Samantha-Ellen Robinson awoke to her alarm clock's shrill ring, followed by a loud thunk accompanied by a sharp pain, as she bonked the top of her head against the bottom of the headboard.
Groggy, Samantha slid her feet out from under the cozy fleece quilt and onto the embroidered rug. As she slipped her ten toes, sporting baby-blue nail polish, deep into the puffy warmth of her bunny slippers, Samantha accidentally caught a glimpse of her alarm clock. She leaped up into the brisk November morning, hardly noticing the chattering of her teeth, leaving the cocoon of her blanket behind. "Nine o'clock!" Samantha gasped.
"Nine o'clock! I'm late for school! Oh, no no no no NO!"
In one spectacular leap—usually reserved for acrobats, not pre-teen girls—Samantha managed to fly across the room, seize a pair of leggings and a T-shirt, and have one sneaker halfway on by the time she catapulted herself through the door. Samantha jammed her left foot into the other Adidas and ran. She sped across the landing, upsetting her two-year-old brother, Johnny, who had been standing there sucking his thumb and rubbing his eyes, so that he tumbled over onto his diapered bottom.
"Thamantha," he whined, attempting to stand back up, "Thamantha... wait."
"No time," she panted, hopping onto the banister. As she slid down towards the center foyer, the wind rushed past her ears and her stomach cringed. The image of Dad percolating coffee and Mom scrambling eggs grew larger and larger until, with a last sickening thump, she landed on the floor beside the kitchen archway.
"My, my," Mom chided, "aren't we in a hurry this morning?"
"Uh, huh," Samantha wheezed, half out the door. Sprinting across the driveway, she could still hear her father shouting, "Samanthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa..."
Samantha paid him no mind, and soon she was pounding along the sidewalk, panting and gasping and racing like she never had before.
"I'm never late!" she cried inwardly, "I'm never late! I'll get detention! I'll get suspended! I'll get expelled! Ohh, how did I manage to press the snooze button so many times?"
With every fall of her feet, her stomach did a backflip and her gut churned. "Oh, only let this be a dream," she begged, "and I'll never be late again."
And then, the red brick building, looming in the distance, was coming closer. And then she was up on its steps. And then she was pounding on the doors and hollering, "Let me in! I'm late, I'm late!" She looked up at the windows in despair. "They even locked the doors on me!"
And then Ruby Samson, passing by, stopped to stare at Samantha, puzzled and confused. And then Ruby was taking Samantha back from the steps, and saying, like one might say to a troubled toddler, "You're not late, Samantha. It's Saturday!"