April 2, 2024 ·

A search and rescue was called off this morning after 5-year-old Dawn Willis was found in nearby scrub land. She had made herself quite comfortable over the past week while missing, building a 3 story cubby house and befriending local wildlife.

“It all started last Monday morning, after the AGM,” Dawn recalled, all too eager to begin telling her side of the story. The young yellow-spotted turtle had always felt like she was born three decades too late, and often appeared as if she was trying to grow up quicker than life (or her genetic code) had set course for her.

“I had just finished writing the minutes and was feeling tired after the long drawn out meeting,” Dawn confided in me during our interview. The meeting in question was the Cow Texas Primary School Stamp Collectors Club’s inaugural AGM. The membership base, was seven. Letters of absenteeism for the meeting, was six. She let out a sigh during before composing herself with a newfound drive. “I will admit, the meeting was lonely. But because of it, I had this sudden realisation!”

“As I sat there at the picnic table, scrambling to keep up with writing down rebuttals to my own arguments, I had this sudden thought. Like, where is everyone? Why am I wasting my time? More than that, why am I enslaved by this bell that tells me when to go to class, and when to play, and when to go back to class … for crying out loud, I’m FIVE years old!” Dawn said triumphantly, like she was just getting warmed up. “So I went home that afternoon and told my mum! I said, ‘Mum, I quit!’”

Dawn was quick to discover that, to her honest and absolute surprise, it was not possible to quit school. Not one to take no for an answer, she pivoted her strategy. “I decided to channel my ambition, and join a new cause.” Out, were the highly animated stamp meetups in front of the bathroom mirror, the late nights alone, the envelope paper cuts. It was time for a radical change of pace and direction. Something that just dripped with excitement. She decided right there in that moment, she would join the scouts.

The scouts were hot off the heels of a recent membership drive, flush with cash and new ideas. It was the perfect time for Dawn to join, and as luck would have it, the next hiking trip was just around the corner. “We were going to tackle the Western Ridge Trail, and boy, was I excited about that!”

Training ensued, and Dawn was not a stranger to preparation. She visited the local library and hired out all the books that had any sort of remote connection to helping her prepare. Her pile included essential titles such as, “The Complete Guide to Bush Survival”, “Marathon Mandy Makes a Mistake”, and “The Alphabet Book”.

The trip itself started off well. Until an hour in, Dawn realised that she had failed to tell her parents that she had joined the scouts. Or that she was going on a trip that morning. Or that she wasn’t due home for three days.

To make matters worse, even though Dawn’s book smarts would serve her well in future trivia nights, she was first to admit that it stole time and attention from her exercise training plan. She had, in her own words, “ironically made the same dumb mistake as Marathon Mandy!”

By hour two of the Western Ridge Trail trek, her little turtle legs were getting “oh so very tired”, and she had lagged behind the group so far she admitted to herself it was impossible to keep up. It was at this point she gave up trying. “I gave up trying,” Dawn told me, with complete and utter disregard to my ability to write a newspaper report without her input. “So I found a nearby rock and assessed my options.”

The Complete Guide to Bush Survival would be pivotal to her survival, police would later report. “When we found her, she was zip lining from her tree fort into a nearby reservoir.” It was true, even a local family of monkeys were joining in. “I don’t know who this girl is, but she is FUN”, one monkey told me. “What’s a newspaper?” said another.

The officers were relieved to have found her alive, albeit suspiciously thriving, and encouraged her to apologise to her parents for all the worry she had created. The great outdoors, after all, is no place for a turtle.

Dawn, however, had a different take. “I realised I can do anything! I don’t need to wait for anyone’s permission! You never know how many years you have left in you,” she regaled. Next on the 5-year-old’s hit list? “Learning to solo sky dive!”

Dawn’s mother has an even more radical idea.

“She’s grounded.”

In category:Good News

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