They visited many more houses.
Evening was beginning to fall; chilly shadows crept across the forest. The temperature was dropping, and
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.
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
In a moment they were across the trail and standing before the rock.
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?”
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,
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
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
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
The End! :D