The Marble Mystery

Tammy walked slowly down the sidewalk. She pushed her hands deep into her pockets and looked up and down the street. There was not a sign of anyone to play with. Her foot kicked a stone, and it skittered and rolled along the walk. “Sarah has gone to visit her grandmother, Jennifer has a dental appointment, and Tim went somewhere with his dad,” she grumbled.

Tammy kicked the stone again, then ran after it as it rolled. There was a heavy chalk arrow on the sidewalk pointing straight ahead. She followed the direction and then saw other chalk arrows pointing the way to go. One reminded her of a snake. It pointed to a chalk circle around a hole in the sidewalk. Inside was a pretty blue marble. Tammy smiled. She picked the marble up and put it in her pocket.

Then she saw more arrows in a wiggly line and followed them. One pointed to a fire hydrant, on top of which was balanced a bright yellow marble. She looked at it closely, rolling it back and forth between her thumb and first finger. This will make a good shooter, she thought, and put it in her pocket.

Tammy looked around and found another arrow leading to a paper cup. She looked down into the paper cup and saw a cool green marble to put into her pocket. Ahead were more arrows and more marbles—a milky white one and a “cleary.” May be the next one will be a steelie or a cat’s eye or an aggie, she thought. The next marble was nested in the corner of the sidewalk where it turned and led to a house. “A sparkly red one!” she shouted, picking it up.

Tammy heard a laugh and looked up. A freckle-faced boy just her size was standing by a tree. He held a bag of marbles in one hand and a piece of chalk in the other. “Hi,” he greeted her. “I’m lonesome and would like a game of marbles.”

“I’m lonesome too,” said Tammy. “Let’s play!”

[illustration] Illustrated by Julie F. Young