Chapter 1

Written by: Ray Stone

“For goodness sake, hurry up, Henry. We can’t wait here all night. It’s getting dark.”

Coco and Brutus hopped from the waiting group and joined Ramus.

“It’s getting cold, Henry. We still have to find a nice hollow and a big tree. Please hurry.”

Ramus stamped impatiently from one front paw to the other as Henry sat pondering his wish on the other side of the stepping stones.

“Got it,” cried Henry. He raised his head and flicked his tail. “Okay, I’m ready.”

Ramus stepped carefully across the  crystal stream. The water felt icy cold, and there was definitely rain in the air. He placed one paw on the last stone, and Henry darted up onto his back and clung to the long hair.

The group reformed and with the two rabbits sitting snugly on Acacia’s back and Alexzander bringing up the rear, they all set off with Ramus and Henry leading the way through the enchanted fruit orchards. Just as the moon was setting, Cecil swooped down and perched on a low bough.

“There’s a nice large sycamore tree just up ahead, Ramus, and several wild olive trees around it. If it rains or the wind blows hard, we will have cover from the banana plantation nearby. Besides, these two have only just started to fly, and they are tired.”

His two fledglings perched nearby were nearly asleep, their eyes almost closed. Acacia’s top lip curled up, and she brayed, “The kids need to be fed as well and so do the rest of us. Let’s make camp and rest for the night.”

The group agreed, and Cecil flew off for food while the two donkeys grazed and the rabbits scampered off, foraging for large juicy green banana leaves. The evening air was filled with the song of the Cicadas and Ramus curled up in the tall grass, munching happily on a fallen apple.

Later, as he was about to fall asleep, the cicadas stopped singing. Wary, Ramus raised his head. A loud, frightening howl followed by several growls and high-pitched yaps broke the silence, and the fur rose on Ramus’ back.

“Oh dear, oh dear,” cried Coco. He huddled next to Brutus, wide-eyed and shivering. “I’m scared, what shall I do?” They both ran to Ramus.

There was another long howl. Everyone’s ears pricked up, and they stood perfectly still.

“Do not be afraid. As long as we keep together, we will be safe,” ordered Ramus. “We must mount a guard. I’ll take the first watch, and then Alex followed by Acacia, and in the morning, Cecil, you must fly above us and warn us if you spot the wolves.”

“Wolves. Oh dear, oh dear,” whimpered Coco.

***

A long gray snout poked through the tall grass while yellow eyes, barely visible beneath slitted eyelids, stared with longing at the two rabbits. Snark’s pink tongue hung over his lower lip, dripping with saliva at the thought of a tasty meal.

“I’ll follow you and bide my time,” he sniggered.

 

Comments

This is a gorgeous chapter. The howls from the wolves was written in such a way that I felt the menace and I wanted to warn Ramus and friends. You give it ambience by describing the moon's position in the sky and you fill the story with sounds....wonderful evening sounds. This had the feel of Winnie the Pooh, a favourite of mine.
Hi Ray - I am not sure how to say this, but I think you are missing your calling as a writer - your desire for crime and thriller does not bring out the best of your writing. This serial, plus Gacgon the Sorcerer and the Balmaid, you writing is at an exciting and captivating level. This serial has me hooked and will be a wonderful test for all the other writers - the bar has gone up another notch for everyone. Well done!! I am really impressed!
OH! You are a Pooh fan as well. I have some Pooh books since a kid. Thanks for the feedback. Bruce, you are right and I am seriously going to change writing habits very soon. Thanks for your comments.