CHAPTER EIGHT

Stuart ran as fast as he could across the beach. Sand flew from under his shoes. It dragged at his feet. He almost tripped. He wasn't used to running in sand. It was a lot harder than running in the dirt from his mom's garden.

He risked a glance over his shoulder. The boat with Madame X and Thug was almost on the beach! Thug was pointing right at them! They'd been discovered!

Stuart heard Thug yell, “I see them, sir... uh, Madame... uh, Captain! They're heading towards those trees!”

“Don't lose them, Thug,” hollered Madame X. “Follow that map!

Felix gulped. “They're going to catch us!”

“Hurry!” Stuart yelled. “Captain, find the tree!”

Captain Brannigan slapped the trunk of the coconut tree just as Felix and Stuart ran up to him. “This is the one, Stuart! What's next? What does the map say?”

“Uh... let me look.” Stuart struggled to unfold the map without tearing it. It was old, and the edges were ragged. Plus it was very wet. It was easy to tear the soggy, yellowed paper.

Felix glanced behind him, his eyes wide. “Well, look faster! They're gaining on us!”

“Okay, okay,” Stuart said in a panicked voice. He smoothed the map and read, “`From the big coconut tree, head north a quarter mile to the stream.' Okay... uh... north? Which way is north?”

Captain Brannigan calmly whipped a compass out the pocket of his pirate coat.

“Hey!” exclaimed Stuart. “Where did you find that?”

Captain Brannigan smiled. “A good pirate always carries an extra compass,” he said. “Right?”

“Right!” agreed Start and Felix. Together they watched the compass' needle swing to the north.

“North is this way!” pointed the captain. He marched away. Felix followed with a grin.

Stuart folded the map and ran to catch up.

Then the toucan squawked loudly.

Thug and Madame X were not far behind!

Stuart ran raster!

Go on to Chapter 9.


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