This fiction story was written in response to Sadje’s What Do You See prompt #33.
The field trip had been planned for weeks. All the permission slips had been signed. The buses were ordered. The meds and lunches were ready to be placed in the compartment under the bus. As everyone boarded, I did a head count and made sure we had left no one at school.
I stood at the front of the bus and gave the usual spiel about staying together, having a buddy, and not wandering away from the group. Everyone was excited to visit the Natural History Museum. None of the students had visited before and the rumors were flying about what they would see. Some even told stories of extinct animals coming to life. I chuckled as I overheard the latest fabrications. Kids never ceased to amaze me with their imagination.
We had a wonderful four hours before traveling to a park to have our sack lunches. Everyone was exhausted but ready for the long bus ride home. As we pulled into the staff parking lot we were met with parents eager to listen to their children’s stories about the day.
After what seemed like an eternity all the students were reunited with their parent. Well, all except one. A very frightened mom asked where her child was. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done a head count before the bus left the museum. I was so tired I’d assumed that if someone was missing a partner, they would inform me. I assumed incorrectly of course.
A call to the museum was fruitless. They had not seen the child. An Amber Alert was issued. The grounds were covered with volunteers and police. After looking at video of the grounds, it seemed the child had wandered off with a dinosaur.
I was finally released from the interrogation room and paleontologists from all over the state descended on the grounds.