From the shoreline of the back end of Dino Island, a tall and slender tree holds a steady gaze over The Mink as he initiates a prowl across the beachway.
The Mink has the crawdad cornered now, there’s no way it could escape. It doesn’t seem to be aware of The Mink’s presence – up until now, every time the cocky not-so-little crayfish has left the safety of its hidden burrow, it has raised up a single claw and punctured the surface of the Reservoir in a show of dominance over those who may wish to see it chewed up and swallowed. Each and every time the opportunity presented itself the hungry Mink pounced at the claw, and each and every time the claw wound up being a taunt. But this time is different – now there is no claw sticking into the air. The crawdad rests there in the shallow waters, his antennae feeling out the flow of the current, his beady black eyes scanning restlessly for plankton or whatever it is the crawdads eat that gives their meat that distinct flavor, that wonderfully sought-after palate of the shelled thing, equally delectable as it is desirable, a taste like mousemeat seasoned with fish scales and marinated in the blood of all those who would do The Mink as The Mink would do the crawdad.
Will do the crawdad, that is, for The Mink is not one to be trifled with in such a gross, defiant manner. White chin to the ground, The Mink prowls up with a deftness heretofore unheard of; he doesn’t even leave footprints in the pebbly sand.
As he approaches the island’s edge and gets a good clean look at the target of his endless pursuit, The Mink’s eyes widen and his prowl comes to a halt. His fur stands up on end. His purr lowers drastically in pitch, resembling a growl. His back legs tighten, ready to pounce, but not to decimate his prey. The crawdad he hunts now is not the devious meaty-clawed crawdad obsessed with taunting his predators, it’s not even a crawdad at all, it is merely a molted shell left, nay, strategically placed in the shallow waters where The Mink would see it best. Placed there to lure The Mink into a false sense of security, to make the furry creature lower his guard so he wouldn’t be able to see from the eyes in the back of his head. A daring plan, as heinous as it is well thought out, and it almost worked, too. If today’s sky had not been so clear, the great shine not shining so brightly, the surface of the Reservoir not so calm, reflective, still, The Mink never would have seen it coming.
In the water’s sharp reflection, The Mink sees a tall and slender tree standing over him, grayish blue wings spanned, stilted legs bent, long and slender beak shut and primed for the strike. In the moment before he leaps to the water, The Mink realizes something of dire importance, something he should have realized much earlier in the shinecycle, something he will never make the mistake of misidentifying again.
In the reflection of Monksville, The Mink focuses his eyes on Hyrdios the great blue heron, the mighty dinosaur of Dino Island. Its razor beak impales the sand, catching a single strand of fur from The Mink’s tail as he hops like a rabbit and disappears into the water like a weasel into the brush.
Sand and pebbles spray in the air like a thick fog as Hyrdios draws his beak back and frawnks with rage and hanger. With a flap of his powerful grayish blue wings he clears the divide between island and lake and plants his sinister black-taloned feet deep into the soaked sand.
Thus the jabbing begins.
The water runs brown with clouds of dust. No blood is spilled.
Thus the jabbing continues.
On the other side of the island, The Mink leaps from the water like a dipper duck with a beak full of fish. It sees the heron mercilessly slaughtering the water and all the nothing which inhabits it and cannot help but purr out in satisfaction – the great blue beast which haunts the two islands like the screeching owl does the night has finally faltered, and by what but the talented paws of The Mink no less. Evading such a monstrous wing’ed beast is easily The Mink’s greatest accomplishment, never before has he escaped such certain death… but yet it’s not enough. This heron may have stalked these shallow waters since the Reservoir was filled, but this island belongs to The Mink now; he will not have an interloper on his shores.
As he pounces forth from behind the heron, The Mink lets rip a threatening hiss which builds up into a ragged death scream. He sinks his tiny but deadly teeth into the thigh of the heron and relishes in his first taste of heron blood, a fishy taste he may never experience again.
The great blue heron frawnks in agony and abandons his venture. Droplets of water and blood rain down from his flailing legs as he lifts into the air, taking The Mink with him. The heron does not fly high, not high at all, but still he covers a great distance with each of his gale-force wingflaps.
The Mink relinquishes his grip on the dinosaur bird’s dry and bony thigh halfway across the Northern Leg, long before he could be carried over to the rockslide of a shore that waits on the other side. As he splashes into the water, The Mink purrs with a vitality which causes the surface to dance like tree leaves in a monsoon. The island is won, the menace is evicted. The Mink, swimming stealthily to avoid being seen by the next wingflapper who dares to test his wiles, makes his slow return to Dino Island.
This has been the twelfth subchapter of the fourth chapter of the book The Monksville Chronicles. Here is everything you need to know about it:
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
The Hillside Commons has a Facebook page. Here’s that.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~