Fourth chapter in my attempt at children lit.
Chapter IV. Part III.
Syps stopped jumping and whirled around. His snout in the air, he sniffed loudly, his nostrils getting as big as Willy’s head. He made a smacking sound with his lips like he was chewing on something.
“Who’s there,” he said.
“It’s just me, Willy,” Willy said.
“I know that,” Syps said. “There’s somebody else here. I can taste it.”
The three of them started looking around. In the Nude Trees, there was only Hertrude strutting toward them. In the Hummingtoad Meadow there was only the blanket of tall, green grass, half as tall as Syps and stiff like the fur on his feet.
“I don’t see anyone,” Willy said, his little nose wiggling as he sniffed the air.
“Me neither,” Spoom said. Though that didn’t mean much; Slothmoles don’t have the best eyesight since they rarely have to see farther than a few feet.
Suddenly the grass in front of them swayed from side to side.
“Ah-ha!” Syps said. “I knew it!”
“What is it?” Spoom asked just when Hertrude joined them on the edge of the sea of grass.
“Bertun, come out!” Syps growled. “I know you’re out there!”
“Bertun’s here?” Spoom asked from Syps’s back. “How swell!”
“No, not swell,” Syps said. “I told him not to come.”
The grass had gone still when Syps called out for Bertun, but now it shivered slightly.
“Ah-ha!” Syps said again, pointing with a claw at the grass. “See the grass. It’s Bertun.”
Willy shrugged his small shoulders.
“Maybe the grass is cold,” he suggested.
“Or the Hummingtoads are jumping around,” Spoom said.
“Or the grass is happy to see us,” Hertrude added.
“No, no, and no. It’s Bertun I tell you.” Syps said.
The grass went still again and then Bertun erupted from the Meadow in a great whoosh. He dove to the ground, grabbed dead leaves, and rolled them into a face with its tongue sticking out.
“Bertun!” everyone exclaimed.
Well, everyone except Syps. Syps exclaimed: “I knew it!” instead.
Being a breeze, Bertun did not speak, at least not with words. He made noises and sometimes plenty of them, but they were not words. Bushcats were the only inhabitants of the Sweet Shire that understood winds and breezes. It had something to do with their whiskers picking up vibrations.
“He wants to come with us,” Hertrude translated Bertun’s whooshes and whurlees to the others.
Everyone expected Syps to be unhappy about it, so they were surprised when he just rolled his eyes, sighed loudly and said:
“Okay, okay. But can we go now. The sweetberries are waiting!”
Bertun swooshed in happiness and the face of leaves exploded in all directions, showering everybody with bits of grass and leaves.
“Careful there, Bertun,” Willy said.
“He always does that,” Syps grumbled.
“How did you know it was Bertun?” Spoom asked Syps.
“The air tasted like leaves,” Syps said. “Bertun always tastes like leaves. He spends too much time in the trees.”
Spoom pressed his flat nose against Syps’s furry cheek.
“You’re clever,” he told his friend.
“Thanks,” Syps said.
He tried not to sound too content and quickly added:
“Can we go now?”
But this time he didn’t grumble.
Hertrude, who was sitting, stood up and yawned into a stretch.
“I think we’re ready now,” she said and her blue eyes wavered in the sun like they were full of blue water.
Spoom tightened his grip on Syps’s fur, Willy flapped his arm-wings, and lifted up into the air, Syps pointed a paw at where he thought the Blueberry Tree was, and with Bertun doing whirls high above them, they entered the Hummingtoad Meadow.
End of Chapter IV, Part III.
To be continued…