Tails of PaTail Option Bb2: Mole Tunnels

Wolf

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.

(If you’d like to read the first parts, click Part One and Part Two and Part Three)

Now, on to the Mole Tunnels!

Tails of PaTail Option Bb2. Mole Tunnels

Tree tops - Set Up AdventureLong 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?”

“Yes.”

“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.

“No.”

“When will he be?”

“Mornin’ time.”

You sit back on your heels.

It’s too late to go through the gates. The dogs will have closed them by now.

wolfThere’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.”

“Gates?”

“Closed.”

Lila pats her pockets but then slumps. “I’ve nothing to barter with.”

“Barter?”

“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?”

Raspberries

Sebring’s Snapshots

“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.

The End

Thank you for joining this adventure!

Until next time, blessings,

Jennifer

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Tails of PaTail Option Bb. A Mole Deal

Mole

Welcome to the third part of this adventure =)

If you missed the previous two 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.

(If you’d like to read the first two parts, click here and here.)

Now, let’s see how this deal goes =)

Tails of PaTail Option Bb. A Mole Deal

Rabbit“I like your idea,” you say to Maya Rabbit.

She thumps the ground with both hind paws in excitement. “I know just the place,” she says, “follow me.”

As you pick up the basket, a soft voice whispers from the whicker. “You’re trusting a rabbit? What’s the world coming to?”

***

The entrance to the Mole guard’s tunnels isn’t a door or even a cave, but a simple hole in the ground near the city wall. You’re still in the orchards, so the earth is damp and soft.

Maya Rabbit disappears down the hole to find the guard on duty at the entrance. You eye the opening.

“I’m not sure we’ll fit,” you whisper to Lila.

Before she can answer, a small pink nose appears from the hole. “Ay um,” the mole’s face emerges with his nose twitching, “Miss Maya says—” he stops speaking with his head tilted. “Not on my watch, not a chance.” He disappears.

MoleMoments later, the ground to your left sinks in a whoosh, large claws reach out and grasp the tail of a rat hiding behind the closest tree.

The rat shrieks as it’s sucked into the hole with the mole.

There’s a soft rumbling and then, farther back in the orchard, another hole appears. The rat flies from the hole, still shrieking, and disappears over the far orchard wall.

“And stay there!” shouts the grumbly voice of the mole from under the ground.

While you’re still staring at where the rat vanished, the mole pops up from the tunnel entrance at your feet again.

“Now,” he starts again, “ay um, Miss Maya says some strange things.”

The mole fully emerges from his hole and sniffs at your legs, then at Lila’s legs and, lastly, at the basket. He stands up on his hind legs and grasps the whicker in those same large claws that sent the rat flying.

You grasp the handle firmly but your hands sweat as the mole continues to inspect with his sensitive nose.

“I see, I see,” he mutters. “Furry cherries indeed. You want out?”

“Yes,” Lila says for both of you.

“Hmmm, ay, don’t see any harm in out, ay suppose. Follow.” And he vanishes.

“Umm,” you sink to your knees next to the hole, “Mister Mole, we’re too big for this hole.”

There’s a ‘harrumph’ from below and you feel the ground shudder beneath you. Before you can scramble away, there’s a whoosh and the orchard floor disappears from under you.

You, Lila and a screaming basket tumble into the tunnels below.

Although the entrance was tiny, the tunnels are not. You stand and find you can walk, a bit hunched, into the tunnel system.

“Fill it in, boys,” the mole hollers to several pink noses watching from the tunnel behind you.

“Ay, ay, ay,” they respond and start filling in the giant hole they just opened for you to fall through.

“Follow,” the lead mole says again, and this time you have no problem walking behind him as his giant claws leave gouges out of the tunnel walls.

Cat EyeWith him turned away, you peek into the basket to make sure Paws faired the fall without any injuries.

The kitten’s green eyes glare from the depths. He licks at his very ruffled orange fur but otherwise seems unhurt.

