An original story by Lime Green Giraffe staff member, Evelyn H.

For as long as she could remember, Gracie loved superheroes. She had always been fascinated by them; she would read comic books about them any chance she got, and watch superheroes on TV save their cities from destruction. She wanted to be just like them! They were all so strong and brave, able to handle every problem that came their way.

Gracie had a friend who enjoyed superheroes too- her name was Lila. Gracie and Lila would always meet after school to play, wearing old bedsheets around their shoulders to look like hero capes. They would jump around and climb trees and pretend to fly!

The kids at school joined in their hero games at recess, but as the years went on, Lila and Gracie’s classmates moved onto other things. Now, Lila and Gracie were in the fourth grade- and practically no one played heroes with them anymore. But Lila and Gracie didn’t stop!

Chapter One

Gracie ran down the sidewalk, her rubber boots smacking the pavement with each step she took. The sky was blue above her, not a cloud to be seen. A cool breeze rustled her thick hair. She grinned. 

As she approached a bright red mailbox, with the numbers 2047 plastered on the side, she skidded to a stop. She dashed up the front porch and burst through the front door and dropped her heavy backpack. It was full of homework but that could wait. 

“Hey, sweetie!” Gracie heard her mom call from the kitchen, the smell of chopped apples filling the air. “How was your day?”

Gracie ran to hug her mom, smiling. “It was good. I have to go play with Lila. We are superheroes!” Her mom laughed. “Well, do you want a snack?” She gestured over to where a plate of apple slices sat, ready to be eaten. Gracie grabbed a few slices and shoved them in her mouth, stuffing a few more in the pockets of her jacket. “Thanks, Mom!” She said, still chewing as she turned around to see a small, fluffy creature walking up.

“Come on, Mega!” She called, and a happy-looking tabby cat trotted up to meet her, purring. Gracie gave Mega a pat on the head. “Let’s get our costumes on!” She sprinted up the stairs two steps at a time, with Mega following close behind.

Gracie, panting hard, rounded the corner and dashed down the hallway, slowing down as she reached her bedroom door. The words “GRACIE MAY” were cut out of colored paper, covered in glitter glue and taped sloppily to the door. She walked over to her dresser and grabbed what looked like an old blanket and a small paper napkin. Taking one of her sparkly hair clips out, she adjusted the napkin around Mega’s neck until it rested comfortably on the cat’s shoulders. The cat meowed as Gracie used the hair clip to pin the napkin.

Glancing at the alarm clock sitting on her dresser, she gasped. “We’re late! No no no!” She hurriedly snatched up the old blanket and began tying it around her shoulders as she sprinted out of the room and back down the hall. “Come on Mega!” She called, trying not to fall down the stairs as she ran.

Mega lifted his back leg to give it a few quick laps with his tongue before hopping up and dashing after Gracie, his little paper cape flying out behind him.

Chapter Two

Gracie finished tying the bright red blanket around her shoulders right as she reached her destination- Lila’s house. Lila lived in an average-sized suburban house, with tan paint. Her front porch had a porch swing, but years of wear and weather had made it impossible to sit on without feeling like the bottom was going to give out. Nevertheless, Lila was perched on it, drumming her fingers against the rotting wood armrest.

“Sorry!” Gracie gasped, out of breath from so much running. Lila looked over, hopping up and hurdling herself over the porch railing. She landed on the ground without even slipping, and her dirty blue sneakers kicked up clouds of dust from the sandy ground. “There you are! I was wondering where you had run off to.” Gracie grinned sheepishly. “Yeah, I got home late. The teacher kept me after school because I drew on my desk and she was not happy. ”

Lila giggled. “Maybe don’t draw on the desk next time!” She suddenly reached into her pocket, pulling out a plastic magnifying glass. “I wanted to show this to you. I found it in my Sugar Crunch cereal this morning!” She squinted one of her eyes and looked through the clear lense, making her eye look ginormous. “I figured we could use it on a mission.”

Gracie smiled. “Woah! That’ll sure come in handy I bet.” She picked up Mega, who had just caught up to her. Waving the cat’s front legs around, she spoke in a squeaky voice: “Hi! I’m Mega! We should go on a mission right now, yippee!” Mega yawned, clearly unimpressed.

Lila laughed. “Where should we go first?” Gracie shrugged. “Maybe we could walk around the block, and see if anyone needs help?” Lila nodded and started skipping down the street, her ginger twin braids bouncing with each skip. Gracie set Mega down on the ground, giving him a pat on the head. He meowed, padding over to a sunny patch of grass and curling up to sunbathe.

