The Big Wood – Unexpected Visitors
Since the incident with the key, I truly thought that my family would not have to deal with humans anymore. The escapades of my boys first finding the key, then hiding the key, and then me finally making sure that the old man recovered it, were enough to set me on edge. I know that not all humans are evil, but it has become very difficult to tell them apart. I would rather they just stay away and leave us alone. Last night I realized that it was not over.
It was late and the boys had been asleep for a while. Samuel and I were sitting in the den, enjoying the moment of peace and tranquility. My three young pups are very sweet, but they sure do know how to make a racket, and are very rambunctious. Minding them can make for a long day, and I sometimes wish that it were just the two of us living in the den.
“I was planning on taking Benjamin fishing with me tomorrow, so you will only have two boys to deal with,” Samuel said, and he hugged me.
“Well, that will be lovely. If I plan it right, I can put them to work on some of my chores.”
We sat together for a bit and I was just about to dose off when I heard a clang form outside. Samuel was already at the den entrance, and he waved me back. He crouched in the opening, shrouded in darkness. I think the sky was overcast, because there is usually some light from outside leaking into our den, and I knew that it was not a new moon.
He turned toward me and pressed his claw to his mouth, indicating I should be silent. More clanging occurred and I could hear voices by the river’s edge. Samuel backed up to me and whispered into my ear.
“There are some men making camp by the fallen willow. I’m going to push some grass by the den opening so they don’t see it. Mind the boys, while I do it.”
“Be careful,” I whispered back at him. I glanced over my shoulder to see if the boys were stirring, but they were sleeping soundly. Bradley was even snoring softly.
Samuel quietly made his way to the opening and pulled at a thatch of grass that grew right outside. Beyond him, I could see a flicker of orange light and guessed that the men started a fire. Samuel signaled to me to approach, then whispered to me so quietly, that I was really only reading his lips. “Get some branches.”
I scuttled over to a small chamber at the side, where we kept some wood, leaves and my broom. I grabbed some longer branches and handed them to Samuel. He propped them up against the grass and led me away to the back of the den.
“They look like they are just setting up camp. I can’t tell if they are staying long, but they gathered a large stack of wood, and it is not that cold. It is going to be a long night.”
“Samuel, what about the pups? Should we take them out the back and head to the den higher in the hill?”
“No, if we remain quiet, they may not know we are even here. The boys would have a hard time being quiet while we left.”
A loud laughing of the men startled me and shuddered at the thought of them finding our den. It quickly became quieter and soon all we could hear was the crackling of the fire. As nervous as I was I do not know how I could sleep, but my eyes eventually closed and sleep overcame me.
Samuel woke me gently the next morning. “Love, the men have left camp. I think they are gone for good.”
“Oh, are they?” I rubbed my eyes, “I didn’t realize I fell asleep. I’m sorry.”
“That’s alright. Not much happened during the night. I think I nodded off myself. We should give it a moment before we leave the den.”
Bobby padded out from his bed and yawned. “What’s going on?”
Samuel scooped him up and smiled. “We had some unexpected visitors last night, and we just wanted to make sure they have left.”
Bobby blinked at his father and then rested his head on his shoulder. “Well, if we have to stay put, can I go back to bed?”
“Certainly, you’re a growing boy, and a growing boy needs his sleep.” He placed Bobby on the ground and I led him back to bed.
I tucked Bobby in and gazed at the three pups curled in their beds. They may be noisy and rambunctious, but they are very sweet and make every day an adventure. I am glad that it is not just the two of us because a family is more fun.