Bogged Down in Doubt

Glad you could join us for the next mind-boggling episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…

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Photo credit: Matt Suess

Barry’s powerful frog kicks launched them forward so quickly, in moments they had left the burning woods and its evil spirit behind. They streaked on in utterly dark wetness.

Elliot had no idea how far they were below the surface nor how soon — if ever — they would rise to the top. The bubble trapped in his shell gave little buoyancy under the weight that compressed his world into a compact snail-shaped hole in the river.

If I felt like this on dry land, I would break out in a cold sweat. I hope my dear Cassandra doesn’t suffer in the same way.

Would he live to find out? The gash in his tail seared like molten lava. Speckles were beginning to float before his eyes, and he feared the coming of a darker shade of black.

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That Sinking Feeling

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Photo credit: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel

“Take a deep breath and hold on!” Barry shouted to his passengers.

They burst through the front line of the fire into a clearing on the edge of the river. Elliot shot a last look over his shoulder. Yvonne was gaining on them. We’re goners, he thought, closing his eyes against their imminent violent end.

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Hot Pursuit

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Photo credit: suzi044

Elliot pitched the sweat-soaked lump of fluff at Yvonne’s head as Cassandra launched herself onto Barry’s back. Elliot vaulted up behind her and stuck himself to her shell as Barry plunged from branch to branch, closer and closer to the flaming hell below.

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Barry

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Photo credit: Lars Van De Goor

“Hey, I’m Barry. Good ta make yer acquaintance. When I heard youse callin’, I was on my way ta da Floor — it’s gonna be a hot time down dere tonight. Looks like youse are stuck in a nesty situation.” He paused as though he were waiting for some kind of appreciative response.

The flames below flared as they struck the tree next door. Ash and glowing cinders swirled around them.

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Lesson # 1

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Photo credit: Bill Beck

“Cassandra! Come quick!” Elliot called.

“What is it?” she yawned, scaling the side of the nest to join him at the top where she saw the approaching fire. “Oh, my! It’s a good thing it’s raining, isn’t it?”

The rain stopped. The flames continued.

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Storm Coming

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Photo credit: dailygalaxy.com

Yvonne swiveled her head over her shoulder to face a rising breeze as thickening gray blotted out the lunar glow. She sniffed the air and turned back to her rapt audience.

“It was on a night like this,” she murmured in a sing-song tone,  more to herself than to them. “The wind-gathered clouds glowered in the moonlight till they devoured the lonely moon, and the only light came from lightning on the horizon.”

She blinked once at Elliot and Cassandra. “A storm is coming. You’ll have to stay the night.”

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Zen There Was One

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Photo credit: dreamworlds.ru

The moon had climbed only a branch or two higher in the tree when Yvonne returned with dinner to find Elliot cleaning dried blood from a slash on his girlfriend’s neck.

Looking away, she patiently reminded herself that her own savory kill still dripped from her talons, and she lay a beakful of mold-garnished leafy greens and a spongy-plump mushroom at their feet. Then, because that suffocating need to show well had woken from its long sleep, she couldn’t stop herself from discreetly tossing tufts of fur and shards of bone down to the charred forest floor.

Resentment simmered in her veins.

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