Saturday, October 30, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
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
Friday, October 22, 2010
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 –
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?”
“You are distressed,” Wellinghurst observed. “Giants’ faces are so easy to read…so large…well, my child, what is troubling 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!”
The sparrow dove back down to the boulder and landed lightly in front of Wellinghurst.
Wellinghurst, now more than a head taller than
“Thank you, sir,”
Squirilious bounced forward, his tail twitching in excitement. He now towered over her. “Ready, ready, ready?” he demanded. “Climb on and let’s go!”
Sure enough, as soon as
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.
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?”
“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,
To be continued...
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Full of compassion, she set down her book and approached the animal cautiously, wondering if there was anything she could do to help it, even as her mother’s warnings about sick animals played through her mind. As she slowly drew near, the squirrel turned its head and looked at her. Shock jolted through her as it opened its mouth and spoke. “Come closer,” it squeaked. “I have a message of utmost importance for you…”
“Didn’t you hear me?” the squirrel snapped, jerking his bushy red tail impatiently. He rallied his strength and sat up in a pose more typical of squirrels. Fixing his small black eyes on
Outraged, Squirilious the Red flashed up a nearby fencepost, a flame in the bright sunlight, and cried out in his fierce, high-pitched voice, “Of course Whitaker Woods has a warlord: our Champion, his Eminence, the Great and Mighty Wellinghurst the Third!”
Remembering his exhaustion, Squirilious slid back to the ground and lay still a moment, panting. In a calmer voice, he acknowledged, “Of course, it’s rather the entire point that you do not know of his existence or of his people. Forgive my redheaded temper, if you will be so kind. But we must be moving now! Onward!”
He skittered madly toward the road, and
Squirilious paused at the edge of the pavement and turned toward
Assuming the squirrel was referring to cars,
His tail twitched violently. “Look both ways?” he chattered. “Why – why – what a perfectly tremendous idea! That way the blasted beasts don’t have a chance to sneak up! Fabulous!” Carefully looking in each direction, he zipped across the road,
Squirilious took to the trees as soon as he could, leaping from branch to branch along the trail, chittering to himself as he went, apparently fully recovered from his earlier discomfort.
After a moment they turned off
Just as she was about to call out to the squirrel to pause for a moment so she could catch her breath, he came to a halt at the base of a low granite boulder. He turned to