[Story] Springtime

Stormpelt knew the season had changed by the way the forest smelled. Even her dulled nose could smell the rain soaking into the soil, the fresh green leaves unfurling from their buds, and the little flowers that dotted the ground with speckles of color. The birds had returned too, from their hidden places in the trees, and now twittered from the first blush of sunrise. Most of all, Stormpelt liked the way the sun shone through the treetops and warmed her fur in the afternoons, if it wasn’t raining that day. She was not sure exactly how many times the moon had changed since they’d come here, but she knew how many springs it had been. It was easy to lose count when time didn’t change you anymore. She saw the whole rest of the world change — the forest, the animals, even her strange furless master and his family. Their small pup was not so small anymore, it seemed his legs had grown longer every time she saw him. She didn’t see much of Leaves and Berries now; they had the entire pack to look after them, and they still eyed Stormpelt with suspicion. Still, she often crept close to their den during the daytime, when most of the pack slept, to check on her master. It was her hope that one day the pup would be allowed to play in the woods, and she could meet him there. Stormpelt remembered playing with the pups before, in her old life. They tumbled and wrestled and gnawed on each other with endless energy. She had never had any of her own, and the thought filled her with sadness sometimes, but at the least she could help raise Leaves’s pup, and ensure that he was taught well. That was what the pack was for.

More distressingly, she had lost Grub Grub sometime over the winter. The worm had been her companion since those days with the bad master, her one small comfort. Normally she took very good care of him, and always ensured that he was tucked away somewhere safely, but one morning last winter, he was simply gone. He didn’t have much smell, and her dulled nose was not keen enough to sniff out where he had gone. She searched her resting spot, and the area surrounding it, but she could find no sign of him. The winter this year had been more harsh than usual, ice forming over the streams and riming the branches even deep in the forest. A few times, Stormpelt felt snowflakes accumulating on her back, and she had to retreat to her den underneath the tree. She had learned early on that they would not melt if she stayed out, and would eventually find herself coated if she did not seek shelter. She was always cold, but Grub Grub’s absence made everything more miserable. She paused to sniff every worm and caterpillar hopefully, if she should happen across one while walking. They weren’t the same sort of worm, though — some were thin and pink, others fat and green. Once she even found a hairy one, and that tickled her nose. None were the right color or shape to be Grub Grub, though.

Rain began to spatter the ground, big drops that splashed when they landed, and Stormpelt went into her den beneath the big tree. She did not mind the rain, but she did not like the way the mud felt if it dried on her fur. Even if it did mean that Berries would wash her with the soap that smelled like flowers after. She went to the back of the den, nosing her dry leaves into a pile, and curled up on top of them. She heard a crinkling from underneath her paw, and lifted it to look. One of the leaves was moving. Underneath were several small worms, more than Stormpelt could count. They were very tiny, but they were the right color and shape to be Grub Grub. Her heart leapt, and she curled her paws protectively around them. She would ensure that they were safe.

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One Response to [Story] Springtime

  1. aww, Stormy’s a worm mom!

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