March came to Atlanta, bringing chilly temperatures and breezy
wind. Samantha Parker and Elizabeth Martin always enjoyed the
month of March because of three things: One… Easter came every
now and then in that month, Two… one week spring vacation from
school, Three… Elizabeth's birthday was on the seventeenth of the
month. Since it was the twelfth of March, Samantha and Elizabeth
were on their last day of vacation. This was Friday, but they
still had Saturday and Sunday 'till they went back to school.
Samantha and Elizabeth had spent the first part of the day
looking through gramophone records and looking at the toys at the
toy store. But now, they found themselves sitting on a park
"Wanna spend the night at my house tonight?" asked Samantha.
"Maybe. Don't know yet," Elizabeth answered.
They sat in silence for a while, until Elizabeth said,
"Atlanta's such a big city, but there's nothing to do. Nowhere to
go. Feels like we been everywhere and done everything. We done
seen all the movies at the theatre, the ones that's playin' now,
"Oh, stop complaining!" Samantha said. "I'm sure we can think of
something to do."
They sat there waiting for something exciting to happen for five
minutes. Soon, the five minutes turned into ten, and the ten
turned into twenty.
"Ain't nothing' gonna happen," Elizabeth said. "You ready to go
"I reckon so," Samantha answered.
Slowly, Samantha and Elizabeth walked towards home with nothing
to do. But when they were at the corner of Revelle Street and
Aberdeen Lane, they got an exciting surprise. There was a stray
dog sitting on the sidewalk.
"Look, 'Liza! It's a little puppy dog!" Samantha exclaimed.
"Does it belong to anybody?" Elizabeth asked excitedly.
"Let's go see if its wearing a collar," replied Samantha.
The girls hurriedly ran across the intersection and stopped where
the dog was. Elizabeth looked for a collar, but didn't find one.
"Reckon he's homeless?" she asked.
"Maybe," Samantha answered.
The sad, small, skinny puppy looked up at the girls.
"Let's take him home and feed him," Elizabeth said. "We'll go to
my house first."
"Okay," Samantha replied. She picked up the puppy and followed
The puppy, or "Lillian", as Samantha and Elizabeth finally
decided to name it, was a Jack Russell Terrier breed. When the
girls went inside Elizabeth's house, they immediately went to
find Mrs. Martin. When they found her, and Mrs. Martin saw the
puppy, Samantha and Elizabeth could tell Mrs. Martin was
Can we keep her?" Elizabeth asked. "We named her Lillian and we
found her sitting at the corner of Revelle and Aberdeen. I know
she's just starving!"
"I don't know, Elizabeth," Mrs. Martin answered. "I'll have to
talk to your father about it."
"Ok," Elizabeth replied.
"But for now, take Lillian out in the back yard and feed her.
There's some stale bread on the counter," Mrs. Martin said.
"All right," said Elizabeth. She turned to Samantha and said,
The girls went out into the back yard with Lillian. They sat the
small puppy on the grass and gave her a piece of bread. Lillian
ate it hungrily and begged for more. Soon, the bread was gone,
and they got a bowl of water for Lillian to drink. When Lillian
was finished with her meal, Samantha and Elizabeth tried to train
her. First, they tried to teach Lillian her name.
They decided that they would take turns training her, Elizabeth
would go first, then Samantha. By the end of the day, they had
succeeded in teaching Lillian her name and how to sit.
Around six o'clock that evening, Elizabeth's father came home
from work. Samantha and Elizabeth raced inside to ask him if
Elizabeth could keep Lillian.
"Hi, Dad," Elizabeth said. "Me and Samantha need to ask you
something very important."
"What is it, Elizabeth?" asked Mr. Martin.
"Coming home from town today, we found the cutest little puppy
sitting on the corner of Revelle and Aberdeen. It was starving,
so Samantha and I, well, we brought it here. Ma gave us some
stale bread to feed it, and we've already named it and trained it
to sit and we've taught it its' name. We named the puppy after
"Sounds like you two've had an exciting day," Mr. Martin said.
