TW: This story contains mentions of death, and animal harm.
AN : To pronounce the name of the squirrel correctly, visit this site: https://pronouncenames.com/search?name=Serle
I did a lot of research regarding Italian names, squirrels and even went out on Google maps to find accurate locations for the setting of this story. If you want to see them, the parks mentioned here are in the city of Pompei (at least according to Google maps). You may message me for more information on the 'BTS' of this story.
Serle was born in the tallest tree of Parco Del Real Polverificio borbonico (Royal Bourbon Polverificio Park). He was the only squirrel to be born in that round around the Sun to his parents, Luca and Gilda.
About twelve human Sundays later, Serle is ready to leave the nest. He runs ahead, looks back for a split second, thinking to go back to the best place he ever knew, his home, to his drey. But then the excitement got him and he walked on ahead, ready to take on the world. After Marco’s death last week, Serle knew that this world was vicious. He didn’t need any more friends, he was okay by himself.
He was still young and so, he decided to venture on beyond the park, leaving his universe behind. After a lot many days, Serle finally reached what the pigeons called Parco Wenner-Villa Comunale (Wenner-Villa Comunale Park) to the east side of his home park, near the city and the buildings. A few days into the move, when Serle had painstakingly taken the risks and found the sticks to make his drey, he decided to go on ahead and explore his new neighborhood.
He ran towards the north side of the park, making sure to dodge all the weird, noise making dogs and the haunting cats. He didn’t know how he crossed the road, but he finally reached an apartment complex, and decided to climb to the top. Just short of reaching the roof, he stopped. Something was wrong, he could feel it in his teeth.
He turned left, then right. He saw nothing, then he saw an old human, all wrinkly and without anybody else, in the house in front of him. He went in there, wanting to see a human first hand, so close. He had seen many humans in his short life, some in the Royal Park, some in his new home, but he had never seen one so close. He saw that the old human was wearing a loose fur, something that he had seen on a lot of the other humans, but their fur was tight, sometimes five layers thick, all different colour.
He ran up to the old human, and then looked at her intently. She was definitely in pain, he could feel it. Then he remembered one thing. His friend, Marco was sick one day, so his mother brought him an apricot from the huge steel stem near the entrance of the Royal Park. All humans did was put different things that they didn’t want in that stem and walked away. It appeared to Serle as if that stem never grew, and well, it was true. Because it was actually what the humans called a dustbin. Serle had seen one of them bins on the way to the top of the apartment. So, he ran back down, thinking all the time. Finally, he reached it and started rummaging through it. After a lot of efforts and almost running out of items to look through, Serle finally found an apple core, fresh and juicy, ready to be eaten.
Ignoring his own growling stomach, Serle went on with the core and climbed all those seven floors again, to reach to the old human. The window through which he had entered last time was open, so he went on in and tried to grab the attention of the old human. When he did get it, he brought out the apple core from the windowsill and gave it to the human. Unable to understand what he meant by it, the human shrugged, although with much difficulty.
Serle, understanding that the human did not understand him, opened up his mouth and took a bite from the core. Now, the human got to know that the squirrel in front of her wanted her to eat the apple. With this, the lady smiled and took the apple core. Obviously she wouldn’t eat it, but she was so touched by the animal’s gesture, that she felt a lot better. That pain in her back? Almost gone. And all because of a little sympathy from the squirrel.
After that day, Serle came to see the old lady every day. On some days he brought her a gift. Sometimes a fruit from the store downstairs and other days he just brought whatever he found useful from the stem-bin. It was so good, Serle never felt that he could have any more friends, after Marco. But he did and it was a human! The lady made him feel good. She fed him and gave him enough nuts to eat and store for winters. Sure there were some hiccups on the way. Like the other day when Serle got almost hit by a car, or when Bruno, the dog upstairs almost chased him up his tree, or the day he was almost eaten alive by the security guard’s cat.
Everything else aside, the old lady and the young squirrel, both liked the daily meetings. Days turned to weeks, and then to months. By now, Serle was a full grown adult and had even changed his drey to the tree near the lady’s windowsill. The lady however, was hurting. She was sick and had to visit the hospital often. Serle was often left alone at night, waiting for the lady to come back, even for days. On those days, Serle felt that the Sun’s heat stopped reaching his little nest and that the winds blew a lot harder, making it difficult for him to breathe properly at the height he lived in. Anyways, when the woman came back, generally, she was always better, at least for a few days.
Life was beautiful, life was fun and life was perfect. For both Serle and the old lady, whose name was apparently the same as Serle’s mother, Gilda.
Time passed and it was their second winter together, and the lady had been in the hospital for a few days. Serle was feeling sad and was cold. With every creak he heard, he ran up from his drey to the window, trying to look into and finding Gilda come back home, but he was disheartened every time. After a few more days, he almost gave up hope, since he himself was sick and hurting. His joints hurt, he was hungry and almost stiff. He didn’t believe this to be true, but he was dying a slow death.
Then, a new couple came in the door. Soon the lady’s stuff was taken over by a woman and a man, who looked seemingly similar to the lady. This was all okay for Serle, as he was barely opening his eyes and keeping up with the world. He was rather, very tired and very cold all the time now.
A few days after the young couple’s move, the wife saw something ‘like a rat’ out of the window in the guest room. She asked her husband to remove it. After he came back form the hospital, the man opened the windowsill and found a squirrel, rigid as a statue in a bed full of thorns. He took a broom and let the nest fall down, into the deep, dark pit of the night. As the squirrel took its last plunge into the darkness, somewhere across