Ch. 20.1 –Janine leaned against a large tree and wearily closed her eyes. Freddie collapsed at her feet.
A fresh, delicious scent surrounded her. It smelled like… a Tumtum tree. She pulled down a slim branch. Beneath the bushy green leaves was a cluster of round nuts. It was a Tumtum tree! Janine tried to crack open the nuts using a rock, but they were very hard. Finally she threw them into the brush and sat down.
A squirrel chattered at her, “Thanks.”
Janine grabbed Freddie’s collar before he could chase the squirrel. “Can you help me? I’m lost. I’m looking for a yellow house.”
The squirrel paused, his head tilted. “Listen.” He gathered up the nuts and scurried away.
Janine scowled and slouched against the tree again. Listen! What kind of advice was that? But she closed her eyes and listened. To her surprise, she could hear the burble of running water close by.
“Do you smell something?” she asked Freddie.
The hound twitched his nose. “I smell water.” He wagged his tail.
Janine headed for it. Not too far from the Tumtum tree, she came upon the stream. She knelt down and cupped her hands, scooping in the cool, delicious water. Freddie splashed in the shallows and then shook himself, spraying her with water.
“Ahh, that was good,” she said. “Now if only I had something to eat.”
She’d never been this hungry before. It was all very well to say you didn’t eat meat when you had three large, delicious meals served to you every day – but when you were starving, you had to reevaluate who was a friend. She sighed.
“I would even eat a fish if I could catch it,” she said aloud.
“But then you’d have to have a fire to cook it with,” said a voice.
Janine shrieked and jumped to her feet. Freddie barked once.