“Where’s Maya Rabbit?” Lila asks the mole.

“Ay? Oh, says she and the family gonna play game with rats. Somethin’ about rat ball. Never heard of it.” The mole continues to grumble and you catch a couple words about never being included in the fun.

“Can you get a message back to her?” you ask, thinking that Nan will worry if you don’t get a message to her.

“Message?” the mole looks back over his shoulder. You can’t really tell if he’s looking at you or just scenting the air. “Sure.”

You give him a message for Maya to pass to Nan and, not long after, he stops at another hole in the ground. Late day sunlight streams through it.

“Here, human,” Mister Mole digs his claws into the ceiling around the hole. With a heave of his heavy shoulders, he opens the hole wide enough for you to squeeze out of the tunnels.

“Thank you,” you say to him after you’re out. “What’s your name by chance?”

“Ay um, me?” the surprise in his low voice is obvious. “Morese.” And then, like he’s embarrassed, he dives back below to repair his tunnel entrance.

“I like him,” Lila says.

“You like them all,” you respond.

“Not the rats,” she grins.

You give her that.

The mole guard brought you up just outside the city wall. You head for the tree line before setting the basket on the ground to release Paws.

“Think it’s safe here?” Lila asks, wringing her hands in the hem of her shirt.

“Nothing’s safe outside the city,” you say. “But it’s better than the dogs catching him.”

“Ick,” Paws says as he cautiously peeks his head from the basket, “dogs.”

Beavers“Maybe you can stay with the Beaver family for a bit,” Lila suggests. “They live up the river there.” She points to the river.

“It’s wet,” Paws complains.

“Anything make you happy?” you ask the feline.

He tilts his ears toward Lila. “A good scratch behind the ears,” he says as Lila follows suit on his nonverbal suggestion.

A low purr rumbles from his throat.

“The Beaver’s will take care of that,” she assures him.

“Show me the way?” he asks, only now a slight uncertainty entering his usually confident expression.

You start to protest, it’s late in the day, but Lila gives you a look and you know it’s pointless.

It’s her birthday. Guess you can deal for a while longer.

***

You debate the wisdom of your choice later, however, because by the time you head back to the city, it’s almost dark. Long tree shadows stretch like fingers from the forest toward the city walls.

A long, low howl comes from behind you. It’s not close but, seconds later, a second howl answers it.

The dogs close the gates at sunset. As you told Lila, it’s not safe outside the city, especially at night. You glance back as you quicken your steps.

You safely left Paws with the Beaver family but now you’re worried about you and Lila.

If you head to the gate, the rats might convince the dog guard that you’re suspicious and they’ll close the gates on you.

If you head back to the mole tunnels, you’ll have to negotiate with them to let you back in. Without their help, you probably can’t even get back into the tunnels.

Do you go to…

Bb1. The Dog’s Gate?

or

Bb2. The Mole’s Tunnel?

Leave your vote in the comments below. Next Thursday, we’ll see how this adventure ends!

Blessings,

Jennifer

Dog Truth

“Yup, I definitely teepee’d your living room.” Oops, that wasn’t supposed to come out. Why did that come out? I eyed the water bowl on the floor next to me. I’d only taken one drink. True, that emptied about half the bowl. But it was only one drink.

As soon as I finished though, I knew something wasn’t quite right. I laid down next to the bowl while my head spun like I’d tried to look out the side window during a car ride.

Crazy human. What’d she do to me?

“What about that spot on the corner of the couch? Who tore it apart?” She gave me that look that said she already thought she knew the answer.

I bit my tongue and glanced at Herman. He narrowed his cat eyes and bared his pointy teeth. Nope, not a good idea to tell on Herman.

“Well, what happened to my couch?”

“Not me,” I whined.

Her eyes opened wide. Surprise maybe? Or anger that I just implicated her cat? She rolled the bottle in her hand, muttering like she always did when reading. “makes imposs… for five minutes….ask what you like.”

