This month’s short story is the 6th of The Adventures of Zelda series. I am excited to announce I have now written all 12 stories which will make up the first collection of The Legend of Zelda stories. The first collection includes 6 stories not published on the blog such as Zelda vs. the Skatepark and Zelda vs. Jack Jack. With the writing done, I’m moving into the compiling, final edits, and cover design phases. More details will come in April, but for now, enjoy Zelda Meets Squeaks the Squirrel.
Only a few leaf piles remain on the tree lawns in our neighborhood. Every day the breeze becomes a little bit colder, and I realize winter is around the corner.
With winter on its way, I spend as much time outside as possible kicking leaf piles and taking walks. The squirrels are busy collecting nuts in the trees at the far edge of the yard. Some days I lie in the grass and watch them jump from branch to branch, wishing I could join their fun.
I notice a new squirrel scent in the backyard. The squirrel scents are usually concentrated along the tree line on far edge of our backyard. This scent, however, is not along the tree line. I smell one squirrel in two new spots–behind our garage and at the oak tree bordering the patio. I wonder why the squirrel ventured so far into my territory on its own.
My curiosity gets the best of me, and I change my backyard habits to investigate the mysterious squirrel. When I am outside, I run first to the backyard to see if I can spot the squirrel. So far, I haven’t had any luck, so I start surveillance of the backyard through the kitchen window. An hour into my stakeout, I notice something brown and fluffy in the oak tree.
I stand with my front paws on the windowsill, watching the squirrel’s every move. When I hear a car pull into the driveway, I know it’s the perfect opportunity. I run to the back door. Moments later, Ben opens the door, and I run outside.
“Zelda, no!” Ben says. But, it’s too late. I am in the backyard beelining for the oak tree. I am about ten pugs’ length away when the squirrel runs from the tree to the ground. I chase after the squirrel, but I can’t catch him in time. He darts up a tree and perches on top of a branch. I gaze up at the squirrel, and he starts squeaking and screeching. I bark and kick the ground.
“Zelda, come!” Nate yells. He is walking towards me with a bag of treats.
Treats! Forget the squirrel!
I sprint to Nate, and he gives me a few treats. We walk inside. After enjoying my snack, I remember the squirrel. I walk to the back window and look out, but he is gone.
After our encounter, I decide to call the squirrel Squeaks. I look for Squeaks day and night, inside and outside. I sit on the kitchen chair, staring out the window for any signs of him. Most days, I end up falling asleep by accident. But I am determined to stay awake today. I sit in my chair, scanning the yard for movement.
My eyes are blurring when a flash of brown appears in the corner of my eye. I focus my eyes on the brown flash. Squeaks runs down the oak tree and towards the garage. I can’t see Squeaks when he moves behind the garage, but he only stays behind the garage for a moment, before running back to the oak tree. Squeaks repeats the pattern five times, and then he disappears into the woods. I can’t figure out what he is doing.
When Nate takes me outside later, I pull him to the back of the garage. I follow Squeaks scent to a small pile of acorns–Squeaks’ secret acorn stash.
I realize I have an important decision to make.
I break for the oak tree, dragging Nate behind me. I find an acorn, scoop it into my mouth, and run to the stash next to the garage. I place the acorn in the pile and run back to the tree. I grab another acorn; I bring it back to the stash. I place my third acorn in the pile before Nate grows tired of walking in circles with me. He leads me inside.
Over the next two days, I add more and more acorns to the stash. My family has caught on to my routine. They let me stay outside longer, so I can collect more acorns.
“Why is Zelda collecting acorns?” Lucy asks.
“Because Zelda thinks she is a squirrel,” Nate says.
“But Zelda is a wrinkly pug. Why does she think she is a squirrel?” Lucy asks.
“I don’t know dear,” Nate says. Lucy asks more questions, and I know my family thinks I am crazy or confused.
A few days later, I spot Squeaks from my kitchen chair. I start scratching at the front door, and Hannah leashes me to take me outside. I am so excited to see Squeaks that I start sprinting for the backyard. I turn the corner to the back of the house and see Squeaks at the bottom of the tree. He runs for the tree line. I am disappointed and out of breath, so I stop running. Squeaks disappears into the woods. I return inside, sad I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Squeaks.
I sulk and sleep away the new few days. I give up my backyard surveillance, and I ignore the acorn stash. Maybe I was naive to think Squeaks and I could become friends.
A week later, Squeaks is a distant memory. I meander into the backyard with Hannah to do my business, like any other day. As I look for the perfect spot, Squeaks’ scent fills my nostrils. I follow my nose toward the tree line. I hear a squeak and gaze into the tree. Squeaks is perched on a branch above my head with an acorn in his mouth.
The acorn hits me on my forehead wrinkles. Squeaks starts making lots of noise.
Is he laughing at me?
I think he is. Squeaks runs across his branch to another tree, darts down the tree, and races back up the tree above my head. I look up to see he has another acorn. I’m not falling for that twice! I scamper to the right, and the acorn falls to my left. Squeaks leaps to a nearby tree branch and runs down the trunk. I run to the tree and meet him at the bottom of the trunk. Squeaks and I arrive simultaneously. We are looking into each others’ eyes. I freeze, unsure what to do.
Squeaks makes the first move. He grabs another acorn, runs back up the tree, and finds his place above me. I stay still. Clunk! Squeaks makes more noise. I air kick below him, kicking leaves, dirt, and grass everywhere. I hear more squeaking and look above. Squeaks is smiling. I smile back and look into Squeaks’ eyes. He returns the eye contact, implying we are not enemies–we are friends.
“Z, time to go inside,” Hannah yells. I bark a goodbye to Squeaks and trot back inside.