Animals of Farthing Wood Fanfiction: The Farthing Spirit - 5. Chapter 5 False Haven
Episode 5: False Haven
The Farthing Wood animals could never be so lucky since they’d narrowly escaped a nasty forest fire in the armylands. The Newts were sadly lost to it, but Fox courageously braved the flames to rescue Toad even thought they were left trapped in the end. Loveday however saved the day by coming to their rescue with her newfound strength, after having discovered she’d been transformed into what she was now known as a ‘Feral physic’ a special type of human infused with the power to protect or shield the lives of animals mentally.
Of course she had finally learnt why it was her full intention to stay on the animals side the whole time they had dodged dangers on their journey to White Deer Park. Loveday still had a lot of lessons to maximise if she was to become what the animals now saw inside her. A close friend to all living creatures whom they can depend on through hard times.
So far now, with the group forged strongly by surviving disaster. Fox had proudly settened everyone off to the next stage of their journey and was simply trying to comprehend Lovedays now revealed secret.
“So all this time, we thought it was your ring making you do those strange things. And it turns out it was you all along” said Fox as they both strolled down in the heavy rain.
“Yes you got me. I’ve been reborn since the beginning, not only from when we first met but back to when my grandma first gave this on my birthday” Loveday held out her ringed finger from beneath her black raincoat “When she first told me it holds natures gift of friendship, I didn’t really knew what she meant…until today”
“Hmm…Well I did say before we needed a something strange to happen that could explain everything about you” Fox recalled “Now it looks like we finally got it. After everything we’d already been through”
“Aye…But I seem to know there’s still something we don’t yet know about me. I’m fearing that if I did push beyond measurement with these skills it might cause something evil to come after me and put you lot in danger. And then I’d be blamed for it all” Loveday says in a worried tone
“You! put us all in danger…why I’d never believe in such a thing” Badger said walking beside them “You my dear have been nothing but a good girl with a heart of gleaming gold. So there”
Loveday threw in a modest smile in shyness.
“I understand how you mean Loveday; I’ve been insecure about either making a foolish mistake with my decisions or causing a bad influence among everyone’s safety…that including yours” Fox honestly exclaimed
“Fox. No one has had any doubts being in your protection. Don’t you see, we all made it out of this alive thanks to you mainly” said Loveday “and I do trust you with my life”
“Really?” Fox looked surprised
“Really Fox” Loveday nodded “You’re the bravest and most righteous Fox I’ve ever known to risk his life for others before himself and that’s what I name a true leader above all”
Fox needed to hear the girls encouraging words to lift up his heavy shoulders, which did him a whole lot of good. “Can’t say I’m pleased to hear that from you Loveday. You always know what say to help make me feel better”
Loveday started to laugh “Oh please, I’m only doing what I should for a friend”
Fox smirked “Says the girl who played with fire. Personally I think your trying to keep most of your feelings hidden” that being said Loveday’s face turned rosy causing them all to laugh.
Feeling lesser worried Loveday decided to not think too much about her new self and just carried on naturally. What she didn’t know was that today was going to be a day full of vital lessons that would stitch onto her forever.
Rain, rain and even more heavy rain kept rushing down onto everyone until they were a sorry sight to see. Only Toad was making a real celebration of it, after all he was an aquatic animal and found the weather comfortable.
“Its raining its pouring the old man is snoring, he bumped his head on the back of the bed and couldn’t get up in the morning!” Toad sang trying to tune everyone up with a cheery song “Haha lovely weather!” he said to Adder as she came along.
Having scales instead of fur it was easier for Adder to move ahead of everyone in the downpour “Hmm…soothes the scales slithering through this. Nice” Adder replied with a naughty smile
“The little ins are falling behind” Toad pointed to the rodents
This gave Adder a chance to be sneaky again “I’ll soon speed them up” she said before hiding behind a rock, full of cheeky giggles.
As the soaked Mice, voles and shrews came in sight, Adder jumped out with open jaws like she was about to shallow them all up. The little creatures panicked and sped away.
“It’s alright she didn’t mean it” Toad tried to calm them
“SHE DID, SHE DID, SHE DID!” they said back as they ran fast
Adder was blindly overjoyed to have helped out in her own nasty way “Works everytime” she laughed to herself
In all their rushing to escape, the little creature’s accidently bumped into the Hedgehogs and Mr Rabbit whose son fell in a deep mud paddle from the sharp push.
Rabbit in gasp pulled the baby out in time “Why did you do that!” she yelled looking narrow-eyed
“Don’t shout I’m not well. And anyway I didn’t do it on purpose” Mr Rabbit excused, rubbing his exhausted head
“Yes you did!” Weasel provoked who was hidden on upper ground
“No I didn’t. Hedgehog bumped into me” Mr Rabbit informed
“Sorry. the shrews bumped in ta me” Hedgehog said
Then they all got in a loud repeating fight which caught the sudden attention of Fox and Loveday to look behind them.
“What’s going on back there?” Fox asked
“High spirits matey high spirits” Toad happily splashed past them
“Doesn’t sound like it” Loveday corrected as she heard the voices getting higher
“Sounds more like bad temper ta me” Fox sighed “I suppose I better investigate” he said turning back
“I’ll come with you” Loveday volunteered
As the fighting was getting worse, Weasel as always decided to play a joke on them. by throwing a mud pie right in Rabbits face “Take that!” she shouted mischievously
After getting splattered by Weasel, Rabbit was most offended “Do something! don’t just stand there, she insulted me!” Rabbit cried to her husband for support
“I’m not well” he coughed in miserable reply
“Cowardly cowardly custard hahaha” Weasel laughed
Rabbits children though Weasels trick was funny and tried it too, leaving Mrs Shrew all covered in mud as well “How dare you!” she said throwing mud back
This lead to a tempering mud filled battle. Every creature throw mud at one another in anger while the little ones thought it was some sort of game. On and on it went until!
“OH!” pointed Mr Rabbit to his wife
“Uh oh!” Pointed Hedgehog
Hands on hips, Loveday stood silently with her hair all stained by mud. looking rather unsettled by their muddy outrage. Fox’s snout was too hit by Rabbits latest mudball from behind.
