Thursday, May 31, 2012

Behind the Fridge Door: Chapter 2

This morning, Linda gave me human classes. Humans have hands and feet instead of paws, and no tail! They also have no fur, but they wear something Linda calls clothes. They sound pretty silly to me. She also tried to teach me cursive handwriting. Look, I wrote my name! Cameron Sammy says it’s illegible (whatever that means) and Linda says maybe I should stick to print. She says things very kindly, but I can tell she doesn’t like my cursive. Oh, well. I’ll learn. Maybe. I wonder what weird thing I’ll learn about humans tomorrow. There has to be lots more.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Behind the Fridge Door: Chapter 1

Hello! I’m Cameron. My family and I live in a human house. I have two sisters and a brother. Their names are Linda, Sammy, and Rosie. I’m a third mouseling. Daddy goes out every morning and tries to gather some scraps. The fridge is the place where all the really delicious stuff is, but the door’s too heavy. Someday, I’m going to get into the fridge. It would be really exciting! I sometimes have writing lessons with Linda, and sometimes Sammy shows me how to make a paper airplane and throw it correctly. Linda’s really nice to me, but sometimes she uses a little too much baby-talk. I wish they would sometimes remember I’m a big mouse now. I can write, I can read, and I can help Mommy make scrap pancakes. Also, I’ll be the first mouse to get in the fridge, someday!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dragon Fire: Chapter 11

Sonia looked over, and saw that everyone looked slightly different-a little older than when she’d first met them. Oh, great, thought Sonia. In the morning, I guess we’ll find out how many months we’ve been away… and that they did. After spending the remainder of the night in extremely dusty bunks, thy went downstairs to breakfast to find that they attracted a lot of attention. Georgia looked very displeased to see them, as though she had been beginning to hope that they’d never come back, and everyone else just stared and whispered. Ruby ran up. Sonia immediately asked “ How long have we been in the time stream?” “Oh, that’s where you were! You’ve been away for-well-if you had been here, this would be the feast at the end of your 2nd year.” Nick nearly choked on his pancakes. “2nd?!” “I am so going to flunk this test!” Pete moaned “Nicolette, I am going to get you!” Sonia was feeling shocked, and Colin just looked resigned. The next day, they took the test, achieved a C+ each, and gasped with relief when they were informed that they had just passed. Sonia spent the last few days begging Nicolette for the spell that made a huge pool in the school grounds, trying very hard not to use her fire at all in dragon form, and inviting Robert, who turned out to be a very nice boy, to go out for ice cream with them. When she finally was flying back to the orphanage again, (Ruby had insisted that she had to), she knew that this summer, for the first time, she’d have something to look forward to in the fall. The End

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dragon Fire: Chapter 10

That night, when Sonia’s mother returned from a tiring night of helping the police deal with the explosion on Bluegrass Hill, she found a strange tape lying on the kitchen on he kitchen. She called her husband in, and played the tape. It showed a cave in the forest with-how did the staff get in that cave? Then, a voice said “A magical staff was sent in a time stream to a cave in the future.” A few sparks that looked like the kind from the explosion that night rolled into the cave, followed by fire that looked suspiciously dragon. “Then, one day, the staff burned in a forest fire,” continued the voice. “The only safe place anywhere around the area was the Shape Shifters’ school.” The children listening at the window withdrew their faces. “I think it worked!” said Sonia, feeling relieved and glad that they’d had the dragon, Pete’s sparks, and been near the cave so they could tape it. “They should send it to the school when they use the time stream.” “We really owe it to your dream. Without your knowing what the staff looked like, Nick and Pete wouldn’t have known to use their Glo-Gel on the stick.” Sonia smiled, feeling complete. “Now, let’s go home, Nicolette. Nick, Pete, Colin, make sure you’ve got everything. Nicolette?” Nicolette was now looking worried. “Well, Sonia, there’s a problem. When people travel back in time, they exit time, and enter another year. But the time of the place they exit doesn’t stand still. We-” “You mean we could come back and find that we’re in school with Georgia’s grandchildren! Why didn’t you tell us before?” Sonia yelled. “Well, nothing we can do about that now,” said Nicolette, trying to gloss over the guilt in her voice with a matter-of-fact tone, and began the spell. When she got to the part with the pictured place, Sonia tried to pull her anger in. She knew that the slightest blur in her head image could ruin the spell. She felt a tug and reappeared in the Bluesea dormitory.

