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Child's glove lying on a fallen log | Source: Shutterstock
Child's glove lying on a fallen log | Source: Shutterstock

'I’m Coming, Baby!’ Mother Learns Her Son Got Lost in Forest During School Trip – Story of the Day

Sonali Bharadwaj
May 21, 2024
03:37 A.M.

Single mom Lucy is settling down for a quiet evening at home when a call from her son's teacher sends her racing out the door. Her son is missing, and nothing will stop Lucy from finding him.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Lucy finished ironing her son's clothes, opened a bottle of red wine, and settled in front of the TV. The house was quiet with Patrick away on a school camping trip. Just as she chose a comedy movie to watch, her phone rang, displaying Patrick's teacher Mr. Randall's number.

"Hi, Mr. Randall," Lucy answered. "Is everything okay?"

"I'm so sorry, Miss. Stevens," Mr. Randall sounded distressed. "Patrick is lost!"

Lucy's heart raced. "What do you mean he's lost? How could that happen?"

"I'm not sure, but... the police are searching the woods. I've just sent you the coordinates."

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Lucy grabbed a hiking backpack and headed to the campsite, a remote, forested area. When she arrived, Mr. Randall met her.

"When did you notice Patrick was missing?" Lucy demanded.

"We hiked this morning. He was with us at lunch but gone by the time we returned," Mr. Randall explained.

"Surely one of Patrick's classmates noticed he had wandered off. Weren't you using the buddy system?"

Mr. Randall sighed. "Patrick's buddy hurt her ankle and had to be carried most of the way. As for the others...I questioned them all. I will have to file a report with the school board, so I've been as thorough as I can."

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Lucy's fear intensified. "If something has happened to my son, I'll demand an investigation!"

"How dare you even suggest I'm to blame?" Mr. Randall retorted, his voice raised. "It's not my fault your son decided to wander off on his own!"

Lucy knew this man was more focused on saving his career than finding her son. Before she could give him a reply, a group of police officers returned from the woods without Patrick.

"Where's my son? Why isn't he with you?" Lucy approached the officer leading the group.

"Unfortunately, we haven't found him yet, ma'am, and it's too dark to continue searching now," the officer explained.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"But he could be hurt!" Lucy protested. "How can you just stop the search like that?"

"It's unsafe to continue at night, ma'am. We'll resume at dawn," the officer told her.

Lucy was furious. "You can't just leave him out there, go home and sleep in your warm bed!"

"Please, ma'am, we are doing our best. Going in now could make things worse," he explained.

"A group of officers might be too scared to continue, but I'm his mother. I won't give up," Lucy declared.

"Don't go in alone, ma'am. It's dangerous, and you could get lost, too," the officer warned.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Lucy, however, was determined to find Patrick herself. As a seasoned hiker, she was prepared. "I'm coming baby," she said. "Just sit tight. No matter where you are, I'll find you."

Lucy returned to her car, gathered her supplies—flashlight, food, water, multitool, hunting knife, and a first-aid kit—and remembered the map Patrick had insisted she bring.

"He studied this for hours, how did he get lost?" she murmured, staring at the map by the glow of her flashlight.

The forest around her was pitch dark, the path only visible within the narrow beam of light. Insects chirped in the distance, but the silence was otherwise oppressive, punctuated only by the crunch of her boots on the path.

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Suddenly, a snap of twigs made her freeze. Turning her flashlight towards the sound, red eyes glowed back at her under what looked like menacing claws.

Lucy screamed, brandishing her knife before realizing it was just a deer. She'd mistaken its antlers for claws.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Get a grip," she muttered as the deer fled. "I'll never find Patrick like this."

She carved an arrow into a tree, marking her trail. Although the canopy concealed any stars for navigation, she believed she was heading northwest.

Stopping to drink some water, she spread the map on the ground. It was then a chill ran down her spine. She was lost.

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"That can't be right," Lucy said, turning the map around, trying different angles. She looked around; a hill rose to her right, potentially the one on the map, but there was no sign of the nearby creek it mentioned.

"Think, Lucy, think!" She pressed her hands against her eyes. If only she had brought a compass. An idea struck her. She hurriedly packed up her map and set off uphill.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Once she reached higher ground, Lucy pulled out her phone and opened the map application.

"Please work," she pleaded, standing on tiptoes. But there was no signal.

Lucy had only one choice now.

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She had to keep going, marking her path, but when she turned around, the uniformity of the trees disoriented her. She was truly lost now.

Lucy knelt, weeping into the pine needles. If Patrick was injured, then he might be left bleeding out longer because the police now had to split their search efforts and look for two people instead of one. If something happened to Patrick now, it would be her fault.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

But somehow, Lucy's despair turned to determination. Wiping her tears, she stood, tying her pink jacket to a branch as a temporary marker.