“Eee I’m so sorry Fox” Rabbit said wiping off the mud in embarrassment
“Sorry Loveday we didn’t see you there” Mrs Shrew apologised also
“Suits you both” chuckled Adder
Loveday took a deep breath in “Would one of you please tell us. What in blazes is going on here!” she asked furiously as she shook the mud violently off her long hair.
“Adder started it!” Mr Rabbit pointed
“No it was Weasel” Rabbit argued
Fox had had enough “Don’t start arguing all over again” he cease them in calm fury “Look I know it’s hard going. Can’t you try to remember that moment when we all stood together against the bad humans. Like how Loveday pronounced it ‘One for all and all for one”
“Yes Fox” agreed Rabbit
“Yes Fox!” they all said to him
“It’s all very well but I’m a martyr to my rheumatism you know, and that bump didn’t help” Mr Rabbit brought up again
“Shssss!” Rabbit shushed him before anything else happened
“Aye, I forgive you all for making a commotion over nothing… but look I’m sure well find somewhere warm and dry soon” Loveday explained “so long as we all stop fighting each other and start moving again”
“Yes Loveday” they all agreed again
“Come on I’ll take some of you on my back” Fox offered as he lay down for them
“Oh thank you Fox” said the little ins in gratitude
Rabbit politely tapped Lovedays leg “Loveday dear, can you take my babies again they’re tired”
“Alright, come on you two” Loveday got down to help them back in her bag which was tucked inside her raincoat to keep her belongings all dry.
Later on Toad asked Badger “Speaking of birds where’s Owl?”
“Oh if she’s got any sense at all. She’ll be tucked up nice and snug underground” groaned poor Badger thinking about the old cosy set he left behind in Farthing Wood.
“Owl?” asked Hare as he and his wife ran by
“Well under a bush then…whatever?” Badger shrugged
“Look I think I can see the boundary fence we can shelter under the bushes” Toad pointed toward the distant fence where a big shrubbery stood in front of them. Only big enough to shelter everyone from the storm.
“Oh good” thought Loveday as she hurried further to it first.
As she stepped inside the comparatively dry space below the shady greenery where all the birds were resting themselves. Loveday collapsed on the ground, releasing the baby rabbits out of her dry jacket. Loveday then drank up all her water and ate up the last of her cookies.
“Oh dear, I’m all out of food” Loveday gasped “I’ll have to restock myself again somewhere… but how?” while she though deeply about this and stroked the baby rabbits on her lap, the pheasants beside her soon broke her train of thought.
“Hello Loveday” greeted Mrs Pheasant “How are you?”
“A little cold but I’m fine thanks” Loveday answered, “how’s your mate doing?”
“None too well sadly” Mrs Pheasant sighed “did you say you were out of food?” the wild hen asked in concern “If you want I can dig you up some nice grubs”
Loveday cringed to that thought “That’s very kind of you to offer but I’m afraid I don’t eat the same things as you do” she said trying to not upset her
“Oh I’m sorry, I had no idea. It’s no wonder we pheasants never learn much about human customs we’re always running away from the sight of them” Mrs Pheasant said regrettably
“Well I’m even more sorry that you poor helpless birds suffer from the strangling hands of my kind. If I had the power I’d put a stop to it all” Loveday bravely supported
“If only it were possible my dear” Mrs Pheasant smiled feeling lucky to have a human like Loveday for a friend “Oh just the right thing” she looked up and grabbed a brown feather in her beak
Loveday watched as Mrs Pheasant place the feather in Pheasants burnt tail.
“Dah!” Pheasant woke up with a startle
“There that’s better now” said Mrs Pheasant examining her work
“I’ll say?” Loveday agreed
“What have you done?” Pheasant asked his wife looking aggravated
Mrs Pheasant tried to impress him “I just added a stray feather to your tail dear, ta hide the burnt bits. Ooh it do look lovely”
“What kind of feather?” Pheasant questioned in suspicion
“Well I think its one of Owls actually” his wife said nervously
“That dowdy female!” Pheasant looked up expressed with disgust
“Beggars can’t be choosers Pheasant” Owl said looking disturbed to hear this
“You should be grateful” Kestrel kindly added
Pheasant glared “Grateful! What? To have her feathers in my beautiful tail” he pointed to his tail in unsatisfaction “Stupid bird! Take it out at once. As if any other creature had feathers anywhere near as handsome as mine”
Mrs Pheasant looked as if she was about to cry “I was only doing my best” she said taking the feather off
Loveday hated to see the female pheasant she was so fond of be treated that way. Feeling extremely conflicted she crawled over to give a piece of her mind.
“Listen to me you spoiled, vain…empty headed beast! Your own wife has always been there to sacrifice her skin just to keep you above all others happy because she loves you and this is thanks you give her in return. How dare you say those things to her! It’s no wonder your always afraid of your own shadow, your nothing more than a dirty little coward!”
“C-c-coward, coward! Hah!” Pheasant huffed away “why I’d never have been so humiliated! Hmmm!”
As Loveday took some time to calm herself down she didn’t avoid the birds giving her looks of surprise.
Owl seemed to be rather impressed by the humans moral support “Well…she certainly told that pompous wit off in all honesty. Right Kestrel”
“Yes…I guess it was the right time for somebody as sensible as Loveday to approach pheasant with the truth about his ways of strategy” Kestrel nodded “Quite a figure of liberty”
“Or feral psychic to be exact” Owl concluded as she stared down at Loveday giving Mrs Pheasant a comforting pat on the back.
“I’m sorry about the disturbance. I couldn’t help it” Loveday said up to them
“He who has Privilege to say whatever they believe is injustice, is never a mere matter of such violation Loveday” Owl replied
“Uh…thanks Owl” Loveday said feeling better “I needed to hear to that”
From outside the shrubbery Fox did somehow hear the commotion happening but decided to ask Loveday about it later “Peace perfect peace” he grumbled as he let down his passengers once they’d got under the shelter.
