Fifth chapter in my attempt at children lit.
Chapter V. Part I.
The Hummingtoad Meadow was wet. Almost like a marsh, but not quite. Syps shook his muddied paws after every step, hopping on one foot with Spoom swaying from side to side on his back.
“Muuud,” he grumbled. “It’s so goo-ey!”
He gave his foot another shake before flattening another paw-full of the long, green grass.
“Warm muuud,” he said and he made it sound like the worst thing ever.
Hertrude followed behind Syps. Her white paws were spotless as if she was walking above the earth instead of on it. Syps turned around and titled his head at her.
“How do you do that?” he asked.
“Do what?” Hertrude purred.
“Walk on the ground without walking on it.”
Spoom on Syps’s back giggled to himself.
“She walks on it without walking on it,” he repeated.
“It’s all in your head,” Hertrude told Syps.
“In my head?” Syps asked rubbing his head with his paws while he slowly sunk into the mud.
“Your head’s making you sink,” Hertrude purred.
With all her purring, it made it difficult to understand her well and Syps couldn’t tell if she’d said ‘think’ or ‘sink’.
Maybe she said both, he thought.
Ever since Syps started climbing trees, Willy started flying, and Spoom started digging, Hertrude had been getting stranger and stranger. For one, she didn’t used to talk to butterflies. And she didn’t used to talk like that either, only making half-sense most of the time.
Syps thought about what she’d said. His head could not be lighter. But maybe if he held it up it wouldn’t weight nearly as much on his shoulders. That would be kind of like being lighter.
Syps grabbed his head with both paws and started pushing up on it. He made Hgnn sounds and Agnhh sounds for a moment. Then he stopped and threw his arms up in the air.
“It’s not working, I’m still sinking,” he said.
He looked up at Willy who was playing with Bertun so high above them that he was just a tiny spot in the sky.
“I’m the only one sinking,” he pouted.
“It’s okay,” Spoom said. “I’d be sinking too if not for you.”
“That’s true,” Syps reflected.
“We better go before we do sink too deep,” Spoom suggested.
Syps started stomping the grass down again and Hertrude followed quietly, her paws stepping on the flattened grass without pushing it down into the mud.
Syps did his paw-shaking routine, complaining as it bubbled between his toes.
“I don’t remember it raining so much lately,” he said after a while.
A big glob of mud stuck to his foot. He shook it but it wouldn’t come off.
“Me neither,” Spoom said.
“What’s so funny,” Syps asked, hopping on one foot while he shook the other.
“It’s. because. I live. under. the earth,” Spoom said his voice rising and falling in rhythm with Syps’s hops.
“Ha, true, there’s no rain down there,” Syps said.
The ball of mud finally came off his foot and it went splashing between the tall blades of grass.
“Finally,” Syps said.
“Finally,” Spoom agreed.
Syps looked up at Willy again. He was playing leapfrog with some fluffy clouds now.
“I wish I could fly too,” Syps said. “It’d be so much easier to get honey AND sweetberries.”
Spoom rested his wrinkly face on Syps’s shoulder.
“Sometimes, I wish I could walk faster too,” he said. “But then, I remember that I can dig real well, and that it’s okay that I’m slow.”
“Hmmm,” Syps said, his nose still pointed up at the sky.
He thought about it for a moment. At least he wasn’t slow like Spoom AND he could climb trees really well too.
“I guess, it’s okay I can’t fly,” he said after a bit. “I know Willy sometimes wishes he were bigger too.”
“You can’t have it all, I guess,” Spoom said.
Syps nodded his agreement. He turned to Hertrude.
“Say, Hertrude, what do you wish you could do?” he asked her.
Hertrude was a few feet from them, sitting on two blades of grass like she weighted nothing. Her pink nose was turned up to the sky as well, but she wasn’t looking at Willy; it was pointed at the sun. She looked at Syps and Spoon. Her big blue eyes seemed to get bluer all the time. She smiled. It was one of those feline smiles she’d started smiling when Syps started climbing trees, and Spoom started digging, and Willy started flying. It said so much, and almost nothing at all too.
She smiled, and then she inclined her head like she was going to answer him, but instead she licked one of her spotless, white paws and rubbed it over one of her ears. Syps looked at Spoom over his shoulder. Spoom shrugged so Syps shrugged too. Hertrude started cleaning her other ear.
“Bushcats clean themselves a lot,” Syps whispered to Spoom from the corner of his mouth.
“They sure do,” Spoom whispered back to Syps.
End of Chapter V, Part I.
To be continued…