Running after Lila, Gracie spun in a circle, letting the afternoon breeze flap her cape around. She and Lila practiced their fighting moves on invisible enemies as they walked, doing cartwheels and jumping around like grasshoppers as they chatted. Suddenly, as Lila was showing Gracie how to do a cool trick where she tried to spin like a tornado, she lost control and bumped into an elderly woman standing in her driveway.

“Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry!” Lila gasped, startled. “Are you okay? Did I hurt you?” The old woman chuckled, picking herself up. “It’ll take a lot more than that to hurt me, sweetheart!” She laughed.

Gracie walked up, noticing that the lady was holding something. “Are those cat treats? They look like the kind my cat likes.” She recognized the shiny plastic purple bag, and could smell the cat treats inside. The woman nodded. “They are cat treats. I’ve lost track of my dear cat, I’m afraid.” Her eyes looked sad, and she tapped her foot anxiously. “She usually returns home for dinner around this time, but she isn’t here today.”

“Oh no!” Lila and Gracie said in unison. “What is her name? What does she look like?” Lila asked.

The elderly lady began to describe her cat to the girls. “She has black and white patches that look like a tuxedo, and she has bright yellow eyes.” She sighed. “I hope she’s alright.”

Gracie and Lila looked at each other, and suddenly, Gracie had an idea. “We can find her!” She exclaimed. Lila stared at her friend, surprised. “We can?”

Gracie laughed. “Yeah! It can be our mission!” She bounced up and down, her cape flapping behind her. “Come on, Lila! I know we can do it!”

The old lady looked at the girls. “Oh, if you found my sweet darling Mittens, that would be wonderful!” She smiled, handing Lila the bag of cat treats. “These are her favorites. Shake the bag and she should come right to you!”

Lila took the bag, and responded, “Of course, ma’am. We’ll find Mittens for you!”

And with that, the girls headed off down the street, on a quest to find Mittens.

Chapter Three

“Mittens? Mittens?!” Lila and Gracie were walking up and down the street, calling for the lost cat. Lila was shaking the bag of treats around, while Gracie was peering inside every hiding place she could find. “Ugh, where could she be?”

Lila sighed. “I don’t know, Gracie. It feels like we’ve been looking for hours.” She glanced at the sky, where the sun was beginning to sink below the horizon. “It’s getting late,” she remarked. “maybe we should head home.”

“No way!” Gracie shouted, jumping up to stare at her friend. “We haven’t even looked for Mittens on the next block over! We’ve got to keep going!” She put her hands on her hips, smiling. “That’s my superpower. I’m persistent, and I won’t give up.”

Lila frowned. “My feet hurt, though.” She set the bag of treats down on the ground. “My superpower is that I know when to quit and re-group. I’m not gonna keep looking when there’s clearly nothing here.” She crossed her arms.

Gracie took a step back, surprised; she and Lila never disagreed, not even once. They were best friends. How could they even get in an argument? “Lila, that’s a great idea, but that old lady is counting on us! How can we just give up now?”

Lila huffed. “I’m gonna go back and tell her we have to eat dinner! Mittens is an outdoor cat anyway, she can survive for one night.” She turned around to walk back to the house, her twin braids swaying on her shoulders as she walked.

Gracie couldn’t believe Lila was being so stubborn. “Fine!” She yelled suddenly, feeling angry. “I’ll find Mittens myself!” She grabbed the bag of cat treats off the ground, stomping away in the opposite direction.

Chapter Four

Gracie kicked at the pebbles along the sidewalk, her fists clenched in frustration. “Lila was so mean. We have to find Mittens!” She said to herself. But she still wished her friend was with her to help her, stubborn or not. Two pairs of hands work better than one.

She sighed, looking at the half-empty bag of cat treats in her hand. “I guess I better keep looking,” she muttered. Glancing around, she saw that there was a large garbage can out by someone’s mailbox. Jogging over to investigate, she lifted the lid of the can. Luckily, it wasn’t even that smelly. Inside she found an old cardboard box, a few tin cans, and a used spool of yarn.

Leaning down into the trash bin, she managed to grab the materials. The box was still pretty sturdy, and she decided to take all of the items with her in case she needed them later in her mission.

Gracie continued walking for another half hour, with no sign of Mittens. Her arms were getting tired from carrying the box full of stuff, and it was dark. The wind had picked up, making her cape flap around. She looked up as a street lamp near her as it flickered on. “Maybe Lila was right. Maybe I should give up…”

Then suddenly, she heard loud footsteps behind her. Whirling around, she saw a familiar figure running towards her up the sidewalk. “Lila!” She yelled happily.

Lila ran up and hugged Gracie. “Oh Gracie, I’m so sorry! I shouldn’t have yelled at you! Your mom called my mom, and she asked where you were, and I felt so bad!” Gracie set the box of materials down, and looked at her friend. “It’s okay! You were tired, I understand.” She grinned. “I forgive you.”

