Adventures of Aiden
I breathe in, I breathe out. I let it out. It comes across as a heavy sigh to others, but to me, it’s the only thing keeping me awake in this classroom. The teacher, Mr. Strochbark, a middle-aged red fox, babbles on and on about “equation this” and “x equals that”. Honestly, Math wins the contest for the most boring subject in school, aside from all the other ones that are almost just as boring.
My eyes widen, ears perking up from the sudden outburst, and my attention is yet again brought back to the pushy Mr. Strochbark. I straighten my posture, uncross my legs, and fold my paws together, placing them flat on the desk. “Y-yes sir?!”
Mr. Strochbark, with long wooden pointer in paw, taps a written equation on the chalkboard a few times. “Solve it.”
“Uhh… Alright.” I get up from my chair and walk past the several rows of desks in front of me, peers’ eyes gazing at me while I do. Usually I don’t mind attention, but that’s only when it’s in a positive light, and these faces staring at me definitely give off that “negative vibe”. It’s unfortunate that I was moved all the way to the back corner, away from the window, because now I have to get past all these unfamiliar faces to reach the chalkboard.
Despite the stares setting my nerves on fire, I achieve my goal of walking up to the chalkboard, for which I award myself fifty courage points in my mind since it was such a bold feat, and then I focus on the equation on the board, and… I don’t understand it. Not at all. My breath hitches and lumps in my throat. Red and yellow fur begins to dampen with a light sweat.
Mr. Strochbark begins to tap his footpaw, a grimace on his muzzle as well as multiple hisses of breath spouting out of his snout. “Having trouble?”
I glance toward him. Damn, he looks livid. “U-uh, no… I can do this. Really.”
“You have a minute before I give you a dock for inattentiveness, young man.”
I freeze up; a chill slithers through my entire body. “Y-yes sir!” I look back at the board.
My paw, gripping a piece of chalk, is trembling because I still have no idea how to solve this equation. A minute passes way too quickly. I’m screwed.
Mr. Strochbark shakes his head and points toward my empty seat. “That’s enough, Aiden. Sit.”
I frown as my ears droop alongside my tail, which finds a new home in between my legs. I make the long trek back to my desk and sit back down, a shameful vibe now being emitted within the confines of the classroom. I glance toward my best bud, Milo Greene, a green mouse sitting near the window behind the seat I once sat in. He gives me a shrug back as I get adjusted when I sit back down in my seat.
I eye the clock near the top of the wall to my right, noticing the light blue paint job on the wall, crusting already and covered in dents and scratch marks. Class is almost over. Ten minutes till recess. I just want to go outside and get some real air, unlike the stuffy crap in this classroom. It gets so hot in our uniforms. White polo. Navy blue khakis--either shorts for spring and summer or pants for fall and winter--and the shirt has to be tucked in as well. Oh, and a belt too, especially for me since I’m super skinny. An extra hole had to be poked in the middle for me since the next notch was too tight, and the previous was too loose.
Five more minutes... I’ll get to play with Milo yet again. The two of us have been best pals since the second grade. At least this school had enough in the budget for a playground. It’s a private institution, so my parents are paying quite a bit for me to go here, and for good reason too, because I know my weirdness wouldn’t survive a second in public school. It’s also Catholic. St. Maria is the name. I don’t know if that’s an actual saint or not, but I really don’t care. I never bother to check. I have more important matters to worry about. Recess, for example, is my favorite subject ever. No homework, no boring lectures, and best of all, no bossy teachers telling me what to do for the most part.
I hear the repetitive chime of the bell, signaling class is over and that recess has just begun. Springing out of my seat, my tail nearly getting ripped off from the open hole in the back seat, I rush over to Milo, a grin on my muzzle and tail wagging behind me.
“You ready?!” I’m literally jumping up and down at this point.
Milo smiles back at me. “Yeah!” He gives me a thumbs-up, showcasing his diagonal dark-green stripes lining his arm, which are on his other limbs as well.
“Then let’s-a go!” I mimic my favorite videogame character in a jumping motion, failing miserably, and then I do a quick turn and point toward the exit out of the classroom.
The two of us make our way down the pale yellow hallways toward the back end of the building, where dark blue double doors pave way to our freedom. Recess is in the middle of the day, and before lunch, so we have to bustle our way through a cluster of other furs hurrying to those doors as well. Milo and I finally burst through the open doors, past the mass of cubs, and out into the large grassy clearing.
The beautiful sunshine of summer has our fur shimmering in the slight breeze. To our left we have an old playground with wood chips for grass in an enclosed square, and then on the right we have a huge open space filled with grass. There’s one baseball diamond in front of the playground and enough space for a small game of football or soccer in the grassy field to the right. Most kids just play games of tag or something, though. Unlike them, though, Milo and I do something different: adventure.