“I shall not allow myself to be treated this way by that…that?” Pheasant moaned to his pity self
“Stop squabbling! can’t you see Fox is tired and look at all the others” Kestrel warned as the rest of the animals arrived with dejected faces and rested themselves down “welcome Badger” Kestrel warmly greeted
“Ah thank you Kestrel” Badger replied “not much like home is it”
“Any boat hole in a storm” Owl reassured
“You never said a truer word Owl” Fox said as he tried to lay down comfortably “personally I’m just glad to get out of the wet”
“Aren’t we all” Loveday added “Toad where are you off to?”
“Oh just going on a foraging expedition Loveday Matey” Toad informed her
“Okay. Don’t go too far and if you do come across a food pantry somewhere… than please tell me so that I won’t starve” Loveday settled herself down
“Food is it matey? Well I’m sure to be finding you human food if necessary” Toad jumped across and back out through the fence
“Please do” Loveday whispered as she fell asleep
Only a few moments later the animals makeshift shelter was getting more damper and damper from the merciless rain lashing down. Everyone still remained wet as if they all were in the open.
“Rains coming in” Badger told Fox as drops of rain fell on top of his nose
“You don’t have ta tell me Badger” murmured Fox feeling the same drips too
“Achoo!” sneezed Loveday, she felt a cold coming if she didn’t get somewhere warm to sleep “This is no use, we can’t stay here Fox” Loveday said in a croaky voice
“What other choice have we got?” Fox asked sarcastic “Are you feeling alright?”
“I’m not sur-a-Achoo!” Loveday sneezed “Excuse me”
“Bless you dear, Fox Lovedays right we all have to move somewhere else otherwise she’ll get worse” Badger reasoned in concern for Lovedays health
“Guess even humans with powers can get sick” muttered Fox feeling anxious to get Loveday and everyone a better shelter
“It’s raining its pouring the old man is snoring he bumped his head on the back of the bed and couldn’t get up in the morning!” Toad sang loudly “How does a barn sound to ya matey’s haha” he appeared suddenly with a gratified look
“A dry barn? Sounds like heaven” Badger smiled excitedly
“Where is it?” Loveday sprang up
“Not far” Toad said
“Too near humans” Fox dismissed “Oh I knew there was a catch”
“Any boat hole in a storm” reminded Owl
“You said that Befor-a-achoo! Owl” Loveday croaked
Fox sighed heavily “She’s still right and we seriously need to get Loveday indoors. Come on Toad lead the way, can you make it Loveday?”
“Eh-hmm” The girl nodded wrapping her coat and hood tighter as they all followed Toad across the field to a cornered stile.
Loveday and Fox both saw the little farm in the distance
“Surely that place has a stash of food storages where I can forage for my needs” the girl thought excitedly
“Ahoy there! Mateys there it is” Toad called on the wooden stile
“Yes but is it the one we’re looking for?” Fox asked Toad being cautious that it was the right one he saw before
“It’s a barn matey what more’s ya want” Toad said back before they all circumvented over or through the stile right for the muddy farmyard.
“Any sign of the humans?” Fox whispered instantly checking everywhere
“Don’t worry they don’t like rain” Toad said trying to cheer Fox up as they approach what looked like a wooden storehouse. With an open door?, that’s very suspicious.
“Not all us humans. We really value what the rain does for us, mostly for nourishing the food we grow all the time” Loveday told them “Even though it helps you to catch a cold”
“Then let’s not waste time and get you well again” Fox gestured inviting her inside. The other animals hurried themselves in as well.
“Oh I’m getting too old for this” murmured Badger who stopped to catch his breath.
Inside the barn, everyone marvellously started making their own nests of straw amongst the stacked haybales “Hmm…I like this. This is cosy, very nice” nestled Hedgehog to his pleased wife on their dry soft makeshift bed.
“Well done Toad” said Badger as he and Mole were the last ones to enter the barn “what do ya say Fox?”
Fox stood silently looking very irresolute “It’s that open door’s got me worried” his face pointed
“Yes Fox, very unnatural for a farmer to keep his barn door open when they’re not using it” agreed Loveday “I’m scared that someone’s going to come down and find us here”
“Just till it clears up eh Fox” Badger persuaded
Owl alighted on one of the barns roof beams “Kestrels in a plum tree keeping watch. Pheasant will relieve her later and I’ll take my turn when its dark”
“Where wouldn’t we be without you Owl” Loveday delighted her
“There now. nothing can go wrong can it?” said Badger laying himself down
Fox finally gave in “If you say so. Alright get some rest everybody” he declared. While everyone was scattered all over the place peacefully, apart from Pheasant snoring loudly keeping his wife wide awake.
Loveday took this time to change out of her dripping clothes into something much more snuggly. After hanging her white dress and long socks to dry, she put a pair of thick grey tights with a graphic vine pattern on and pulled herself into a short fluffy light-coloured playsuit making her feel more like a furry animal herself.
“Oh yes that’s much better” she said as she examined herself in her hand mirror “Now all I need is pointy ears and a busy tail, hehehe” she laughed quietly.
Hours later when the sky grew dark and the storm had abated Kestrel arrived back after completing her part of the watch. “uh-hum” she sputtered to get Pheasant to do his duty
Mrs Pheasant already awake did her best to get her mate up “Oh dear…wakey wakey dear, time for watches” she said tickling his neck
“No! must get my beauty sleep. No getting any younger” he replied lazily
Loveday turned herself awake hearing the conversation “Some use he is” she thought sharpy
“Well I’m awake. So I suppose there’s no need to wake anyone else is there?” Mrs Pheasant said to herself feeling entrusted to keep everyone safe instead. As Pheasants wife started to fly out, Loveday packed away her hanging clothes and decided to explore to property to search for any food.
Stepping out through the door she looked around wearily until she found Mrs Pheasant going over towards the plum tree orchard.