Dragon Fire: Chapter 9

That night, Sonia was awakened by two things: a whiff of smoke and a sound halfway between a whimper and a yelp. She opened her eyes to find Colin, flattening himself to the wall, cowering in the shadow of a huge dragon! Sonia’s dragon instincts kicked in, and she transformed. She’d always gotten aggressive at the orphanage when someone else was on her bed or stealing one of her things. She now supposed it was dragon territorial defensiveness. Now, though she was the trespasser, she felt the same way and roared. The other dragon turned, claws ready to attack anyone who dared distract it from its next meal, and Colin slid away. The others awoke, and Nick and Pete took one look at the dragon and morphed into two identical tigers, setting upon the poor beast. Nicolette, hesitating to turn into her fox, cried “Look out,” as a jet of flame singed Sonia’s wingtip. Sonia gave out a gasp, and a shower of sparks met the dragon’s flames, one flying towards a tank of highly flammable liquid belonging to the boys. Nicolette took one look at the spark soaring towards Nick and Pete’s experiment and yelled, “Quick! Get away from the jar!” Nick dragged the dragon out too, moments before the whole hill exploded. Pete grabbed an extra jar from his ever-full pockets and caught some flying sparks. “For later experiments,” he explained. Nicolette stood, hands on hips. “It’s one of your ‘experiments’ that blew up that hill!” “Everyone! I just had an idea!” Sonia exclaimed. “Pete, do you have a video camera in your pockets?”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Blog girl" in the style of Norman Rockwell

One day, my older sister Rebecca came home with a funny silver case she calls a "laptop". It has "keys" with letters on them, and when she presses them the letters appear on the screen. She says it's a new invention. She sends messages to her friends on it. I asked her where she got it, and she laughed and told me "It's much too expensive for you, Rosie." I think she's right. I only have $9.50. Still, Rebecca lets me occasionally "type" on it. She says it'll help when I finally can afford a laptop if I already know how to type. I think laptops are cool. They should have one at my school.

Monday, May 21, 2012

On a Norman Rockwell painting

Today, our family decides to go to the zoo. Grandma sits in the back, Mother and Father sit up front, and in Lucas's lap, Woofster barks in tune to Robin's yells of "We're going to the zoo!" I, as always, have to sit in the middle with Lucas, but today I don't care. I blow huge pink sticky bubbles, which pop when Lucas leans across me, looks out the window, and yells "We're here!" We get out, and see giraffes, elephants, lions, tigers, monkeys, and zebras until 4:00. Then, finally, Mother yawns "Time to go!" Everyone piles back into the car, and Grandma looks on the verge of sleep. Father is so tired he almost crashes the car 3 times, and the boys are looking glazed. My bubbles are growing smaller and smaller, and finally I fall asleep and Woofster jumps into my lap.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dragon Fire: Chapter 8

Sonia was very embarrassed. Nick and Pete had remembered some old clothes of theirs that they’d thought might make useful disguises, and which (fortunately for the plan but not so much for Sonia ) had been in their pockets. Sonia had to disguise herself for her talk with her parents, or years later when Sonia was a kindergartener, a villager who’d been at the scene now might recognize Sonia. So that is why, after much argument, Sonia could be found standing in front of her house; hair bunned by Nicolette and experiment-stained shirt and shorts donated by Nick and Pete. She knocked, and her father’s face appeared at the door, worried at first but then splitting into a wide grin. “Dear, the trick-or-treaters have started arriving!” Trick-or-treaters? Sonia gasped. It must have been Halloween! Sonia realized that she had no idea whatsoever how to tell her parents what they needed to know. Also, glancing at the bush where the others were hiding, Nick and Pete probably couldn’t keep quiet much longer. “Uhhh,” said Sonia. “Achoo!” said the bush. “Who is it?” her father called. “You can come out!” The whole bush stood up. Sonia guessed Nicolette was using a lifting charm. “Trick or treat!” said the bush, in Pete’s voice. Sonia’s father, looking quite overwhelmed, gave the bush and Sonia each a selection of candy, and then they went of. Sonia said. “Put that bush back, Nicolette,” said Sonia, and the bush flew back to its proper place, revealing a guilty-looking Nicolette, and the others, howling with laughter. That night they camped in a cave on top of a hill, and they vowed tot ry again later.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dragon Fire: Chapter 7

