D.M.F. Writing challenge #14
Key animal and words:
1.) Bunny – Skunk
“It seems impossible to finish this in just three days” the young bunny thought to herself as she wiped the sweat from her brow with her arm, looking out across the horizon at the rising sun. Sitting on the edge of a cliff, the light danced across her white fur, each drop of sweat glistening in the warmth of the light. The cliff must have been 300 feet down, with a rocky ravine below to greet anyone who slipped over the ledge. ” Why the heck do I get myself into these predicaments??” She thought. “…OOOooh yes! I most certainly can do it! I’m the bunny for the job, sir!” she blurted out loud, huffing and shaking her head in disgust at herself for biting off more than she can chew.
You see, the king of that land had decided that he would like to expand his kingdom with the lands just East of the borders. However, this required building several bridges for his army to cross into order to gain accesses to these lands.
This is where Penny steps in, desperate for building up her reputation as an expert carpenter and builder of many structures. Being a female, the fact that she is trying to make a living in this line of work has caused her to step on many paws…unwillingly in most cases.
Still, she had managed to claw her way through all the hurdles other animals have thrown in her path and many have come to respect her through it all.
Wrapping a line of rope around her paw, Penny ties the other end to an arrow. Lifting her bow, she shoots the rope across the cliff to the other side as a loud “THWANG!” is heard when the arrow pierced a tree on the other side. “Hah! One step at a time Pen, I can do this!” as she takes the rope around her paw and ties it to one of thick wooden posts she installed by the ledge.
“Just three days, I promised I’d be there. I can’t go back on my word…not this time.” After she tied the rope, she sat on her hind legs and grabbed her right ear, thumbing it with her fingers thoughtfully…trying not to let the guilt flood her mind. “Three days…I promise.”
A few moments passed with Penny in thought until the silence was broken with the sound of a loud “SNAP!” rocks falling, silence and then a “SPLASH!”. Penny stands quickly as dread filled her heart…”No…it couldn’t be”. Looking over the ledge down the cliff below was a small black and white figure floating at the top of the water, still and lifeless.
Instinctively, and without a moments hesitation, Penny grabs the rope she just tied to the post, loosens it and ties it snugly to her waist. Almost immediately, she takes a few steps back, gives herself a running start and jumps off the ledge, holding tightly to the rope and bracing herself for the impact against the cliff on the opposite side.
Her strong legs braced the impact perfectly, and with what looked to be little effort, she began slowly hopping down the side of the cliff, holding on to the rope. It creaked lightly while she moved down and closer to the water below.
The figure was still floating above the water as the river carried it down stream. Trying to get to the bottom of the ravine as quickly as she could, she gauges her distance to the ground and decides to untie the rope from her waist, dropping to the ground on her large feet, then springing up in the air a bit before landing completely.
“There! That wasn’t so bad!” Brushing herself off, she runs to catch up to the fallen figure. Rushing down stream, dodging bushes, tress, rocks and a few birds, Penny manages to find herself right next to her target. With one big leap, she plunges herself into the river and reaches for the figure. Missing on her first attempt, she reaches and swims hard toward it again, managing to grab a big, black tuft of fur, she pulls the lifeless form towards the shore. Thankful for her strong legs, she manages to swim against the current and bring the both of them to the edge of the water.
“Whew! I wasn’t sure we’d make it for a second…!!” Coughing and trying to catch her breath, Penny stops and finds herself face to face with a black and white ball of fur. Still unmoving, she quickly kneels down towards the figure and turns it over to reveal a male skunk. His body was cut and bruised from the fall, she checks quickly to make sure there was still breathing.
Placing her ears next to his mouth, she feels there is a little breath, but the breathing is shallow. Not really being versed in the medical practices, all she can think to do is try to wake the skunk or help him to breath normally. First she shakes him by the shoulders, and pinches his checks. Water flings everywhere from their wet fur as she shakes the lifeless figure.
Nothing seems to work, he is still breathing, but still not conscious. Shivering from her cold and wet fur, she bites her bottom lip and reluctantly holds her right paw up beside his check, then quickly slaps him. “SLAP!” Immediately there was loud coughing, and the skunk began to come to life, kneeling beside her, coughing out what water was in his lungs. Putting his paw to his cheek he yells “What in the….!?” Shaking his head, then wiping the wet fur from his scratched face.
Penny put her paws to her face and sighs with relief that the figure was indeed alive…and apparently more upset at the slap on his face than the apparent fall he was lucky to survive from. “I…I’m sorry for doing that, but I did not know of any other way to wake you…” Looking over at the bunny beside him, he quickly realizes what had happened and that he was sitting beside his rescuer. “No…I…really, you must think I’m…” He coughs a bit more, then stops and takes a deep breath “Nev…..um,..never mind. Thank you.” He nods and looks to the ground, with a guilty look on his face.