“What are you doing out here Loveday? it could be dangerous if someone see’s you” Mrs Pheasant said in concern
“I’m running out of food, if I don’t restoke then I might become weaker. So from now on I have to start foraging the same way as Fox does if I’m going to survive”
“You should’ve let Fox know your whereabouts first. What if he wakes up and finds you gone?” said Mrs Pheasant
“Don’t worry it’ll only be for a few minuet’s” Loveday calmed the bird “I’m going to check out that pantry door near the house and if you hear or see anything don’t come after me, go warn Fox and everyone”
“You’re so brave Loveday but please promise me you’ll be twice as careful” the bird assured
“I promise you” Loveday affirmed as she’d began to head in the little conjoined shed “you watch your back too” she said turning her head
“Thank you dear” Mrs Pheasant smiled
A pleasant sight lay on Loveday. Shelves after shelves of food were neatly plied up to the top, plenty enough to feed her for mouths.
“Lucky me. Well time to go shopping” she said happily to herself “I’ll only take the essentials I’ll need for this journey and if they don’t miss a few items I guess it isn’t stealing”
From the stocks she took a two bread loafs, a slice of cheese, a few carrots, two small jars of homemade peanut butter and strawberry jam, a helping of leftover meatpie, then finally a long-lasting bar of milk chocolate.
“That should be enough for a while” she said Packing them safely away. Just then she heard a door open.
It was the black-humoured farmer Mr Griggs “just going to collect the eggs love” he called to his wife Mrs Griggs carrying a large gun out with him “Bruno! Come here now!” he called to his watch dog
In still silence Loveday peaked out the pantry door keeping her eyes on both the farmer and the open barn door where her friends were unaware of the danger close by. She really had to get out there before the farmer and his wife find out that a tiny girl had been helping herself to their food.
Seeing the farmer call upon his damaged chicken coop Loveday rushed out and hid herself behind an old tractor and pile of crates.
“What the? Foxes!” Mr Griggs outcryed “aw not again. Where were you eh? Call yourself a watchdog you’re not worth feeding”
The dog Bruno whimpered in misery, getting the hard boot from Mr Griggs “Useless mongrel! What use are you eh? Stupid cur”
“Oh poor thing” thought Loveday feeling sorry for that poor dog as she peered out
The farmers abusive racket woke Mrs Pheasant up in the orchard “Oh dear! That doesn’t sound too good and poor Lovedays bound to be seen. Better go and wake the others like she instructed” Mrs Pheasant hurried back to the barn door
While the farmer was too distracted with his dog Loveday gently forced herself to sneak right behind a barrel that was inch’s beside the door. Just as Loveday got to the doors threshold where the farmer couldn’t see her, she turned back to see Mrs Pheasant crossing through the yard.
Suddenly! the dog barked in Mrs Pheasants direction “Huh? What have you? ah!” Mr Griggs aimed pleasurably for a clean shot
When Loveday heard this she shifted into sudden alarm, trying to get Mrs Pheasant to come over quickly but no sooner as the pheasant hen was halfway across she froze in a complete horror trance.
“Ahhh!” Loveday screamed covering her mouth looking startled. Her friend Mrs Pheasant who’d she had been so supportive to was now lying crumpled and lifeless.
Every creature sleeping in the barn woke with a start from the monstrous noise and hearing a girl scream.
“What was that?” called Fox
“A gun!” cried Pheasant in horror
Fox’s nightmare about staying in the farm were now coming true. Worse yet he saw Loveday passed out on the floor.
“Loveday!” Fox tapped his paw on her to see if she’d been shot luckily for him she had only fainted from shock. “Loveday wake up! Wake up!”
“Don’t panic!” Rabbit assured feeling scared for Loveday
“Hahaha I’m not nervous!” said Weasel getting shushes from everyone
All of a sudden Loveday woke up and sprang up on her feet. She knew the farmer was coming after them; course she noticed the farmer looking through the window. His eyes pierced at the sight of his barn occupied with animal guests, including her.
“What happened?” Fox said to her first “Did he hurt you?”
“RUN! Run for it quick!” the girl yelled hurrying for the door. Taking full heed to Lovedays alarm call the animals quickly ran after her.
Fox had sensed there was a full-grown human outside earlier and believed his human friend instantly “Run for it!” he bellowed as well to the others
Then bam! The door locked in their faces, nearly causing everyone to crash right into each other. Now they were in deep manure.
“Help! Were trapped! were trapped!” cried Pheasant in hysteria
“Be quiet!” Loveday growled in whisper
“Shh shh!” added Fox as they both listened to the faint voice outside the crack beneath the door.
“Right Bruno now’s your chance to save your skin. Guard that door! And guard it well because if that fox or any of those culprits escape’s. You’ll be as dead as this bird” Mr Grigg held the limp body up for everyone to see
“My wife!” Pheasant tearfully said looking from the window. Loveday resisted the urge to burst into tears herself but painfully knew now wasn’t the time to cause any more panic for the animals.
“You wait till I’ve reloaded my gun fox; I’ll get my own back on you. You see if I don’t!” Mr Griggs finished, going back home.
“You filthly good for nothing” Loveday hissed
“Check the windows” Fox told Owl
“There shut” Owl informed as she perched on top some brown sacks. She even stared outside to see Pheasants wife hanging dead in the farmers grip
“I’m afraid your wife’s going to be the farmers dinner Pheasant” Owl sorrowfully said to him
Pheasant was full of utter disbelief about his wife’s decease “Where? Where is she? He kept asking over and over like a big baby
“Poor Pheasant, no wonder you were so scared all the time” Hare’s wife said
“Just because your paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you hahaha!” joked Weasel
Loveday sniffed and gracefully went up to Pheasant. The sad bird’s face was asking the girl for an honest answer
“I’m sorry” Loveday replied “but she’s gone” everyone then saw Loveday leave them to have some alone time to recover from the back of the barn.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Fox kindly asks. He knew what overwhelming trauma Loveday was going through.
Loveday turned with a sad look “Not yet. Please figure a way out without me for a bit” she said going around the hay-bails
“I take it that what Loveday’s experienced has affected her emotionally” Owl guessed
“Oh very much” Badger answered “You know how fond she was of that bird, bless her”
“I’ll talk to her later Badger” Fox said still looking remorseful “Kestrel keep an eye on her”
“Shall do” Kestrel flew up and landed above where Loveday sat curled up into a ball, face down on her knees “Poor Loveday I’ve never seen her look so depressed” Kestrel thought
“There must be some way out” Fox thought loudly before turning to Owl “Owl?”
