Welcome back to the second part of the Tails of PaTail adventure.
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’ve decided to head to the orchards to try and get the cat over the city wall.
(If you’d like to read the first part, click here.)
Otherwise, let’s get this story rolling =)
Tails of PaTail Option B: Picking up Dessert
“Think Nan would like some dessert tonight?” you ask Lila.
A grin splits her face just as two tiny, fury ears peek around the corner next to her chin. Their orange tips tickle her skin and she giggles.
Nan huffs. “Nan doesn’t need more sweets. Nan needs peace and quiet.” She nabs her clothing from your hands and shoves you toward Lila. “Get outa here.”
By the time you leave the house, the streets bustle with people. Over your arm, you carry a lidded basket with a handle for ‘collecting’ cherries from the orchard. Before you even get to the end of your street, you spy the whiskered nose of a rat peeking out of a sewer grate, watching.
The basket gives a soft hiss and you thump the lid with a warning knuckle.
“Think we can fill this for Nan?” you raise your voice to cover the kitten’s soft hiss.
Lila chuckles. “Nan’ll be making pie for a week if we do.”
You’re almost to the orchards when you spy another whiskered nose watching from a nearby gutter. This one wears an eye patch and squints its one beady eye as you pass.
“Did Paws truly try to eat a rat?” you ask from the side of your mouth.
The kitten, a solid orange ball of fluff, can’t be bigger than the rat you saw this morning in the market. If it tried to eat such a vile creature, it must have spunk bigger than its body.
Lila nods. “Had the rat’s tail in its claws when I found it. Just the tail. No rat attached.”
You wince. No wonder the rat’s so determined…but then, it couldn’t be the rat you saw in the market because that one still had its tail. How many, then, are watching you?
The buildings on the street give way to low stone walls and beautiful trees. Throughout the growing season these trees harbor cherries, apples, plums, even pears. Lower to the ground grow vines with blackberries and raspberries. The place smells earthy, a mixture of damp earth and foliage.
After hopping the low wall, you set the basket at the base of a tree and begin picking cherries. Lila joins you, staying close to the basket’s location as she collects handfuls and drops them inside.
“Now what?” she murmurs, shooting a glance back toward the street where you can just make out the twitching nose of another rat peeking over the orchard’s wall. If you climb a tree to lift the kitten over the wall, the rodents are sure to see.
“Think the whole nest is watching us,” you mutter back.
Lila holds out the bottom of her shirt and you drop your collection of cherries into the scoop of fabric she’s made. She turns to put them into the basket and shrieks. The cherries she’s holding fall to the ground as she drops her hem and races to the whicker basket.
The bushy tail of some creature sticks out of the lid.
“Hey!” Lila grasps the exposed hindquarters and pulls a plump rabbit into her arms. “What do you think you’re doing?”
The rabbit shrieks in turn and then slumps in relief. “Well I’ll be, Miss Lila,” it says. “You scared the fur off me.”
“It’s Maya Rabbit,” Lila tells you while rubbing the rabbit’s ear in greeting.
The lid of the basket lifts ever so slightly. Two large green eyes glitter in the gap, not afraid but glaring at the rabbit Lila just pulled from the kitten’s hiding place.
“Miss Lila,” the rabbit says. “Some of your cherries look like they might be bad as they’ve got fur on them.” Maya winks with the eye away from the road. She hops from Lila’s arms and thumps the basket with one long hind leg. The lid falls shut with a soft hiss.
Maya saw the kitten, and she knows the rats are watching. She’s one of the many creatures Lila helped as a baby. She’s not likely to turn you in.
“I figured we’d pitch the bad ones over the wall before we leave,” Lila tells the rabbit.
“Hmm,” Maya considers and hops in a full circle around the basket before shaking her head. “Probably not the best option. The guards on the wall might not take kindly if you hit them with bad cherries. Maybe you can burry them instead.”
Burry them? What is Maya Rabbit suggesting? Lila looks as confused as you are but then she shudders.
“The moles might not take kindly to that either,” she replies but looks at you for your thoughts.
Oh! Maya Rabbit’s offering to make a deal with the mole’s who guard under the wall. They’re strict creatures but they only care about keeping things out of the city, they don’t really care about keeping things in. There’s a chance they’ll let you pass with the kitten and say nothing to the dog guard above. Usually the rats avoid the moles but now that they’re so determined, there’s a chance they’ll risk the mole’s ire to catch you.
Or do you still try to climb a tree? Perhaps you can ask Maya Rabbit for a distraction instead of a deal. The orchards are full of rabbits. They could help draw the rat’s attention away just long enough to get Paws out of the city.
Do you ask for…
Bb. A Mole Deal?
Bc. A Rabbit Distraction?
Leave your vote in the comments and next Thursday we’ll explore the option that gets the most votes.
Thanks for joining this week’s adventure =)