“Mom, I’m going to the woods!”
“All right Molly, but take Jack as well,”
Molly went to her five-year-old brother’s room.
“I’m going to the woods, wanna come?”
“No thanks,” replied Jack.
“I wanna come,” said Jack.
Molly’s mother entered the room.
“Do you want to take a picnic??”
“Yes!” cried Jack.
“Okay,” said her mother and went to get ready the food for Molly and Jack.
“Mmm yummy,” said Jack through a mouthful of tuna. They had picked a cool and shady place in the woods. Molly took a bite out of her plum and was enjoying the calm breeze.
Jack yawned and lay down on the grass. Within seconds, he was soon fast asleep. Molly stood up and walked deeper into the woods, away from Jack. A racoon appeared in view. Molly bent down and held out the leftover plum she had brought.
The racoon crept closer to her and started eating the plum. “Hey there,” said Molly softly. Another racoon appeared and tried to eat the plum too. A few hedgehogs and a rabbit came out from bushes. They all crowded around Molly. She giggled and rolled around in the fallen leaves and flowers.
“Why is Jack crying, Molly?” asked her mother looking concerned.
“She left me alone!” wailed Jack.
“He was sleeping,” protested Molly.
“Still it’s no reason to leave him alone. He’s a small boy,” said her mother.
“I’m a big boy,” frowned Jack.
“You’re crying and big boys don’t cry,” said Molly.
Jack immediately wiped his tears on his sleeve.
“Arrange the plates and glasses on the dining table, please,” ordered Molly’s mother.
“Why?” asked Molly. “We only eat there if someone is visiting,”
“Someone is visiting. Aunt April,”
“Hello Maia,” greeted Aunt April.
“Hello, April,” said Molly’s mother.
“Hello Aunt April,” said Jack. Where is Aunt January, February and March?”
“Don’t be cheeky,” said Maia.
“It’s alright dear,” said April. “Look what I’ve got,”
She picked up a cage from the floor. Inside was a cute black rabbit.
“It’s adorable,” said Molly, her eyes shining.
“Oh April, was it expensive? How nice of you to buy the kids a rabbit,” said Maia.
“It wasn’t expensive at all. In fact, I found it in the woods, but don’t worry it’s been injected.”
“But April, it’s black. Its said that black rabbits are quite unlucky,”
“Nonsense,” snapped April. “Don’t believe in stuff like that, Maia,”
And then they sat down for dinner.
“I wanna play with Blacky Boo!” shouted Jack undoing the latch of the cage.
Aunt April had gone home in the morning after breakfast and Jack had wanted to name the rabbit Blacky Boo but Molly wanted to name it Onyx.
“Wait, don’t frighten Onyx!” said Molly, hurrying forward.
“Rabbits can’t get frightened,” said Jack. “They don’t have feelings,”
Jack swung the door of the cage open and carried Onyx out and sat it on the floor. Molly slowly put her hand forward and stroked it behind the ears.
“I wanna do it too!” shouted Jack.
“No! Do it slowly,” said Molly.
But Jack wasn’t listening. He raised his hand above the rabbit. It felt threatened. He brought his hand down on it and it bit him.
“What happened,” said Maia crossly.
“Blacky Boo bit me!” screamed Jack, brandishing a bloody hand.
“Oh my goodness! That rabbit is going to be killed!” said Maia in a rage.
“No!” said Molly.
“The rabbit is dangerous Molly. Do you know how deadly a rabbit bite is?” shouted Maia.
The rabbit, scared by the noise, ran towards the door.
“It’s scared,” said Molly quietly.
“And how do you know that?” spat her mother.
“I just know it,”
“Maia Weldon, my son has been bitten by a wild rabbit,” said Maia to Dr Roswell.
“Well, Mrs Weldon, please bring your son into the room,”
Dr Roswell washed Jack’s hand in warm running water and then dried it carefully. He applied some ointment on Jack’s hand which made it sting and then covered it in a clean plaster.
“Can’t you do something about the pain?” asked Maia to Dr Roswell, after Jack was sobbing for one hour, complaining the pain of his hand was terrible.
Dr Roswell gave Jack a bright yellow pill and asked him to swallow it with some warm water which was difficult.
After a few hours, Dr Roswell said that Jack’s hand should be okay in a few days and told them to go home.
“Now I will kill the rabbit,” said Maia and went to the kitchen to get a knife.
“Yes!” cheered Jack.
“Go hide,” whispered Molly into Onyx’s year. Onyx hid behind a cupboard. Jack saw what was happening.
“It’s behind the cupboard,” said Jack to Maia who came back with a knife.
“Right,” said Maia and turned to look behind the cupboard. There was a hole in the wall and Onyx had slipped through.
“Rats!” said Maia. She had forgotten to patch up the hole from the last spring.
The next morning, Molly went outdoors and started searching for Onyx for she was worried if anything happened to her. She could tell Onyx was a female but she didn’t quite know how. Molly went searching for Onyx in the morning because Maia had forbidden her to go outside the day before. Molly decided to start looking for Onyx in the woods.
“Where are you going?” demanded Maia.
“The woods,” replied Molly.
“Take your brother then,”
“No,” said Molly bluntly.
“Why not,” said Maia.
“I don’t want to,”
“Then you’re not going to the woods,” said Maia and turned her back on Molly.
“Okay fine,” grumbled Molly.
Five minutes later, Molly and her brother were walking to the woods. They sat down on a shady spot um a hill, under a tree. Jack thought it was great fun to roll down from the top of the hill to the bottom. Jack was so busy rolling, he didn’t notice Molly get up and walk away.
Molly walked deep into the woods.
“Onyx?” she called softly. “Where are you?”
She called a few more times and then not knowing why, she sat on the soft grass, cross-legged and closed her eyes. She hears the sweet chirping of the birds, the low grumble of a bear and the squeaking of a squirrel.
Molly opened her eyes and a bear and a squirrel were looking at her. He looked above her head and three birds were circling her head. Molly asked something to the bear and the rabbit and the bear whispered in her ear which tickled. Molly couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
Molly was on a mission to bring her back.
Molly, the bear and the squirrel journeyed to a cave. The bear whose name was Bruno led the way. The squirrel told Molly that Onyx would be found dead under a boulder. Molly went into the cave by herself and found herself face to face with an owl.
The owl, Hooter told Molly that if she wanted to take Onyx, she had to pass his test. She asked what the test was and he said she had to ask Hunt the hedgehog for a diamond. Hunt was really stingy and she was the Queen of the Woods or Queen of Wood Animals.
Molly went into a room in the cave which belonged to Hunt. Molly soon came out of the room holding a small diamond. Hooter was astonished but asked no questions. He let her move the giant boulder and lift the dead rabbit into her arms. He then told her to go to Hunt again.
“You have a special ability to communicate with woodland animals,” said Hunt. “Like with Onyx and me. Like with Hooter and Bruno. You always care about animals. That’s because you were not always a human. You were a Wood Fairy. I know you don’t remember anything but you were the Queen of the Wood Animals. And when you had to go, you made me a temporary leader and said you would return in human form. When you spoke to me, I knew it was you.”
Hunt said something and jumped on Onyx’s body. Onyx began to shake and then hurried to Molly’s side, completely alive.
Hunt then took Molly to a small cauldron that was bubbling and asked her to look into it. Molly looked, transformed and realised that she was…
Queen of the Wood Animals.