Chapter 42

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There's a panic in my stomach, something that feels like snakes writhing around and around, like they're in a never-ending washing machine.

"Maisie?" calls Mum, cupping her hands around her mouth to make the sound echo better. I wonder if my sister will be able to hear us at all.

"Maisie!" I yell. "Maisie!"

We both scrabble from the river, grabbing our shoes and hastily putting them on. A fierce wind meets me, chilling me to the bone and at once I regret going into the river. If we hadn't we could have kept a better eye on Maisie and she wouldn't have disappeared.

Where could she be?

"Maisie!" I scream again and then stay silent for a bit, hoping to get some sort of signal in reply. But nothing comes.

We continue yelling while we get on our shoes and jackets, trying to wring out the worst of the water that drags us down. Then, we hoist our heavy packs and search the forest but never stray too far from the river in case Maisie went for a little walk.

My sister's fond of little walks. I've seen her on various occasions muttering to herself while she gazes at the floor.

My mother's less panicked than I am. She seems so calm I want to scream at her why she isn't feeling more stress. But I don't because I know it'll be unnecessary. My mother has put up with Maisie's strange ways of perceiving the world longer than I have. She's probably experienced this before. That means she knows what to do.

"Just stay calm," my mother tells me. "She'll be back soon. Don't you worry."

Before I can reply that I'm not at all worrying even though I pretty much hyperventilating, I see something through the trees.

"Look!" I shout. "There she is!"

We go running to her. I see her lift her head from something in her hands. When I get closer I see what it is.

"Maisie!" my Mum says, her voice chiding. "Do not run away like that ever again? You hear me?"

"Smells nice," my sister mumbles back dreamily.

I soon realise what she's talking about. In her hands, she holds a bunch of crushed lavender petals. The smell fills my nose with a sweet powerful scent.

When I look around, I see the same. Scattered in a line going down the forest are pieces of lavender.

"Um, I think we found it," I mutter. "I think we found the trail."

**

Hello again! Back from Spain with... er... not much tan.

I'm going away for a week tomorrow so won't be able to update. Sorry

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