Welcome back for the last post in Tails of PaTail. =)
If you missed the previous posts, here’s a quick recap:
In part one, you started your day by getting raspberry jam from the market for your sister’s birthday, but when you arrived home, Nan and Lily, your sister, were enduring a search by the Dog guard because rats had accused you of harboring a cat. After they leave, you find out that your sister is, in fact, harboring a kitten. You decide to head to the orchards to try and get the cat over the city wall.
In part two, you find the rats are watching you so closely that your chances of getting Paws over the wall are slim. But Maya the rabbit has offered to help make a deal with the Mole guard to sneak the cat under the city walls.
In part three, you convince Morese the Mole to help you out of the city. You’re able to leave Paws with the Beaver family but this means you’re returning to PaTail almost at dark when the gates close. As wolves close in on you, you’ve decided to try reentering the city through the Mole’s tunnels again. Let’s see if the moles help you or keep you out for the wolves to find.
Now, on to the Mole Tunnels!
Tails of PaTail Option Bb2. Mole Tunnels
Long shadows hide the ground around the base of the wall as you search for the mole’s entrance.
Finally, you find the small hole. The area around it is freshly disturbed but secure underfoot.
“Hello!” Lila hollers down.
Moments later, a small, pink nose emerges.
“What?” asks the mole. His voice is deep, like the rumble of a base drum. This isn’t Morese.
“We were hoping you could help us get back into the orchards,” Lila says.
“Hmmm, what?” the mole grumbles. “You want into the city?”
“Hmmm. No.” And the mole disappears.
“But you helped us out earlier,” Lila calls down.
“We keep things out!” the mole’s voice responds. “Stay out!”
“Is Morese there?” you ask instead.
“When will he be?”
You sit back on your heels.
It’s too late to go through the gates. The dogs will have closed them by now.
There’s another howl from back in the woods. A deep throated call that echoes off the city wall. Another howl answers moments later from another place in the woods.
Lila shudders and flops onto her backside. “The Beavers?” she suggests, trying to hide the fear in her voice.
You shake your head. “Too far and those wolves are between us now.”
Lila pats her pockets but then slumps. “I’ve nothing to barter with.”
“Most animals have a sweet tooth,” Lila says. “I’m not sure about moles but—” she shrugs.
You search your own pockets and come out with the jar of raspberry jam from that morning.
“It was your birthday present,” you explain.
Lila nabs it from your hand and kneels with her face close to the mole’s hole. “Mr. Mole,” she calls, “Mr. Mole!”
“Errr, what?” the pink nose pops out of the hole again, large claws framing it on the ground. Lila stumbles backward to avoid being caught by one.
“For some raspberry jam, might we have passage back into the city?”
“Ummm, say now, what?”
“Raspberry jam, in exchange for passage back into the city,” you repeat.
The mole smacks his tongue against the top of his mouth for several moments.
A fresh howl sings out of the woods. Closer this time. Much closer. You almost think there’s a “Foooooooood” in the middle of the sound.
A new idea hits you. “You and Morese can join our game of rat ball tomorrow.”
The mole’s mouth falls open in an ‘Ohhh’. He pulls himself completely out of the hole and stands up on his hind legs like he’s looking at you but, like with Morese, you’re not actually sure he can see you.
“Rat ball? You’d include us in this Rat ball game?” He grasps Lila’s leg with both large clawed hands.
“Of course!” Lila promises with a squeak of surprise.
“Hmmm.” He sniffs Lila’s hand that’s holding the jam. With a motion faster than you’d think possible for a mole, he nabs it.
She gasps but doesn’t protest as he twists the lid free. A flick of his tongue and he’s tasting the jam with a deep ‘hmmm’ of appreciation.
“Deal. Follow.” And he disappears.
As before, the ground shudders and you fall into the tunnels below moments later.
Rat ball becomes one of the mole’s favorite games. It’s no wonder then, that the rats start avoiding the orchards altogether after the first week of the game. This turns out to be fortuitous for you when, only a month later, Lila shows up with a solid black kitten hidden in the pocket of her sweater.
You shake your head and ask her what kind of pie Nan wants to make that night.
Thank you for joining this adventure!
Until next time, blessings,