The Hunt

February 21, 2009
By Anonymous

There once was a river. A river by a hill. A hill with a hole. A hole occupied by a mouse. A little brown mouse by the name of Theo. Theo was a good mouse who always kept his hole clean of stray grass and leaves. He did not like to leave his home for he was a fairly lazy fellow indeed. One day, though, Theo stepped out of his home into an adventure. This is how it went?

Theo the mouse felt exceptionally hungry one day so he went to his stash to retrieve some food. He wound through the tunnels and into a burrow to find that all his stash had been eaten. He thought to himself about what to do and concluded that he should find some food. So he packed himself up and stepped out of his hole. The summer sun shone down brightly upon Theo. ?What a gorgeous day?, he thought and scampered to top of the hill where he had a perfect view of the surrounding meadow. ?Yes, perfect day indeed?, he thought as he gazed across the grass. A soft breeze swept across the meadow bringing with it a scent of walnuts and berries. As the scent reached his nose his ears perked up and a growl rumbled through his stomach. ?I must get going?..., he decided as he made his way down the hill. He knew exactly where the forest was though the grass was much taller than he and it was quite difficult to see over the top. He hesitated once he reached the edge of the grove. He had noticed over the many years of living in a community of mice that most of those who went deep into the forest never returned. Theo had no problem with scavenging on the outskirts of the forest the only problem was the mass abundances of food was located in the deepest part of the forest. He paced for a while debating what to do. ?What to do, what to do. I can either try to find all the food I can here or risk my life or limb?. As Theo?s stomach growled again he decided to leave his hole behind and go on an adventure to the Deep.

One foot in. One foot out. Theo hurried from tree to tree trying not to be seen or heard. He was reminded of his safe small hole when he looked behind him and could not see where the meadow ended and the woods began. The sun shone through the branches casting weird shadows on the ground though as he got deeper into the woods the trees thickened and the light dimmed. ?I must be getting close. I?ve been traveling for a while now?, he thought. A rustle from above startled him. He looked about to see what had caused the disturbance to find two large eyes staring at him from a high branch. ?An owl!? Slowly and quietly Theo backed up until he had plastered himself against the closest tree, his eyes still on the hovering creature. Neither the owl nor Theo moved for quite a while?

The owl sat stationary on a high branch when he spotted a little mouse scurrying across the forest floor. ?Mouse!? He thought and repositioned himself on his branch. The mouse stopped suddenly at the sound of the owl and looked around. ?What a way to blow my own cover. Jeez? he scolded himself. The mouse?s eyes met his in a long cold stare. It backed away against a near tree keeping eye contact the entire time. ?Well this mouse is full of action? he thought. ?Ill just find food somewhere else? he decided after a while and flew off?.

After a long stare down between Theo and the owl, the owl flew off down the many rows of trees. Theo looked for any other predators that could be hiding in the branches and returned to scurrying from tree to tree plunging yet further in to the forest. At this point the sun was setting making it hard to see through the dense canopy of leaves. Theo decided to stop for the night and search for a place to sleep. ?A perfect spot? he thought as he spotted a small hole. As he stepped into the opening he heard hooting from a little ways away and scrambled to shelter himself. That night he did not sleep well at all. He dreamt of his hole and awoke many times during the night hungry and homesick. ?If I can?t sleep a wink I must do something other than sit here?. So he made his way down the dark damp hole. It was long indeed with slight bends and sharp turns in unexpected places. Theo had been walking for about ten minutes when he came upon an opening. He stuck his head out and looked around blindly waiting for his eyes to adjust to the light. The hole had ended at the edge of a large clearing surrounded by trees. With the dim moon light he could make out the towering images of bushes that were scattered here and there about the clearing. He could also see another object. Small, round, and glowing that could only be one thing?berries. ?Food!? he thought as his mouth watered. ?The hunt is over. I have found food?. He darted quickly from tree to tree until he reached a nearby bush and shimmied up the branch until he reached the top where the fruit was plentiful. He squeaked with pleasure and ate until he could eat no more. ?Splendid. Yes indeed?.

The next morning the happy little mouse woke to birds chirping and crickets singing. ?By golly! I shall live here!? He thought excitedly. ?It?s perfect?. So he went to work cleaning up the hole and digging more burrows. For many years the mouse lived there happy as can be but what happened later in his life is well? another story.

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