Dinner at Mother Ehts

Submitted for Contest #37 in response to: Write a story that takes place in the woods.... view prompt

1 comment

Apr 12, 2020

Mystery

The Thin Thickets roamed wherever they saw fit. From the valleys to the hills, canyons to the mountains, these fuzzy creatures could be found at every corner. Thin Thickets were stunning creatures. Scholars suggest that Thin Thickets were the first creature to exist, floating in the Universe until reaching Earth. A human could easily mistake these as specks of dust or freshly picked cotton, it truly depended on their size. They came in a variety of colours from pink, blue, grey, and peach. Most would adapt their colours to match their surroundings, but the audacious ones remained colorful.

There once was a tiny brook in a quaint meadow. This stream swayed to and fro, until dwindling into a gentle pond. Near the pond was an ancient forest. It was untouched by modernity, there was not an ounce of litter. Deep into the forest was the heart of the land. It was a willow tree, swaying gently by an unforeseen wind. Her name was Ehts. Ehts was known throughout the entire meadow to be the Mother Tree.

Ehts gazed over the other trees. She was the tallest tree, her children cowarding beneath her branches. Ehts looked at the brook below. In the brook was a floating leaf. On the leaf were two Thin Thickets: Nephele and Fuzz. 

Nephele was pink, identical to a piece of cotton candy. Unlike cotton candy, however, Nephele was not sweet. She was cynical, blunt, and stubborn. Her smaller companion was Fuzz. Fuzz, unlike Nephele, was a gentle grey. Fuzz was lively, despite her colour, and encouraged Nephele to go beyond her limits. 

The two Thin Thickets made their way across the gentle stream. The undercurrent was almost to a standstill, although the occasional wind helped. Once in a while, a fish would swim right below the leaf. The leaf boat caught the fish’s movement, but it didn’t last for long. 

“Nephele!” exclaimed Fuzz, “We’re going to be late!” 

“He should be here anytime now,” muttered Nephele, “Where could he be?” 

The two Thin Thickets were perilous at sea, for neither of them could swim. If they were to dip themselves into the water, they would drown. Eventually, their leaf would reach the pond; however, by the time it would take for them to scurry to Ehts, it would already be evening. Fuzz sighed, looking towards the horizon. Nephele, on the other hand, looked to the skies. As she did so, something came into her vision.

She tilted and asked, “Fuzz, look above. Do you see that?”

Fuzz looked towards the sun. Although its bright beams were blinding, the two Thin Thickets could tell there was something coming near them. They squinted and then spotted it: with gigantic wings and a sharp beak, an eagle was diving towards them.

Fuzz screamed, clutching onto Nephele. Yet being stranded in the middle of the brook, there was nothing they could do but stay still. The eagle swooped down and precisely picked the leaf up by its stem. The two Thin Thickets grasped onto each other, Fuzz shouting loudly. From the brook, they soared high into the sky. Within seconds, they were floating above the treeline and towards the ancient forest.

“We’re going to die!” cried Fuzz, the wind beginning to sweep her. She cozzied next to Nephele, who did nothing but smile.

“It’s good to see you, Oiseau!” remarked Nephele, glancing towards the eagle carrying. Oiseau the eagle grunted, as he couldn’t speak with the leaf in his mouth. Gently, Oiseau sailed into the forest. The forest was like none other. From the outside, there were a variety of trees: from sage, aspen, pine, and maple. Yet as Oiseau soared deeper into the forest, the variety grew in shapes and colours. Fuzz could see eucalyptus, apple, yew, and bonsai. Once within the center, Ehts the Willow stood among the rest. 

At last reaching Ehts, Oiseau went through her canopy of leaves and settled at the base of her trunk. Once reaching the grass, Nephele and Fuzz floated from the leaf and onto a low-hanging branch. Although most willow’s branches were delicate and frail, Ehts branches were strong. The two Thin Thickets began to sway gently as the breeze pushed her branch. 

“Oiseau!” exclaimed Fuzz, “You scared me! I didn’t know it was you!”

“What?” scoffed Oiseau, who began to pick at his feathers, “You thought that some random bird was going to snatch you away? No offense, Fuzz, but Thin Thickets aren’t known to be appetizing.” Oiseau, much like Nephele, was blunt and rude. Yet, beneath all of those thick feathers was a soft heart. Oiseau stretched and then began to pluck his rear feathers.

Seeing this, Ehts swayed one of her limbs and tapped Oiseau, reprimanding him. He abruptly stopped and stuttered, “Sorry, sorry. Shouldn’t be picking feathers in front of the ladies.”  

Both Nephele and Fuzz giggled. Just as Oiseau finished, there was a rustling behind them. Oiseau and the Thin Thickets turned. The thick layer of branches began to part as something large approached them. A voice came from the midst of the branches, “Oiseau! Oiseau, if you can hear me, speak!”

Oiseau then squawked. The large creature came closer. Shook by its footsteps, Fuzz coward in fear until she knew who it was. At last, a human’s hand parted the final branch. A little girl stepped into Ehts’ center. She ran at full force towards Ehts’ trunk. Frantic, Oiseau flustered and had to fly away before getting hit. He yelled at her, “Hey, watch it, kid!”

The little girl then embraced Ehts, her face beaming with pure bliss. A tender branch lowered and embraced the little girl. The little girl whispered, “I’ve missed you Ehts.” 

The branch around her tightened ever so lightly.

“What are we?” scoffed Nephele, “Dust bunnies?”

The little girl then turned towards Fuzz and Nephele. It took a moment for her to see the Thin Thickets, but once she did, she darted at them. Her tiny hands cupped the two Thin Thickets. She giggled and said, “How could I forget about you two?”

“Ehem?” Oiseau interrupted, flying towards the girl’s feet. He cocked his head and muttered, “You almost ran me over trying to see Ehts, and I didn’t get a hello?”

The little girl bent down and smothered Oiseau in a kiss, giggling, “Oh I’m so sorry, Oiseau!” The girl then sat down on the grass, trying to embrace Oiseau. But Oiseau, wishing to have none of that, fluttered away and behind Eht’s trunk. 

“Personal space, kid, personal space!” 

“Sorry, Oiseau!” But the smirk on the little girl’s face told otherwise. 

The little girl was dressed in a baby blue dress. Her hands dug into her pockets, where she had dinner wrapped into a white handkerchief. As soon as she drew it out, Oiseau hobbled over towards her. She stuck out her tongue and repeated, “Personal space, Oiseau, personal space!” 

Delicately, she unwrapped the dinner that her mother had prepared. In her handkerchief was a few corn chips, bread, a slice of sausage, and two apples. Her fingers delicately picked at the bread. She picked out two crumbs and sat it before the Thin Thickets. She then split her bread in half, sharing the rest with Oiseau. 

At last, with the food she had left, she placed an apple at Ehts’ trunk. Ehts never took the apple, but it was always appreciated. Together, at the base of Mother Ehts, the quirky bunch delighted in fellowship and food.

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1 comment

C. Jay Loren
07:14 Apr 19, 2020

Beautiful. You fit in a decent amount of world-building in a short story so well done. Got a nice fairy tale, fairyland feel to it. :)

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