Revelc Sly trotted down Tresof Forest’s main path at a healthy clip, her bushy white-tipped tail bounced like a flag in the breeze behind her. She usually stuck to the main paths in the early morning. Most thought this routine made sure any ground shaking emergencies were brought to her immediate attention. Mainly she stuck to the main roads since the wide expanse allowed for a fast morning run. When problems did arise, however, she rarely had to seek them out; problems had a way of tracking her down.
“Rev!” yelled a loud squeak, pulling Rev out of her running and back into reality. Vebra Huge chattered continuously once you got to know him, and if you did not know him, he would still blab till your ears hurt. Vebra managed to get into more trouble than most in the forest; he was condescending, brash, and courageous to the point of stupidity. Not bad for a mouse. Vebra’s seventh near-death experience had been his first encounter with Rev. It was this experience that made Vebra trust Rev implicitly, scorn Rev periodically, and adore her always. Granted a mouse who had an unwavering faith in a fox did not come along very often (and when they did, they usually did not live too long), but Rev and Vebra were tearing down stereotypes faster than the squirrels could create them. Vebra’s encounter all started with Farmer Mann a few seasons ago.
Farmer Mann, a devout Christian, decided on having 12 cats which he referred to as his disciples (or simply “the D’s”). He hoped for 12 male cats, and tried to stick to the Good Book, but the Humane Society had only 11 males available the day he made the long trip into town, so he also got one black female kitten, which he named Jude. Jude stuck out of the bunch in more ways than her gender. Jude was the nicest, most polite and honorable cat of the bunch. The only time she ever betrayed anyone was either to help out Rev, or for the greater good. Her quiet and dainty demeanor usually overtook her desire to fit in with the rest of the cats. Eventually, her charm won over even Farmer Mann, who had thought her an outcast at first, but loved all his animals unconditionally.
Most animals thought Farmer Mann had more sense than any human they had ever encountered. Most humans thought Farmer Mann was an eccentric lunatic. He talked to all of the animals on his farm. Most humans assumed he only did it when other people were watching, whereas most animals thought he did this only when humans were not. Some thought he tried to be weird for weirdness sake. Farmer Mann, on the other hand, just liked talking to animals more than people, especially cats.
Now, as anyone who has ever talked to cats knows, cats never seem to listen and rarely seem care what you have to say. This is exactly half true. Cats rarely care, however, they do listen. Cats are some of the best listeners in the entire animal kingdom. However, as soon as one tells, or (heaven forbid) demands, that a cat do something, the cat will naturally do the opposite. Farmer Mann did not know this, but he always asked his beloved D’s, and never demanded. The 12 D’s, all having done various amounts of hard time, knew that they had not only just lucked out, but also been witnesses to a miraculous save of, well, Biblical proportions. They were happy to oblige to Mann’s slightest whim (as long as he never demanded that they do anything, which he never did). Farmer Mann’s friends found his relationship with his cats beyond bizarre; they found it eerie.
On the way home from their miraculous save from jail, Mann explained that he was their new master and that he hoped they would like it at his farm. As soon as he got back to his farm and he let them loose to choose their own paths, he simply asked them to follow him around the farm (never demanding). The black cat, Jude, was the first to oblige and eventually they all followed suit (though some stayed in shadows as farmer Mann led). Very few cats have ever met a man like Mann, perhaps a few in Key West and some in Las Vegas, but other than that, these cats knew they had found a one-in-a-lifetime human, perhaps one in nine lives.
As many Biblical correlations as one could find in the D’s, cats are cats are cats are cats. One reason for Mann’s purchase of the D’s was to keep what Mann called “Thems-critters” out of the silos. He also spoke to the cats about keeping “Themscritters” out of the fields as well. The cats, never being told what to do, but just knowing that the greater good of keeping this one in a billion human happy, did so. Mann ran the farm and the cats guarded the silo and fields from “Themscritters.” It spread like wildfire through the forest that any creature, great or small, would be dead if it dared to wander towards the silo or through the fields. More than one Carbuncle rabbit lost his/her life to the D’s. Most animals learned to simply avoid the farmer’s place. But, being idiots, a few Carbuncle’s each year thought they would try again to see what lurked near Farmer Mann’s place.
It was early during these times that Rev’s reputation as a PS (problem solver) traveled through the forest like the leaves rustling whisper. Most animals knew that “some fox” had figured out how to get Yorck Plane (a slow witted turtle with a rocky shell) out of the well. Other stories buzzed in the breeze as well, such as how “that same fox” had managed to get Jinx (a male fox) out of a particularly nasty jam. Foxes do not often help other unknown foxes outside of breeding season, so this story stuck out in many animals’ minds.
