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News: My thoughts are clouds I cannot fathom into pastries.

--1 June 2018--

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

April 5, 2018

Petrigrud's Adventure

Another short story to tickle your senses :) Again, I've taken to writing things on my bus ride in to work. It is a good exercise for the creative mind.


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Petrigrud's Adventure


The forest was shaded deeply, as if it kept several secrets hidden underhand, waiting to deal them to the world when it was least expected. The titter of birds through the leafy undergrowth floated all around. Somewhere in the distance, the ripple of water thrummed. 
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It was in this very forest that the young squirrel, Petrigrud, now found himself. He tended to wander away from home now and then on an exploratory adventure. Yes, simply for the sake of his own curiosity. He was currently perched on a sturdy branch, several feet above the forest floor (well out of the way of the lower-roaming beasts, lest he happen upon one by accident). 

A black-rimmed brown triangular hat was perched between his twitching ears. His little rust-red vest, half buttoned up his chest, betrayed soft underfur poking out the top in a ruffled manner. His paw pads were bared against the bark of his perch, and in his forepaws he clutched a small leather-bound book which now hung open to the hastily scribbled directions he'd jotted from Sacreed the Wise. Sacreed was an old, weathered bluebird with a penchant for accumulating heavily feathered hats (why he liked the feathered ones was anyone's guess... they all thought him rather strange, given his own birded heritage). 

Petrigrud usually visited Sacreed on the eve of his wanderings. This time was no different. He had inquired of the old bluebird the whereabouts of the tomb of Kregule. It was said to be buried deep within the Norwoods, far beneath the undergrowth, protected by a hidden entrance and many traps and other such dangers that the mysterious were often shrouded with. He didn't want to find it for the sake of the treasures rumoured to be hidden within; rather, he wanted to find it for the sake of the finding. 

The little black nose on his whiskered face twitched with the onslaught of foresty scents. He peered down at his scribblings again, absentmindedly reaching up to scratch behind his left ear (it always itched when he thought too hard - a genetic defect, clearly... or a bad habit). 

Old birch, biddy crow, bundled brat, beneath bungalow of boo.

The instructions were certainly lacking in some regards. He had no idea which direction to find this old birch...and there were several in the Norwoods (although thankfully not thousands; perhaps a few hundred or so). Petrigrud figured it best to try and find the oldest of the old birches and make his mark from there. 

Thankfully, as a hobbyist adventurer, Petrigrud was terribly good at finding things. This was likely why he decided to risk the tomb of Kregule on the lacking instructions of a half-demented bluebird (don't tell Sacreed this... he'll peck out your eyes...or at least nip your tail). 

Before the young squirrel, a forest of trees (which is usually what a forest is comprised of) stood tall and stately and quivering with life. He was perched on one such tree, and from his vantage point he could clearly see an old birch, a little off to the left. The other trees of the Norwoods seemed to give it berth, as it was surrounded by thick, foamy grass spotted through and through with little petulant flowers. 

This was certainly the birch he had been searching for; he leaned over his notes again and, with his right hand, reached for his charcoal nub to cross of old birch from his horizontal list. 

That done, Petrigrud stuffed his notebook into his little vest, secured the top buttons, smoothed back his ears, and leaped from his perch to the neighbouring tree. The branch quivered excitedly as his paw pads thumped down in place, claws clasping tightly to maintain his balance. 

It was in this manner that Petrigrud finally brought himself to a low-hanging branch in the outer circle of trees around the old birch. It certainly looked old enough. He thought about crossing the outer ring of flowers, but then thought again and stayed put on his perch. 

Old birchbiddy crow, bundled brat, beneath bungalow of boo.

A biddy crow was the next thing to find. Petrigrud's keen black eyes twitched this way and that, in the opposite direction of his ever-smelling nose. 

He certainly didn't see a biddy crow. They were often elderly creatures (as the name implied) and rarely came out of their nests and tree-hollows except to snatch a mouse or, if most unlucky, a sickly squirrel. 

Raising his eyes upwards, he looked at the overgrown treetops and, to his surprise, noticed a small chickadee watching back very intently. 

"Good eve, mister missus chickasquee," called up Petrigrud in his chirpy voice, "Mayhaps you know of a biddy crow in these parts? Perchance might you share your great knowledge with a terribly dull squirreling." 

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The chickadee seemed rather flattered and fluttered itself closer and lower to take a better gander at Petrigrud. It tilted its little head this way and that before chirruping, 

"Do you really think I am great of knowledge, squirreling?" 

"Petrigrud, at your service; yes, indeed I most certainly do. I dare say you're the most knowledgeable chickasquee I've met in these parts." 

