TITLE: Return to the Mountains
GENRE: MG - Contemporary
When 12 year-old Kate finds a lynx with kittens on her family's remote Colorado ranch, she must choose between keeping the lynx a secret to keep her brother from killing them, or tell her family in order to protect the ranch's livestock from the lynx.
An empty chicken coop is like a rodeo without mutton-busting. It just isn’t right. But that’s how I found the coop when I went back out after talking on the phone with Lupita.
Every single bird I’d raised from egg-hood…gone.
The gate was wide open.
My older brother Tyler was always on me about the gate. Kate, he’d say in his in-charge-of-everything tone, you have to latch the gate every time. But surely I’d at least shut it on my way to get the phone. Had the alpha rooster orchestrated a coop-break? If King Strut was as desperate to get out as I was, I wouldn’t have put it past him.
I stood there a good long time, too long, staring at the cracked red soil littered with feathers. A pile had settled in the corner like a snow drift. All those feathers together like that almost looked like a whole chicken roosting there. Taking care of them was my responsibility, and I’d let them down. “Sorry,” I whispered to the drifts of feathers.
That ‘sorry’ was also for my own benefit. If Tyler and Dad found out I hadn’t latched the gate properly, it would give them one more reason to go on treating me like a little kid. Tyler would spend the summer following me around the ranch, his shadow trampling on mine all day long, making sure I did things right. Or at least that I did things his way.