It was a bright and shining day, but Nuttingham wouldn't want anything to do with it. He was happy simply sleeping all day long because it was the only time he could adventure. Nuttingham the Squirrel, a young, wild, and highly imaginative squirrel who stood 2 feet tall and was 14 years old. He had red fur with some white fur along his snout, hands, tummy, and back of his tail. He wore a cap made out of straw and twigs woven together along with his shoes. His vest was nothing more than a piece of yellow burlap that had holes ripped on it. Because the community was quite small, he had yet a home of his own, so the village chief gave him the granary to sleep in where he used the sacks of grain as his bed. He's been sleeping in the granary for his entire life and yet they still have not even begun planning where to build his home. Not that Nuttingham cared because the granary was just fine for him, even though it was a big empty room with one window and nothing but bags of nuts and grain for the winter. But to him it was not uncomfortable because he had his big bushy tail that was as big as he was that he used as a pillow and blanket all the same. So comfortable that he had trouble waking up for his chores. His sister, on a daily basis, would have to wake him up by means of smacking him, and today was no exception. His sister, Dawn, was a raccoon. A light brown raccoon with dark purple stripes that looked black unless you got in real close. Nothing unusual from any other raccoon. Well, except for the white hands, which was unique to Dawn.
"Ah sis," said Nuttingham, grudgingly, "why did you wake me up now? I was having that dream again where I'm a great hero."
Dawn replied, "You can have dreams when it's night time. Daytime means chores."
"We need you to get more apples, so get to it."
"Right now? Can't it wait till later?"
"No. Now get to it."
Nuttingham wasn't too happy about being woken up from his favorite dream where he becomes a great hero, exploring the world with new found friends, fighting evil from sinister enemies. You see, Nuttingham has a desire to adventure. He wishes to see the world outside of his village and explore. However, the village chief has forbidden him from leaving the area, much to the distress of Nuttingham.
Having no choice but to listen to his sister, Nuttingham climbs up the stairs of the granary entrance into the grass of the outside. "Ah, such a nice day." says Nuttingham, "I should finish my chores fast so I can play in the forest." The small unnamed village of an unknown area. The residents of this village have been living here for centuries, never learning anything about the outside world. There is no record of anyone leaving the village into the outer forest. Perhaps because the populace of this village do not know the concept of reading or writing. They know only of what they have learned since days of old. The village is quite small, around 2 miles in, literally, a straight line. This strip is quite small compared to a large city, but to the villagers, it is enough for there are roughly 70 raccoons living in this vicinity. They live in small huts made out of straw and leaves. They are small enough to only house at least 2 adult raccoons and at least 2 raccoon children with fencing to separate properties. To be specific about the area, only the first mile is habitable. They do not exit into the forest on the east side, where the world awaits, but have secluded the second mile, which is a piece of forest where they get their food. Unlike the mile long housing that is their homes, the harvested forest is more wide open. It is still enclosed in fencing so getting lost is not possible. This forested area is wild indeed but, at the same time, still tamed to provide necessities such as food and water, as well as keep away the wild monsters. At the end of the forest, there is a cliff where the forest ends. Truly this is a peaceful village one could simply relax and let the days go by without worry. Nuttingham, however, did not want any of that. The very eager squirrel wanted to venture. He wanted excitement. He wanted to learn new things. The only way he got these were in the campfire events where the villagers would gather around and tell tall tales and legends of old. Other than that, there was nothing to do for the young squirrel that would appease his desire to adventure. That is why his only escape was the secluded forest. As much as he could, he would spend his hours playing in the forest, pretending to be a great hero, exploring his own little world that he has created, and going on his own adventures. But that was for later because now he had to do chores as his sister instructed. His first order of the day was to pick fruit from the trees. He headed towards the forest, greeting his fellow raccoon folk, whom all apparently looked the same. At least to the untrained eye they would but Nuttingham knew everyone of them by name.
"Hello Nuttingham. Finally up I see."
"Yeah. If only I didn't have a sister, I would still be in the sack."
Nuttingham continues on, walking to the forest, which was a 4 minute walk from the granary he slept in.
"Run, how's it going?"
"Leave me alone, Nuttingham."
"Always cheerful I see."
By this time, everyone was up, working on their assigned task. The day, as his sister said, was for chores. All day, they would work until sunset, when they were allowed to stop for the remainder of the day, relax, and have fun. This included Nuttingham but he didn't always follow this rule.
"Hey there, Moon."
"Gonna go pick some oranges today?"
"Yup. Apples as well."
