The grey blotch approached through the trees. Miranda watched it hug the bottom of the hill, disappear into shadow behind a sucum bush, reappear, then vanish behind a copse. She waited, understanding that she had to appear calm, not frightened or fleeing. The noise of its approach—angry, incoherent voices, the padded stomp of paws thumping the Forest floor and the whishing of animal limbs—grew louder, as the blotch slowly came itno focus as a mob of feral-faced rats. Continue reading
Floating upward, Theobald became alarmed at the water’s turbulence as he tried to surface. Was it a storm?—no, he could see the sun glinting through the water. Pulling hard to surface, he put his head above water just as a wave engulfed him and he was whacked across the mouth by a broken branch floating by. He struggled against the current, his eyes searching the shoreline to find a recognizable landmark, realizing that the pond must have overflowed into the forest. The current was carrying him to the far end. What was happening? Continue reading
Manley’s Life is Irrevocably Changed
Hurrying back and forth from the Bark Burrow to Moose Meadow, Manley noticed that the rats had increased their ‘karmeting’. Rats in twos and threes scurried through the undergrowth, sniffing anuses where they found them. In some instances, animals freely offered up their anuses to the rats to be sniffed, finding it amusing.
Throughout the Forest, Johny Jackrabbit could be heard singing a new song:
Victory hard won for the bold and the brave
Neither turtle nor mole has even a friend
Cause a stout rat gave battle and didn’t give in.
And now snout to bum is a means to an end. Continue reading
The Dark Time Arrives
Although Theobald had begun his trek to the meadow the evening before, to prepare his thoughts for the meeting, the journey had wearied him, and in the early morning darkness he fell asleep as soon as he arrived. He awoke to bright sun, the mist rising from the meadow grass into a radiant blue sky, the air sweet, cleansed by the light rain of the night before. Theobald, however, was still timorous. Watching the many animals assemble, bright of eye and chatting incessantly, he wondered why they weren’t—like him—dreading the day ahead. Were they oblivious to the contention that, he had no doubt, would ensue? Crawling to a spot near the Speaker’s tree, he waited, and a few breaths later Malcolm and Rollo joined him.
Manley Attempts to Alter the Course of Events
Theobald floated near the bottom, despairing. He was convinced now that he had been wrong to provoke the rats He had been wrong not to have come to an accommodation when offered one by Ronald. As much as he disdained rodents sniffing at his anus, he couldn’t spend his life hiding at the bottom of the pond.
He was anxious as he floated upward, breaking the surface gently, peering about. He was only barely aware of the green scent of new life and ecstatic birdsong filling the warm evening air; it was the kind of Growing Time evening he once looked forward to. As he glided to the bank, scrutinizing the undergrowth for rats, he almost jumped when Hogie Hedgehog said loudly, “Hi Theobald. You heard about the merger?” Continue reading