Penny quirks an eye brow at the skunk and is about to do what any female would do…prod him for lots of questions as to why he was even remotely close to the ledge of a cliff, what he was doing there, if he was in some kind of trouble…etc. However, learning that there is a time and place for such inquiries, now was not the time.
“Your welcome. Besides a few bumps and scrapes, you seemed to have survived the fall in working order. Which is quite a feat! Your one lucky skunk I tell ya!” Shaking the rest of the water from her fur, Penny walks over to a sunny spot on a dry rock and sits with her face toward the midday sun. She takes a deep breath and mulls through how to get back to the top of the cliff on the other side. She has lost a days work at least…”Looks like I may not make it…”
The skunk, sitting cross-legged at this point, not really paying any mind to the fact that he is soaking wet, looks up toward the white figure on the rock and gazes at her for a few moments before speaking. “May I ask what it is you are doing in these parts anyhow?”
She looks over her shoulder at him “I am a carpenter and builder by trade…I was trying to build a bridge for the king of my lands. He plans to expand his kingdom into these parts and I was hired to help him build one of several bridges for his armies to cross.” She lets out a long and heavy sigh “Though I only had three days left to complete, it looks as if I will miss that date….with yet another promise broken.” She looks longingly up the opposite cliff where she once stood a few hours before.
The skunk sits upright and begins to show agitation in his voice “You mean you are one of king Korass’s dogs?” He grits his teeth and tries to hold himself back “You DO realize what your so called “king” has done to our people?! He’s a murderer, a swindler and my family was sold off for fodder in his “games” years ago. I lost everything because of YOUR king!!”
Penny quickly stands and turns toward the skunk, her fists clenched and eyes blazing “How DARE you…” She stays put and before uttering another word, holds her anger back to try and understand the situation. Ever since she moved to Korass’s kingdom in her teens, she saw nothing but a kind and gentle king. When she started working for his majesty, it was rough because of her gender, but as she showed her hard work and dedication, she has grown to to be respected by and for her king even more. How could this be?
“Explain yourself” she said, clenching her teeth. The skunk tried to stand, but his legs gave out and he fell back down again. “Gah! Ah….” Holding his back at the shock of having no strength in his body, he sighs and looks at the angry animal before him. “Do you not know the games your king plays every year at this time? Have you not seen that he will disappear from a month or two talking of trying to find peace with other lands or expanding his so called “kingdom” through treaties?”
Grunting in pain as he slowly regains the feeling in his body and realizing his injuries, he continues “For years your Korass has celebrated the day of his birth by taking the lives of others in ways you can not possibly imagine. It has only recently come to the light of what he has been doing. Sneaking into distant lands, taking what he wants and treating my people as if they were pawns in a game of death and pain. It always begins the day of his birth and ends exactly a month from the day.
Trying to hold back tears, he looks away from Penny “He would set up games… like fighting matches, except the animals he would but in these matches, would never stand a chance of surviving. He would take weapons we have never seen before, experiments of horror and destruction, and test them in a ring of death. My people would be torn in two, or the fur burned from their bodies with metal sticks that blew streams of fire that seemed to be miles long…these weapons were nothing but the devils work.”
Gasping as the horrible descriptions this skunk began to tell her, she held her paws to her mouth in shock and horror. “I…I can’t believe this. I wont!” She began to take a few steps toward the skunk and stopped. Shaking her head she began to realize something….something she had tried years to tear from her mind and forget…”Wait, did you say he would use weaponry that is not of this world? Could this also include fire that can cause an object to even cut through stone?” She shook her head as the memories started to flood her mind once again.
Looking at his rescuer, startled “Yes…in fact, that type of weapon was one he took great joy in using against some of the stronger willed animals in his ring of death.” He stopped and gave Penny a questioning look “Why…how, did you know of this device?”
“Because someone very dear to me was taken by a manner of which I could never describe through words alone. It was three days from now that he was taken, and the last time I saw him alive, I promised to see him since it had been so long since I last spent time with my beloved father. However, I was too busy trying to further my career as his majesties carpenter and builder that I missed the chance to be with him that year. The next I heard through rumors, he had died a horrible death and I will not tell you the scene I saw when I finally came to be at his side.” She took a long and deep breath before continuing, “Three days from now, I go to his grave. A promise I have kept after his death, but too late for his living years…”
The skunk sat wide eyed and through gritting his teeth and all the strength he had left, he brought himself onto his feet, slowly walking toward Penny. “I am truly sorry for your loss….” He manages to limp to Penny’s side and places his paw on her shoulder. Penny looks into the skunk’s eyes, hot tears begin to flow down her white cheeks. “The kings birthday is in three days…”
“I know…” He wraps his black arms around Penny “My name is Erik, by the way. May I ask what tribe your family was from? It seems we have much to discuss”.
THE END (or) To Be Continued???