Nuttingham was close to the secluded forest when he spotted a fellow female raccoon who was trying to get water from a water pump.
"Good morning, Sunlight."
"Hi Nuttingham. Can you help me with this water pump? It's stuck again."
Nuttingham happily accepted. "Sure thing." he answered and started to fiddle with the pump. His sister had appeared behind the two as she witnessed Nuttingham trying to fix the pump by himself.
"Nuttingham," she said, "what are you doing?"
"Hey sis. I'm helping Sunshine to get this water pump to work."
"Oh no. Nuttingham, every time you try to fix the water pump, you end up breaking it and we end up having to call Forest Fire to fix it."
"Well I won't let it happen this time." Nuttingham grabbed on the handle firmly and pulled it down with all his weight but he did not realize this as he was not paying attention. SNAP! The handle, along with Nuttingham, fell down into the grass. His sister looked on with angry eyes as she crossed her hands knowing full well this was going to happen. All Nuttingham could answer was "Someone call Forest Fire."
Not too long, a raccoon, this one having grayish and faded brown fur, suddenly came. "Hi guys." he said, "Broke the handle again, ey Nuttingham?"
"Oh, knock it off." scoffed Nuttingham.
"You be quiet, Nuttingham." scolded his sister. "I keep telling you not to attempt to fix the water pump by yourself."
"I was just trying to help."
"Well because of that, you have to go and chop wood after you pick fruit."
"WHAT? Oh come on sis. You gotta be kidding. Why do I gotta do that?"
"Because Forest Fire is the one in charge of getting us firewood, but now he's gotta fix the water pump. Now hurry up with the fruit, because you are going to be chopping a lot of wood."
"Oh brother. I can't believe this!" Nuttingham could say no more. Forest Fire was in charge of chopping wood, a very tiring job. However, he was now busy fixing the only water pump in the area. It was either fix the pump or carry buckets of water from the stream in the secluded forest, and no one liked having to carry buckets of heavy water for hours on end. So Nuttingham, angrily, marched on to the forest to continue his chores.
"I can't believe I got to chop wood as well." Nuttingham said as he now entered the forest. "This sucks. Ugh. I guess I better get started on the fruit picking." Just as he finished saying this, something fell down from the tree quickly. "BOOOOO!" it yelled. Nuttingham screamed as he was knocked back onto his tail on the floor. However, it was only a boy raccoon.
"HA HA HA," said the boy, "I can't believe you keep getting scared so easily."
"LUCKY!" yelled Nuttingham. "You gotta stop doing that!"
Lucky was a small male child raccoon. He was the only one that understood Nuttingham's desire for adventure (or at least to Nuttingham's knowledge). He and Nuttingham would pretend to go on adventures in the forest and play for hours on end. Lucky was truly the only one Nuttingham could confine in with his wishes of excitement.
"Chill out Nuttingham. I'm just kidding."
"Well you do it so often, I guess I should be used to it."
"Come on Nuttingham. Let's play."
"I can't. I got to do chores."
"Yes again. I do them everyday and today, I gotta chop wood as well." Then an idea came to Nuttingham. "Hey Lucky, help me out with my chores. That way, I'll be done faster."
"Chores? Those are boring." Figuring that Nuttingham was not going to play with him, Lucky started to head back to the village. "I'm going to go home and get something to eat."
Suddenly a female raccoon was heard from the distance. "Lucky," it was Lucky's mother. "can you come here please? We need you to mix the compost heap." Lucky's eyes widened at the thought of doing such a unpleasant job. He turned around quickly and started walking into the forest again, shoving Nuttingham forward. "Uhh...I can't mom!" he yelled back, "I'm helping Nuttingham pick apples!" Now he directed his attention to Nuttingham. "Come on, come on, let's go before she finds me."
"Hey, " said Nuttingham, "quit shoving." And thus Nuttingham's chores began. The duo set out into the middle of the forest where the fruit groves were. There were not many as the forest was a mile long and most of the surrounding area were wild trees not cultivated. Those trees were used for their leaves and maybe bug hunting but the domesticated trees were used for firewood and harvesting fruit and nuts were all in this small area. Nuttingham was tasked with climbing the trees, as he was the best climber, while Lucky had to catch and put them into a pile.
"Are you sure you don't want to be the one to get the apples?" asked Nuttingham, who wanted to give Lucky a chance at the task as he was worried Lucky could not do his part.
"I'm telling you, it's okay." answered Lucky, who was fine with his position.
"These apples are kinda big. You may not be able to get them."
"I'm telling you it's alright. How big can an apple be?"
