Travels of the Twins

Chapter Four: Rain and Rustlings

Herbert looked at the dark clouds gathering over the hills.

“I don’t suppose you brought an umbrella?” he asked Button Mushroom.

They all laughed.  However, they were concerned about the look of the weather.

“Let’s find some shelter before it starts to pour,” suggested Juniper.

Hedgerows were explored, and they delved into nooks and crannies.

“I’ve got it!” cried Ashley.

There before him was an over hanging rock.  It was tucked away from the wind and big enough to shelter them all.  They just had time to cram themselves under it when the big drops started to land.  It rained with a fury, reminding them that although it was Spring, it was certainly not Summer.  A chilly wind set in and they huddled together to keep warm, hoping that tomorrow would be better.  A short distance behind them, Prunella laid herself flat behind a slab of rock, peeping round it occasionally to make sure that they did not leave without her.

The morning brought sunshine.  The ground, however, was water logged and their feet squelched in the muddiness.  It seemed a different world in such wet conditions.  Streams were swelled, and rushed along where before they had only trickled.  A tarn appeared where there hadn’t been one before, and they were forced to make a detour.  Pleased that Aunty Marmalade had taught them so much about food and plants, they searched out succulent grasses and munched gratefully.

Prunella was a little damp.  She felt chilly and coughed mildly.  The youngsters didn’t seem to be in a rush.  She, however, wanted to hurry.  Not daring to go closer for fear that they would see her, Prunella slid behind a boulder and tapped her foot, trying to be patient.

Little Button lifted her head for the tenth time.

“What is it?” asked Rowan.  “You seem to be easily distracted from this lovely food.”

Button nodded and sighed.  She didn’t know what it was.  Just rustling sounds she could hardly catch, which seemed to unsettle her.  She gazed toward the boulder once more, shook her head and resumed eating.

They were all pleased when Grassholme Reservoir came into view.  They could see it now, from the top of this ridge.  They’d be back in time for tea.  Cheering loudly, they sent a noisy bleat across the open, knowing that they would be heard in Grassholme.

Aunty Marmalade smiled.  She’d know those bleats anywhere, and they weren’t too far away.  She bustled about, looking for food to gather for their return.

“Fools!” shouted Prunella.

At the distant sight of Grassholme she had suddenly found her bearings, so she no longer needed to follow these youngsters.

“Ugly puglies,” she yelled, barging into them as she hurled herself past.  Ashley and Herbert angrily chased her away.  Little Button completely lost her footing in the surprise and found herself floundering in a huge, muddy puddle.  Gazing at the sheer drop only inches from her nose, she realised she was lucky not to have fallen right off the edge of the ridge. Rowan and Juniper gazed in shock.

Down in Grassholme, the rumpus was heard on the wind.  Without a word, they all downed tools and headed toward the ridge.  Cornelius was first to arrive on the scene.  He smiled but managed not to laugh when he saw little Button looking more like a chocolate football than a mushroom.

“They’re ok,” he called out, to save the others coming any further.  “But watch out!  Prunella’s on the loose.”

Aunty Marmalade turned on her heels at these words.  She knew Prunella of old, and had just put some tea time treats by the bale of hay.  Bustling as quickly as her round figure would allow, Marmalade returned to see a scraggy creature with thin wool and skinny legs gobbling the tea time food.  Prunella looked up.  With a hard gnash of her teeth, she took a huge bite out of the bale of hay and ran away. 

To Chapter Five