When I ran a poll a few weeks back, some of you asked for more creative writing. This week and the last I have especially been focusing on fiction more than nonfiction, so today I will share a couple pieces with you. Don’t worry, I’m not adding another novel to your pile; these are both very short.
First off, a little bit of flash fiction. It is a zoom-in a little part of one of my character’s backstory. In Booker Bunny and the 99 Captives, he is known as the Captain. But when he was a young monkey, his name was Ajay.
My grandfather, a much older monkey, turns from his nearly-finished mango. Even from the tree branch we sit on, far away from the rest of the tribe, their chattering is loud; so he leans close. “What is it, Ajay?”
“Won’t you tell me your story one more time?” I’m one of the oldest child-monkeys in the tribe, but I never tire of my grandfather's tales of sailing with buccaneers, looting priests, sinking ships, and his escape from his slavery to the pirates. The part where he rode a shark to the shore of our island is my favorite. But all his stories are an inspiration to me.
My grandfather grins. “Didn’t I tell it last night? You know my rule. Wait another moon.”
He sees my frown and says, “Ah, but the tribe’s having another ant-fishing contest. I never won those when I was young. Go win the spear-trophy and make me proud!”
I don’t enjoy ant-fishing much — sticking twigs in ant holes to get ants — but if I have a chance to impress my grandfather, an ex-swashbuckler who has seen everything, I’ll give the ant-fishing contest one more shot.
We climb down the rough bark until we reach the ground, and find many of the tribe’s youth around a low, shady hill, whittling their sticks. Their parents and the tribe elders are off to the side cheering.
“We’ve already started the tournament, but feel free to join!” says an elder with graying fur.
“Quickly, go find a stick, Ajay!” my grandfather yells over the commotion.
So I climb back up the tree and take my time when looking for a stick. It’s too far into the competition to win anyways. I think about my grandfather’s adventures as I search, and then it hits me.
When the pirates were returning, my grandfather escaped despite his lack of time. How? He used his brains — and so can I!
I grab a stick and impale a mango. I don’t care if there is a rule against it, because if my stick’s extra sweet, the ants will like it more. Then I climb back down the tree to the hill.
All the other child-monkeys are sticking their ant-fishing sticks into ant holes. I poke my sticky ant-fishing twig into a disregarded hole, and pull it out to find it absolutely covered in ants — fire ants! I shriek and throw my stick. Then the elders see it, and to my delight, declare me the winner and give me the spear-trophy. Grandfather beams with pride.
Suddenly, there’s a loud noise, like a large beast chopping through the vines. “Men!” shouts my grandfather. “Everybody, climb up high, and fast!”
I climb a little. But what if the men hurt my tribe? I think. Emboldened by the spear in my hand, I decide to face the men.
As the tribe climbs higher, I climb lower. I want to have an adventure like my grandfather’s, so even as he calls, I don’t look back.
Sorry about the cliff hanger! I have written a full version of Ajay's story, but it won't be properly polished until after I've finished my novel.
Until then, I have a little snippet from Booker Bunny and the 99 Captives that I wrote to develop a bunny family's personalities. I hope you enjoy this fun around-the-table dialogue.
The rabbits, oldest to youngest: Uncle Wilder, Mr. Cooper— Uncle Wilder’s nephew, Mrs. Sunray, (Mr. Cooper and Mrs. Sunray are a married couple, bunnies go by their first names), Digger, Konnor, Meadow, Al, Chris, Hope, and Holly. All of the younger rabbits are Mrs. Sunray and Mr. Cooper’s children, except for Konnor, whom Uncle Wilder adopted. They are all chubby cottontails with short ears and various shades of brown fur, and they are sitting at a table made from a fallen bookcase to eat their beginning-of-spring-breakfast feast, otherwise known as their March feast.
“Some more blueberries, please?” came a small voice--Holly, from the edge of the table-bookcase.
“Me, too!” hollered Hope, her twin. “Please!”
“Hope, you’re such a copycat,”Al said.
“Yeah, especially when it comes to Holly,” chimed in Chris.
Meadow laughed. “Oh my, Chris, speak for yourself! You’re Al’s shadow!”
“Would somebody please pass the blueberry bowl?” Holly repeated.
“You’ve been hogging them all, Holly!” Konnor exclaimed. He pushed the blueberry bowl further from Holly.
“Konnor’s got a point there,” Mrs. Sunray said softly. “I think you’ve had more than enough.”
Holly looked toward Uncle Wilder with a pitiful face.
“A growing bunny needs her berries!” Uncle Wilder argued. “I would know! When I was a lad, I used to—“
Hope interrupted. “I’m a growing bunny, too! I want more blueberries, too!”
“Quit the ruckus!” Konnor said a little too loudly.
Digger turned away from his meal for the first time. “What’d ya say?”
“Digger, your ears are clogged!” Al whispered.
Meadow giggled and tapped Digger’s shoulder. “Your ears are clogged!”
“Oh.” Digger unclogged his ears and continued eating with his now-muddy paws.
“I told you we should have had them tidy up before the meal!” said Mrs. Sunray to Uncle Wilder.
“But it’s our March feast!” said Uncle Wilder. “It would be cruel to force your children to clean themselves on such a special day! After all, everybody knows that mud symbolizes spring itself, and you ought not to—“
“Have you never heard of ‘spring cleaning’?” Mrs. Sunray countered.
“Hey!” shouted Konnor. “Where’d they go?”
Mr. Cooper finished off the blueberries and licked his lips.