By Noe Perry-Greene
Chapter 1: Hickory
It was midday and the sun’s soothing rays touched the forest with it’s soft warmness. Hickory the squirrel was conked out in the pine tree that was her home. The tree was so old that literally every branch was green with moss. It was like an oddly shaped doughnut, dipped in liquid plant life.
Hickory slept peacefully, dreaming of walnuts. Ooh, and chestnuts. Her bushy tail was wrapped around her legs, with the end of it lightly brushing her cheek.
A voice cut through her treenut fantasy like a rock through warm pine sap. “Hickory, wake up! You need to move!”
It was her mother Alyssum, frantically shaking her daughter awake. “Hickory!” All fantasy vanished and Hickory sat bolt upright. “What, mom?”
Her mother’s face contorted with worry. “Your father is...” Hickory couldn’t believe her tiny squirrel ears. “He better not be dead.” Hickory said, incredulously.
“No, he’s not dead, he’s just... warning the other animals of the forest fire.”
Hickory’s eyes grew huge like she was hypnotized or something. “FOREST FIRE?”
Alyssum nodded gravely. “Yeah. We need to get to the pond.”
Chapter 2: Thomas
Thomas was in the middle of his workout routine. He was doing mouse pull ups on a bent over flower stem. Then he would do mouse push ups, planks, and situps. After that he would weight lift with a pine needle. Finally he went towards the creek for treadmill time.
Thomas strapped four tiny leave to his four tiny feet and tied them closed. As he neared the creek, he began to hear the rushing sound of water tumbling over rocks and soil, tossing, turning, eroding, splashing.
At the creek he found the treadmill eddy immediately. This eddy was milder and the rocks that cut it off from the main flow of the creek were padded with moss and leaves in case a rodent slipped and hit the rock. The water was moving gently along, carrying more mice floating on the surface, running atop the water with leaf shows like Thomas’s.
He stepped onto the water treadmill off the bank by his moms, Raine and Eliza, who were soaked to the tiny bones in mouse sweat.
After about half an hour of running and talking to Thomas’s friend Bailey, it became uncomfortably hot. “Oh my god.” Eliza said, terror spreading across her tiny face, which actually looked rather adorable.
“EVERYONE RUN! FIRE!”
Chapter 3: Bailey
Bailey was at his favorite patch of raspberries and munching like crazy. It was one of the hotter times in the day, and Bailey was roasting. HIs long ears were fanning up and down rapidly, trying to cool him off.
His nose twitched and smelled out some wild alfalfa, which he promptly ate. His nose sniffed out some fallen fruit, which he promptly ate. He finally smelled some other bunny’s hidden-but-not-hidden-so-well stash of clover, which he promptly-you guessed it- ate. Bailey was full now. I mean, bunny’s stomach’s aren’t super big.
Bailey felt lazy. He plodded back to his burrow and climbed inside, sliding on his stomach through the little hole. It was too hot in there. He climbed back out.
Bailey finally went to the creek, where he talked to Thomas the mouse who was on the treadmill. They chatted about weird forest animal things which you probably don't wanna hear about. Yeah, those were some weird conversations.
Heat spread over Bailey’s body. He saw bright, dancing, glowing wisps of color. He saw fire. So Bailey did what bunnies did best. He ran.
Chapter 4: Jasmine
Jasmine was flying, circling the pond, and watching. Simultaneously. Her keen sparrow eyes saw her friends Hickory and Thomas, and Thomas talking to a bunny she didn’t recognize. She saw the forest alive with animals.
Jasmine saw a pair of twin chipmunks arguing and an old tree that was home to a snoring owl family. She saw a happy grader snake and a sad frog. She saw a hawk helping a star-nosed mole and a rat stealing from a squirrel. Jasmine saw it all.
Jasmine heard the cheeping of birds, rustling of snakes, and the chatter of chipmunks. She heard cries and laughter. She heard snores and screams. Jasmine heard it all.
Jasmine smelled fresh berries, wet grass, and rotting wood. She smelled dead bugs and a newborn mouse’s tears. She smelled old fruit. She smelled a rabbit in serious need of a bath (ew). Jasmine smelled it all.
Jasmine tasted the woodsy scent of the air. SHe tasted the thick vanilla pina, the hot humid wind, the fresh hint of berries. She tasted last night’s dinner and this morning’s breakfast berry burrito. Jasmine tasted it all.
Jasmine felt the wind rustling her feathers and blowing at her eyes. She felt the blood rush into her feet as she lifted and dropped them. She felt the breeze below her feathers like a bubble.
But even seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling so much, she still didn’t sense the fire.
Noe Perry-Greene is twelve and she currently resides in Northampton, Massachusetts. Noe loves all the different places you can go with writing. She also loves cats, mysteries, and theatre.