There was a fine sweat that gathered at the neckline and scalp of Grace Tenderstitch. The snow fell and she was aware that the rats had scattered. She leaned wearily on the shovel and rested her forehead against her arm, aware that she was cold and damp. In this moment she feared looking around and assessing the damage, fearful that she would find her friends broken and hurt beyond what she could repair. Her anger was spent in the swinging of the shovel, fending off the Pie-rats. Her adrenaline spent.
There was an intrusive and irrelevant thought that came into her mind that she was out of eggs, and would have to borrow a few from the chickens if she was too bake cookies tomorrow. She turned slowly to survey the scene behind her, as the animals rushed up to her.
"Remind me never to make you angry," said Ernie the weasel, as he eyed the flat shovel with a renewed respect.
"Is everyone alright? Can we get a head count ?" This from Grace who looked wearily at the tattered garden that was swiftly being buried as the snow fell.
"Is anyone injured? Hurt? Is everyone ok?" Grace persisted.
Most of her animal friends stood stunned with fatigue, some licked their injuries, some were trembling.
"Where is Tisdale? Where is Myron, Angus? and the others? "
Murray responded, "Everyone seems ok Grace, lets get them inside and tend to wounds."
Murray rounded them up as Grace watched, still attached to the shovel. Into the house they went, some nursing wounds that now were beginning to ache.
Several mice that had once lived in the basement of the Red Cross had set up a triage area, little cots and mats were spread upon the floor to rest upon.
The kitchen table had been turned into a treatment area with iodine and needles threaded with silk for suturing if the need arose. Grace tended their wounds and saw to warming Tisdale whose little body was half frozen with cold. He was placed under the kitchen lamp where the heat from the bulb would gradually warm him.
Murray waited patiently while Grace saw to the others before bringing her attention to the arrows stuck in his shoulders and ears like little darts.
She did all that she could, but some had savage rat bites that would require the administration of an antibiotic and she had none. She would contact the vet in the morning to get his help.
After what seemed a long while, Grace retired to bed. Her thoughts were scattered, racing and uneasy. Something was very wrong, and out of habit she got up and went into the studio to refocus her mind on something positve, a distraction. She switched on the light, and shielding her eyes from the brightness, looked up to see that the Thread Pusher was gone.