In honor of only having an hour and a half left of my twenty-third year, I thought I would write something about the end of an era. Maybe the end of school, or the end of winter…or if I want to go crazy, the end of Gondor or something like that. Meh, that’s a little big. I think…the end of winter. That’s a nice, optimistic topic. Now watch, I’ll get some crazy word that is awful and depressing. But, that’s the name of the game.
So, the word: nuisance.
The room was dark. He could see nothing. A short sniff; a wiggle of the head; a look hither and thither; but nothing was revealed. He curled up and lay his head back down, taking a deep breath and slowly, slowly releasing….
Golden light. He looked. Just a crack, a pin prick on the wall. He wriggled up, flexing his back and craning his little face up to see it. He blinked at its brightness, and shook with exciting. It was coming.
He spun around and raced to the other side of the room to find whence the light came. There, a small crack in the wall. With little hands and nails he clawed it at. A vigorous set of strokes and then a pause. Then stroke, then pause. With each succession the knot tightened in his stomach and he grew frustrated, screaming his little, high scream. His ears rang. He kept clawing.
The hole widened just a hair. His ears pricked up and he raced around the room in excitement. He came to a stop opposite the crack and sat on his haunches, sniffing eagerly. The light shone in his right eye and he shifted from one side to the other, letting the warm dot drift across his nose and forehead. He lifted his chin and felt the glow descend down to his chest as he stretched up and high as far as he could. Then he settled back down and rubbed his little hands, and looked at that small prick of light in the wall across from him. He could almost taste the sunshine.
Then he heard, just faintly and just this side of a whisper, the light call of a sparrow. What?! thought he, and his ears stood at the ready. If birds be at play then I am away! With renewed spirit he leapt across the room and flung himself to the work of clawing at the hole. He made great headway, and indeed enlarged the hole to a size just big enough for his head, when he sat back, breathing hard and deep. The sun shone bright and warm full upon his face, and he was content. Air was moving now through the hole and he drew the fresh spring air deep into his lungs. It felt good, reaching down to his heart with a gentle warmth, but just the slightest bite that reminded him that spring was yet young. He took a resolved breath and nodded to the glowing sun. Good day, sir Sun, thought he. One of the sparrows flittered by, blocking the light for a brief moment, and he imagined the sun had just winked at him.
Well, he thought as he stretched and arched his back: to the last of it. And with great vigor and energy he threw the whole of his body against the wall and fell with a great tumble and a sharp crack out onto the strong, wide branch of the tree that was his home.
He laughed a quiet squirrel laugh and lay spread out on the branch, letting his paws hang over the edges of the tree as he delightfully, contentedly soaked up all that the sun let fall on him. The wind was just a light north breeze coming from the right, and it gently lifted his fur and washed down to his skin, pealing back the months of hibernation from his body. He sighed, and looked with half opened eyes down the branch, toward the noon sun and the surrounding trees that swayed and creaked as if dancing for joy.
A loud call came from the right, sharp and direct in his ear. Instantly he jumped up, just in time to see the close blur of a sparrow buzz low over his head. The cold rush its afterdraft blew across him and stole away what warmth he had managed to soak up.
He shook his head and fur at the bird and chattered rapidly, but the sparrow just laughed and flittered away to join its friends. He sighed and turned back to lay in the entrance of his room in the tree. His dear love for Spring had made him forget that even the best of birds could be a nuisance.
Delightful! Very nice. I like the sentence four paragraphs up: And with great vigor and energy he threw the whole of his body against the wall and fell with a great tumble and a sharp crack out onto the strong, wide branch of the tree that was his home. Even though it’s a bit run-offish it has a nice ring to it and a burst of action. I don’t know if people would catch on that he was a squirrel; it would, come to think of it, give the story a fun second read, now that they would be able to picture it a lot more clearly. But I imagine that sentence, and then of course He laughed a quiet squirrel laugh, would click on the light bulb. And that, really, is what we long for in stories. Don’t tell it to me; let me discover it.
Not all the time, or as a rule. But I think that’s part of why we write, and part of why we read: Discovery.