“This is going to take some thinking about” Owl accepted closing her eyes looking very meditated in her own personal world of knowledge.
“Mum she’s fallen asleep” pointed A baby rabbit in amusement
“Shh” Rabbit replied as everyone sat in silence so having to not disturb Owl’s thoughts.
Outside the dog Bruno stayed put in position baring his fangs while Mr Griggs went back inside.
“That Fox is done for this time!” he said to his wife in the hallway
“He’ll keep, your dinner won’t” Mrs Griggs allured placing the roast midday meal “and if you tempt yourself in the pantry again you’ll be answering ta me!” she added furiously, not knowing that it was in fact Loveday who helped herself to their food.
Mr Griggs growled impatiently “Oh Women!”
Back in the barn. The animals watched Owl with hopeful ease but fearfully started to grow impatient to escape their prison
“Hahaha this is silly!” mocked Weasel earning more shushes
“I’ve got it!” Owl sharpy opened her eyes “We can dig our way out” she observed
All faces turned to Owl
“Dig?” asked Weasel
“Dig?” the others asked again in amazement
“Who’s the best tunneler” Fox desperately questioned
Badger already knew who the professional digger was “Why Mole of course!”
“Oh gosh” Mole blushed proudly “thank you” at once he set to work ecstatically until he noticed how’d stupidly useless he was. Trying to dig down on top of solid wood in front of everyone was crazy and embarrassing for the little creature.
“Oh dear I’m no use to anybody. No use at all” Mole whimpered disappointingly
Seeing what was going on, a now better-looking Loveday came out and took Mole in her hands to calm him.
“Who here’s got the best powerful set of teeth to chew into that wooden floor?” Loveday asked the crowd
“Well I’ve got a good set of teeth” answered Squirrel
“So have I” said Rabbit
“And me!” Hare added
“We could help” offered the little creatures
“Well what are you all waiting for, help Mole get started” Loveday pointed to the bit of floor against the back wall
At that moment Weasel excitedly got down to Lovedays chosen area “You heard her. Come on everybody get chewing!” on command the rabbits, hares, squirrels and all long-fanged animals ganged up together and ate away the floor in one full-blowing go.
“You see Mole all you needed was just a little bit of help” explained Loveday to the tiny creature.
The guard dog Bruno had his nose sticking down to the door’s gap, strongly sensing the animals excavating actions. That’s when Adder appeared stationing herself with pleasure to keep the dog at bay.
“Hello stranger” Adder hissed lunging in the dogs face. Though the dog was already up for a fight, even against a creature as small but violent as Adder it stood up baring his teeth face to face with the snake.
“If I could get my teeth into you” Bruno growled crossly.
Adder roared in defence “Watch it! My bites worse than my bark”
Pretty soon Adder eyed the farmhouse door opening, with Mr Grigg coming along handling his now fully loaded and nicely polished gun
“Say anything and you’ll be sorry” Adder threatened Bruno. She hurried herself away until she spotted a proper hiding place located under a turned over water bucket “well everybody has to play they’re part” Adder proudly said as she curled up to rest awhile.
“Try that for size” Weasel presented to Mole a perfectly chewed up hole where it met the earth beneath the floor planks. Mole dived in and earth flew itself out staining lumps right in Weasels face.
“Poo! There’s thanks for you” Weasel spitted sarcastically. Loveday smiled at the sight of Weasel but soon sank deeply in thought.
“Badger!” Mole muffed loudly
“I’m here old fella” Badger replied as Mole came back up
“Would you follow me along the tunnel. Widening it as you go” Mole instructed, Badger kindly didn’t need to be asked to do any bidding for his friend.
“Do you think some of you others could come down here to shift earth?” Badger asked
Before anyone answered Loveday stepped forward “I have better idea to shift this earth”
“What sort of idea?” Fox questioned; he was still worried encase Loveday wasn’t fit to do any work after what just happened
Loveday turned her face with a smirking smile “You’ll see” she joined Badger down the dark pit. Seconds later the shifted soil begun to float up out of the hole piling itself on the rooftop as if gravity had diverted itself.
“Well I’ll be” Hedgehog gasped as he and the rest watched Lovedays new trick
“Amazing! what Loveday could do these days” Hare stared
“My word, the soil looks as if its glowing” pointed a squirrel
“but what if it collapsed on top of us all” Fox thought in confusion “No. Loveday wouldn’t do something like this unless it was intended for something else” he then thought suspiciously
Loveday soon reappeared with her hands shaking up from the power pressure “Come on. We need all the help we can get” she then ducked back under to keep the soil moving out
“Coming Loveday” the hedgehogs came along
“I’m coming” Rabbit offered too
“Jolly good, all for one and one for all eh” Badger said inside the tunnel. Mole being industrious dug a straight path for Badger to sniff out as the tunnel got overloaded with creatures handling the dirt alongside Loveday who was busy keeping the heavy earth afloat.
“Hallo? Is that you Badger?” panted Mole checking behind him
“Yes” Badgers snout popped behind
“I think we’re nearly there” Mole signed in relief
“Keep going!” Loveday echoed to Mole after mentally lifting 20 more piles of earth Loveday started to feel strain in herself
“How’s it going Moley?” Badger maffled voice said in the darkness
As if right on queue Mole emerged up until he found the orchard outside the farm property. They had all been tunnelling for at least half a mile. “were out!” Mole cheered
Badger smirked with impression “Well done Moley!” spreading the good news down the animal chain until it hit Loveday far back. “Were out, were out” everyone repeated back
“You’re a real useful animal Mole” Loveday congratulated “I like your spark”
“Loveday said that she liked my spark Badger. What’s a spark?” Loveday heard Moles voice say. Fox on the other hand was stalking a reluctant Pheasant towards the escape route.
“But I’ll get dirty” Pheasant stupidly refused
“Pheasant get down that tunnel at once!” Fox growled impatiently showing his fangs to persuade the bird
Before Pheasant could protest again two long arms grabbed him firmly by the neck and dragged him downwards.
