Today I will share one of the animal back stories excerpted from The Summer of the Ennead. It will give you a sense of the style I use when writing as well as some insight into one of the characters in the story.
Owl sat in the tree, quietly. She did not move save for her head. She observed because that’s what owls do. They observe, they study, they learn, and they know.
Owl was hungry though. The previous night’s hunt had not gone well. Below her, a tired looking fieldmouse limped along. She considered having an early lunch, but something stopped her.
“Who are you?” she asked the mouse.
“I am Sister Mouse of the Acorn clan, and I am looking for a friendly owl. Are you such a creature?”
“Not usually, but I could make an exception.”
“Could or would?”
“On filling my empty stomach.”
“Hmm. I think I can help with that if you will help me.”
“You do understand that I do not eat nuts?”
“Yes, I do, and my problem is very edible.”
“Go on then.”
“I am from nearby. My clan lives among some oak trees on the edge of the woods; very near is a colony of gophers, and they keep expanding. Now they are undermining our colony and our storage places are collapsing, and we cannot move because we are acorn eaters. We do not know what to do.”
“What do you think I can do?”
“I hope you can scare them away.”
“There are at least two problems with your plan. First, I usually hunt at night and gophers around here usually stay in at night. They avoid me.”
“And what is the second problem?”
“If I cannot catch, I cannot eat, so my hungry problem will remain unsolved.”
“Then what can I do,” moaned Sister Mouse.
“Do you know Panther?” asked Owl.
“She is very scary. I am afraid of her,” squeaked Sister Mouse.
“You need not fear her. She is my friend, and she has helped me in the past.”
“Could you ask her to help?”
“I am sure I could and am sure she would.”
And she did. For the next several days Owl and Panther teamed up to harass the gopher colony. If they came out at night, Owl would swoop down and catch any unlucky ones. During the day, Panther prowled among the holes and kept the gophers from gathering food.
Finally, after a few days of hunger, the head gopher raised a white flag from his hole in the ground. “It is time for a parley,” he moaned.
Owl called Sister Mouse and along with Panther, they went to talk with the gophers.
“Why are you harassing us?” snarled Boss Gopher. “This is much worse than usual, and we have done nothing wrong!”
“Ah, but you have,” responded Owl. “You have been undermining the Acorn Clan’s tunnels and making it impossible for them to stay safely among the oak trees. All you need do is to extend your tunnels out into the grassland and away from the trees. If you do that, all will be well again.”
“And you will promise to stop harassing us?” said Boss Gopher.
“We will. Do you agree Panther?” Panther agreed.
“And will that suit you Sister?”
“Then we have a deal,” said Boss.
And that was the end. Owl and Panther gained new friends among the Acorn Clan. Unfortunately, it also meant they could not eat the mice, but having new friends was worth the price of mice.
I am the author of The Summer of the Ennead and I want to use this blog to engage readers in a dialogue about what this book means to me and what I think it has to say to others.