"Papa," Sarita said into the phone, "I don't want to tell you. Just come—please! It's really important!"

Within a half hour, Sarita's dad pulled up with the Cutwells and hopped out of his Jeep. Sarita and I met them. "This is the Cutwells' tour day," Mr. Bol said. "Better be important, Sarita. Is someone hurt? Your mother? Little Luke?"

" No, Papa. We have to show you. But you'd better bring your climbing equipment."

He didn't move. "Climbing equipment."

"Please," I said, stepping forward. "It might be a huge discovery!"

At that, the Cutwells climbed out of the Jeep. "Well, I'm fixin' to find out what these girls are so worked up about, Michael," Mr. Cutwell said, sweeping his hair back with his hand. "Jus' might be fun."

Mr. Bol shook his head, then grabbed ropes and a backpack from the Jeep. "Okay, girls, lead on."

By the time we reached the top of the hill, we'd gathered the Cutwells, Mrs. Bol and the baby, and José and Marcos. I hoped that we hadn't imagined the entrance to be more than it was—just a hole in the ground.

"Follow me," Sarita said and waved everyone after her through the undergrowth and down the steep slope. "Watch your step. You don't want to tumble." She was just like her father—taking care of everyone.

"I can't believe," Mrs. Cutwell complained, but with a hint of humor in her voice, "that we're goin' on a wild-goose chase."

"It's here somewhere," Sarita said, stopping near the base of the hill, searching for the opening. "Honest, it is." She started veering to the left. "I'm sure it's this way." I thought she might start crying.

Just slightly to the right I noticed a few broken branches—likely from where I plowed down the hill with my shoulder. And beyond by just a few steps lay the dark hole we'd uncovered.

I pointed. "There it is!"

Jess - Girl of the Year 2006 Activities Book Games Wallpaper E-card

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