“Come on Pheasant you stinking chicken!” Loveday struggled to plummet him down through the tunnel, leaving Fox with a big impressed smile. Till he noticed without Loveday the huge earth pile was starting to give way on the roof.
Worst of all the barn door began to rattle in effort to get opened with a dog in the way. “right Bruno get out of the way” Mr Griggs ordered
In a flash Owl and Kestrel plummeted themselves in the hole. Lastly Fox managed to leap in just as Mr Griggs entered pointing his gun with extreme fury to see his prize slip away so unexpectedly “What?!”
Accidentally Bruno tackled his masters legs making him slip focus on Fox and letting the shot go through the roof and the entire soil heap!
“Gahhhh!” Mr Griggs and Bruno were buried under, Lovedays triumph for revenge against that rotten farmer had worked out.
“Yes!” Loveday awarded herself outside “That’ll teach him to mess with my animals” she thought as they all raced up towards a hill nearby
“So that was your plan all along” Fox realised in astonishment “you piled all that soil so that you could stall the farmer for us”
“That and a lot more” Loveday confirmed looking physically drained “I’m sorry for not discussing it properly with you, there wasn’t enough time and-“
“We’ll talk when we first get to safety” Fox interrupted respectfully; Loveday nodded in understanding. Being in charge meant friends and followers had to come first before their own personal matters.
Up ahead was a large stretch of common land that lead steeply uphill. It even had a dirty footpath for humans to hike on.
“What’s over the hill?” Fox relied on Toad for his past experience
“I seem to remember there’s a sort of wood?” Toad pointed in lack of remembrance
Fox needed more detailed information so he asked Owl for help “Owl what can you see!”
Owl circled the sky from over the other side of the hill and flew back to her waiting friends in quick pace “The path goes straight down past farms and houses to a copse. You could hide there” she told
“A copse? That’s perfect cover” Loveday approved
“Can the smaller animals make it?” Fox questioned in concern
But before Owl could answer any more questions Kestrel who’d had been scouting behind shrieked to them all with alarm
“Gee! Gee! Keep going!” the hawk shouted
“What’s the matter?” Loveday asks
“The farmers dog has found your scent” Kestrel informed
Still sheltered in the water bucket Adder pocked out to see what all the noise was? Turns out that the dog was running out the farms bounds in full excited triumph, looking pretty dirty from Lovedays soil trick.
“Stupid beast!” Adder cursed “I might as well settle down to a long snooze, safe here is anywhere else” she yawned coiling herself comfortably
Now having a better reason to race up the steep slopes of the hill. Everyone turned to see the dog coming after them.
“A little more to do, to do” Owl hooted
“He’s coming I see him. Gee gee, keep going” sang Kestrel again
“When running away watch your back Fox!” Owl warned
“I know what your getting at Owl, the weakest are at the back aren’t they” Fox understood
Loveday’s hard feelings started to flicker her sacred crystal like her temper pulsing inside. “This is all my fault” she was on the brink of tears
“Sorry?” Fox asked
“I should’ve choose to stay with Mrs Pheasant instead I selfishly decided to go raid the farmers pantry and now even my own trap doesn’t stop that silly dog” Loveday sniffed
Fox strolled up to her looking serious but sympathetic “Listen to me Loveday, it is not your fault that all of this has happened because of your natural instincts for survival. Secondly that dog isn’t coming after you, it’s me he wants so he’ll have to deal with me first” Fox said in a lower voice while looking aggressive to outwit the canine
“You’re going to take him down?” Loveday unbelievably said, “on your own?”
“What are you going to do Fox?” Mole asked in slight shock
Fox didn’t answer either instead he insured back to Badger to take charge again “Badger take charge, get them to the copse. See you later” he ordered his old comrade
Badger feeling scared for his young friend said “Good luck Fox” as he and the party walked up “come along Loveday dear you’ve done plenty for now”
Loveday’s nerves had glued her to the ground as she watched both the animals go up while Fox went down. She felt she needed to help Fox in some way but didn’t want to over-shadow him when he could actually take care of himself like the leader he always was. What was she ta do without getting herself into trouble?.
At that moment Fox was charging back down the hill like a red furry solider in combat where Bruno the dog was doing the same but more aggressively.
Once he’d had reached the gate Fox stood still patiently waiting to have a serious talk with the pet-driven animal
“Well Dog?” Fox asked formally as soon as the dog blindly raged past him. Pausing to see the fox with his nose sticking up in the air.
“Well Fox?” gasped Bruno
“I suppose it was me you wanted?” Fox confirmed
“My master wants you dead!” Bruno growled
“So! He wants every fox dead” Fox replied
“You killed his chickens!” Bruno said back
“Oh no I didn’t” Fox calmly explained
“Liar!” Bruno barked
“I’m not the only fox around”
“Ah I see any fox will do, that it? You’re master must be very stupid”
Bruno’s tail stood up in anger “How dare you!”
“Ta kill one fox because another hurt him. That’s the same as kicking you because his wife’s burnt his dinner” Fox evenly said
For once in his lifetime the dog started to feel puzzled with this unusual fox there was definably something special about this type of fox for discussing matters he’d never even come close to terms within his life “Huh! It does too” Bruno said
“I mean? does that make any sense to you” Fox said looking really serious
Bruno growled again with dripping fangs “Uh? No! but you still haven’t told me why you were lurking around the chicken coop”
Fox gave him an amusing smug “Not for the taste of chicken. I don’t even Like them! too many feathers. Achoo!” He joked playfully
“You’re a right one aren’t ya joking at a time like this” Bruno gave Fox a weirded out look “Alright if it wasn’t for chickens, what was it for?”
