Solve The Mystery
Can you figure out who pushed Ellie down the tallest, scariest slide on the playground?
Wow, it’s really coming down!” Ellie’s best friend, Megan, exclaimed. They pressed their faces against the windows of their fifth grade classroom, watching a flurry of snowflakes make their way to the ground.
“I know,” Ellie nodded her head in agreement. “I can barely see the jungle gym out there. The entire playground is covered with snow.”
“Well, there’s no way the school will let us go outside for recess,” Megan sighed, turning away from the windows. She looked at Ellie and broke out into a smile. “But after school, the playground is all ours!”
“Yeah! As soon as the dismissal bell rings, we should run out there and build a snow fort,” Ellie said excitedly.
“No, I have a better idea,” Megan insisted. “Let’s pile up a ton of snow at the bottom of the slide. Then, we can all slide down it and land in a huge snow bed!” “Wait … do you mean the slide?” Ellie asked nervously. “Yes, the slide,” Megan grinned. “I think the tallest slide on the playground would be the best pick. And the slippery snow will help us get some serious speed as we slide down it! Trust me, it’ll be so much fun.”
“Please,” Jessica, a girl from their class, interrupted. “We all know Ellie would never go down that slide. She’s too chicken.”
Ellie gulped while Megan defended her to Jessica. But Jessica was sort of right. To Ellie, there was nothing “fun” about the tallest slide on the playground. In fact, she tried to avoid it as much as possible. It was tall and scary and spiraling. Plenty of kids would slide down it, not realizing how fast they’d go. Ellie had watched a bunch of kids scream the whole way down. Some even flew off the end and landed on the ground, right on their butts.
But despite being so scary, the tall slide was pretty popular — which was great news for Ellie. That meant there was always a long line of kids waiting to go down it, and her friends never wanted to spend their recess in line. They’d much rather spend their time on the swings or playing a game of tag.
And on the days when the line was short and her friends did want to wait to go down it, Ellie had become a master at thinking up excuses. She’d quickly come up with a good reason why she needed to head back inside or go see the nurse. So far, she’d been successful and never once had to tell her friends the real reason why she didn’t want to go down the slide.
But this time, she didn’t know how she’d be able to get out of it without looking like a scaredy-cat.
Throughout the rest of the school day, Ellie couldn’t focus. Her mind kept returning to the slide. She shuddered every time she thought of Megan’s plan. The slide is already fast and scary enough, Ellie thought to herself. And now that it’s covered in snow, it’ll be even faster and scarier. There’s no way I can go down it.
Ellie’s thoughts were eventually interrupted by the dismissal bell. Her heart sank when she realized the school day was officially over, and Megan was hustling to pack up her bookbag.
“C’mon!” Megan called out as she threw on her coat. “Let’s get out there!”
Ellie begrudgingly grabbed her bag and headed outside. She helped Megan and the other kids pile up snow at the bottom of the slide. When they were all done, Ellie took a step back to evaluate their work. She was surprised by how much fun it actually looked. Maybe sliding down the slide and into the snow won’t be so bad? she thought optimistically. Before she knew it, Ellie was waiting in line next to Megan. “I’m so excited to go down,” Megan beamed as they slowly made their way to the top of the slide. “The snow at the bottom looks like a big, fluffy cushion!”
Ellie decided to look down at the ground to see what Megan was talking about. Big mistake. Now that they were almost to the top, she realized just how high up they were. Ellie started to feel woozy.
“What’s the matter?” Ellie, who’s face had gotten pale, heard from behind her. She turned to see Jessica standing three people behind her. “You look like you’re gonna throw up!” “I might,” Ellie mumbled. “It’s not that bad, Ellie,” Megan reassured her. “Yeah, even my sister has gone down it before, and she’s only in the first grade,” Jessica added.
“Not helping!” Ellie told them in a panicked voice as she and Megan approached the top. They were up next.
Ellie’s mind began swirling. She desperately tried to think of how to get back down. She glanced behind her and saw the long line of kids she’d have to try to pass if she climbed back down. She was stuck. “Hurry up!” someone from the bottom of the steps called up. “We’ve been waiting forever! “Keep it down,” Megan yelled at the kid. “You can do it, El!” Ellie was on the brink of tears. But before she had another second to think, she felt a strong push in the center of her back. Ellie went flying down the slide. “Ahhhhhhhh!” she yelled out as she slid to the bottom. In a matter of a few seconds, Ellie was in the big pile of snow. It took her a few moments to realize she had actually gone down the slide … and she had survived!
But Ellie’s excitement quickly turned into confusion. She remembered feeling a firm hand on her back. Someone definitely pushed her down the scary slide — but who?!