"Can we keep the puppy?" Elizabeth asked.
"It's okay with me, but what's your ma saying about all this?"
Mr. Martin asked.
"She said to ask you," answered Elizabeth.
"Go tell your ma I said its okay, and that the rest of it is up
to her," replied Mr. Martin.
"Okay!" Elizabeth said. She and Samantha went to find Mrs.
Miraculously, Mrs. Martin agreed, and Lillian was now an
official member of the Martin family.
Thirty minutes later, just before Samantha went home, Elizabeth
said to her friend, "Let's not get into a war over Lillian like
we did over Flipper the fish."
"All right," Samantha said. She looked up at the sky, which was
now pinkish- red from the setting sun. "Guess I'd better be
getting on home."
"Okay," Elizabeth replied. "I'll meet you in the morning. Nine as
"Yep. I'll meet you at nine," Samantha answered.
Just as they agreed, they met in Elizabeth's backyard at nine on
the dot. Instead of going to town that day, Samantha and
Elizabeth decided to stay at Elizabeth's and play with Lillian.
Today, they would attempt to teach the puppy to stay and lie
down. They succeeded in teaching Lillian to stay, but lie down
would be more trouble, as they could already see.
At lunch, they brought their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
outside and ate them while they sat on the back porch. As they
ate, they discussed upcoming events such as the start of school
and Elizabeth's birthday. Elizabeth's birthday was the most
anticipated upcoming event. On the twenty-first, they would have
a small tea party at Elizabeth's house with some of their
friends. Some people that Elizabeth decided to invite were, of
course, Samantha, Amelia, Karen, Annabelle, and a few others.
Naturally, none of the girls could wait.
The weekend passed by quickly and soon, school started back.
Lillian was heartbroken when Elizabeth left her Monday morning,
but Elizabeth whispered softly to the sad puppy, "I'll be back
Samantha, Elizabeth, and Annabelle went out into Elizabeth's back
yard. Yes, the twenty-first was here, and so was Elizabeth's
party. So far, only the three girls were there. Amelia and Karen
would be coming later.
"Oh, Lillian's so cute!" Annabelle exclaimed as the puppy rolled
over in the grass.
"Don't know how long she'd been sitting there on that sidewalk,"
Elizabeth said. "Ain't no telling if someone just left her
"Guess we'll never know," replied Annabelle. "There's some pretty
mean people in this world, even in Atlanta."
Just then, Amelia and Karen came through the back gate. They ran
towards Lillian, and Lillian ran towards them.
Soon, everybody arrived and the party started. All the girls sat
around a table in the back yard, drinking tea and talking. The
main topic was little Lillian, running around the yard and
sniffing everything she could get to. Everything was going well
outside, but not inside. Inside the house, the Martins were
talking with Mr. Simmons, the pastor of the Methodist church that
Samantha went to.
"I hear that your daughter has a puppy. Mine ran away the other
day and I just can't find it anywhere. May I see this puppy?"
asked the pastor.
"Yes," Mrs. Martin answered. "She's out in the back yard."
The pastor, followed by Mr. and Mrs. Martin, went out.
"Elizabeth," Mrs. Martin called. "There's somebody here who wants
to see you."
Elizabeth stood up and asked, "Yes?"
The pastor spoke up. "Where is your little dog?"
"Over there," Elizabeth answered, pointing to the corner of the
fence. She would have asked why, but she knew it wasn't polite.
After looking closely at the puppy, the pastor said to
Elizabeth's parents, "Yes, I do believe that's my puppy."
"What's going on?" Elizabeth asked.
"You see, Mr. Simmons has lost a puppy just like Lillian," Mrs.
Martin said. "He says…"
"This is my dog," the pastor interrupted. "I must take it home
with me right now."
"No!" Elizabeth shouted. "You can't do that! I won't let you!"
"There's nothing you can do," the pastor said as he picked the
"Yes there is, and I will stop you!" protested Elizabeth.
"Lillian wasn't wearing a collar when Samantha and I found her.