“Didn’t you see the others?” Fox questioned
“My friends” Fox strolled past looking precise “not foxes but rabbits, mice, hedgehogs, toads, birds all kinds”
Further upwards the farthing animals continued climbing at safe distance. From all their excitement with digging, clambering and immediate flight from the farm they started to feel irritated with exhaustion
“I’m tired after all that digging” said Squirrel to her twin sister
“I’m so sorry but if I offered you a lift you wouldn’t want it” Hedgehog consulted feeling sore on all four paws
“I never dreamt…I’d be going in for…mountain climbing” panted Mrs Shrew effortlessly struggling to keep up with the rest of the small creatures behind the group
“Permit me to push you madam” Vole volunteered and did actually push her from the behind as if they were doing a wheel-burrow race
Kestrel herself continued to survey the area with her hawk eyes “Gee Gee, keep going!” she called down
“Quite right Kestrel no point in standing here” Badger agreed
“Consider that without the hard climb there could not be the easy consent” Owl reasoned wisely
“Come on everybody not much further” Badger reassured as they hurried toward the top of the hill
“B-Badger?” Mole asked clutching tight top Badgers top
“What is it now Moley?” Badger answered
“Lovedays not here” Mole explained “where is she?”
“Oh! Loveday? Kestrel you haven’t seen Loveday have you?” Badger asked feeling worried, now he’d noticed Lovedays absence
“Yes! I can see her down where Fox is at the bottom of the hill, she’s sitting on a stone wall” Kestrel informed
“Oh I expect she’s backing up for Fox just in case he needs some help” Badger insured “Always being loyal to him that poor girl”
“Is Loveday alright Badger? She seems to be more…um?” Mole said questionably
“Distraught?” Badger guessed “Don’t worry Mole she’s just learning to overcome traumatic shock?”
“How do you mean?”
“Well…It’s a little complicated but a strong person like her will overcome it eventually”
“But what is it Badger?” Mole asked again
“Later Mole I’ll tell you later” Badger concluded
Loveday sat on the wall watching Fox outwit the dog in admiration, before blaming the dog for bringing death to Mrs Pheasant she felt sorry seeing the dog be treated so abusively by the farmer. And now she was having second thoughts about forgiving the dog just for staying loyal to its master’s wishes
And thanks to Fox’s amazing performance Loveday now knew there were other ways to problem-solve without penetrating with teeth and claws or mind powers in her case.
“Your friends” Bruno resaid in bafflement
“We’ve taken an oath of mutual protection” Fox told
“What’s that when its at home?” Bruno caught up with Fox’s pace
“Well?…we’ve sworn to look after each other on this journey were doing to a nature reserve, even humans can’t hurt you there. I happen to be close friends with a human myself who’s really shown me the opposite side of human’s demonic nature. Lovedays the name and she’s a feral psychic.
“Pull the other one, who’s this imaginary friend of yours?” Bruno disbelieved
“That’ll be me!” a voice called
“Who’s there?” Bruno glanced at the girl playing with white glowing orbs in her hands
“I’m the animal psychic my friend Fox is telling you” Loveday introduced herself as she jumped down the wall, seeing Fox looking wide eyed to see her here
The dog oppositely growled in wariness to see the human stranger, there was something non-human about her smell but couldn’t help to feel surprised to hear a girl talking to him as an equal.
“Strange I’ve never heard a human talk to me before” Bruno gasped
“And you never will again” Loveday corrected while crossing her arms “your lucky I’m not going to punish you for causing death to one of our members because I’ve also accepted the oath to be the animals guardian on this journey so my priority to them comes first instead of you domesticated killers” Loveday stated trying to stay calm
“Because they are more important to me than you’ll think” Loveday cleared “Such as this cool Fox here, who’s given me a place to join among animal society. So in return I offer my love and care for their well-being like an honourable feral psychic should according to what I’ve learnt so far”
“Every word you hear from her is true” Fox added glancing at Loveday “We found her lost and outcasted form her world, so we’ve broken our own rules and allowed her to stay as one of us”
“Get real? Humans can’t live with animals”
“True as I’m standing here” Fox affirmed
“You’re true to your name I must say. Very cunning but you can’t fool me. Oh no, I’m taking you back. I’ll get a nice fat reward when my master sees your dead” Bruno said savagely
“You just don’t give up on your master’s bidding do you” Loveday said looking annoyed at the dogs lack of intelligence
Fox stood tall and honestly tried to outsmart the big brute “Oh no you won’t!” he said with a smile
“Oh yes I will!” Bruno replied
“You won’t” Fox said looking cross armed like Loveday “He doesn’t want you to kill his fox, he wants to do it himself. All you’ll do is rob him of the satisfaction”
Shocked with unexpected defeat Bruno shock himself in fury “Alright! Suits me I’ll take ya back alive” he growled trying to advance Fox away
“If you want him, then you’ll have to get past me first” Loveday stepped in front protectively “If Fox wants to go back with you that’s his choice, when you’re a born free animal you get to decide on your own free will”
“I heard her…Sorry can’t obliged old son. If you want me, you’ll have to kill me first” Fox growled back
Looking less confident with his failure to capture Fox Bruno sighed “Ah I don’t know, first my master blames me for not catching his fox then when I’ve caught him he still blames me”
“That’s about it” Fox nodded
“See…now you’re getting the point. Catching the wrong animal won’t bring your masters praise. Technically you should have caught the animal that was clever enough to elude you once it killed those chickens” Loveday contemplated him
“Got a lot to say don’t ya” Bruno turned confused to Loveday before turning back to Fox
“Hmm you and your human got me tied in knots you clever dick” Bruno dazed
Fox turned his heel and walked away in contrived coolness “Like what Loveday says you should have caught the right fox or whatever” he said then turned around to see Loveday going up to Bruno
“You’re a fool to be following somebody who doesn’t give a darn for a wimpy slave such as you. Do yourselves a favour and free yourself from his clutches” Loveday advised
“My masters the only thing I’ve got why would I leave him?” Bruno asked
“Aren’t you tired of being blamed for his personal faults and for being kicked in the face for his own pleasure” Loveday firmly reasoned
“I don’t know I’ve never even thought of it like that, I don’t know why he does it”
“Because your spoiled to the brim, you’ve been blinded by those humans generosity and now you won’t think for yourself” Loveday said before pointing to another gate “see that other gate, I want you to go and find somewhere better to live where you’ll never have to worry about being blamed for anything. If you’ll do that, you can be free to choose the life you want instead of getting into trouble all the time”
“Out there? but where do I go?” Bruno just didn’t get it
“Don’t rely on me, rely on yourself” Loveday heeled away “and one more thing I forgive you, goodbye!” she said coming to Fox with a wink, Fox smiled and returned the wink as they both kicked away into the walls opening
“Wild animals and little girls?” Bruno was all mixed up “next thing you know they’ll be telling me to catch friends with a mouse next. Oh no that can’t be right? Or I’ll make friends with a cat? That can’t be right either. Or what I’m I ta do? suppose I follow that strange girls demand and go out through that other gate to see the world, well better than having to face my master when he’s angry”
Next thing you know Bruno absent-mindedly walked out through Lovedays gate and was never to be seen from his old owners again, maybe he did get taken to a better life but who knows?