Usually it’s just in the forest along the borders of the clearing, but with the allotted time of about thirty minutes for recess, it leaves us just enough time to venture even further than the last attempts, if we rush, of course. We head past the playground and into the grassy portion.
Milo glances over to me, furrowing his brows. “Wait, where are we going, Aiden? Aren’t we going to continue our adventure over-”
“Nope,” I say with a faint smile, looking at Milo. “I wanna try someplace new today.”
“Oh, okay then.” He pauses for a brief moment, squinching his brows in thought. “Wait, is this new place gonna have cheese?!” The mouse grins from ear-to-ear, holding his excitement back with his clenched paws in front of his shoulders.
I don’t know if I should tell him that there is no way in hell that we’re going to find cheese in the middle of a freakin’ forest, but I decide to hold that thought back. I just think him getting all excited over cheese is really cute.
The two of us stand before the new entrance point, all the way at the end of the clearing. Luckily, there’s a slight opening that we can squeeze through, whereas with the other entrances, Milo and I had to push branches away and duck underneath them, getting scratched in the process. I glance behind me to check if any teachers are looking in our general direction, and then I crawl through the opening, with Milo trailing behind me.
For a short while, it felt like there was nothing new behind this suspicious opening. Same old trees, branches, and the like just getting in our way. We had roughly ten more minutes left, since we still had to brave scratches to our fur and uniforms, so progress was pretty slow-going. The longer we entrench ourselves the shorter my excitement becomes, and when it looks like nothing would be gotten out of this little venture we see an unusually large tree in the center. There was some nice space around it, too, which was odd, because normally, the trees and branches are everywhere.
I poke the Mouse’s arm. “Hey, Milo.”
He turns toward me, pinches his brows together. “What?”
“This looks unnatural, like somebody cleared this out before us.”
Milo glances away and thinks for a second, humming to himself. “Do you think there’s a stash of cheese somewhere around here?!”
I swear I think I can see some drool daring to drop from his mouth right now. “Hehe, maybe~. Let’s explore and find out. We have to be real fast though, otherwise we’ll be late getting back to class.”
Milo nods, but is unable to hold back the wild grin on his muzzle, the mere thought of holding cheese once again was music to his giant ears.
We scramble around the small circular area with me searching around the giant tree in the middle and Milo examining the perimeter. The mouse finds nothing out of the ordinary other than some snapped branches on the ground amidst the dirt. I, on the other hand, find something quite astounding behind the tree.
A large hole. Big enough for a fur to fit inside, that’s for sure. I kneel down and gaze at the hole for a little longer, no sexual innuendo intended, and I begin to wonder whether it was natural or fur-made.
I feel paws shaking the sides of my shoulders. My head snaps back to see Milo.
“What’s up, bud?”
“Dude! We only have five minutes before Recess ends! And we still haven’t found any cheese…” Milo slumps over and frowns.
I get up from my kneeling position and clasp my paws over the mouse’s shoulders. “We got this! Let’s go!” My tail is swaying back and forth, excitement brewing like coffee spewing caffeine into my veins. I sprint back to where we entered from and duck, covering the front of my muzzle with my arm so I can barge through all the branches this time around. I can hear the rustling of branches behind me as well as some protesting squeaks from Milo, who, is most likely getting hit by every single branch I’m whipping out of my way. Stifling some chuckles, I focus on getting out of the path with haste.
My body bursts from the path and lands in the grass. Soon after, my buddy Milo plops on top of me, to which I don’t hold back my surprised groans of protest. We’re both panting heavily, but I know we can’t rest. Using my paws as a counterforce, I heave the mouse off my back by pushing against the grass; he drops back down next to me.
“Hey~! Why’d you-”
“No time! Let’s go! We gotta make it back in time!”
Milo begins to scramble to his paws. “Oh, shoot, you’re right! I got cheese for lunch~!”
“Nobody cares!” I yell back as I’m sprinting toward the double doors leading back to the prison, er, I mean, school. My heart is pounding, paws are sore, and I’m almost out of breath, but you know what, I’m having a blast. This, is what it means to be alive. The rush of adrenaline, the adventure, new places to explore, it’s all so exciting!
I make it back to the double doors, and I glance back toward Milo’s progress, and he’s about halfway, wheezing and hacking. Poor guy doesn’t exercise as much as I do, and it shows, but he loves me just as much as he loves his cheese, and that’s simply irreplaceable. I hope we’ll be best friends till the end of time. With a soft smile on my muzzle, I give Milo a playful mock salute and head inside without him.
It’s only then that I realize that my uniform is in tatters. Not again… I am not looking forward to getting reprimanded for it again, but you know what?
It’s worth it. Every. Single. Time.