She was cold and shivering. How can you be sure this is your
"Don't you think I would be able to recognize my own pets?" the
"Maybe, but here's what we'll do," Elizabeth said. "You call her
first, by the name you think she knows, and I'll call her by that
name, too. We'll see who she runs to."
"Agreed," the pastor replied. He called the puppy. "Savannah!"
The puppy hesitated and took a few steps forward, but it didn't
run to anybody yet.
Then Elizabeth called the dog. "Savannah!"
The puppy didn't move.
"See?" Elizabeth said. "The puppy didn't respond. Now we'll call
her by the name Lillian. That's what I named her."
"Lillian!" the pastor called.
The puppy moved about a foot forward, but then stopped.
"Lillian!" Elizabeth called.
Thankfully, the puppy happily bounded towards Elizabeth.
"She's not your dog," Elizabeth said.
"She will be now," the pastor replied. "She may respond to the
name Lillian, but I named her Savannah. I don't care what you,
your parents, or your friends say, I am taking this puppy home
with me this minute!" He picked the dog up again, then said to
Elizabeth turned to her father with tears in her eyes. "You
can't let him do this, pa! You just can't!"
"He says it's his puppy, Elizabeth," Mr. Martin replied. "We
don't go around taking things that belong to other people."
"Well, he just took Lillian from me!" Elizabeth exclaimed.
"Apparently Lillian, or Savannah, as he calls her, must've
belonged to him in the first place," Mr. Martin said.
"But she belongs to me now!" Elizabeth replied. "Forgive me for
sayin' this, but that Mr. Simmons is just plain evil! Evil!" She
stormed inside the house.
"We've just got to get that puppy back to Elizabeth," Mrs. Martin
said to Mr. Martin as they sat in the living room. ""There ain't
no telling what she might do if we don't."
"The puppy did belong to the pastor, but even I know he
shouldn't have come here like that today, and taking that poor
dog away from Elizabeth, right there in front of all her
friends," Mr. Martin replied.
"Well, try and meet the pastor tomorrow and persuade him to give
'Lizabeth the puppy back," said Mrs. Martin.
"I'll see what I can do," Mr. Martin said.
Samantha was given permission to stay overnight at Elizabeth's
house. She would try to comfort Elizabeth in her time of loss.
Upstairs, Elizabeth sat in the window seat staring somewhere
above the city lights outside with a faraway look in her eyes.
"'Liza," Samantha said. "We'll get Lillian back. I know we will."
Elizabeth kept quiet but turned around to look at her friend.
"I know it was wrong for him to take Lillian away from us like
that, but he's not evil."
This time, Elizabeth spoke up and said, "You don't have to do
that. It won't work. Lillian belongs to him now, and not me. I
guess I'll never see little Lillian again. She probably misses
me, and I know I miss her."
"We will get her back," Samantha said. "I promise it."
Elizabeth replied as a tear slipped down her cheek, "I sure do
hope you're right."
The next day was Sunday, and both Samantha and Mr. Martin
would be meeting with the pastor. Samantha got the first chance
after the church service, as everybody was leaving.
The Parker family were usually one of the last families to leave
on Sundays. Samantha knew she had to give her mother an excuse,
so she told her mother, "Ma, can I walk home today?"
"Why would you want to do that?" Mrs. Parker asked. "It's mighty
"I don't know," answered Samantha. "I guess I'd just like to do
something different for a change."
"Okay," replied Mrs. Parker. "But hurry home."
"All right, Ma. I'll take the long route so I can see more
sights," said Samantha.
As soon as the rest of the Parker family was out of sight,
Samantha went to the back of the church. She knew that the pastor
went to his office after church. She wasn't sure if he was in
there now, but Samantha would just have to take a chance. She
knocked and waited a few seconds.
She thought to herself, "Don't know whether or not I should be so
nice. He sure wasn't nice coming there and ruining 'Liza's party
and taking Lillian. I'll just make it known that I didn't
Samantha knocked again, and this time, the pastor came to the
"Hello, Mr. Simmons," Samantha said. She walked right into the
office and sat down. "I would like to talk to you."