Finally high tailing out Fox and Loveday laughed together in triumph as they both ran the slope over the brow of the hill back to where they’re friends were waiting.
“Hehe you’re the coolest Fox there ever was” Loveday laughed “You really did prove brain over broad with him”
“Hahaha You’ve certainly convinced that dog to get a life of his own, just wait till Badger and the others hear about a dog getting sense knocked back into him” Fox said bursting into laughter
“Thy deed is great, thy heart is pure, I am eternally in your dept” Loveday bowed dramatically
“Haha thanks awfully for sticking by girl” Fox winked “I’ll never forget this moment”
“I hope not, forgive me for thinking outside the box but I’d say we make a pretty good team sometimes. You and me” Loveday honestly said
“A fox and a human? A human and a fox?…Hmm strange but its true” Fox said thinking wondrously out loud as they both panted coming down the hill side
Fox turned back to Loveday “Are you alright now?”
“I don’t know…maybe? I just don’t understand why’d it have to be me to witness poor Mrs Pheasant getting shot” Loveday said looking guilty about it all
“I know it’s upsetting for you Loveday, but you do need to understand that’s the way things happen to us sometimes and we can’t control them. Not even all the powers in the world can save everybody so you may as well learn how to bear it just by trying your best like you’ve always done” Fox told
“Thank you” Loveday started to feel better “You really do have a thing for knowing my feelings even though I’m different compared to everyone else in the group”
“That’s one secret we wild animals have. We observe humans at a distance that’s helped us to understand them better, feelings included” Fox tutored “But having you with us did shine down on all our mistakes for thinking that all humans were bad”
“Aye it’s also taught me so much more about animals the way I’d never imagined” Loveday explained “despite all the hardship’s it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me”
“Glad to hear it” Fox chuckled as they both re-joined the animal party with such a story to tell them. From their latest success Badger and the others respect and admiration for both their heroic leader and ingenious guardian was now heightened.
“Hahaha the poor dogs been so mollycoddled by those humans, everything done for him. he’s lost the few wits he’s ever had” Fox finished his story in hard amusement
“All the same you were quite heroic, and Lovedays been doing a wonderful job” Badger admired “though next time you offer to assist please let me know where you are Loveday. I can’t have you running off all the time”
“Its okay Badger Lovedays just independent” Fox supported
“Yes I know better now” Loveday says “I’ll stop running away”
“Ah good” Badger sighed
“I’m hungry” Mole timidly said
“Oh you would me” Badger replied
“We all are” Loveday added
“Soon be there now mateys, oh lots of good things to eat there too” Toad joyfully jumped past
“Hooray!” Mole cheered happily
Dusk was first falling when they reached the cute copse of trees and shrubbery. In immediate objective they all either went to sleep or started to satisfy their hunger once they made camp and separated in forays. Loveday ate away all her meatpie before it went bad and did save some for Fox for when he woke up from a nap.
“Argh my poor old bones” Badger groaned as he plopped down hard to the ground, making poor Mole tumble down his back.
“Sorry Mole, just couldn’t stand a minute longer” Badger apologised
“Lovely soft earth Badger” Mole smiled with excitement to go have his worms
“Now don’t get too carried away Moley you know what happened last time” Badger firmly reminded him as Mole burrowed downwards
Pheasant did nothing but cry and mourn in misery because his wife was sadly not here anymore “My poor wife”
The hare’s did stay near him for support “Yes we must be nice to him dear, do try” said Mrs Hare to her annoyed mate who sighed in reply
“It’s only now she’s gone I realise how much she did for me, who’s going to dig for my grabs now?” Pheasant continued to mourn
Hare didn’t stand for his playacting “Oh I draw the line at that” he sarcastically said
Weasel pulled up a rock to find a feast of tasty grubs and beetles “Oh! There’s a nice hoard here”
Hedgehog smiled with satisfaction “Hmm those look nice”
“Finders keepers!” Weasel hogged the rock with a greedy grin
“That’s not fair!” Hedgehog argued upset
“Alright what will you give me” Weasel tried to bargain with Hedgehog until Kestrel dived on her with pressing force
“Share! All for one and one for all!” Kestrel chided pierce on a tree
“I prefer the all for one bit myself hahaha” Weasel joked
“No life’s too short. Wake me when its dark I’ll eat then” Hedgehog brushed aside as he pulled on a leaf blanket with some of the others snuggled together
“Weasel if I have told you once I have told you a hundred times” Loveday said crossly while still having her dinner “Feel better Badger?”
“Yes dear” Badger said laying lazily on the grass with a pesky fly circling around his face “Oh… I do wish Adder would flick out her tongue and- AGH!” Badger woke with a horrified face
“Badger what’s wrong?” Loveday hurried to him
“Adder! we’ve left her behind” Badger remembered in shock
“Oh No!” Fox woke
“Oh I don’t believe it!” Loveday face palmed “She’s still on the farm! And we’ve completely forgotten”
Oh yes, Adder was still there. She’d only woken with no idea which direction her companions had taken “No sign of the others? Better go and search of supper I suppose” she hissed and slithered away in hunger.
Hello all, sorry to keep you waiting. I hope you’re all excited about the holidays coming, I just love Christmas time.
And if there are any Animals of Farthing Wood fan readers out there please tell them about my fanfiction.
In case I don’t upload the next chapter soon,
A Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! to you all