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Snargfargle

Skewerlls

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They are now just outside the campfire's light, hopping in and out of sight, taunting me. Well they know that I've not enough wood to last until dawn, nor do I have enough ammunition left to take out more than a few of their ever-growing numbers. I can still take out a few though, and they are intelligent enough that none of them wants to be the first to die.

I first noticed them one spring day when I was walking in the city park not far from where I lived. I was watching a young boy catching trout, which surprised me as I'd performed a survey of that stream a couple of years previously and found it too warm for salmonids. The Department of Fish and Wildlife must have stocked the creek for the sole purpose of providing a fishery for the park. None of those fish would survive the hot summer water temperatures and low oxygen content of this somewhat-polluted urban stream. However, they would provide some temporary recreation in the spring.

The boy had placed a trout on his stringer and returned to fishing when I saw something peering intently from the bushes. It watched the boy for a moment and then, seeing that his attention was fully directed to catching more fish, slunk over to the stringer. The creature slowly and quietly pulled the stringer from the water and then unhooked the fish. The fish started flapping about and the boy began to turn his head but the creature silenced the fish with a quick bite to the neck and the boy returned to fishing. Then the creature, with some effort as it was small, dragged the fish off into the bushes.

I could not quite believe what I'd just seen but what I was to see next sent a chill through my bones. Just as the creature had dragged the fish to the bushes from whence it came, another of its type met with it and chittered something to it. Then both creatures looked across the stream directly at me. These were not the normal, familiar denizens of the woods and parks, though that was what they appeared to be at first glance. Upon closer examination, their outward appearance seemed to be more hastily-executed camouflage than anything else, though to someone who wasn't a biologist and intimately familiar with wildlife they would appear normal enough.  I could not ascertain their true form but I could see their eyes and what lie behind them, which was an intelligence that equalled or perhaps even surpassed my own.

Many months passed and I saw no more of the creatures. Had I dreamt the whole thing? My dreams are vivid and realistic and I've been known to mix the dream and actual world up from time to time, especially when I dream of mundane day-to-day events. The spring had passed into summer and then into autumn. I was in the field for a week performing an environmental assessment of an area, not far from the city, where there had been a strange decline in the wildlife. As I collected and labeled my samples, I kept hearing a rustling in the underbrush but I never could find what animal was making it, though there seemed to be many of them. It probably was just voles, I thought, burrowing through the forest duff and preparing their winter larders.

However, when I'd retired to my camp that evening and lit a campfire to take off the night's chill and for companionship, I saw the first of them. They were the same creatures that I'd seen in the park several months ago. Had they been observing me all this time and plotting to do away with me lest I told someone of their existence? I recalled that I'd thought they seemed very intelligent but surely such small creatures could not possess that degree of intelligence, could they? Then, several made a mad rush toward where I stored my supplies. Quickly they scampered around the supplies and then took off, each carrying only one thing in its mouth, a single .357 cartridge. They had taken all my spare ammunition. This left me with only six rounds in the revolver I carried in case I needed to scare off a bear or mountain lion.

Then, a couple-dozen of them rushed at me. I instinctively drew my revolver and fired two shots at them. However they were small and fast and I missed, though one of my rounds landed near enough to one that the eruption of earth sent it flying into the air. Now, they are more cautious. However the rustling in the night grows louder and louder, while my fire's light grows dimmer and dimmer. Dawn is still several hours away. As I said before, they now are just outside the campfire's light, hopping in and out of sight, taunting me. What are they and from whence did they come? I may never know. I just hope that these hastily scribbled notes are found by someone who, seeing my gnawed bones lying on the forest floor, believes my story to be true.

If you find this notebook, please get the word out. They look cute and harmless. Some of you may even have even fed them peanuts as you played with your grandchildren, thinking that they were just one of the normal inhabitants of an urban park. For, unless you look closely into their eyes -- their evil, far too intelligent eyes -- you might think they are just squirrels, but they are not. 

Edited by Snargfargle
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5 minutes ago, Incendiary_Tanker said:

My god you are like a book printing machine! respect~ 

Thanks. I actually have had the idea for that story in my head for some time. Most of the story actually is based on fact, including the kid fishing, the field research I did, a woodrat running off with some of my spare ammo, my seeing varmints running into and out of the firelight of my campfire, and me shooting at one. In fact, come to think of it, almost all of the story is based on fact. 

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Just now, Snargfargle said:

Thanks. I actually have had the idea for that story in my head for some time. Most of the story actually is based on fact, including the kid fishing, the field research I did, a woodrat running off with some of my spare ammo, my seeing varmints running into and out of the firelight of my campfire, and me shooting at one. In fact, come to think of it, almost all of the story is based on fact. 

ooo that's cool, stories based off real events will almost always be interesting~ 

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Hahaha my brother is terrified of squirrels (he lives in a place called Chester, and there's a lot of them). I'm gonna show him this story to freak him out XD

Brilliantly written Snarg! Always happy to read your tales :D

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