Waiting for the bus is always relaxing at the end of the lane, especially when it's spring. David loves nature and on this spring morning he hears the gentle river singing its song along with the birds, who are sitting in the trees along its bank. Skies are threatening rain, as his grandfather would say.

In his eight years, David has learned to love Mother Nature and his outdoor exploring. His other love is his collected possessions of sports cards and action figures. As happy as David was on this spring morning, things changed drastically when he returned home later that day. The rains did come when school was in session, and though he was warned many times not to keep his collectables in the corner of the basement, he forgot.

The heavy spring rain seeped into the basement and caused a small flood of a few inches. When David first saw his sports cards scattered and floating all over the basement floor, his day turned into an ugly storm!

"Mom, how could you let this happen?" he screamed.

Though Mom was very sorry for him, she reminded David about how many times she warned him not to keep his treasures down there.

When Dad came home minutes later, David was in tears and still blaming his mother for letting this all happen! Dad understood how upsetting this was for his son and began explaining why David needed to calm down and admit whose fault this really was.

David was about to blame his father next, for not fixing the leak in the basement, but immediately recalled his dad's explanation of why it always leaks - The house was old and built upon a little hill next to a spring. Such repairs would be very costly. That's why he was always reminded to never leave things in the basement.

Nothing could be worse! His life is ruined! David was really feeling sorry for himself. But then something even worse happened. Mother was wondering where their new little kitten was?

"Jax is missing?" David asked.

David ran upstairs and searched everywhere. Jax was gone and his imagination ran wild.

"He got taken by the flooded river, Dad. I just know it!" David cried out. "You have to do something!"

David and his parents rushed outside and searched everywhere for Jax. The little kitten didn't even know his name yet, so how would he know that they were calling him?

Darkness began to settle in, and Mom said their evening meal was getting cold on the table. David begged to stay outside just a little longer. His mother hurt for him. Maybe Jax had run out the door when she got the mail earlier. However he got out, he was gone, and now they may never see that cute little ball of fur again.

David no longer cared about his dumb card collection or his silly action figures. Those items could be replaced, but not Jax. He knew Mom and Dad would be calling him inside soon, and so he strolled one last time around the house, shoes soaked by the wet grass. Still no Jax.

How could he eat now? His heart was hurting far too much. Knowing that little Jax was missing his bowl of milk caused David to lose his own appetite.

Mom, Dad and David sat in near silence, moving food around their plates with scraping fork and spoon sounds. Long minutes passed.

Without warning, David jumped up from the table! "Where's a flashlight Dad? I know where Jax is!"

Without question, Dad produced a flashlight and all three went out into the yard again. Both parents tried to keep up with their son as he sprinted to his tree house. The ten rungs on the ladder were scampered up before Mom and Dad could even get to the tree. They could see a frantic light searching the tiny structure.

It was then that they heard their son crying out. He was sobbing and trying to ask for Dad's help at the same time. He needed assistance coming back down the ladder in the dark and holding the flashlight at the same time. Dad climbed halfway up and held open his hand to grab the flashlight. But it wasn’t the flashlight David was handing down to him. It was a wet ball of purring fur. It was the cutest wet ball of fur that Mom and Dad ever saw.

It was Jax!

Lexile: 600-700
Words: 742
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Read time: 4:37
Printable version
Story questions
Written by: Brooke Folk
Read by: Christopher Hernandez
Main illustration by: Daniel Aires
Cat illustration by: Muhammad Laksana