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Saturday, April 7, 2012

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Night Wanderings {5::1}

Two gleaming eyes appeared within the trees. They carefully acknowledged the newcomer, and stepped sideways to let it pass. The clearing behind it was crowded with many animals: some nodded a greeting, some stared back coldly.

“Finally. You have come.” A small mouse scuttled underneath a pile of leaves, and all the creatures snapped into attention. “Let this meeting begin. First Crow, you will tell your report,” he nodded to the latecomer.

Crow quickly ran through everything he knew to Field Mouse, the leader of the Wild Council. In turn he gestured to Owl, White-Tailed Deer and Eagle, who were all at the meeting.

After they were finished, Fox barked out, “Why can we not finally leave the human to Titalukia? Already one life had been lost.” Mourning swept through the animals for Ground Squirrel.

Badger hastily added, “Plus a dozen humans perished. This girl is going to die anyway – why can it not be sooner than later, so more lives are spared?”

In response, Skunk cried out rather reproachfully, “Because it is but a child. I would not want to sacrifice any of mine young.”

A great muttering broke out; Otter and Robin got into a nasty quarrel over what to do with the human. Field Mouse shouted for order, but his squeak was barely heard. Raccoon, who was always calm, called for him. The clearing fell silent.

He decided to take a vote. “All in favor of killing the girl raise a paw, hoof or tail.” Field Mouse quickly counted. “All in favor of saving her…” Raccoon helped him establish the results.

“You know what to do,” Field Mouse said to Crow.

***

Awakening from the rough bed of wood splints, she tried again. “Mother! Father! Where are you?” No reply. There probably never would. Running desperately from door to door, pounding on the neighbors’ homes, she discovered everyone was missing.

Why is the village in such a wreck? Where is everyone? And where are Mother and Father!

A shadow stalked in the corners… She vanished within minutes, just like all the other.

***
Maun once again was awakened by a rapping - this time on her window. “What do you want?” she grumbled.

It was Crow.

“Get dressed,” he urged. “I know what we need to do. But I can’t do it when you’re inside.”

“Alright, alright.”

In ten minutes they were discussing possible approaches to Titalukia. “It seems to be going in a straight line,” he stressed. “You know two sides are surrounded by forest. Titalukia must have passed into the village on the north side. You live on the south tip of the west side. It is traveling toward you.”

Maun attempted not to worry. “But you have a plan, right?”

“Right. Well, Weasel decided it would be best -”

“Weasel?”

“Yes, Weasel. I had a meeting with all the forest animals last night. We decided what we should do with you,” Crow explained. “Well, he said I should take you to the northeast corner of your village.” Hastily he added, “It’s the farthest we can get away from Titalukia.”

“But is it not that the very same place it came from?”

“Yes. There’s no one left along the way to devour,” he stated flatly. “Overall it’s the best plan so far. I’ll thank Weasel when I get back.”

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