Sonia and her friends spent the next 4 weeks planning their quest. During those weeks January came, and they had an extravagant feast to celebrate the new year. Finally, on Valentine’s Day, they were ready. Sonia climbed down from her bunk, and found a Valentine that sang a song when you opened it. It contained a delicate locket, and it was from a boy named Robert. She put it on and went down to breakfast. That evening, Sonia, Colin, and the triplets gathered in the dormitory to attempt the tricky time stream. Nicolette, their best spell-caster, stood in front of the water fountain and took a deep breath. “Everybody make a chain. And be careful, people have been known to lose body parts in time streams.” “How comforting,” one of the boys muttered. “I find that very consoling, Nick.” Nicolette took a deep breath, and told them “When I finish the incantation, step into the fountain.” She began to chant: “We 5 kids through time must travel, so the path of the years we now unravlel. Transport us now through time and space, and send us to the pictured place.” Sonia had practiced this part because only she could do it, and she thought hard about the cave in the woods, 10 years ago. They all stepped into the fountain, and instantly found themselves in the place of Sonia’s dream. Sonia looked around, and as shocked to see that all her comrades had turned into- Oh no, thought Sonia, let this be another dream. All of them had turned back into their kindergarten age selves, and when she looked at herself in the reflective cave crystals, she found she had too! Everyone giggled at each other’s appearances for a minute, then sat down to construct a plan.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dragon Fire: Chapter 6

After her detention, Sonia could barely keep her eyes open. Nicolette kept saying “I told you so,” and Colin just looked sorry for her. That night Sonia dreamed that her mother was holding her hand in a cave in the forest, and a long, ivy-covered glowing staff was on the wall, behind a blue shield. Then her mother transformed into a doe and carried the staff off. The scene changed. She was in a cozy room, and her parents were taking a long staff out of a closet. Her father stood by the window, and her mother said some strange words and threw the staff into the fire. Sonia woke up, and recalled her dream. So her parents had had the staff, but they had hidden it-where? She told Nicolette, Colin, and the boys about the dream, and when Nicolette heard the words Sonia’s mom had said, she gasped. “Sonia, your parents used a time stream! They sent the staff to a different time!” Sonia sounded relieved. “Good. I was afraid they’d destroyed it.” “But Sonia, that’s the thing!” Nicolette sounded extremely worried. “Your parents were taking a great risk. You see, time streams put shields in front of the transported thing or person once they reach the chosen time. These shields can resist anything-except for the element that made the stream. There was a forest fire in the area you said the staff was in years ago-” “And my parents used fire!” finished Sonia. “The staff could have burned!” “There’s only one way to save it now!” said Nicolette. “We’ve got to go back in time and stop your parents!”

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dragon Fire: Chapter 5

Sonia heard about a greedy demon king and his all-powerful magical staff, his son whom, with the fairies’ help, overthrew him, and how the magic staff was stolen from the greedy king when he tried to hide it away. Sonia realized something. “He thought my parents had it! That’s why he kidnapped my mother!” Nicolette nodded. Sonia went on. “If the staff is here, we’re all in danger, too! We’ve got to protect it!” “But we can’t protect it if we don’t know where it is,” said Colin. “Well, tonight I’m going to watch for suspicious activity. Is anyone else coming?” Sonia announced Sonia. “We will!” yelled Nick and Pete, obviously not caring if they broke 100 school rules. Nicolette looked uncertain. “But, Sonia-” “Don’t worry,” Sonia said. “I have a hunch that I know where the staff is.” That night, after Nicolette and Colin’s long talk with them, trying to persuade them that the staff was in no danger whatsoever, the trio stood outside the most forbidden room in the place; the room where the most dangerous potions and plants were kept. Sonia was sure that it was in there, and Nick and Pete were delighted to have an excuse for breaking rules to give their strict triplet. Suddenly, someone cried “Aha!” and Sonia groaned. They had been cornered by Georgia and her friends, and the gang had closed a circle around them. “We’ll have to report you,” chided Georgia. “That room is out of bounds and you are up past the limit.” Sonia could have argued that she, too, was awake past 9:00, but now was not the time. Their plant studies teacher and Ruby were coming towards them, and Professor Montgomery was calling “All of you! Detention!” Ruby looked disappointed as she looked across the little group and saw Sonia standing guiltily in the center. Sonia was disappointed in herself. Tomorrow evening she would have extra transformation practice for her trouble.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dragon Fire: Chapter 4

