Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cricket & Rabbit

Cricket and Rabbit shared many adventures together. Though the two lived together for only a short while, they'd seen and experienced nearly all their world had to offer. Crossing the Hard River of Black was particularly dangerous, and the screaming lights almost made finding home impossible. The Wood Towers provided a journey full of hardship and exhilaration. And the Abyss Underneath revealed several hidden wonders while exposing terrifying fears.

Never were there closer friends than Cricket and Rabbit. They were not, however, a cricket and a rabbit. Brother cats from the same litter, they were taken from their mother by the kind young man and cared for like they were the man's own offspring. Despite the love of the kind young man, there was a big, ugly, white dog who had black spots. His name was Xander and, try as Cricket and Rabbit might, Xander refused to befriend the kittens. In fact, Xander remained a vile enemy for all time.

***

"Wake up, Rabbit!" Cricket is always excited in the morning. Then again, Cricket is always excited. If ever a cat can be described as loquacious, Cricket is it. Always jumpy, he's almost always making some sort of noise, even in his sleep. In fact, the only time Cricket is quiet is when he's scared.

"Oh, Cricket," Rabbit mumbled, "can't you give me until the sun's actually over the line at the end of the sky?"

"But there's adventure to be had!"

"Aw, Cricket, we had one yesterday."

"That was yesterday!"

Rabbit straightens himself out, yawning a toothy yawn, his butt and his tail extending into the air. He considers momentarily to slash at his brother with his exposed claws, but he forgets the idea. Rabbit's rarely mean to anybody, including overeager siblings. "Fine, but let me use the sandbox first."

"Hurry, hurry! The man is putting more leaves in the field!"

"He does that all the time," Rabbit utters as he makes his way into the room called a laundry room. There he finds the sandbox he's looking for, full of dusty and gritty gray grains of dirt. And hardened clumps of yesterday's business. "What he needs to do is get us new sand."

***

Cricket and Rabbit stare at the large glass, mesmerized by the rising sun and the young man placing a strange, green plant in the middle of a field with other strange plants (not all of them green). This new plant looks like a weak group of fuzzy vines. But on the fuzzy vines were these green and red (mostly red) balls. After the young man seems satisfied with where the plant is, he grabs one of the balls and takes a bite out of it. There's a large smile across the young man's face.

"Oh, it's food!" Cricket exclaims, which reminds him that he's yet to partake in the morning's kitten chow.

"It looks gross," Rabbit replies.

The two cats watch through the large glass - something the young man calls a window - as Xander trots up to the plant and sniffs it. Cricket and Rabbit watch, to their delight, as the young man bats Xander on the nose and scolds the dog.

"Shall we go take a closer look?" Cricket asks, the answer already in his mind.

"I don't know, Cricket." Rabbit appears nervous. "I don't think the man wants us to go near it."

"Oh, come on, it'll be an adventure!"

Before Rabbit can object, Cricket takes his usual position near a small table and prepares to pounce through the opening door. The man enters the house, intent on washing his hands, and Cricket bolts outside.

Not wanting to get left behind, even with his nagging reservations, Rabbit calls out, "Wait for me!" and joins his brother in the backyard.

***

At the strange plant, the two kittens examine it with their noses and their paws. Cricket is a tad disappointed and Rabbit knows it, but Rabbit also knows that Cricket will pretend that he's enjoying this so-called grand adventure anyway.

"Oh, look, Rabbit! It's so... red!"

"I think we should go back inside. The sun's heating my favorite part of the carpet."

"Come on! That can wait!"

"So can this."

A thought pops into Cricket's head and he rushes over to where Xander is reluctantly sleeping. Xander very much wants to play with the young man, but it seems the young man spends most of his time inside with the two stupid kittens. Rabbit, realizing that Cricket is going to bother the dog, chases him.

"Cricket, don't wake up Xander! He might eat you!"

"He's not going to eat me. Don't be stupid."

Xander notices the exchange and opens his eyes. "I will if you get any closer to me, you annoying whelps."

Cricket and Rabbit freeze in their tracks. Cricket, suddenly unsure of what to do, just comes out and asks a question. "Why did the young man bat your nose when you sniffed the new leaves?"

Lifting his head, Xander almost answers honestly, but stops himself. He stares at the two kittens and formulates a wicked plan. "Oh," Xander starts, "he said I'm not ready for the magical gifts yet."

Cricket's eyes widen while Rabbit's suspicions arise. "Magical gifts?" Cricket inquires.

"Yes, yes," Xander answers, trying not to laugh. "Those red balls are magic. If you eat one, you will receive a special power."

"You're lying," Rabbit says, not one to trust anything that comes out of Xander's mouth, which includes his breath.

"What special power?" Cricket's lost in dreams of being a magical cat and ignores the obvious concern in Rabbit's tone.

Xander closes his eyes and lays his head back down. "Well, there's only one way to find out." It is a clever response to both Rabbit's statement and Cricket's question.

***

"Aw, what happened?" the young woman asks the young man. Rabbit could hear the false sympathy in her voice, but is too tired and depressed to run over to her pantyhouse and scratch her for it.

"I don't know," the young man starts, "but the vet thinks he got into the tomato plant. I didn't even know he got outside."

"What did you do with his body?"

"It's buried in the backyard."

Rabbit, through tear-filled eyes, glances out the large glass to the freshly turned soil beneath which his brother is laid to rest. On top of it lies a large rock, there partly as a marker - it reads: "Here lies Cricket, the most energetic kitten I've ever seen." - and partly to keep Xander from digging up the body.

Gazing at the sleeping dog, Rabbit swears that the evil beast is smiling in his sleep. One day, perhaps when Rabbit is larger, there will be revenge.

For now, though, Rabbit will fall asleep and dream of a great adventure... with Cricket at his side.

"Rabbit, there's adventure to be had!"

"Aw, Cricket, we had one yesterday."

"That was yesterday!"

12 comments:

  1. It's good, illustrate it! I can't believe that it's a little kid story - too sad. It's more of a grown up kid story.

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  2. Very good. The dialog is wonderful and the lesson is real.

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  3. Like a bloody Greek tragedy.
    (I'm keeping the comment short so it will look good in your Readers' rants and raves bit)

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  4. brilliant jeff...great show of your versatility...i would agree it is young adult story....or maybe not...think of the brothers grimm and the intensity of some of theirs...

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  5. Wonderful. I wondered how tomatoes were going to fit in. Very Aesop's Fable-ish.

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  6. Oh, you didn't! You didn't just kill off Cricket! You are rotten to the core, Mister. But I loved your story, it was so cute and original, though I'm more inclined to be impressed, uh, I meant, shocked by feline treachery, than canine. That was a very clever bit of evildoing for a dog to devise. Your story was engaging from the start and I loved it.

    Now go revive Cricket somehow before I kick you in the shins. Grr!

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  7. Think there's a bit of sympathy or favoritism at play here, cause we all know cats are diabolical ones. Dogs are just in it for fun.

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  8. Brilliant! The ending out a huge smile on my face. Thanks. :)

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  9. who ever heard of a vindictive dog? either way, it's one of those perfect moral stories...but poor little cricket--he didnt know any better!

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  10. You should have posted it in audio. Lovely story and a great way to improve a child's vocabulary

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  11. Thanks for the warning.

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  12. Very good, Jeff. I agree with hvninhell, illustrate it.

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