Eight-year-old Jackson Ferguson was in the home's backyard on West First Street where he lived with his parents and younger sister Riley. His arm leaned against a tree trunk, he had his eyes pressed tightly against it so he couldn’t see.
“Seven-one thousand, eight-one thousand, nine-one thousand,” Jackson counted. When he reached “ten-one thousand,” he stood up, blinked, and called out, “Here I come, ready or not!”
Jackson figured his little sister and friend Rodrigo Flores were hiding either in the blackberry thicket his mother had planted years ago or around the abandoned garage on the otherwise vacant lot behind the Ferguson’s house.
Six-year-old Riley Ferguson had chosen the blackberry thicket to hide in. She crouched behind the trunk of a pine tree, peeking around it in the direction she expected her brother to come from. If Jackson passed her hiding spot, she planned to sprint to the tree in their backyard the children had picked as “home base.”
With his two-year advantage in age over his sister, Jackson was too clever to approach the thicket from the direction Riley expected. Instead, he took a roundabout route to approach it from the opposite side. Creeping stealthily along he spotted his sister crouched behind the pine tree inside the thicket looking away from him. He crept up to her, reached out, and tagged her on the shoulder.
“Found you, Riley!” Jackson yelled. “You’re it!”
Startled by the sudden, unexpected appearance of her brother behind her, Riley shrieked. Then both of them burst into laughter.
“Rodrigo, I found Riley,” Jackson called. “Come on out. She’s it. We have to hide again.”
But, Rodrigo neither replied nor appeared. Both Jackson and Riley called out to him, but he didn’t respond. After a while, they both searched for him. Rodrigo was nowhere to be found.
Riley looked at her older brother and said, “We better tell mom.”
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