Saturday, October 23, 2010

Squirrel Story Part III

For those who have been following these posts, here is the conclusion! If you're just reading this now, though, you may want to go back to this post for the beginning of the story. Enjoy! :)


They visited many more houses. Erin found herself growing more and more depressed with each one – they were all empty, with no signs of life. Squirilious obligingly stood next to each house and let her poke her head in a window. The chambers were fascinating…but felt dead and cold.

Evening was beginning to fall; chilly shadows crept across the forest. The temperature was dropping, and Erin was glad for the warmth of the squirrel beneath her.

She looked at her watch again. “It’s time,” she said softly to Squirilious. “We should just make it to Jewlie’s Rock.”

“All right, then, hang on tight!” Squirilious called back over his shoulder. “I’ll give you a ride to remember!”

He fulfilled his promise. He climbed higher than ever before in the trees and leapt impossible distances between branches, soaring. Erin felt almost as though she were flying each time, looking down at the ground so far below, hanging in the air for a long moment before grasping the twigs of the next tree. She wished it would never end.

She would do it – she would go with Squirilious and all the others to the new world. How could she not? How could she go through the rest of her life wondering, “What if?”

They had reached Powerline Trail. Jewlie’s Rock was on the far side of the trail. Squirilious had to leave the trees for a moment and scurry through the underbrush to get to the rock. Even the smallest of trees was monumental, though, and Erin soaked it all in.

In a moment they were across the trail and standing before the rock. Erin gasped – hundreds, no, thousands of little people and their animal friends stood waiting, bundles of belongings attached to the saddles. She glanced at her watch one more time and was relieved to see that she was right on time. It would’ve been very embarrassing to keep so many people waiting.

She unstrapped her legs from the saddle and slid reluctantly off Squirilious’ back. Her knees nearly buckled, and she realized that she was probably going to be saddle sore the next day.

She looked up at Jewlie’s Rock, a boulder that normally stood a little higher than her head. Now it loomed, massive. Something looked different about it, though – it didn’t look as tall as it should. She blinked in astonishment as she realized what had happened – the entire top quarter of the rock had slid off the back! A faint light glowed from the open top of the rock, illuminating the tiny spring leaves of the birch that hung overhead.

Wellinghurst came forward to meet Erin and Squirilious. His face was solemn but peaceful. “Well, my child, you have come to help us,” he murmured. “We are all eternally grateful to you for your willingness. I hope you had a pleasant afternoon?”

Erin nodded, unable to speak past the lump in her throat. Did they really have to leave? Why couldn’t they keep living the way they had? No one had discovered them so far!

Wellinghurst turned to the people. “Mount up!” he cried. “The time is at hand. It is time to exit Earth and forge new paths!”

A great cheer arose, and there was a flurry of activity as people leapt onto the backs of sparrows, chickadees, squirrels, red squirrels, and chipmunks. There were even a couple blue jays among the animals; they had to crouch down low for the people to climb aboard. Children rode with their parents, though a few children had mice to ride – rather like ponies for human children, Erin thought.

The birds fluttered to the top of the rock and the other animals climbed; they all disappeared in a little flash of light. Last of all went Wellinghurst, astride a majestic and cocky blue jay. Pausing at the top, he turned his mount in midair and waved at Erin. “Command the door to close, and it will,” he called. “You will forever be known in our tales as a truly courageous Earth-child. Farewell!” He dove down toward the top of the rock and disappeared.

Erin suddenly realized that she was back to her normal height. She stood perfectly still for a long moment, staring at the glowing rock. This was her only chance. Never again would she have such an opportunity for adventure…

With a pain in her heart, she closed her eyes. She knew what was right. “Close,” she whispered.

The light disappeared.

Slowly she turned around. The sun was starting to set over the Moat Mountains; her parents would be worried if she wasn’t home soon.

Movement at her feet caught her eye. She looked down and saw a little red squirrel staring up at her, still wearing his harness. “Squirilious!” she gasped, dropping to her knees in front of him. “You didn’t make it through the door!”

He rubbed against her hands, soft and warm. “I meant to stay,” he said. “I wanted to be with you. May I come live in that oak by your house?”

Tears of joy burned in Erin’s eyes as she gently picked Squirilious up. “You may,” she replied, and turned toward home with her friend perched on her shoulder.

The End! :D

No comments: