Lying awake one night, Aiden Prescott, 6, suddenly sensed that there was an intruder in the house. Hiding in the closet, perhaps, or under the bed.

Cut off from his parents and law enforcement, helpless, he knew he had no choice but to outthink the intruder, who had taken the form of a killer clown, or a ghost, or some combination of the two.

Fortunately Aiden’s innate survival instincts kicked into high gear. Fashioning his blanket into a primitive defensive shelter, he courageously pretended to be asleep for many long minutes while the ghost-clown watched closely, apparently falling for it.

Eventually he nodded off for real, only to be jolted awake hours later by a terrifying rumble of thunder, though it could have been just a loud car. It can sometimes be hard to tell the difference.

At daybreak, when Aiden failed to show up in his parents’ bed and his own bed was found abandoned, search parties were dispatched throughout the house. Ultimately he was discovered in the laundry room—where he had protectively wedged himself between the washer and dryer—suffering from advanced delirium, dehydration and hypothermia.

He was ten minutes late for school.

Due to events beyond her control, Abigail Morris, 5, found herself at the dentist’s office for her regular check-up. Although she had somehow survived a round of vaccinations only days earlier, Abigail knew she wouldn’t be so lucky this time. Determined, she manufactured a crying fit that sadly failed to have the proper effect on her mother.

Surrendering to her dark fate, she allowed herself to be led to the chair.

However, just as the exam was about to begin, she managed to dig deep within herself, exhibiting a fortitude and strength of will few are capable of, and successfully managed to throw up all over both herself and the dentist. Red-faced and apologetic, her mother was forced to reschedule.

With a new outlook on life, and a two-week reprieve, Abigail has vowed to learn as much as she can about self-defense techniques and flossing.

Brady Sutter, 7, found himself alone in the aisle of a department store, stranded in a vast, unforgiving retail wilderness. Instinct told him that his best chance for rescue was to remain in one place, and he bravely vowed to wait it out, refusing to panic or wet himself.

When the air conditioning kicked on with a loud whir, Brady mistook it for an extraction helicopter and used a lighter he’d stolen from his father to ignite a pair of leisure slacks.

The signal fire worked, drawing the attention of his mother, twenty feet away at the returns counter, as well as various employees, shoppers, mall authorities and the local police. This was the third time in a month that Brady had to be rescued with the help of a signal fire, and his parents are seriously thinking of contacting a professional in the mental health field who can dissuade the budding pyromaniac from relying so readily on his survival instincts.

While roaming a neighbor’s farm, Olivia McDaniels, 5, tumbled into an old well. It took several days and the work of dozens of citizens and rescue personnel to dig her out, after which she briefly became a national celebrity.

Olivia, now 37, lives a quiet, uneventful life and can’t stop daydreaming about the past. She can frequently be found in her laundry room, wedged between the washer and dryer in a vain attempt to recapture the glory days of her childhood.

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