She’d poured some of that stuff into my bowl. Five minutes. I heard her say five minutes.

“You’re saying Herman did that?” She pointed, almost flinging the bottle from her hand.

Oh dear. Herman was creeping toward me. He’d kill my nose if I said anything but I felt the urge to respond welling up like a balloon swelling in my throat.

Gotta move. Gotta kill five minutes.

I stood and my legs wobbled like the baby’s. I tilted onto my side.

“Answer me!” she demanded.

“Gablablenla…” I ended with a long ‘ahhhh’. I wasn’t lying. The stuff didn’t stop gibberish though. Thank whatever doggy lord existed.

She stepped toward me and I bolted between her legs, careening into the door frame and yelping as I fell up the stairs.

“Get back here, you mutt.” Her steps thumped up the stairs behind me.

Five minutes. Keep moving. 

Maddy was coming through the front door as I rounded the corner. I saw the open space, freedom and fresh air and the chance to run for as long as needed without hitting anything.

The door closed just as I darted for it. Ka-thunk! Door 1. Head 0. I tilted over again, my head spinning with a new ache between my eyes.

“Serves you right. Now tell me about the couch.” Her face loomed in my fuzzy eyes.

“I know nothing,” I sighed as I passed out.

***

Slowly opening my eyes, I found myself nose to nose with whiskers.

“Nice play,” Herman grudgingly said. “Drink out of the toilet for awhile, you bowl’s still dangerous.”

The End

Yarn, Sticky Notes and A Cat: If the First Attempt Doesn’t Succeed, Try Another Way

She ate it! She ate my work and left the evidence trailing down the wall, across the desk, over the floor, and down the stairs leading all the way to the front door like a smug “Ha! try again Mom!”

sage

Sage, my cat. Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

My cat, my buddy who sits on my desk and watches me type, ate my timeline! Disappointment! Frustration! Failure!

I thought I’d found a way to overcome my issues with outlining a book. You see, I’m a visual learner. I retain details when I can see and interact with events. So a story that’s all in my head I have to, somehow, make more visual before I retain the ‘little’ details that lend a story texture.

To that end I’d strung yarn across the wall, put scenes on sticky notes and placed them in sequence along my ‘timeline’ of yarn.

So the wall wasn’t big enough to encompass a 100,000+ word story, but it was better than any other attempt I’d tried. It got me about one tenth of the way into the story.

So my sticky notes started to loose their battle with gravity and fluttered to the floor. I could just stick them back up and add tape if needed.

But my cat eating the yarn! That was the last straw, as it were. Space and gravity didn’t dissuade me but my cat’s infernal interest with all things string did me in. I scrapped the attempt of a yarn and sticky note timeline…

I shouldn’t dwell on this failure, however. The trick is to accept what’s happened and learn from it so that, when I try again, I might succeed. I advise you to try the same.

Two Einstein quotes are useful to keep in mind:

One

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

and two

“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

If we learn nothing from our failed attempts, we will continue to fail and might just be insain.

However, if we pay attention, we learn what did not work and can move on to another attempt. One failure, or ten or a thousand should not convince us to give up on our dreams.

So finding a good way to make a book outline visual is an ongoing process for me…

I had one failed attempt, but I learned, if I can see the outline written by hand, it helps but I need something big enough to encompass the entire story. And I need something that doesn’t draw my cat like a moth to light.

So, the next time I’ll try a large paper pad such as a teacher uses. (My poor husband will probably have to deal with these pages taped to our walls, maybe even the ceiling, but, bless him, he doesn’t mind such antics.)

So I encourage you, don’t give up simply because you’ve had a hiccup. Assess what happened, figure out why it didn’t go as planned, and move on with your new knowledge making your next attempt that much more likely to succeed.

Blessings,

Jennifer

P.S. What have you tried that didn’t work? What’d you learn? What will you do differently next time? Encourage each other to keep trying.