Sonia’s first class was Juniper’s. They were learning to change shape more easily, and she soon discovered that it was about as easy as potting a thorn bush in a carrot-size pot. Colin’s mane grew and subsided throughout class, and Sonia’s wings just wouldn’t stay there. Juniper seemed to expect a lot more than what first-timers should be capable of, and gave them a mountain of homework. The next class was plant studies with Greenbush, and was made quite a lot worse than it should have been by he bully Sonia had faced down, who happened to be in Greenbush. Her name apparently was Georgia, which you couldn’t mistake when she started showing off for their teacher. She, like most bullies, had her friends with her for protection, so Sonia couldn’t do more than shoot her a fiery glare. Finally, after every healing property of the loorgler had been examined, they finally went out to lunch in the courtyards and hoped none of Georgia’s friends sat down next to them. Instead, two boys and a girl, triplets, sat down on either side of tem. The boys’ bright red hair looked like it had yet to meet a comb and their shirt had several multicolor stains on them, but the girl’s hair was neatly plaited into two swishy red braids and she said ‘Hello. I’m Nicolette, and these are my brothers, Nick and Pete. Who are you?” Sonia and Colin introduced themselves, and one of the boys, eager to start a chat, said “They’re saying the Demon Kings treasure I somewhere in this school!” “Demon?” asked Sonia, interested. The other boy, looking incredulous, said “You don’t know about the Demon King’s treasure?” “Nick, let me tell them,” Nicolette began. “Many years ago…”

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dragon Fire: Chapter 3

Ruby stiffened. “You really want to know?” “Yes.” said Sonia, firmly. She knew they knew, and she wanted to know, too. “Very well. Your mother-she was kidnapped by the demon king when you were 1 year old. She was a Shape Shifter; your father was not. He was taken to a permanent hospital because when he told them what happened to your mother they thought he was having hallucinations.” Sonia gaped. “Why-” Ruby cut her off. “Get some sleep.” Sonia obliged. The next morning, Ruby shook her awake at 7:30. “Do I really have to?” Sonia yawned. “First day you get assigned to your cabin, so you’ve got to be up super early. It’s not so bad the rest of term.” Ruby informed her. Sonia stomach churned. “What if-” Ruby hurried her to the breakfast chamber, where she enjoyed the most splendid breakfast she’d ever tasted. She would have sat there for hours, had Ruby not jumped up and said “Good grief, we’re running late!” and rushed Sonia out before she could finish her butterscotch pancakes with raspberry filling. Outside the school, there were 5 lines. “You get in the line near the garden; that’s for first years.”Ruby told her, and went on to join the 4th line. The fist years went in first, and began being sorted. The children before Sonia transformed into their animals, stood inside a seemingly magical circle, and reappeared in another circle; blue, red, green, or purple. Right ahead of her in line, a tall girl was beating up on a shy seeming boy with golden hair. “Hey!” Sonia yelled. She hated bullies. “Stop it!” The girl turned to face her, grinning. Sonia summoned up her dragon form, and the girl’s smile wavered and disappeared. Sonia roared-and Juniper came rushing over. “What’s this?” “She was hurting that poor boy, professor.” Juniper listened to both sides, and left with a low growl. It was then Sonia’s turn to be sorted. She felt she had now got the hang of transformation, and quickly turned into the great indigo dragon and stepped into the circle. It was a lovely, tingling sensation, as she felt herself whizzing round the circles-and reappearing. She looked beneath her feet; she had landed in the blue circle. She looked around her, and saw that the shy boy was there, too. Sonia rushed over to him. “Are you alright?” she asked. “Yes, thank you. My name’s Colin, by the way.” “I’m Sonia,” said Sonia. Juniper clapped his hands. “Now you have all been sorted, you’ll meet your cabin’s leader, find out your cabin’s element, and learn your cabin’s values. For Redflame house,” he indicated the red circle, “your leader will be Leo Codsworth, your element is fire, and fighting skills and eagerness are valued. Greenbush house” green, "is led by Clara Montgomery, its element is earth, and green thumbs and caring are welcomed here. Purplecloud” purple, “will be led by myself, our element is wind, and we value agility and cunning. Finally, Bluesea, led by Ruby Steinback, represents water an values courage, loyalty, and straight thinking.” Sonia’s heart leapt. She was with Ruby! Maybe school wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dragon Fire: Chapter 2

