Friday, October 22, 2010

Squirrel Story Part II

If you missed yesterday's post, this is Part 2 of a story that I'm sharing for your enjoyment. I wrote it a couple years ago in Creative Writing class and thought it turned out kind of fun. Enjoy, and be sure to tune in tomorrow night for the exciting conclusion!!! :)


Erin stared in astonishment: atop the craggy, waist-high rock stood a dozen tiny people, each no more than three inches tall! Many of them held the reins of saddled sparrows, chipmunks, or red squirrels. Their clothing blended in with the browns and grays of the early springtime forest.

One man stood nearest the front of the group. Dressed in flowing, silvery gray robes, like the bark of a beech tree, he had a long white beard and wore a tiny woven circlet on his head.

Because it seemed the right thing to do – and because she wanted a better look at the tiny people – Erin sank to her knees in front of the rock, her heart thundering in amazement and excitement.

The little man nodded, looking pleased. “My child,” he said in a voice that was tiny but surprisingly deep, “You greatly honor the people of Whitaker Woods by coming to hear our request. I commend your noble spirit, for I know it is no light matter for a giant such as yourself to respond to something so unusual as a talking squirrel! You were chosen in part because the younger of your species seem to be more willing to accept such notions.

“Allow me to explain why we have sent for you this day: For many, many years my people have occupied this vast tract of land known to you giants as Whitaker Woods; in fact, we have been here far longer than the woods have borne that name! In recent years, however, the giant people have become far too active, erecting dwelling places ever nearer our borders, crisscrossing our territories with trails, allowing the ridiculous beasts known as ‘dogs’ to rampage through our forest and harass our animal friends…you see the picture, I hope.

“The bottom line is this: we must leave this world as soon as possible. We have a door designed for just such a purpose, but we need someone to shut it behind us, for it cannot be closed from the inside. We have watched and waited for a long time for a giant sensible and kind enough to assist us, and my scouts tell me that you are the ideal candidate. So I ask you, are you willing to help us exit Earth?”

Erin stared wide-eyed at him, wondering if she was dreaming. This couldn’t really be happening, could it? Words came from her mouth, though, confirming that she was not dreaming. “Uh, I would be glad to help,” she stammered, even as her mind screamed, But I just found out about you – you can’t go now!

“You are distressed,” Wellinghurst observed. “Giants’ faces are so easy to read…so large…well, my child, what is troubling you?”

Erin swallowed, not liking the idea of her emotions showing so clearly. This was her only chance, though! “Why do you have to leave now?” she blurted out. “This is so incredible – little people living in the woods! There’s so much I want to know about you!”

Wellinghurst’s solemn face softened slightly. “Well, I can’t deny that we are a fascinating people…very well. I shall grant you three hours among us, but at the end of that time, you must promise to do what we have asked you!”

Erin, almost choking on her excitement, gasped, “I promise!” Suddenly she was falling, tumbling through the air past a huge gray cliff! She opened her mouth to scream, but just then something swooped underneath her. With a breathless jar, she found herself astride a huge bird. She looked around wildly, clinging to the soft, flexible saddle on the bird’s back. They were soaring through the trees, which had become immense. The reality of the situation hit Erin with a jolt that made her gasp – she had become a tiny person and was riding a sparrow! Wellinghurst had been very literal when he had said that she could have some time among the little people.

The sparrow dove back down to the boulder and landed lightly in front of Wellinghurst. Erin noticed that one of the little people near the back of the group was fitting Squirilious with a saddle. She dismounted from the sparrow shakily but was so excited that she barely noticed her trembling. Whitaker Woods looked like a whole different world when she was only three inches tall!

Wellinghurst, now more than a head taller than Erin, beamed at her as she approached. “Squirilious has offered to be your guide for this time,” he said. “He will carry you wherever you wish to go in the forest and in the evening will bring you to Jewlie’s Rock for the departure. I hope you have a pleasant time seeing our great forest as we see it.”

“Thank you, sir,” Erin replied breathlessly.

Squirilious bounced forward, his tail twitching in excitement. He now towered over her. “Ready, ready, ready?” he demanded. “Climb on and let’s go!”

Erin, with the help of a smiling little woman, climbed onto the saddle and strapped her legs to it. She suspected that the ride was going to be a little rough.

Sure enough, as soon as Erin was settled, Squirilious took off with a fantastic leap onto the side of a nearby Hemlock tree. Erin wouldn’t have had a chance of staying on his back if she hadn’t been thoroughly strapped on.

For a time all they did was make their way through the trees, bounding from branch to branch seemingly miles above the forest floor. Squirilious scampered up and down tree trunks, chattering and laughing as he went, obviously enjoying himself immensely.

Erin simply hung on tight, thrilled beyond words. She tried to soak in every last detail, knowing that the experience was once in a lifetime. Unless… A thought strayed into her mind. What if she went with the little people through their door to another world? What adventures might she have there? What marvelous things might she see? Her thoughts spun out of control and she gasped for breath in her excitement. She would do it! Just like the characters in all the books she read, she would leave Earth and have incredible adventures of her own.

But then who would shut the door behind her? Like clouds creeping in front of the sun, darker thoughts intruded on her happy vision. What would her parents do if she disappeared? What if she missed home once she was in the new world, but couldn’t ever get back?

Her tumultuous thoughts were interrupted as Squirilious suddenly skidded to a halt on a branch high in a White Pine. She looked around, wondering why they were stopping, and let out a cry of delight – they were visiting someone’s home!

Nestled against the trunk of the tree was a carefully built log house, small to her even as a tiny person. It seemed to be held in place by a combination of dried-grass ropes and pine pitch. The little front door had a window cut into it with a curtain gently swaying in the breeze.

“My good friend Bancroft and his family lived here,” Squirilious commented. “They’ve packed up now, though, and are probably riding my cousins Rambunctious and Trillium to Jewlie’s Rock.”

“Are the animals leaving too?” Erin asked in dismay.

“Some of us are. But don’t worry – there’ll be plenty of animals left in the woods. Not many of us have learned to speak and carry passengers.”

Before they moved on, Erin glanced at her watch and saw that one hour of her time was gone. Two more hours to decide…

To be continued...

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