to bed. It’s getting late.”
Setting up the tents didn’t take too long. There were two of them—one for James and Luca and another for Riley and their dad.
James and Luca climbed into the tent and crawled into their sleeping bags.
“Goodnight,” muttered Luca sleepily.
“Goodnight,” said James, and they fell asleep.
Chapter 3: Lost
“James, wake up,” whispered Luca. “It’s morning.”
James yawned and sat up in the tent. Luca was right: The sunshine was shining through the thin fabric of the tent. He got out of his sleeping bag and walked out of the tent.
Half an hour later, James, Luca, and Riley were running through the clearing, laughing and playing. They were exploring the edge of the clearing by the cliff when they started to get tired.
“I’ll go ask your dad for breakfast,” said Luca.
A few minutes later, Luca came running back. James’ dad was behind him, carrying a plate of food.
“Thanks, Dad!” said James, and they sat down on a big rock to eat.
They were just finishing up their meal when suddenly an ear-splitting roar came from the forest. A giant bear came charging out, right at them!
“Run!” yelled Luca.
They didn’t need to be told twice. James, Riley, and Luca turned and ran as fast as they could. There was a tree on the edge of the cliff—they could climb up it.
“Go!” James shouted. “Up the tree!”
They reached the tree and started climbing. They got just high enough so that the bear couldn’t reach them, but it kept charging. The bear slammed its body into the tree, and the whole thing shook. James slipped, and his hand let go. He fell off the tree…right over the edge of the cliff!
Chapter 4: Eyes in the Dark
When James regained consciousness, he was lying on the ground under the cliff. When he tried to move, his whole body hurt. He was on the other side of the lake, far down the mountain. He could see the cliff farther up the mountain—it looked about 20 feet high, maybe 30.
Then he saw it. On the other side of the cliff, there was a cave.
“I could stay there until someone finds me,” James thought, and he began stumbling up the mountain.
An hour later, James was in the cave, sitting in front of a roaring fire that he had made. The sun had set, and it was night now. James was just about to go to sleep when he heard it.
Then another one, and another. Wolves! James thought. The howls got louder and louder, and suddenly they stopped. James saw a sight that made his heart stand still.
There were two eyes, hovering there like orange, glowing orbs of fire in the dark.
The wolf stepped out and gave a low, deep growl. He was pure white except for a streak of gray down his nose. He was obviously the leader.
More wolves stepped out. James counted at least a dozen. They were all colors: brown, gray, white, and black.
I have to do something, thought James. He picked up a stick and dipped it in the fire to make a torch. He had read in a book that wolves hated fire.
He swung the torch around and thrust it at the wolves. They snarled and backed up.
But after a few minutes, the wolves began to advance again, and the torch started to dim. James shoved the torch at them again, and they backed up again—but not for long.
Soon they came forward, and James attacked with the torch one more time, but this time the lead wolf just growled and snapped the torch in half with his powerful jaws, and the fire went out.
James now had no weapon—nothing to defend himself with. He backed up to the wall with the wolves following.
This is the end, James thought. He was now right against the side of the cave.
The lead wolf stepped out and gave one more low, deep growl.
Chapter 5: A Familiar Sound
The lead wolf was just about to reach James when, suddenly, a noise came from outside the cave. It was not really a howl, more of a bark. And it sounded strangely familiar…
Trooper jumped down from farther up the cliff into the mass of wolves and attacked them.
The wolf pack ran around in chaos; they didn’t know what to do. Trooper had the element of surprise, but James knew it wouldn’t last for long.
Suddenly, there was a loud howl. The lead wolf flung himself at Trooper, knocking him to the ground.
“Trooper!” James shouted as the lead wolf began to advance on his dog.
Somehow, James summoned the last bit of energy he had in him. He picked up a rock and threw it at the wolf with all the strength he could muster. The rock hit him on the head and dug in. The lead wolf ran away, yelping.
There was a gunshot and voices—one of them sounded like James’ dad.
That was all James remembered before he blacked out.
Chapter 6: The Best Dog
James woke up in his bed with the covers pulled over his head.
At first he didn’t know where he was, but then everything that had happened over the past few days came back to him: falling off the cliff, getting lost, the wolves, and Trooper saving him.
It was morning, and the sun was shining through his window. James was just sitting up in his bed when suddenly there was a noise.
Trooper pushed open James’ door and walked into his room. When he saw that James was awake, he jumped onto his bed. James smiled and stroked his head.
The door opened again, and James’ dad walked in.
“James,” he said, “we were so worried!”
He explained how he had called the park rangers, and after Trooper led them to the wolves, they had taken care of them (and the bear).
Trooper yawned and jumped off the bed. James followed him downstairs, where his mom was cooking breakfast.
He had had a very exciting adventure, but he was glad it was over!