Evaline ran as fast as she could until she was sure the trees covered her from view from her family. Panting like a spent racehorse, Evaline leaned up against an oak tree while she caught her breath from running so long. She giggled between pants as every time she exhaled, a tiny puff of white smoke escaped her and flew up in front of her. It took a while but Evaline soon caught her breath and continued on deeper into the forest which was painted white with snow.
Evaline searched high and low for any signs of parcels trying to make their way through the winter's snow but there was nothing. Not even a clue that anything was there.
Evaline didn't realize how long she had been out until everything in the forest began to have a yellow tinge to it and the sun wasn't dancing right over Evaline's head. She saw a glimpse of the sun through the trees but it was getting ready to set. Evaline looked around worriedly knowing she must have gone very far from home. Would she be able to make it home before it was dark? What if she didn't? Would mummy and daddy worry? Oh she wished she was home.
Tired of all the walking, Evaline slumped down into the soft snow below her and began to sob. There was no way she was going to make it back in time, not a chance.
Just then, a shrill bark echoed into the woods to Evaline's ears. It was a dog but there was something familiar about that bark. Evaline stood up to get a better look only to see Spot bounding happily through the snow yipping and barking happily. He walked over to Evaline and licked her face in greeting.
"Hehe, hi Spot," Evaline smiled as the beagle smothered her with little wet kisses.
"Evaline, there you are! What are you doing in the forest when you know you shouldn't be?" Evaline's father said as he walked up to his daughter and dog.
Evaline looked down in guilt and shrugged her little shoulders before getting the courage to look up at her father. He seemed cross but not very angry.
"The reason we ask you don't go into the forest is so you don't get lost. At least you were smart enough to stay close to home. So you're only grounded for tomorrow."
Evaline looked up puzzled and shook her head. "But I walked for hours! How on earth did you find me so fast!?" Evaline asked dumbfounded.
Her father laughed a bit and pointed through the trees to their right. Sure enough, there was the gate and the backyard. She had been walking in circles the whole time! She hadn't gone far at all! Oh Evaline was angry now. An entire day wasted on such a small search and another day wasted being grounded. Evaline sighed and walked back towards the house, now dwelling on how she would find her presents in time.