The chickadee ruffled its feathers, "Madam Mikmik, pleasure sire, pleasure. What sorts of knowledge are you seeking?" 

"Ah, Madam Mikmik, a strong and sturdy name for a strong and masterful chickasquee," Petrigrud flattered unashamedly, "I am looking for a biddy crow in these parts, so that I might in turn find a bundled brat beneath a bungalow boo. I was sent by Master Sacreed." 

Madam Mikmik sharply twisted her head this way and that, chirruping thoughtfully before she answered him.

"Master Petrigrud, I do indeed believe you seek the tomb of Kregule. Dare you? You know the treasures are forbidden us forestlings." She ruffled her feathers and narrowed her brows as best a bird can narrow them.

Petrigrud bobbed his head and cleared his throat, "Ah yes, ahem, indeed Madam, indeed. I am quite well aware, I am simply seeking some old folklore on the matter to ensure that such tomb does exist. I don't think I should be brave enough to dare crossing the threshold of such terribly terrifying resting place, Madam. I do beg pardon." 

Madam Mikmik stared at him, tilting her head this way and that, now and then softly chirruping away - a nervous habit. 

"I think it best you turn and leave, Master Petrigrud." said the little chickadee, "These parts aren't safe for less weathered forestlings as yourself. Not safe at all." 

Petrigrud furrowed his brow and scratched his ear, "I am most well aware, Madam Mikmik, that these parts are dangerous. I did speak to the great and noble Sacreed on the matter, as I have noted earlier. I don't think I intend to cause any disturbances in the region." 

Madam Mikmik squeaked and puffed out her chest, "'T'isn't about that, sire, not the least! Tis about the disturbance of our great dead. I think it best you make your way away now. I haven't seen a biddy crow in these parts." 

And with that proclamation, Madam Mikmik lifted her wings up and flew off in great haste. 

It was all quite sudden and Petrigrud was very puzzled. He scratched his ear again, unbuttoned his little vest, and pulled out his notebook again. The directions were very clear - he must find the biddy crow. 

A rustling in the undergrowth made him pause and he sniffed the air. Nothing betrayed its scent to him, but he wasn't dreaming...he had heard something in the bushes off to the right. He shouted a warning cry, which echoed dangerously loud through the Norwoods. 

He felt his fur rise on his chubby little cheeks. He had embarrassed himself - he hadn't meant to squeak out; it just happened sometimes. 

It was nothing. He pressed his notebook back against his bosom and buttoned his vest. 

A dark shadow passed overhead, but he was too busy buttoning to notice. 

The undergrowth shivered again. 

"Oh dear. I do wish Madam Mikmik hadn't left on such unhappy terms. I am indeed without any further directions now. I haven't the slightest where a biddy crow might nest in these parts." His nose twitched and he smoothed his whiskers down. 

The forest glade was suddenly very quiet. Petrigrud stood to attention, grasping his branch tightly. 

A quiet forest was a bad forest. Every tree made noise - they chattered, they chicked, they grumbled to one another. If a forest went quiet, it meant something unseemly was abroad. Every little squirreling was taught these things before they could squeak. 

While Petrigrud was surveying the grove and old birch, a pair of yellow-green eyes surveyed him from deep in the undergrowth. These eyes belonged to something sinister. Something Petrigrud most assuredly did not want to meet. 

Then, as silently as the eyes had made their way into the undergrowth, they made their way out. 

It wouldn't be long now. Shut your eyes dear reader. We shan't look.

Poor Petrigrud. He knew better than to wander into the Norwoods. And now, his story shall be in the memory of all the little squirrelings. 

Madam Mikmik knew better than to keep him in that deadly grove for so long, but Madam Mikmik was a less than pleasant chickadee herself. She rolled in heaping stores of sugared oats and honeyed pieces from combs thicker than her spread wings. To her small brain, it was no difficult decision to give up the lives of other forestlings to ease her greedy belly. 

So let it be known, reader and friend, that should you adventure into the deep and dark Norwoods, take a company of braves with you. And run when the forest quiets, lest you end up as poor little Petrigrud. 

All that was left of his adventure was a tattered page reading bundled brat and a shred of rust-red vest that no forestling would bury, for no forestling dared enter the Norwood after him. It was too wild, too dangerous.


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Signed with charcoal,

Squeaks.

2 comments:

  1. . . . Storm you, Squeaks. That was so nice and cute and fun and generally Redwall-ish, and then you made it creepy and sad and ARGH. I mean, it's marvelously well-written, but storms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 😂 😂 😂
      My bus was approaching its stop and I needed an ending so I wrote the quickest one I could, lol. Oops.

      Delete

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