Jivvy stumbled over a few rocks, making his way over to a well-hidden burrow. A young, plump genet named Rogue followed eagerly, glassy eyes glinting in the fresh afternoon sun.
"So... this is it?"
"This is it," replied Jivvy, nodded toward the entrance of the burrow. "It's a lovely little cottage-styled hole. Not only do those Impala Lilies decorate the walkway; they do a nice job of shielding you from the scorching sun AND pesky predators-- such as horned owls and snakes! A wonderful habitat to raise a... family..."
His voice suddenly trailed off like the breezy summer wind.
Chiptole. Paprika. Gremley.
Jivvy crouched in the horrid memories of the flood. Just barely clinging onto a limber tree branch, his mate Surara screeched for her life. Her infants had to survive.
Though the damaging water rushing past almost caused her to lose grip, Surara held on firmly, edging herself to higher ground. Her "nest" was not far from the branch she hung from.
Suddenly a sweeping gust of water blew in, carrying the frantic mother away. "No!" she cried, paddling in vain at the strong waves which swept her away. "No! They'll die! Jivvy! No!"
Those were her last words.
Jivvy attempted to hide the anxiety creeping in, but alas, it was etched on his face.
"I'm fine," the smoky black genet groaned.
Rogue sighed. "Jivvy, if you want, just don't mention the... you know... okay? Don't even speak of fami... err..."
"No, it's alright. Now are you interested or not?"
Rogue shrugged. "I guess I'll have to take a peek inside."
He poked his flabby head inside (it barely fit) and gasped at what he saw, nestled asleep in the far corner of the burrow. A... a garter snake!! he thought in terror, trying to yank his head out. ...But it was too big for the entrance!
"Oh brother..." snuffed Jivvy, grabbing Rogue's tail and pulling as hard as he could.
To no avail. The overweight genet's squeak awoke the snake, who angrily slithered over to him and chomped his nose. "Ow! Thank Kudu you garters aren't toxic!"
"Out of my cave!" commanded the intruded hisser. "Out! Out!"
With a final tug, Rogue's large head finally squeezed out of the entrance. Breathing a sigh of relief, he turned to Jivvy and said: "Thanks... but I don't think I'm ready for a home yet. Maybe my sister still has room in her rotting tree trunk? I heard there are many delectable grubs to munch there."
Selghi carefully swept her lair with a band of discarded pine needles. Dragging her paw-made broom around the dusty ground, she began to hum a soft tune her mother had taught her when she was but a small pelt:
A tidy home is
A happy home is
A lovely home is
A perfect home.
Tidy the house will
Please your Mum will
Earn you some plump mice for lunch!
Ever since, Selghi had been a busy, productive helper and cleaner. She was also a thoughtful, helpful, and grateful she-genet; grateful for living on higher ground during the flash flood; grateful for being able to cope with her father's unfortunate death (he was secretly hunting in Hyacinth Savanna territory, where prey was once plentiful, during the flood).
Selghi now resided with her mother and Auntie Lika. She loved them both dearly, but always felt... well... empty.
Until she met Jivvy.