Saturday, February 28, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Murray whirled at the sound of her falling. He was a black blur that raced around her perimeter, dodging tiny darts, and growling when they found a mark. "Get up Grace, get up," he yelled.
Somewhere near the Garden Gate there was a cry of "Attack!" There was a sound of a tiny horn, an army of animals with ouchers scrambled forward to the aid of their beloved Mistress.
Grace gained her feet, as they ran toward her yelling wildly. She pitched toward them with Murray at her heels. He was Biting the air, snapping furiously and barking "Come down and fight, come down here you filthy animals," to the unseen foes that had attacked from the trees.
There was a shower of tiny arrows that responded to his invitation, all falling short of the mark.
They scrambled through the Garden Gate, and Grace momentarily assessed the scene around her. There were animals of every kind in her Garden. Some had Rusty Sewing Needles, with the bottom of clay pots as shields. Some of the ferrets and badgers had her steak knife set diveyed up between them, but what made her smile was the sight of her beloved cat Swain with a teacup for a shield and a kabob skewer as a lance.
Tisdale spoke first. "We Have decided to defend the Baggaraggs, Mrs. Tenderstitch. We are not going to let them pass without a fight." Grace Tendertitch looked down at the tiny snail who held his shell curled in his tail. "I told you to get the others and yourself to safety Tisdale. Lets get into the house and see what needs to be done." Once inside, Grace plucked the tiny arrows from her jacket. It was more difficult and painful to remove the few that had impaled her neck. There was not much bleeding, but Grace was at first alarmed by the prospect that the tips of the arrows had been dipped in some kind of venom. This did not prove to be the case.
As Murray was treated he said, "They are bold these Pie-rats. Attacking you like that. I thought they had felled you when you went down. But then I saw that you fell into a hole that someone had dug...plus there is pine sap on the bottom of your shoe," he finished sniffing the bottom of her foot. Grace Tenderstitch looked down,"My ankle is going to swell, I'm afraid.Its going to be a long Night."
She had no idea had right she would be.
Monday, February 16, 2009
There was a distant cry of a bird over their heads. It sounded faraway, and was barely acknowledged by the threesome that stood at the edge of this incline, so much was their preoccupation with the scene, They patiently waited for Mrs. Tenderstitch to speak and act. Another cry, louder and closer, had Maybell looking upward, searching the sky for her impossible love, Windslow the Osprey. He was circling closer, and within moments, grasp a tree branch above them with powerful talons. AS His head turned sideways, he looked at them with an eye that seemed made of glass, set below a jet black eyestripe. His presence was majestic, like being being visited by a member of royalty.
"Windslow," Maybell cried.
"My greetings, Maybell," he replied. "Greetings to you Grace Tenderstitch. And to you." he said to Murray.
He continued as the greetings were exchanged. "There is need for haste, Grace Tenderstitch. Above your head there is amassed a small army of trapeezing Pie-rats intent on stealing something from your Home. I do not like the look of them. They are bold, and fierce, and laugh in the Face of Danger."
There was no time for Grace to wonder at Windslow's appearance, his neck feathers wrapped with a knitted lilac muffler that Maybell had gifted him. There was no time to wonder at the strangeness of the day, no time to consider the ingenuity of a group of rats. They had strung a web of ropes to travel upon, as if the forest trees were the masts of many ships.
Indecision is not the friend of any Leader. It would not do to straddle a fence in this situation. Grace struggled with this as a first foe in the conflict, and tried to Decide what to do. It was her basic nature to consider all sides and to try to have a peaceful resolution to conflict.
As if to punctuate the the finality of her decision, the sun sank below the western end of the Loch. "Gather what friends of Prey you have Windslow. If there are eagles, let them fly to the Baggaraggs, if there are falcons, or other rat eating birds of Prey, let them come. I will wake the Owls from their slumber, they will help us."
"I will wake them," spoke Winslow. "I will gather the Birds of Prey, and spread the word of warning and war amongst our kind."
"I will go with you," Maybell offered, and began to scamble down from her perch on the shoulder of Grace Tenderstitch. Before she had reached the ground, Windslow had silently swoped forward and waited for her to chamber up his massive wing. She secured herself to the Lilac Muffler and they were gone, lifted high up into the currents, high above the trees.
