Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Story - "Unknown"

This mini-story is based upon the characters in the book, Tales From The Glades Of Ballymore

They met at the Weasels' cottage at 7 bongs. Darkness had enveloped Ballymore.  There was no wind and nothing moved.  Even if it did, you wouldn't see it through the heavy fog.  The ground was damp. Halloween Eve was eerily quiet. This was a night not to be out. The residents knew that and huddled by their hearths.  There were no lighted pumpkins on front porches. Window coverings were pulled tight. No one wanted to attract the attention of the "unknown". Many would retire early.

But for Wilde and Wilder Weasel, this was their night and always had been.  Last Halloween, they sailed the HMS Ballymore around the pond and delivered fresh pies to everyone.  After that, they put on a fireworks show in the center of the pond.  The fireworks brought many from their cottages.  It was quite a rare event.

This year was different.  This year they planned to be the "unknown" that residents didn't want to attract.  For them, it would be great fun. Joining them was Finn Frog.  He had begged and pleaded to come with them on Halloween.  Eventually they had agreed. 

The Weasels were dressed in their familiar camouflage outfits with jacket, pants, black boots, and beret.  For the occasion they gave Finn a beret to wear. That really made him feel like part of the team.  Their plans had been rehearsed, and they were ready.

Wilde looked out into the fog and said, "Wilder, do you remember the fog we saw last Halloween?"

"Oh yes!  On the island.  It didn't move even though it was windy. Reginald Rabbit told of the same fog last week in his story at Petunia's."

Finn had shuddered last week when he heard the story.  He shuddered again, now.  But he was a brave frog and wouldn't let the weasels see that he was nervous.

The group of three moved slowly and quietly to the edge of the woods behind the cottage.  Finn stared into the woods but could only see about twenty feet because of the fog.  He saw nothing and heard nothing. Following Wilde, they walked south and then east.  They were headed to the Rabbits' cottage.  After about 1/2 bong (30 minutes), they were crouched down behind it.  

As with the other cottages, the windows were covered, but some light seeped out here and there.  Smoke rose straight up from the chimney. Those were the only indications of life within or without.  Wilde and Wilder climbed a tree whose branches overhung the roof, and they quietly jumped onto it.  Wilde took a small sheet of metal from his pouch and slid it part way over the chimney opening.  He didn't want to block the chimney.  He just wanted to slow the fire down so that the cottage would get chilly.  They sat on the roof and waited.  They could hear Rachel Rabbit reading a story to the family.  Finn picked up a branch from the woods and moved into position under the back window.  He waited also but kept staring at the woods.  He thought he saw things moving in the fog, but it was probably his imagination.

After about 1/2 bong, Rachel stopped reading and said, "Papa, I'm getting cold."  The family agreed, the cottage was cooler.  

Reginald looked at the fire and said, "The fire is very low.  Hmmm."

The weasels then began scratching on the roof with their claws.

"I hear something!" cried Rachel.  They all looked upward and then huddled together.

Reginald said, "I think something is blocking the chimney.  I should go look."

Rhonda, his wife, said, "No, please stay in here.  Let's just go to bed early." 

He didn't argue because he really didn't want to "go look".  The Weasels and Finn heard all this and were smiling with glee.

Now it was Finn's turn.  He took the branch and softly hit the window he was under.  

Rachel screamed, "Papa, what is it?"

Up on the roof, Wilde said, "Okay, enough is enough."

He removed the chimney block and they jumped from the roof. Finn joined them and the three "unknowns" went to the front door. Wilder knocked loudly.

From inside, Rhonda said, "What should we do?'

Reginald answered, "I am going to open the door."

Everyone else pleaded - No!

"I have to," he answered.  Reginald walked to the door and slowly opened it.

In unison, Wilde, Wilder and Finn yelled, "Happy Halloween!  You've been weaseled!"

They quickly ran from the door, back towards the woods, leaving the Rabbit family with their mouths open.  They kept running until they felt sure they were not being chased and then stopped to rest.

Finn said, "That was great.  Did you hear them?"  He was excited.

Wilder said, "Yeah, we really scared them!"

Wilde was a bit more subdued, "Yes, it went quite well.  Tomorrow we'll bring them a fresh pie as an apology."

Then they heard a sharp crack come from the woods.  It sounded like a branch breaking.  That quickly put an end to the conversation as the three stared into the woods.  They waited.

A second crack was heard.

"What is that?" whispered Finn.  No one answered.

Then about twenty feet into the woods, a barely perceptible green glow slowly rose from the wet forest floor.

Wilde said, "Let's get out of here!"  He began to walk quickly away. After thirty feet, he turned and looked back.  Wilder was with him but Finn was not.  They saw Finn creeping into the woods towards the glow.

The Weasels ran back towards Finn and yelled, "Finn, stop!"

Finn ignored their plea and continued.  Before he reached the glow, there was a brilliant flash of green light.  The weasels had to close their eyes. When they opened them, there was nothing.  The green glow was gone. Finn was gone!

Both weasels moved slowly through the fog to where Finn had been.  They looked down at the damp leaves. There was a thin coating of green slime covering them.

Wilde reached down and picked up a beret.