She walked away, searching for any sign of her previous markers. Finding none, she returned and tried another direction.

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The cold bit through her, but she pressed on, haunted by images of Patrick hurt and alone. But at some point, she realized what she was doing was of no use.

The cold coming down from the Ouachita Mountains caused goosebumps to form on Lucy's arms. "Who am I kidding?" she shivered, her teeth chattering. "I might just give myself hypothermia."

But even though she thought of giving up, Lucy couldn't quit. Her imagination conjured images of Patrick lying at the bottom of a steep slope with a broken arm or worse.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

So Lucy searched the forest anxiously, aware of the recent cougar sightings. But just when she hoped for things to not get any worse, fatigue overwhelmed her, causing her to stumble over a rock and tumble down a slope.

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Dirt and pine needles filled her mouth, but she eventually came to a stop on flat ground. Despite the pain, she stood using a nearby tree for support.

With her flashlight, Lucy surveyed the area. The evidence of her fall was clear in the flattened brush and skid marks. She leaned against the tree, catching her breath, and noticed a mark on it—she'd found a clue.

Lucy decided to wait for dawn, realizing the dangers of wandering at night. She built a small fire for warmth and safety, settling beside it with water and beef jerky. The flickering flames reminded her of a camping trip with Patrick three years ago.

Suddenly, Lucy heard a noise.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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Focusing into the darkness, she dismissed it as just the fire's crackle. But when the sound repeated, she shone her flashlight through the trees. A nightjar's cry startled her, but she laughed it off, chiding herself for her fear.

Her laughter stopped when a loud huff came from behind. Lucy turned, flashlight in hand, and saw the glowing yellow eyes of a cougar. She jumped up, throwing her granola bar at it in panic. The cougar swatted it away, growling menacingly.

"Get out of here! Go!" Lucy screamed, kicking dirt and waving her arms. The cougar briefly vanished but returned, its body low and ears flat. Lucy knew it was about to pounce.

"No way!" she shouted, grabbing a burning branch from the fire. "Git, you stupid cat!"

Despite her efforts, the cougar circled her, undeterred. Lucy realized it was either starving or sick. She needed her knife, but as she turned to find her backpack, the cougar attacked.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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Reacting quickly, Lucy struck it with the branch and ran, ignoring the rule to never run from a cougar.

The chase was frantic. Lucy dodged through the dark forest, branches tearing at her clothes.

In desperation, she threw her jacket behind as a distraction. But her escape was cut short as she stumbled into a gully, tumbling down and hitting her head, falling unconscious.

When Lucy regained consciousness, she was cold and confused. The cougar was gone, but so was any familiar landmark. Despite her pain and disorientation, she spotted a blue glove and saw smoke rising nearby. Hope surged through her — the glove was Patrick's!

Using a branch as a crutch, Lucy pushed through the pain, following the smoke until a cabin came into view.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"Hello? Is anyone there?" Lucy called out as she approached, desperate for help and clinging to the hope of finding Patrick.

She knocked on the door twice, a bit harder the second time. The door creaked open loudly under her hand, and she stumbled in, falling onto the rough wooden floor with a shout. From the shadows, a small figure stepped forward, lit by the weak light of a stove.

"Mom?"

Hearing her son's voice, Lucy burst into tears of relief. "Patrick, is that you?"

Patrick ran over, giving her a big hug that squeezed the air out of her. "Easy, dear," she breathed out, her voice muffled in his shoulder. "Not so hard."

Stepping back, Patrick looked worried. "Are you alright? What happened?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"It's a long story," Lucy said, wiping away a tear and smiling. She gently touched his face. "What matters is I found you. We're safe now. Everything's going to be alright."

Patrick smiled, relief and joy mixing on his face. He started to explain how he had ended up at the cabin.

"I was lost too, Mom. Then I met the man who owns this place. He's a good guy, and he let me stay. We planned to go to the police in the morning—it was already getting dark."

As Patrick spoke, Lucy couldn't take her eyes off him, her heart swelling with gratitude for their reunion.

Lucy's actions proved that a mother never gives up on her child. Despite knowing the road ahead would be tough, she didn't think twice before venturing into the dangerous woods. And she was successful. She didn't give up and found her boy.

Tell us what you think about this story, and share it with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

If you enjoyed reading this story, here's another one: When Derek found fresh flowers at his wife Alice's grave every week, he assumed it was the work of one of her students because she had worked as a teacher all her life. But one day, he saw a little boy sitting there and discovered the truth his wife had kept hidden for so long.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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