Jinx had met Rev and (like most male foxes) had instantly taken a liking to her. However, in one of his many attempts to impress her, he managed to fall into the thick bog mud. Though he was the fastest creature in the forest on land, he could not move an inch in the muck. Revelc dragged him out, coated with ooze and spluttering, which cemented his undying love for her. This story trickled down to the smaller animals, and rumors began.
Mice in general never miss out on any gossip; this has both advantages and disadvantages. However, in the Huge family, being a family of mice, such gossip did little to prove a fox to be trustworthy. Sure, a fox might help another fox, but that gave little comfort to mice that an extra clever fox roamed the forest. It was during these early times, just after farmer Mann had just gotten his 12 cats, that Vebra met Rev. As usual his problems started with his gambling.
Vebra Huge had many virtues, but his biggest flaw remained his pride. He rarely found a wager that he would not take, regardless of the necessary chances involved. The current wager involved stealing a big black button off of farmer Mann’s coat. If he could manage this, he would receive enough food to keep his family going strong for over two seasons. Squirrels and their bets had suckered Vebra before, but he picked up the trade quickly and learned two important facts about their betting racket. First, once a bet began, the squirrels would never double-cross, so be sure to know what one is getting into before the bet begins. Second, the squirrels rarely lost. He had heard that the Farmer had some new protectors at his farm, but Vebra had always been able to get by before, he doubted if any stupid human trap could stop him this time.
As chance would have it, the same day that Vebra ventured forth on his wager winning journey, Rev decided that she should meet the Huge family in person. The Huge family was known to many as the “ears of the forest.” Everything trickled down to the ever listening family Huge. Rev had met a small proportion of the forests inhabitants, but this was before she was well known. She figured the only way to become well known was to go out and meet people yourself.
Rev waited outside the Huge’s house which was, of course, tiny. As a fox, she knew better than to knock and expect a warm welcome at a mouse house, so she waited outside under a leaf pile enjoying the sunny day. The location seemed perfect, centrally located in the forest, but off the main path, so that only those who did know where you lived could get a hold of you. Rev noticed the quiet around her, normally the voices of the woods could be heard all over. The sounds of the birds, insects, other animals seemed hushed throughout the forest. Rev knew that something had to be lurking nearby, and, sure enough, her sharp eyes picked up a garter snake on the hunt not 15 feet away. Relieved, Rev watched it continue on its way.
Mrs. Huge, like any good mouse mother, ran her errands right on schedule. She needed to make a trip to the local well and maybe pick up some raspberries as well as some other supplies. She hoped to celebrate her husband’s big win tonight, and she wanted everything just right. Needless to say her mind wandered all over the place as she merrily trotted out of her house. She looked around carefully (though she had never seen anything before and saw nothing now), and continued out of her house on her journey. After going only ten yards, a voice startled her.
“Excuse me, are you Mrs. Huge?” Rev asked.
“Yes” Mrs. Huge answered, and then she turned around and screamed continuously for the next minute.
“Enough already! You’re not on the menu.” Rev said over the hoarse screams.
Mrs. Huge, being about three feet away from the fox stood petrified, small squeaks of nervous fear were the only thing trickling out.
“Listen! I’m trying to find your gullible husband, he’s in a world of trouble but the squirrels wouldn’t tell me more.” Rev said.
“Whareah? Blarg, bet?” and other nonsensical gibberish floundered out of Mrs. Huges’ squeaky maw. Finally she got it together enough to say
“There’s no way I’m going to tell you anything! You may have me, but I’ll never give up my husb-“
“Listen,” Rev interrupted, “I don’t plan to eat you, but that garter snake about two yards behind you will.”
“I’m not that slow, fox. The minute I turn around I know that you-“
Rev pounced on her before she could say anymore and picked her up by her tail. While dangling from the fox’s mouth, she saw a snake, which was looking up at Rev. The snake sighed, then slithered away in search of different prey. Rev then trotted back to Mrs. Huge’s house. Rev put her down in front of her house, where she finally stopped screaming. Mrs. Huge, near apoplectic with confusion and still convinced she was about to die, stood up, looked at the giant maw of Rev, and slowly walked back into her house, not believing what just had happened.
“I don’t believe that just happened. Why didn’t you eat me?” Mrs. Huge said through her closed door.
“Maybe later if you want, but a thank-you would be nice. Anyways, would you now please tell me where you husband is, or he’ll be dead in the worst possible way.” Rev said.
“What, death by torture?” Mrs. Huge asked,
“Close, death by cats.”
(Just the first few Chapters, more to come (or you can have the rest if you comment )