There are secret animals hidden within Chapter 1. Run your mouse across the page throughout the story to uncover the hidden animals! Some are tiny, so you'll have to look everywhere. There'll be one animal in each of the five pages in Chapter 1.
Write down the first letter of each animal's name because you will need ALL 5 of the letters to figure out the secret CODE WORD to get to Chapter 2!
Chapter 1. The Storm
Jenny was eleven years old....
.....and the storm that summer changed her whole life.
Jenny loved to go exploring in the rocks and caves near her house. It was a warm August day, and the urge to go exploring was really strong, especially with the weather being so nice. Jenny's younger sister Kaytee was nine years old. Kaytee was satisfied with playing indoors that day, but Jenny convinced her to come exploring in the rocks to see if they could find any new caves.
It was really hot outside so they filled up their water bottles, and then shoved ice into the top too so the water would stay cold longer. They planned what else they would bring, including some ropes, a notepad, and a pencil. The notepad had some pictures Jenny had copied from a library book that showed the meanings of Indian Petroglyphs that they sometimes saw on the rocks. They didn't find petroglyphs very often, but sometimes in a new cave they'd see some.
"That reminds me," said Jenny, "We'd better bring the flashlight so we can look for petroglyphs in the caves."
They found a flashlight and put everything in a backpack. (Jenny always carried the backpack because she liked to hike fast over to the rocks and didn't want Kaytee to have to carry anything that would slow her down.)
Kaytee said, "We better tell Mommy where we're going or she'll be worried."
They went to their Mom's room where she was grading school papers (she was a high school math teacher) and she said, "Okay, but try not to stay out too late because the rainy season's starting soon and a storm could be coming."
Jenny and Kaytee stopped by Shana's house to see if she and her younger sister Kerry could go climbing in the rocks too. (Shana was Jenny's best friend.) Shana and Kerry asked their mom if they could go, and luckily they could, so they all set out toward the caves. They had to cross a creek along the way. The creek usually didn't have much water in it, but two years ago it had flooded so bad that two houses were swept into the creek and carried downstream!
After they crossed the creek, they climbed up the hill toward the rock caves. Some of the rock ledges were really scary because there was hardly any room to walk, so the girls were careful to get a good grip with their hands as they walked along them. Jenny was worried about the smaller girls, so she sometimes used the rope to help them up the large steep rocks. She would tie it around their waist and at the top of their legs to form a sort of harness. She often thought to herself that her mom would be mad if she knew how dangerous this rock climbing was... but the distance down to the ground wasn't really that far, so the worst that could happen would be someone getting a broken arm or leg, she thought to herself.
..."Look, there's our pond! We're almost there!" shouted Jenny to the other girls behind her.
The pond was a small natural depression in a large rock platform. The girls planned to put fish in it someday when they moved out into the caves. Jenny often dreamed of the day when she would grow up and be able to live out in the rocks. She wished she could stay out there all the time, instead of having only a few hours a day (after school), and then having to get home before dark.
"I don't remember seeing that fence before ?!#?", said Kaytee. "Are you sure this is the right place?" she asked Jenny.
Jenny exclaimed, "It must be a new fence, because I think we're in the right place. We just saw the pond, remember. Let's see how far the fence goes..."
The girls followed the fence line, holding onto it as they went along the rocks, and found an opening at the bottom of the fence next to a big rock formation that was lying on the other side of the fence. Jenny climbed through the opening to check for petroglyphs on the rocks. She told the other girls "You guys stay and keep a lookout to make sure no one is watching me. I don't want anyone to catch us trespassing."
The girls were waiting silently for Jenny to get back. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a bolt of lightning hit the ground right next to Kaytee. They screamed at the top of their lungs and then instinctively all started running toward the nearest rock cave. The rain started pouring down hard, so by the time they reached the cave, they were all drenched.
They climed down into the cave and huddled up next to each other. When they realized the significance of what had just happened, and the two younger girls started to cry.
