Tails of PaTail Option B: Picking Up Dessert

Cat Eye

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.”

***

BasketBy 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?”

RabbitThe 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 Tabby Catlikely 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?

or

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 =)

Blessings,

Jennifer

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Tails of PaTail

Welcome to a brand new adventure. =)

Tails of PaTail

Raspberries

Photo Courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots

The air smells of raspberries and peaches, cinnamon and nutmeg and, beneath the sweet spice of the jam vendor’s stall, there’s the scent of rain on cobblestone. This early in the morning few people actually wander the market and the few who do are quiet, their bartering kept low so as not to break the peace of the sunrise.

You pass the jam vendor a few coins and accept a small jar of raspberry in exchange. It’s a rare treat but, for your little sister’s birthday, it’s worth the cost.

Turning away from the stall, you almost catch the tail of a well-fed rat before he scurries down a sewer grate.

“Clumsy human!” he hisses over his shoulder.

You hiss back at him before moving along. Ugly rats act as the dog guard’s eyes and ears of the city. It’s the only reason they’re allowed to infest the under city.

But today, of all days, you’re not going to let a rat ruin your fun.

You weave your way out of the market and head toward the merchant’s housing quarter. In your mind, you picture your sister waking to the smell of warm pancakes cooked in fresh butter. The surprise on her narrow face when she sees the ruby jar will make waking at dawn a small inconvenience for the joy in her gray eyes.

As you draw nearer to your home, the quiet of the morning disappears under the angry shriek of an old woman. Her raspy voice carries on the chill air like that of a disturbed crow.

“You’ve got the wrong house!” she insists. “There’re no cats here.” Her voice is familiar. You hurry your steps until you round the corner to find Nan confronting two guards from the dog watch.

“We smell it,” one guard, a dark colored shepherd mix, insists.

“If your nose is so good,” Nan counters, “then why didn’t you find it when you searched the house?”

It’s then you see the beginning signs of a search. A shirt lies at Nan’s feet in the doorway. Tucked underneath it looks to be one of Nan’s underthings. No wonder she’s so fired up. The dogs dragged half her wardrobe into the street.

silver cat“A cat?” you ask as you approach, “here?” You keep your tone light, almost laughing.

“I saw it,” says a new hissing voice. “It tried to eat me.”

From the sewer grate beside the house appears a whiskered nose. You’re almost certain it’s the rat from the market.

“Then where is it now?!” Nan stoops and grabs a pebble from the doorstep. In seconds, it’s flying toward the grate.

The rat disappears and the pebble follows it into the sewers. There’s a yelp a moment later.

You almost pity the rodent. Nan’s aim is impeccable. You’ve experienced it many times, usually with the slap of a thrown shoe.

“Now, now,” says the second guard, a hound with such droopy ears that he’s almost standing on them. “No call for that.”

“He’s accusing me of harboring a cat!” Nan shoots back. “That’s call enough for me.”

“We’ll leave you to your breakfast.” the hound nudges his companion with his shoulder. “But as you know, we’ll have to follow up on this accusation later today.”

Nan huffs and watches the two dogs wander away with her hands on her hips. As soon as they disappear, she spins on a heel and marches inside. “Grab my cloths, will you,” she hollers over her shoulder. It’s not a question.

You gather her garments as you follow her inside.

She slams the door closed behind you and you jump, not realizing she was standing right there. When you look at her with a raised brow, she mouths your sister!

Oh no. You realize what must have happened. Lila has an incurable soft spot for baby animals. And somehow, she finds them all the time. A mouse, a badger, an owl, she even tried a porcupine once but Nan drew the line on that one.

But a cat! In the dog run city of PaTail. It spells disaster for sure. Time in the dungeons with the sewer rats or possibly a sentence on the chow lines feeding the military dogs.

Just then, Lily peeks her head into the kitchen. The rest of her body stays hidden in the hallway. Those gray eyes are pleading as they look at you.

“Can we have an adventure today?” she asks. It’s her way of begging you to help her smuggle the cat out of the city. You can’t deny those pleading eyes.

Usually, you’d use the sewers for such a task but obviously, the sewer rat will be watching. You might be able to enter the sewers a street or two away and avoid him but it’s risky with how alert he’ll be.

Or the orchards might give you a tree high enough to go over the wall tonight. You’d have to hide in the trees for the day though because the dog guards will be back by noon.

You and Lily have a code for each place. You’re looking for treasures in the deeps for the sewers or picking up dessert for Nan for the orchards.

Do you tell her…

A. Treasures in the Deeps?

or

B. Picking up Dessert?

Thanks for joining in the adventure. Vote for your choice by leaving a comment below. Next Thursday, we’ll see what happens next!

Blessings,

Jennifer