Posts Tagged ‘storytelling’

“Aric, go check the attic window, see if you can see anything from there.”
Aric sighed loudly, but jumped off the trunk, landing on all fours (“Cool!). He jogged over to the corner where the attic window looked over the front street. He clambered up the rough wood to the sill and peered out. “Nothing. Man, this window is really dirty!”
“Stay there and keep watch. Twerp. I just sent you the photo. Send this stuff there. Then we grab the magic wands and leave our phones here.” Gran sat and started texting on his phone.
Deke was glad they weren’t watching him, because he wasn’t sure what he was doing. He stuck his hands into his deep pockets, closed his eyes. There wasn’t really a noise so much, as a sudden lack of something. Deke was knocked onto his behind, and his eyes opened. The furniture was gone and dust was setting all around them where everything had been. Even the sewing form was gone!
“Whoa!” Aric was looking inward. “That was cool, Deke!”
Gran even looked impressed. “Huh. You are an odd one, Twerp. The magic wands?”
Deke looked up where the four wands were hanging still. How had he not moved them when he’d commanded everything magic to go? Maybe Derp – er, Ella – was right. Maybe they were no more than props for a long ago play. Still… They were all staring at the wands, so he closed his eyes and waited for them to shrink and fall to the floor.
Gran snatched them all up as soon as they hit the floor. “Come on guys. Leave your cell phones here. When they realize they can track us, they’ll come here first.”
“Right.” Aric jumped down and jogged over to the knot hole. He peered downward. “Somehow, down sounds scarier.”
“You take the rear,” Gran growled, pushing him aside before lowering himself down the hole.
“I can take the rear,” Deke said, when he saw his friend’s face drop.
It was a good thing he took the rear, Deke discovered. Once he lowered himself over the lip of the knot hole, he realized he had no strength to hang on. He held as long as he could before squeaking down, “I’m dropping! Heeeeelllp!”
He landed with a thud on top of Aric, who squeaked in surprise. “S-s-sorry. I just feel weak all over.”
“Yeah, wish you had better aim. Hang on, I’ll help us get down. Gran! Wait up! Deke is sick.”
Aric had Deke piggy back on him as they squeezed down the electric wire conduit. When it got too narrow, Deke had to stand on Aric’s shoulders, but he found he could hold some of his own weight by grasping the wire, too. It seemed like it too twice as long to do down the wire as it took to go up.
Gran was waiting in the dark for them. He came over and inspected Deke’s eyes. “You look OK. What happened?”
“I think it’s the magic. I just feel all drained.” Deke sat down. He just wanted to curl up and sleep, right here, in the dust, with the spiders and silverfish. Never move again…
“Not yet. You gotta power through. After we get out of this house. C’mon. Gran helped him up. “No mouse left behind.”
“Goonies!” Aric shouted, soliciting a baleful stare from Gran.
“Grow up.”

Ella heard them first. Her ears picked up the distant sound of their shuffling. Dish was snoring softly, his head resting on her shoulder. Billie was scurrying about, looking for a way out of the crawl space. Ella shook Dish gently.
“Time to wake up.”
“Is it dark yet?”
Billie scampered back. “I think I found a way out. Are they coming yet?”
“I can hear them.” Ella stood and stretched. It was strange how she felt like herself, but looked like a mouse, and then she was wearing her own clothes. How had Twerp managed to do that? There was no logical explanation, other than sorcery, or magic, but how was it even possible? There were laws to the universe, and bending those laws…
Gran entered first. He was followed by Aric, with Twerp leaning heavily on his shoulder. Gran held up his right paw, “He used a lot of magic today. He’s drained, but okay. You find a way out of here?”
Billie nodded up and down while Ella hurried over to help her little brother with his dorky friend. Twerp looked up and smiled. “Hey, Derp.”
“Love you, too, Twerp.” She frowned at him. “Is he, like, drunk?”
“Nah, I’m just tired and honest. You hate me and I hate you. We’re even.” Twerp raised a fist. “”Fist bump?”
“Whatever.” Ella gave him a fist bump. “What did you do?”
“Later,” Aric said, nodding toward Gran. “He goes first.”
Gran nodded. Ella noted that he looked sort of like Splinter, from Teenage Ninja Turtles. Odd.
“Okay, guys. Plan here: get out of the crawl space. We get about a hundred yards from here and we can decide what to do. Right now, we got to ditch our cell phones. They have GPS and can be tracked. They probably already have figured out we’re still here in the house. We left ours in the attic. Billie says she found a way out.”
“Possible.” Billie didn’t sound so certain. “We’re mice, it may work. I don’t know.”
“Well, lead on,” Twerp said. “I need a place to crash, and this is looking really awesome right now.”
“Follow me.” Billie hopped off toward the street side of the house. “It’s like a screen vent thingie. We just have to pull the screen back to get out.”