"Yes, Samantha?" the pastor asked.
"I want you to give my friend her puppy back," Samantha quickly
answered. "You never had the right to take it."
"What do you know about that?" asked the pastor.
"I was there at the party. You awfully upset Elizabeth, and I
did not appreciate it," Samantha answered.
"That was my puppy," the pastor rudely replied. "Not your
"How would you like it if somebody took something from you that
you loved so dearly?" asked Samantha.
"I believe I do not have an answer for that," answered the
"For you to be a preacher, you are downright cruel and
heartless!" Samantha exclaimed. She knew she shouldn't have said
that, for she knew that the pastor would most likely tell her
parents. But anyway, she continued, "If I have to get arrested,
hurt, or who knows what, I will get my friend's puppy back from
"You just try," the pastor said.
"I will try!" Samantha replied. "And you can't stop me!" She
stood up, walked to the door and said, "Good bye." She yanked the
door open, walked out, and loudly shut the door. Samantha didn't
care if anybody heard her. She whispered, "'Liza is right. That
man is evil!"
After meeting with the pastor, Samantha had no desire to walk the
long route home. Instead, she took her and Elizabeth's secret
route. It was the shortest route back to Revelle Street. Samantha
did make plans to stop by Elizabeth's house, but she didn't. She
knew well that the only news Elizabeth wanted to hear was good
news, but all she had was bad.
When Samantha went inside her house, Mrs. Parker asked her, "I
thought you were going to take the long route home."
"No," Samantha replied. "I just came the short way. Guess I
didn't really feel like walking all that way."
Soon, the hot pot of vegetable soup that Mrs. Parker was cooking
was done, and they ate lunch.
"Please give my daughter her puppy back," said Mr.
Now Mr. Martin was trying to persuade the pastor to give Lillian
back to Elizabeth.
"I'm sorry but I can't do that," Mr. Simmons said.
"Elizabeth never did anything wrong. She and Samantha innocently
found the puppy sitting on the sidewalk. They didn't know who it
belonged to; they probably didn't even know it belonged to
anybody," Mr. Martin replied.
"This is my final choice," the pastor said. "Your daughter will
not get the dog back. And I would gladly appreciate it if you
would kindly leave my office."
Mr. Martin stood up. "Whatever you say. Goodbye." He walked
out of the office.
Back at the Martin house, when Mr. Martin came home, Mrs. Martin
asked, "What did he say?"
"He says he's not going to give Lillian back," Mr. Martin
"So what do we do?" Mrs. Martin asked. "Elizabeth'll be
devastated if we don't do something soon."
"Maybe we can buy a puppy similar to Lillian at the pet
store," Mr. Martin suggested,
"Elizabeth would rather have the real Lillian back," replied
Mrs. Martin. "That's something that's very obvious."
"I guess we'll have to wait and hope for the best," Mr. Martin
Nighttime fell, and most everybody on Revelle Street was asleep.
Everybody but Samantha and Elizabeth, that was. Samantha lay wide
awake in bed thinking about the events of the day. How could
somebody be so mean as to take a poor, helpless puppy from
somebody? The more Samantha thought about it, the more she wanted
to take action. Finally, she climbed out of bed and put back on
her dress. She was going to get Lillian back, and it would
require some drastic measures.
As Samantha quietly snuck out of the house, she realized that she
would need Elizabeth's help. So she walked down to Elizabeth's
house in the dim moonlight, careful not to make any noise. Then
it hit her as she stopped in front of the Martin house: how was
she supposed to get Elizabeth's attention without waking up the
rest of the Martins and the neighborhood? Samantha stood there in
deep thought, then decided to try throwing a small rock next to
Elizabeth's window. This would be her only chance, so she would
have to throw it perfectly and quietly. Samantha aimed at the
area beside the window and threw the rock. Perfect hit! But
Elizabeth didn't come to the window.
"Now what do I do?" Samantha whispered.
Then, thankfully, Elizabeth came to the window. She raised it
and gasped, "Sammy! What in the world are you doing here!?"
