The Whiskers, the Beaks, and the Plants of the Forest

The door was locked, and the lights were out. Odostemon Owl was not at home.

Ruellia Raccoon tossed a fearful glance at Verbena Vole. “It’s getting dark. We’ll never find our way home now.” Although Ruellia was a raccoon, she was ever so fearful of the dark.

Deinandra Duck fanned her tail feathers and quacked. “Is that why you brought us to the woods? To scare us? Fat lot you know. I’m not afraid of the dark.”

Verbena stamped her tiny foot. “No! Yes.”

“Well, which is it?” Deinandra loved the way the air hissed through her beak and echoed in the evening lull.

“He’s away,” Verbena said. “I brought you here to help me.”

“An adventure! Oh, I love those. Will it involve swords and death howls?” Deinandra’s head bobbed with excitement.

“Or handsome heroes at a castle? Indoors, safe from harm?”

Deinandra snorted. “Don’t be daft, Ruellia. Too many fairy stories.”

Verbena pulled a bobby pin from her smock and fiddled with the door. It clicked and swung open. “After you, ladies.”

Pitter patter on the packed earth floor. Verbena shone the light around. Clocks stood packed against the walls, some ticking, some broken.

“We need to find my grandfather’s watch,” Verbena said. “Gold. Short chain. He took it.”

Deinandra grabbed a jewelled dagger. “Ha! Got my sword!”

They searched through the piles, pushing aside anything larger than a thimble.

Gold, on a short chain. Verbena reached out, feeling the cool kiss on her brown velvet paw. “Success!”

Lights flooded the hall. “Whoooo’s there?”

“Quick, girls!” Deinandra said. “Make a run for it!”

In a flurry of feathers, fur, and ringed tails, the three friends bolted for the door. Deinandra swung her dagger, quacking and hissing with all her might.

Odostemon Owl couldn’t guess the identity of his evening visitors, but he kept the bobby pin, making it part of a scary tale to frighten the young owlets pretending to sleep upstairs.


Copyright © 2015 by Emily Clayton
Originally appeared on Flash!Friday:

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