Nuttingham just said okay and left him to his job. "Here comes the first one." Nuttingham grasped the apple and threw it into the ground. Lucky saw the apple but suddenly got wide eyed as the apple smashed itself against Lucky's face. The apple turned out to be as big as Lucky's entire body. These were the normal size apples in this orchard. Nuttingham dropped from the tree unto the ground. "You okay?" he asked a dizzy Lucky.
The day went on as the two young boys collected apples. Nuttingham knew there was still much to do but Lucky was already fed up.
"Are we done yet?" he asked.
"No. We still need to get oranges."
"This is tiring work."
"For who? I'm the one climbing the trees and dropping the apples."
"Yeah, but I'm the one whose gotta drag the apples and pile them."
"What's so hard about that? Besides, you don't even have to drag them. You can just roll them on the ground."
"In this tall grass?"
As they were walking and talking, they came across the hole. In the middle of the secluded forest, there lies a hole, not too big, around 19 inches in diameter. It just lies there in front of two trees with nothing bothering it besides bugs. Nuttingham and Lucky had always been curious about the hole.
"Hey," said Lucky, "have you ever wondered if there was anything down there."
"Yeah." answered Nuttingham. "I've been meaning to explore this hole eventually. Come on, let's keep going."
Leaving the hole behind for another time, they continued with their jobs but the two kept on with their conversation. Lucky continued from where he last left off. "So have you decided when you are going to go on an adventure?"
"Yeah, whenever I get the chance."
"So are you going to go on an adventure now?
"I wish. The elder won't let me go. He keeps saying it's too dangerous for me to go on a journey alone."
"Because of monsters." Nuttingham targets a tree and proceeds to climb it to get oranges. He continued. "He says there are monsters everywhere outside the village and that I would not survive alone."
"But didn't you fight off that giant spider that attacked our village a year ago?"
"Yeah, but he still doesn't want me to go. So I'm stuck in this village, probably for the rest of my life." Nuttingham grabbed the last orange he could and plopped it down on the floor. "Okay, that should be enough oranges." Nuttingham dropped from the tree into the floor and started running off. "Stack them up for me, Lucky."
"Wait, where are you going?"
Nuttingham ran forward. He was heading off into his secret spot. It was a part of the cliff, only this part was behind some thick tree linings, making it hard to find. The majority of the cliff was covered with trees, making it hard to make out anything beyond them. However, in the secret spot, you would end up in a very small ledge that was around 2 and a half yards devoid of trees blocking the view. A rock sat underneath a dead tree that had holes on it's trunk, as if to make a face consisting of two round holes for eyes and a jagged broken section for a mouth, however Nuttingham does not see this for it might frighten him if he did. It was his little secret spot. Well except for the fact that Lucky knew of it as well.
"So," caught up Lucky, "you were heading towards your secret spot."
"Yeah. I like it here. It's the only place in this village that lets me see a piece of the world."
"What do you mean?"
"Well our village is covered with trees. But here, you can see the big water. You can also see the purple mountains." The big water Nuttingham was referring to was an ocean. High on the cliff, he had a clear view of an endless ocean that stretched from the west and on the east were, what Nuttingham dubbed, the purple mountains. The purple mountains consisted of hills that were purple in color due to unknown circumstances. Circumstances that Nuttingham wanted so desperate to find out. Behind these hills were actual mountains. There were two rows with small mountains behind the purple hills and even bigger mountains behind the smaller ones. These bigger mountains had snow covering the top and clouds that were floating behind them. Ever since he has discovered this secret location, he has looked upon this beautiful picture and pondered for hours on end on what adventures he could have. At first it was a wonder but now he has accepted that this was the natural state of this scenery, even if he did not understand why the hills were purple, why the bigger of the mountains were covered in white, or even what the white covering was. It was all so foreign to him, and that excited his desires even more.
"I always come here just to wonder what is on those mountains. To think it's just right there in front of me but I can't even reach my hand to touch them, let alone go over there."
"You sure are a dreamer, Nuttingham."
"Someday, someday for sure, I'll be able to go to those mountains, and then go beyond them and see the world." Nuttingham's daydream would have to end however because there was much to be done. "Come on. We gotta chop wood now."
"Yeah. You agreed to help me, remember?"
"Pick fruit, but not chop wood."
"Well would you rather go mix compost?"
The two rascals ran off, back to the forest, leaving the secret place alone once more. In the endless skies from this area, Nuttingham only looked at the mountains, calling him to come to them. However, little did he know that the skies were also beckoning him, for at this spot, at the dark hours of the night, there was a specific star that was visible then. In this star, adventures were already happening.
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