Samantha motioned for Elizabeth to be quiet, then answered,
"We're going to get Lillian back."
When Samantha said that, Elizabeth had mixed emotions. She felt
happy that they were going to get Lillian, but she was worried
about what might happen, too. Her parents had always told her to
take chances, because you have to suffer the consequences,
anyway. Elizabeth changed into a dress and quietly snuck out of
"Sammy!" Elizabeth exclaimed as soon as she reached the place
where her friend was standing. "What do you mean we're going to
"I know where Mr. Simmons lives. We'll go around there and get
Lillian and bring her back here," Samantha answered.
"Are you sure it's safe?" Elizabeth asked.
"Maybe. Don't know," replied Samantha. "Come on."
Samantha and Elizabeth walked down their secret route. Samantha
led the way to the pastor's house, which was on Ninth Street.
Soon, they made it there.
"Gee, that's a big house!" Elizabeth said. "Looks almost as if it
could be haunted!"
"You're right," Samantha replied. "Let's keep our voices down so
nobody hears us."
"How do we get in?" Elizabeth asked.
"We'll try the front door," Samantha answered.
They quietly stepped up on the front porch and went over to the
door. Samantha turned the doorknob, and it wasn't locked.
Samantha and Elizabeth slipped inside, careful to thoroughly
check their surroundings. The coast was clear, and Samantha went
one way, Elizabeth the other.
On Samantha's route, she went through the living room, the
kitchen, two closets and a guest bedroom. No sign of Lillian.
On Elizabeth's route, she went through the dining room, a
bathroom, and a parlor. No sign of Lillian.
They met back at the front door and told one another their
"Let's go upstairs and look," Elizabeth said. "I'm not giving
"Okay," Samantha replied.
The two girls climbed the tall, narrow steps and soon, found
their selves on the second floor of the big house. There was a
long hallway upstairs, so Samantha checked the left side of the
hallway, while Elizabeth checked the right.
When Elizabeth went in another spare bedroom, she heard
whimpering come from inside of the closet. She quickly opened the
door, and to her surprise, found Lillian shoved into the corner.
The poor dog's mouth was taped shut with duct tape, and her legs
were tied together.
"Oh, Lillian!" Elizabeth exclaimed. "What has this evil man done
to you?" She hurriedly went to find Samantha, then they both went
back to the spare bedroom.
When Lillian was free, Elizabeth said, "This man has to be
"I see what you mean!" Samantha replied.
Lillian let out a loud bark.
"Lillian!" Elizabeth hissed. "Be quiet!"
But it was too late. Both Samantha and Elizabeth could hear
footsteps coming down the hallway.
"Quick! Hide!" Samantha said. She, Elizabeth, and little Lillian
hid in the closet, fearful of what was going to happen next.
The footsteps came into the bedroom. The pastor heard them
talking, and he was coming to see who it was.
All of a sudden, the closet door flew open, and there stood
the pastor. Everybody was silent for a minute or two, but then
Elizabeth said, "You are a very evil man, Mr. Simmons."
"Should I tell your parents or just go ahead and report you two
to the authorities?" asked the pastor.
"None of the above," Elizabeth said. "Except we could work that
out vice-versa: you get arrested or we tell your parents."
"Get out of my house this instant!" shouted the pastor. "And take
that whimpering thing you call a dog with you! GET OUT!"
"Right away!" Elizabeth said. She turned to her friend, "Come on,
As they walked home, Samantha said, "Well, we got that
all straightened out."
"I'm glad we did," Elizabeth replied. "Nobody is ever going to
take Lillian from us again, we'll be sure of that, won't we?"
"We sure will," Samantha said.
They walked on in silence for a short while, then Elizabeth spoke
up. "Let's get on home 'fore somebody notices we're gone."
Okay," Samantha replied.
Samantha and Elizabeth quickly went home, happy that they had
gotten Lillian back. And maybe now, Mr. Simmons had gotten the
hint not to mess with Samantha and Elizabeth again.