Half an hour later, they had pulled back a fine-mesh screen that was set in behind a rectangle of cinder blocks. There was just enough room for each of them to squeeze through. Deke was more than half-asleep, so someone got in front of him and Aric pushed from the back, and they dragged him through. Aric picked up his glasses and white ball cap. Gran brought up the rear.
They were in a window well. Bricks and moss and centipedes and roly-poly bugs. Ella Stood on her very tippie toes. UGH. Aric scaled the bricks to the grass above and declared the way “clear”. The problem was getting Deke up there, as he was now snoring soundly. Gran tried hauling him up over one shoulder, but it took two pairs of paws to scale the wall, and Twerp was in the way. Aric scrambled off to find string or something from the yard.
Dish pulled himself out of the window well. “Guys,” he called back down, “There’s a white van parking across the street. I think we need to get a move on.”
Billie rolled her eyes. “How can we, with Twerp like this?”
Gran sat down and exhaled heavily. “If only I knew how he conducted his magic. What he said. Like, ‘Lift Twerp to grass level now.’” Gram was rubbing the side of one of the hand-carved magic wands.
Twerp suddenly jerked upward, and then levitated to the grass level, before moving over the grass and settling down.
Grans mouth fell open. How?”
Dish shouted from above, “EXTERMINATORS! Guys, they’re rodent exterminators, and we need to get off the property now!”
Billie, Ela, and Gran scrambled up the side of the mossy brick. Once on top, they lifted up Twerp’s snoring person and they made their way through unmowed grass toward the cat hole in the back fence. Aric jogged across the back yard to join them, bringing up the rear. He was carrying an old bamboo skewer from last summer’s barbecue. Somewhere, they could hear crows cawing in the trees, and an owl hooting. A dog howled down the street. Men’s boot steps echoed across the street.
Through the fence, they were in the back yard belonging to the Gutierrez family. A friendly pitbull patrolled the yard on the far side, bridle and white, tail wagging as it moved along the leafy hedge. The mice kept as close to the base of the fence as they could, trying not to make any noise that would attract the dog. Six year old Juana Gutierrez sat on the back step, singing “This little light of mine”. She glanced at the fence, and then over at the scary Peabody house.
There were strange men inside the Peabody house. Men who killed rodents and ants and things. There were mice working their way along the fence, and she could see they were dressed in clothes. She looked over at the dog.
“El Ganador! Come. Inside.” The dog happily trotted over to her and she grasped his collar. Looking out at the mice, she whispered, “Vaya con Dios, Ella. Te amo.”
Ella glanced over her shoulder as her favorite six year old disappeared into the house. “Gracias, Juana. I’ll let you have that extra ice cream next time I baby-sit you!”
They mad it to the alley way. A white van was parked directly behind the Peabody residence. The windows were tinted, but the engine was running, and it didn’t take much to surmise what it was doing there. Gran turned left and kept to the high grass, weeds, and garbage. Everyone followed. Aric brought up the rear with his barbecue skewer. He hunched under the fence for a while, studying the van. When he finally made his move forward, he kept his skewer low. He came up short behind the rest at the edge of Mrs. Swainson’s yard.
Mrs. Swainson had a dozen cats. The alley was relatively bare. Bob Freeman’s yard was across the alley, unmown, unkempt, and abutting the first open field they might be able to take to freedom. The sun was beginning to set, but it was still light out.
Now what?

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