After registering what she had just seen, Sonia chases after the bright cardinal. Several times she had to stop and rest, but finally the bird stopped and called out its twitter into a cave that seemed to be filled with blue mist. A wolf’s howl came echoing back, and the cardinal flew into the cave, transforming back into the girl on the other side of the blue mist. “Come on!” she called, and Sonia cautiously stepped through the blue mist-and found she couldn’t. “Oh, I forgot,” the girl said. “What do you turn into again?” “Uh,” said Sonia. “Something with blue scales and wings.” “Wow! A dragon! You must be powerful!” said the girl. “Now give us a roar.” Sonia tried her hardest, and finally out came a sort of strangled growl. The wolf howled again, though hesitated a bit this time. “Now step through,” the girl instructed. Sonia did, and this time found herself somewhere that seemed strangely familiar. It was like a grand marble palace, with stalactites for pillars. “I’m Ruby, by the way,” the girl continued.”And you’re Sonia, right? It’s time for you to have your questions answered. Firstly, Morgan Peck is a Shape Shifter, who can change from human to their registered animal at will. Secondly, You, too, are a Shape Shifter, apparently whom turns into a dragon.” Sonia opened her mouth, but couldn’t ask the question. “Now, I’ll introduce you to the rest of us. Do follow me.” Ruby went on, not noticing Sonia’s open mouth. They went into the next chamber, where a young man with dark hair tied back in a ponytail jumped as they entered. “Calm down, Juniper, it’s only me,” Ruby said. “Sonia, this is Juniper Lupus. He will help teach you at our academy.” Juniper nodded curtly, then went back to his book. Sonia just looked. “Now I’ll take you to the school.” They went through a long passage, ending in a courtyard and a large stone building. Ruby continued “This is the school where you’ll learn how to change shape quickly, summon up your animal’s special talents, and, in case you’re spotted by a non-Shape Shifter, do a quick memory wipe.” Sonia was doing her best to take all this in, but she was too busy looking at the building. It looked very stern and cold, at least the orphanage hadn’t looked so forbidding. “It’s mainly metal and stone because some of the animals the students turn into could do serious damage to wood or brick,” Ruby went on, eyeing Sonia’s mouth and nose. They walked back to the mouth of the cave, and Ruby said “You’ll spend your first night in a special room with other new children. Tomorrow you’ll start term at the school, so get some sleep.” Sonia curled up under the sheets of a soft, comfortable bed. It was no good, she’d have to ask. “Ruby,” she called softly. Ruby turned. “Yes, Sonia?” “Do you know anything about my parents?”

