Isla found the second Post-it note under her teddy bear. “Back again, an out to the ship. Ahoy, me matey, ahoy, pip pip”. She didn’t really understand all the words, but Daddy helped her out.
“It sounds a bit like a pirate to me. Can you think of where there are pirates?”
“Hmmm. What about outside? Maybe there is a flag or something else?”
“There’s a pirate flag on the cubby!”
“Well, we’d better go and check!”
Isla’s four-year-old legs race down the stairs and waited for her father by the back door. She liked the pirate clue; it was better than the first clue, which had just said “Bear could it be?” and she only had one bear so where else could it be?
As soon as the door opened, she raced out to the cubby house and clambered up the ladder. She found the third note under two lemons. Her father’s head appeared at the window.
“Ha!” He said. “Two lemons. Pip pip!”
“I don’t get it.”
“Pip pip! It’s just a funny expression, that’s all.”
“Oh. Well, read this one to me.”
“Out the gate and down the road looking out for the orange toad.”
“That’s at the play ground!”
“Well, let’s go!”
Isla’s dad swung her onto his shoulders. He strode quickly down to the park and they sang, “We’re going on a bear hunt” the whole way. They got to the orange toad on a spring before they reached the verse were they ran away from the bear. Isla’s dad grabbed the note from the nose of the toad and read it to Isla.
“Ha ha! Tricked you! Go back to the house! Creep to mum’s bedroom, quiet like a mouse!”
“Quick, daddy, run!”
Before they knew it, they were back home. They snuck up the stairs and into the main bedroom. They crept along the ground and Isla sneaked up onto the bed. Her mother lay there, oxygen mask on her face. She smiled at Isla and weakly pushed forward a small present.
“Happy birthday, my darling,” her muffled voice came from behind the mask. Isla curled up next to her mother and opened her present. Mum and dad smiled at each other, tears in their eyes.