SHELBY Sequel

tree-cutting-machine

Just one of the chapters in the new SHELBY F SQUIRREL adventure. Danger, very real threat looms, endangering the very lives of all the forest animals. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Chapter 8: ENTER TYRANNOSAURUS REX

Shelby and Petra were still dozing the next morning when they were rudely awakened. In fact it wasn’t even fully daylight. With bleary eyes they peeked out.

The main noise had come from a large white truck that was now parked almost under their tree. On its top was a huge circular disk, at least six feet across. It was rotating slowly and then stopped as the two little squirrels gaped, their jaws hanging open.

The other disturbance, which continued, was a sea of babbling voices as cameramen appeared and microphones were handed out, cables running everywhere.

“What do we do now?” Petra whispered, her voice shaky.

“Just calm down, they’re not here to cut trees. But we do have to find out why they are, and the sooner the better!” answered Shelby, hoping she would not go into a complete panic. He asked her to stay and watch, meantime Marvin had popped out of the burrow not far away, and was taking it all in.

Overhead, the Wise Old Owl perched, then quickly took off. Shelby knew he was off to alert the animals who were on call today. Rosie Robin landed quickly on the limb, a little out of breath again. She was doing that too much lately. Shelby made a mental note to speak to Rusty and suggest he keep an eye on her, and help her cope with all this stress.

“I’ve already got my people informed and they’re on the way. I told them to stay hidden for now, until we know what’s happening!” Rosie panted, folding and refolding her wings.

Shelby gave her a huge smile and she flew off again, this time to rest. Her job as sentinel was over for the day. And there were enough others to launch a very effective defensive line.

A few minutes later, Shelby could see a pair of swans from the farm approach and conceal themselves in the thick shrubbery. Across from them, a slight disturbance in the branches told him that Sultan and a group of his hens were waiting patiently.

If they were here, then Billy or one of the lady goats would soon arrive as well. High in the branches, he noticed both Molly and Polly. They gave him a wave and presumed their vigil, ready to spring into action.

Soon Shelby’s nose told him the skunks had also arrived, and were waiting nearby.

They were ready for almost anything, it seemed.

Finally, when the sun had almost risen above the treetops, they heard a rumble in the distance. Soon the ground was vibrating along with the racket it made as it got closer, whatever it was. TV cameras were aimed toward the approaching sound. An anchorwoman with microphone in hand craned her neck to get the first view.

Shelby gasped in terror when he saw what looked like a monster, sitting precariously atop a huge flat-bed truck. It was sitting on huge tires with deep treads, had a small cabin encased in sleek glass. Sprouting upward ominously was a mighty crane that bent double and swooped back down toward the ground. At its end hung a massive set of jaws.

The tension in the air was palpable.

The flat-bed truck positioned itself and a ramp was lowered. The dreadful machine started up with an efficient roar and began to inch backwards down the ramp.

Meanwhile, another flat-bed had parked on the opposite side of the road and was unloading a miniature version of the leviathan that was now lumbering toward the trees. It chugged to a stop not far from the TV truck.

The drivers stood around talking, the news anchorwoman was interviewing a man who appeared to be in charge. He was wearing a yellow hard hat, and carrying a clip board.

The small machine was now unloaded and pulled up parallel to the other one. It was literally dwarfed beside it. Shelby’s head was spinning, trying to imagine how the innocent animals would win the fight against those terrifying mechanical Tyrannosaurus Rex jaws.

All the excitement soon abated however. The TV crew got back into the truck and unloaded their cameras, locked the door and got into a waiting car that drove off quickly. So did the men who had driven the machines down the ramps of the flat-beds. They climbed into the truck cabs, the motors chugged to life and they roared away, leaving the gathered troops puzzled and a bit disappointed.

Slowly they emerged into the open and gathered to talk it over. Charlie had arrived in the meantime. The first thing he said was how impressed he was to see the number of animals ready to launch a counter attack, and so quickly after the alarm was given. Their plans were working well for being ready. That was worth knowing.

Billy spoke up eagerly, “We’ll all be ready again in the morning!!”

Some of them chorused their agreement. Molly and Polly were looking serious and not joining in.

“We should see what we can do to break those two things they parked here!” said Polly vehemently. All their heads swivelled to stare at her. Shelby was quiet, but he had been thinking something similar.

Molly continued. “We have pretty nimble fingers. We can try undoing anything that moves.”

“We should see if those cabs are locked, and look for things to take apart inside there,” said Darby, who had arrived as men were leaving. “Flying Squirrels have pretty smart fingers too!”

“And so do we!” loudly added Howard, the Wise Old Owl’s nephew. “And our talons are very strong, too.”

They stayed together for a few more minutes before disbanding. The plan was to meet later once it was dark enough to do some damage without being seen. Shelby went right over to see the skunks. This was definitely a time for their particular talent.

The moon was high when the chosen troops for the night’s sortie crept silently out of the trees toward the Tyrannosaurus Rex monsters, where they sat gleaming dully in the night air.

The Wise Old Owl had cautioned everyone to leave the TV truck alone. He told them that it was only there to film or record the unfolding events.

“Word must have gotten out about what happened here with those two men who tried to paint yellow marks on the trees. That would explain the TV truck being here,” he averred firmly. That was received with excitement, to think their plight and their heroic efforts would be make public. Perfect!!

Molly and Polly set to work on the tire valves. Howard found pulleys and springs to pop off, and opened the two gas tanks. Rosie and Rusty hovered nearby waiting. As soon as the caps were off they busied themselves flying to and fro, dropping bits of bark, dried leaves, and feathers down the malodorous black hole. Howard quickly screwed the lids back on when they had exhausted their arsenal.

Petra, Peter and Darby helped Shelby explore the cabs for things to undo. They wound off the knobs of most of the levers. Marvin joined in with a horde of family members, and squirrels and mice all chewed industriously through every possible cable. Then they all hopped down to clear the way for the skunk family.

Soon the whole area reeked heavily, while the seats of both cabs were thoroughly coated with disgusting skunk slime.

 They shouted cheers at each other, then they faded back into the trees.

The sentries all went to their proper homes because they knew everyone was already on deck to appear for more work in the morning.

( My deepest thanks to a dear friend, Sandy Sakofsky, for allowing me to use her story ‘Stephen’ as the inspiration for this chapter, indeed for most of this whole story. )

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Poets & Painters Event

20 Birgie Ludlow (Eleanor Lawrie)

This lovely painting by Birgie Ludlow was produced as her interpretation of my poem.

Mist and Magic

Eleanor Lawrie

At the end of the meadow is a stand of trees

Tall and graceful, imposing with ease.

In mist and magic, they seem to sleep

But noble branches a watch do keep.

They beckon, they call, they sing and sigh:

Come closer, come hither, do not fly;

Here is a shelter, a haven sublime,

Enfolding, surrounding for all of time.

Stripped of leaves, an upward thrust

Joining the clouds, presenting a trust

That all is together, all is one

Harmony for Earth and Moon and Sun.

Majestic, imposing, magnificent limbs

Deliver a chorus of crooning hymns.

All who can hear, absorb the sweet sound:

Tranquillity, love all around.

Noble and steadfast, through ages they live

Never to take but eternal to give

Ethereal joy, deep, heaven-sent

Exudes perfect peace; all is content.

Our event, which took place April 7, 2016, had 18 participants. Nine each writers and painters. The complete show is dazzling! It’s a unique and wonderful way to bring two groups of creative people together.