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dragon Fire: Chapter 1

Sonia Wellington opened her eyes, then wished she hadn’t. She had been disrupted from her dream by a crash of the bedside lamp being smashed to the floor. Sonia now wished even more she hadn’t opened her eyes; whenever anything went wrong in the orphanage, Ms. Peck always blamed her. Sonia was a mildly pretty girl, with long over-curly nutmeg hair, chestnut brown eyes, and a fair complexion. She had always wondered where her parents were, for she was certain they were still alive. Sometimes at night she would try to conjure up images from her memory, and sometimes she saw a woman remarkably like her, and sometimes a tear-streaked face with pitch-black bangs came to mind. Neither image was very sharp, though, so she couldn’t always see them. A sharp rap on the door rang through the air. All the other girls in the dormitory scuttled into corners; not Sonia. She knew that Ms. Peck was here to reprimand her for supposedly breaking the lamp, and she knew what happened if you hid from her. She opened the door, and Ms. Peck flew in and began to do what she did best: yelling at Sonia. Flew? Sonia wondered. Must be my imagination. Then she remembered the humiliation she was being put through, and the thought vanished from her mind as she listened to the woman’s rants. No one came to defend the poor girl; no one liked to be against Ms. Peck. The woman yelled her loudest at her, but Sonia had had enough. She opened her mouth to retort, but instead of words, flames shot out of her mouth. Not just any flames, however, no, no, brilliant blue flame came shooting out at Ms. Peck, singeing the top of her neatly bunned white hair. Sonia felt odd, and looked down at her hand. She nearly fainted-instead of skin, indigo scales coated clawed fingertips, and a pair of bat-like wings sat on her back to match. She turned back to herself almost instantly, but something quite odd was happening to Ms. Peck. She looked at Sonia with a deep look, that seemed to be a mixture of anger and I-knew-this-would-happen-someday-but-why-did-it-have-to-happen-nowness. While she looked remarkably unamazed, she seemed to have somewhat the same thing happening to her. Her eyes were narrowing, black feathers coating everything, and wings sprouting from her back. She was turning, in fact, into the raven she had always so resembled. At that moment, a teenage girl with short golden locks cut into a pageboy came in. “Excuse me, Morgan, but I must borrow Sonia for a moment,” she said , looking not the slightest bit concerned that she was speaking to a large raven. Sonia quickly followed after her, not stopping to ask the questions that were filling her brain such as “How did you know that that raven was Ms. Peck?”, "Do you know I just turned into something scaly for a second?”, and “How in the world did either of those things happen?” until they were in the orphanage grounds. The girl laughed, a high, twittering sound. “I’ll show you when we get there.” she said. “Where?” asked Sonia. She laughed again, morphing into a cardinal. “Just follow the birdie!”

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dragon Fire: Prologue

On a demolished street in London, a father stood holding his newborn daughter, tears welling in his eyes. How very like her mother the tiny girl looked… he heard sirens in the distance. A cardinal flew past. If birds could feel human situations, this one looked sympathetic. He looked back down at his tiny daughter. “Little Sonia,” he whispered, and made a silent vow to keep his daughter to away from all this-away from them. A police officer came running up, followed by several surgeons. He sighed. He could present no evidence against them. “Protect Sonia…” he managed to gasp out before the true shock of what he had just witnessed came over him, and he collapsed. And that is why, 9 years later, Sonia Wellington opened her eyes in the London Street Orphanage…

Monday, May 7, 2012

Revolutionary Rats: Farewell

So here we say farewell to our friends, the Gnawingtons. They went on to have many more adventures, but so many that you could never put them down on paper. Freddie, at 2 years old, was allowed to join the militia, Eleanor and Rebecca created a secret mail service to bring both human and rodent soldiers’ notes to their families, Robbie and Susie took supplies to the soldiers, and Mama and Papa gave birth to quite a few more baby rats including Laura, Tommy, and Arianna who were a great help, too. All rats lived to great old ages, had children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great, great grandchildren and still managed to help out and become nurses and soldiers and join the Gnawington Mail service with Rebecca and Eleanor. These are a great many things for a rat to do in the course of a lifetime, and though we humans never really acknowledged their presence other than an occasional “Shoo, rats!”, the Gnawingtons will forever be remembered in the world of rats, mice, chinchillas, shrews, and ferrets as “The Revolutionary Rats.”