Lila smiled back. “Thank you. I promise I won’t abandon another mission ever again!” Then, all of a sudden, Lila gasped. “Oh! Speaking of missions, I don’t think we can give this one up just yet!” Gracie was surprised. “What do you mean?” She asked, leaning forward eagerly.

Lila pointed in the direction of the old lady’s house. “That’s the only place we haven’t checked. The old woman’s house!”

Chapter Five

Gracie and Lila ran up to the driveway of the lady’s house, carrying the box of possibly useful things. The moon had started to rise up in the night sky, casting a peaceful glow onto the sidewalk. Gracie set the box down and looked around, while Lila began sifting through the box’s contents. “We can use all this stuff for sure!” She exclaimed, untangling the spool of yarn.

Stroking her chin in thought, Gracie marched around the old woman’s yard, searching for clues. “Hmmm… Do you think Mittens could’ve gotten stuck under the porch?” She asked. Lila hopped up, dropping the spool of yarn. “Let’s check!” She dashed over to the porch, Gracie following close behind.

“Alright. I’ll climb under, and if I need to get out quick, the code word is coconut. When I say that, you pull me out as fast as you can. Got it?” Lila asked. Gracie nodded. “I’ll do my best!”

Lila got on all fours and began to crawl under the porch, brushing away cobwebs with one hand. “Mittens? Mittens?” She called, and Gracie tried to look under the porch from where she was sitting. It was very dark, and she could barely see Lila at all.

Suddenly, Lila screamed, “Coconut! COCONUT!!” Gracie yelped in surprise, grabbing Lila’s ankles and pulling her out by the feet. Lila scrambled to her feet and began dusting herself off, glaring at the entrance under the porch. “There was a snake. It scared me!” Gracie gasped and tried to see if she could find the snake, but Lila stopped her. “No, it was super scary. Besides, I don’t think Mittens would be under there anyway. She probably doesn’t like snakes either.” Gracie nodded. “That makes sense,” she responded.

Gracie looked around again, wondering where they could look next. “I know!” She exclaimed. “The treats! Let’s try that!” She and Lila ran over to the box, and Gracie picked up the bag of cat treats. “Didn’t the old lady already try that?” Lila asked. “Yes, but she didn’t try it in the backyard.” Gracie answered, running to the back of the house.

Chapter Six

Lila was calling for Mittens, cupping her hands around her mouth for extra volume. “Mittens? Where are you?” Gracie shook the bag of cat treats as hard as she could, hoping the sound would attract any hungry cats.

Suddenly, a tiny “meow?” Sounded from a nearby tree. Lila gasped. “Mittens! Oh my gosh, Gracie! Mittens is here!” The girls ran over to the tree to see Mittens staring down at them, her glowing yellow eyes huge and scared. “Meow,” she squeaked, her tail swishing around.

Gracie cheered, hopping up and down. “We found her!” She patted the ground next to her, and started to coax Mittens down from the tree. “Come here, silly kitty! We have treats!” Lila started to do the same, but Mittens didn’t make a move.

            Gracie looked up at the cat, who was shivering pitifully and chirping at them with big sad eyes. “She looks so sad. Why won’t she come down?” Lila stood up, thinking. “Hmm. Maybe she can’t get down!” She thought aloud, and Gracie gasped. “Of course!” She turned to talk to Mittens. “We’ll get you down from there, Mittens!” She vowed.

She and Lila began to work. They took the old cardboard box, and tied the yarn around it. Then, they tied the tin cans to the other end of the yarn. Gracie held the box while Lila threw the string and cans over a branch of the tree, and as a final touch, Gracie put some treats in the box. “Ready to go!” She called, and Lila gave her a thumbs-up. Then, Lila began to pull the cans to touch the ground.

Slowly, the pulley-system began to work. As the cans went closer to the ground, the box was pulled higher into the air. Soon, the box was high enough to reach Mittens. With a concerned “meow?” Mittens sniffed the box and tapped at it with her paw.

Gracie and Lila cooed at the frightened cat. “It’s okay! It’s safe!” After a few minutes, Mittens climbed into the box and started eating the treats. Cheering, the girls slowly lowered the box to the ground, and picked up Mittens. The cat was purring, and snuggled into the arms of her rescuers.

Gracie laughed. “I guess we make a good team after all!” She claimed, and Lila nodded. “Yeah! Your persistence and my logic are a really awesome combo!” They continued to pet Mittens, their mission complete.

This story was a part of Gigi Presents: Storytime with the Lime Green Giraffe. Click here to check out the reading on our YouTube channel. 

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