School was finally over! And, because of a mix-up in testing, the grammar school was released a day earlier than the middle school and high school. So the two little girls rejoiced that they could stay home and play while their older siblings still had to go to school.
After a quick breakfast, they hurried outside. Their destination was the barn loft that had been converted to a half-pipe for their older brothers and their friends. Sometimes they were allowed to watch the boys race down the steep sides on their skateboards, however most of the time, the half-pipe was off limits. But today, with their brothers gone, there were no limits.
They scrambled up the ladder to the loft. The sun was shining through the windows, filling the huge space with sparkles of straw dust and sunbeams. The girls climbed up to the top of the incline, placed a grain bag underneath them and slid down the side, squealing with delight.
An hour later, two exhausted, but very happy, children climbed down from the loft, ready to go back into the house for some refreshments. They had nearly reached the barn door when they heard it.
They stopped and looked at each other. “Did you hear that?” one asked.
The other nodded and lowered her voice. “The boys are gone, right?”
“Maybe they tricked us,” was the reply. “Maybe they were hiding.”
They heard the noise again. It was definitely laughter and it was definitely coming from above them. They scurried back to the loft’s ladder and hurried up, side by side. Their two heads poked up through the opening and they gazed around. The half-pipe was empty, the sparkling bits of dust still floated above them and there was no one around.
“Didn’t we put the grain sacks back on the shelf?” one sister asked the other, pointing to a sack now resting at the bottom of the incline.
Nodding her head in assent, her eyes wide, the other sister felt her heart catch in her throat. “Yes,” she whispered. “We did.”
They met each other’s eyes and, with the special connection of sisters, wordlessly hurried down the ladder and back through the barn. When they reached the door, they both took a deep breath and smiled.
“Maybe it was the wind,” one reasoned.
“Or maybe it was birds,” the other suggested.
Then they both heard the laughter again, accompanied by the sound of the grain bag slipping down the incline.
Their smiles faded and they ran across the yard to the safety and security of their house. That summer, neither of the girls ventured back to the loft alone. But they often heard the sound of laughter coming from up above. Someone was enjoying the half-pipe.