Friday, May 4, 2012

Revolutionary Rats: Declaration of Taildependence

The next day, Papa overheard the humans discussing something that interested him. “The Adams are going to sign the Declaration of Independence!” “Yes, they’re leaving today!” Papa withdrew his head from the crack in the wall. Declaration of Independence? Then it dawned on him. The Americans were declaring freedom from the British, and he wanted to be there and sign the paper, too! He scurried back down to the cellar, and told his wife to take good care of the children. She argued, but finally gave in. When her father left, Rebecca snuck after him. She was bored, and wanted an adventure. They snuck into the Adamses’ sack, and proceeded on a rather dull journey. How long it took they could not tell. For something to distract her from her dismalness, Rebecca yelled “BOO!” Upon discovering her, Papa scolded her but could not send her back. Finally, a hand reached in for a quill, and they had to leap out. Luckily, John Adams was too busy looking the other way to notice them. They found their way to the room where a group of men were discussing and signing a paper. When they’d all gone, Papa quickly slashed the paper with a tail dipped in ink, and Rebecca made some miniscule curly lines with the tip of her claw. If no one examined the paper too closely, both would just look like ink blots but to the careful observer, Rebecca’s lines formed her initials: “R. B. G.”

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Revolutionary Rats: Tension

The next month was very tense. Many more battles were heard of, and without Brianna, Rebecca was feeling very down. Their 7 month birthday was not very fun, because everyone was too concerned about the war now thundering around them. First Britain seemed to have the upper hand; then Americans displayed great determination and abruptly turned the tables. Everyone was scared that they would be invaded by the British, but Freddie was enjoying it thoroughly. He scribbled “ Good Luck!” on a tiny paper airplane and sailed it out a tiny window in hopes that in would find some courageous soldier (which it never did), made pretend gunshots during dinner, and drew a flag so huge that it covered the whole floor in chalk. Not everyone was too pleased about these antics, and Freddie thought his mother would never stop ranting about the time when she walked in to find that he had pelted the cellar (not to mention his protesting siblings) with red, white, and blue paint leftover from the human’s previous paint jobs. Luckily the paint was still wet, but they still had an awfully hard time getting it off before the humans noticed. Most of them, however, were very, very, tense.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Revolutionary Rats: To Stay or to Split?

During the days that followed, the Gnawingtons overheard many things upstairs. The humans were discussing whether splitting from Britain was really a good idea, and when they heard shooting aboveground, their reactions were quite different. Papa and Mama jumped to watchfulness, Rebecca and Eleanor jumped into each others arms, the twins jumped into a squeaking fit, and Freddie jumped up to Mama and said “I want to join the militia!” “Absolutely not,” said Mama. “Even if you weren’t grounded for chasing after humans on horses at midnight I would still say no.” That, Freddie thought, was just typical mother behavior, but he intended to do it anyway. Rebecca, meanwhile, was looking at an old bit of bath tissue in a slot in he stone. Her own and Brianna’s cellars were right next to each other, and they often slipped messages in their own secret code through the crack. To the eye that was unaccustomed to their secret writing, it read: “Dear Giggles, Our goggles are swimming back to Paris. Papa laughs that we swim, too! Love, Snuggles.” Rebecca stared. Then she ran over and translated it for the family. Papa said “Well, I’d never have thought it! The Tailswingers are going back to Britain’s side!”

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Revolutionary Rats: Freddie's Midnight Scamper

However, soon events began to change. The British were becoming more and more unfair, and one night it all changed. The Gnawingtons were on vacation in Lexington when, at midnight, the sound of hooves galloping fast were heard. “The British are coming! The British are coming!” Freddie heard a man cry, and, without thinking, he chased after the man's horse. He wanted to be the rat to inform all the infestation in Lexington of the British assault. In truth, he rather wanted to see the British come, there’d probably be lots of shooting, but he thought better of it and kept scampering. He dodged into home after home to warn each family’s rats, and despite himself was having a good time. He was never first to do anything, being the third child, and here he was awake longer than Rebecca! He kept going for hours, but, as the clock struck 5 a.m., he fell fast asleep on the road. He woke in a barn on a haystack, and when he opened his eyes a kindly looking old rat was bending over him. He scrambled up, heard the clock bong 9, and yelled “I’ve gotta get home!” He hurriedly scurried through the crowd until he reached his own cellar and his mother’s piercing glare.