Taste of BOOK 3

First, just to explain the characters for you: Nikita is a Whippet/Lab mix who has become friends with the forest dwellers. She is a very special dog and there will chapters devoted to her, and some of her particular talents. Virginia is a white Flying Squirrel whose family has very recently moved into the Flying Squirrel Sanctuary. And she has disappeared! Shelby and Petra are mates as are Darby and Peter F Squirrel. Marvin is a Field Mouse and is Shelby’s BFF. The rest, I hope, are self-explanatory because of their names, just a few of the many friends in the neighbouring forest and farm.

Excerpt from Book #3 in the Shelby F Squirrel Series of books for children, and photo of the real Nikita, the inspiration for the character in the book:

 

at-one-yr

 

Chapter 6

Nikita raced through the trees, tongue hanging out. She reached Shelby’s nest tree feeling exhausted. It seemed like nobody was home. Calling up to him and Petra produced no response.

Then Rosie Robin flitted by Nikita’s nose, alighted beside her and explained, “I’ve been looking for Shelby! Petra’s having her babies! If you see him, send him right home! NOW!” And she darted off upward to be with Petra.

Nikita turned and started walking in a widening circle to find Shelby, but almost immediately spotted him soaring toward home, so she went back to be among the first to congratulate the new parents.

In that short time, it was all over! Shelby darted into the nest as Rosie flew out with the news.

“Two babies, both girls!” she trilled, almost beside herself with the excitement of it. “Petra says their names are Mimi and Pip.

“Nikita, let’s start telling everyone!”

“Okay, why don’t you tell the Wise Old Owl first? I’ll go find Marvin!!”

Nikita forgot why she had rushed through the trees to find Shelby in the first place.

Marvin was drowsing just inside his burrow entrance. He liked to get a little air and sunlight and take a nap occasionally in that healthy warmth. If he was caught doing that, he found it embarrassing, because he thought it made him look old.

Nikita saw right through his pretentions. “Oh, hi Nikita, I was just about to leave. What’s up?” he said with a slight yawn. Nikita smiled and humoured him with her reply.

“What a lucky coincidence, Marv,” she replied, “I’ve come to tell you that Petra had her babies!!”

That woke him up! He started running, but Nikita caught up and said, “For heaven’s sake, hop on my back, silly! I can get you there a lot faster!”

On the way they passed the burrow where the skunk family now lived and the tree where Molly and Polly Raccoon had their nest. The skunks were sleeping as was their habit during the day, but were happy to be wakened with such lovely news.

Molly and Polly first headed to tell their parents, Ringtail and Lottie, then dashed toward Shelby’s tree, where there was a crowd building.

Petra’s beaming smile greeted them when they climbed up to the nest. The babies were so tiny!

Shelby was crouched in the corner in absolute awe.

“But they have no fur!” he said in a shocked whisper. “And their eyes are shut!”

“Oh, for goodness’ sake, Shelby! That’s how baby flying squirrels always look when they’re newborns!” said Petra, gently chiding him. “They’re fine, look how hungry they are!” Mimi and Pip were nursing lustily as Petra lay back looking so contented Shelby though his heart would burst with happiness.

“You need to attend to all the friends who have come to see our new babies,” Petra said softly. “I’m fine, and I’ll visit with anyone who can make it up here.”

She looked closer into his eyes and added, “And you better get used to the way our babies look! Their eyes will be closed for quite a while. It’s perfectly normal. I’ll be nursing them for 8 weeks, then soon after that we’ll be teaching them to fly. Just think how much easier it will be with both of us to do that, than is was for our mothers! I don’t know how they managed totally on their own!”

It had all happened so fast that even her mother and Shelby’s were just arriving. They breathlessly appeared at the nest hole, and soon all three were chattering happily. The babies were sleeping by the time they made room for Rosie and Marvin to peek in.

Petra nudged them carefully into a little bundle and turned to chat with her happy friends.

Both her mother and Shelby’s were ecstatic to see the babies. Soon is was obvious that they would compete for time spent with the little ones.

That’s when Darby poked her nose into the middle of the group and said loudly, “Well, I’m next, everyone. Peter and I are soon going to parents too!”

She showed her round belly proudly, looking like she might burst with pleasure. Peter arrived and echoed his joy. That’s when Nikita started barking loudly, interrupting the celebratory party that was going on.

“What on earth is the matter, Nikita?” Rosie flew down to ask her. “Goodness me, calm down. This is a happy occasion!”

“Rosie, I can’t believe I forgot why I was headed over here in the first place! There’s a truck parked at the forest edge. And I got the scent right away. Rosie, we have to follow that truck and see whether it has something to do with Virginia disappearing!” Nikita was totally upset by now. She hadn’t ever become sidetracked when trying to get a job done. Rosie could see the disbelief on her face and felt instantly sorry for her.

“Nikita, don’t be so mad at yourself! We’ll get organized right now! I’ll go and get a couple of the owls. They need to know about Petra’s babies too. I just can see the huffy reaction we’ll get to be this late with the news!” And off she flew on her mission, while Nikita heaved a sigh of relief.

 

(Note: There’s a lot going on in the Flying Squirrel Sanctuary, as this little sample shows. This is just a first draft, but it gives you some idea of the action that is being  packed into the story.)