So here’s Gruffy, all caught up high in the sky, wondering how I’m going to get down. I decided not to push my luck by messing with the hot air balloon controls; but that turned out okay, because the balloon started to drift lower all by itself. Soon, the basket brushed the tree tops and branches whisked past on either side.
I braced myself, my human’s floppy hat still in my mouth, as I sensed the ground rising quickly. Instead of the rustle and bump I expected, however, the basket touched down with a splash and spray of chilly water.
I checked over the side and realized I’d landed in the middle of a lake! Fortunately, the colorful balloon drift to one side as it deflated, otherwise it might’ve dropped right on top and smothered me. Chilly water started to fill the basket, and the basket bobbed lower and lower.
As it sank, I jumped over the edge, taking the hat with me. I tried to keep it above the water as I swam for the shore. I imagined all sorts of finny and scaly creatures nibbling at my paws; but fortunately no critters made themselves known except for a couple of ducks quacking over by some reeds.
I made it to shore and clambered over the muddy bank to firmer ground. I rested in the grass for a bit. I was soggy, chilled, and my paws had started to ache…but at least I still had the hat!
Once I got my breath back, I paced around the lake, looking for any signs or other clues of where I might be. Luckily, I came across a trail on the far side, near a couple battered picnic benches that looked like they hadn’t been used in a long, long time. I sniffed the trail, smelling mostly leaves and rocks, but some faint shoe odor. Maybe it led back to the road. Maybe my human had found the same trail, and was heading up it towards me.
Either way, it was my best option to get back where I belonged. You tell me: Should I stick around by the lake and wait for rescue, or head down the trail and see where I end up? Have you ever been separated from your human?
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