As the shadows grew amongst the trees, Grace and Murray hurried back into the woods, looking up to try to catch a glimpse of the network of ropes that were woven above their heads. They did not know that the Pie-rats had reached the border of the Baggaraggs, and were spying out its peoples from the tops of the naked maples.
Peg-Leg the Pie-rat watched as the residents of the Baggaraggs made ready for war, and she was not laughing at the Danger she perceived.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
But, The citizens of the Baggaraggs did not know that the Pie-rats were in route to their home,and they readied their defense of the Place. Animals know instinctively how to fight. They are not negotiators. Ernie was busy handing out rusty and ill used Ouchers. Tisdale had glued carpet hooks to his shell, and was helping others with the same armor. He had the moles tunneling and creating pits that would be filled with pine sap. There were sentinels on the roof, the Ravens with their iridescent feathers, scanned the air and the forest edge for signs of trouble.
I do not know what they would have thought if they realized that their common enemy would be a band of Pie-rats. I am not sure it would have mattered, maybe only to have made the task more grim, and somehow more serious. Pie-rats were after all, a blood thirsty group, known to leave whole towns in ruins and inflict the Plague. (The Plague is a VERY old Story.)
The children were placed in the corners of the House, with their Mothers standing guard. Those children would be protected with the very lives of their Mothers, they would fight to the death to protect their little ones.
Those that were able, carried brambles to the edge of the Garden fence. The now leggy Parasoles of the Nasturium leaves hid the thorny spines of briars. The afternoon was soon becoming evening and Tisdale wished he could stretch out each minute to twice its length in Time. He struggled with the Knowledge that he had not told them all that he could have. And he wondered what to do.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
It is difficult to describe what happened next. I am reminded of a fire drill that is occasionally practiced but is now played out by those who have under the circumstances of reality, bumbled their parts. Tisdale himself was not prepared for the chaos that resulted. There were animals scrambling everywhere. Yelling and cries of "What, what is it? What's going on?" were heard as Tisdale climbed up upon the Gate gate to gain command of the scene. He stood naked in the late fall air, waving his antennae stalks and shouting:"Line up, LINE UP....Form YOUR LINES!"
"Quiet!", someone shouted. All around the animals were getting into their places, some counting to make sure that all were present, taking the role.
There was an uneasy and Library-like silence that had fallen. Some whispered. Tisdale spoke and directed his question to Ernie the weasel, "Is everyone here?"
"Murray is not here, but we think he is with Mrs. Tenderstitch," advised Ernie in a voice of importance.
Tisdale the Snail looked out upon the assembly. There were the anxious faces of many animals: mice and moles, groundhogs and squirrels, opossums and raccoons. There was a family of skunks that could hardly miss being noticed.
Tisdale spoke to them in a voice that was strong and urgent. "Baggaraggs may be under attack. Mrs. Tenderstitch asked that I gather you folk to spread the alarm, so that we might seek safety and shelter. She advised me to gather my family and to Flee. I tell you, this is my Home, and I SHall NOT FLEE. I will not leave the Baggaraggs to a band of Invaders... I say we FIGHT!"
It was not a mighty speech. It was short and urgent and full of the sense of danger that Tisdale felt was coming when he watched Mrs. Tenderstitch stride off with Murray and Maybell into the late Autumn afternoon. She had never spoken those words to him before...to take flight. He did not know what was coming. It could be an invasion of Giants like Mrs. Tenderstitch that could careless crush a snail like Tisdale under their giant feet. He only knew that the Baggaraggs was his home. The garden here was open to him... Mrs. Tenderstitch made sure there was plenty for every creature.
There were looks of consternation on the faces of the animals of the Baggaraggs. They did not respond in unison with agreement. There was not a mighty roar of "Yes, we Fight!" in response. There were questions shouted over the whispering, "What comes to the Baggaraggs? What are we fighting?" No one seemed to care that the skunk family quietly scurried off into the woods.
Tisdale patiently listened and answered their questions. They did not know what was coming. They did not know when the intrusion would happen. They did not know the purpose of the attack. They had practiced for this day and were in some respects oddly prepared for such an occurrence. When it was time to vote, there was a majority of Paws raised in the chill air that carried the defense of the Baggaraggs. They would fight.