Shana asked Jenny, "Did you see the lightning?"
Shana answered, "It was right next to the fence, and it almost hit Kaytee."
Kaytee said, with her voice shaking while huddled up in her wet clothes, "If it had struck the fence, we'd all be dead, because we were all holding onto the fence when it happened."
Kerry was so scared that she was crying for her mom now. The other girls tried to comfort her and tell her everything was going to be all right, but everyone else was close to tears by then too, realizing how scary it was to be out there all alone in the storm with no way to get home.
Shana tried to think of something to calm everyone down. She paused for a minute and then suddenly blurted out, "Let's sing songs really loud to try drown out the sound of the storm." The first song that popped into everyone's mind was "Old McDonald", so they all started singing as loud as they could. Soon they were feeling much better. After awhile, they weren't even scared, as they sang song after song at the top of their lungs.
As the girls were singing, they noticed that water was flowing into the cave from the opening above them. A small stream formed in the cave, but it seemed odd that the water wasn't puddling up at the bottom of the cave. Jenny noticed that the water seemed to mysteriously disappear between two rocks on the ground level, below the rock ledge they were huddling on.
Jenny said, "Look at that", pointing to the rocks with a puzzled look on her face. "There must be an opening to somewhere below the rocks where all of that water is going."
Shana was immediately intrigued and told Jenny in a fast excited voice, "Get out the flashlight so we can try to see between the rocks !!"
As Jenny fished around in her bag for the flashlight, the girls speculated about finding a secret cavern beneath the cave floor. They were getting excited, and then, when Jenny turned on the light and the beam ran across the cave wall as she aimed it down toward the rocks, no one was prepared for what they were about to see....
Geode Space: The Storm (page5)
With the flashlight shining on the rocks below, the girls gasped loudly in unison as the sparkling purple crystals gleamed back up at them from beneath the rocks on the cave floor. Without even bothering to speak to each other, they immediately began trying to pry up some of the rocks that were covering the crystal filled cavern below. They were able to move one of the medium sized rocks when they all pulled on it together. None of the other rocks would budge, but they could see more of the hidden cavern now.
"It looks like a tunnel goes back that way," Shana said, pointing toward the far side of the cavern below.
The walls of the cavern and tunnel were all covered with the mysteriously beautiful purple crystals. The water from the storm had made the crystals wet, and they sparkled like nothing any of the girls had ever seen before.
After moving some of the rocks at the opening to the hidden cavern, the opening was still too small to fit through. Jenny thought, (trying to control her excitement), I guess it would be too dangerous to climb down there right now anyway, even if I could fit through. She knew she could squeeze through just about any opening, but it would set a bad example for the younger girls if she did that right now.
It was starting to get dark outside now, and even though none of the girls wanted to leave the cave and their exciting discovery, they knew they'd get in big trouble if they weren't home before dark. The storm had passed, so Jenny and Shana helped push the younger girls up through the cave opening. On their way out, Shana whispered to Jenny, "Let's try to knock off a piece of the crystal to take home with us, okay?" They found a rock and chipped off a piece of crystal near the cavern opening. Jenny quickly shoved it into her backpack and they climbed up hurriedly to meet the other girls. They hurried home as quickly as possible, but it was really uncomfortable trying to run in their sopping wet jeans, so they walked part of the way. As Jenny and Kaytee dropped off Shana and Kerry at their house, Shana said, "Let's go back to the cave tomorrow with some tools and more flashlights to see if we can make the opening in the cave bigger." Jenny said, "Okay - bring hammers or whatever you can borrow from your dad."
None of the girls got much sleep that night. There were so many questions yet to be answered. Was the cavern hidden by someone on purpose? Had someone been there before them and used it for something? Jenny wondered... Could it be some sort of ancient time travel machine??? I'm certainly getting a little too carried away now, she thought to herself,
.....but you never know.....
-End of Chapter 1-
Guess what the CODE WORD is to get to Chapter 2.
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