Thursday, 28 March 2013

Out Of The Woods

I jumped over a shrub, swerved a boxy beast, and darted across the grey track. Safe on the other side, I stood on the grassy bank and looked back. Boxy beasts moved in lines with low rumbles and owl-like hoots. They didn't look like any creature I'd seen in the wild before. Hot air puffed out of my nostrils and my chest heaved, so this was what out of the woods looked like? I snorted, stamped my feet and charged over the bank and into a large field, pausing to bend my head and chomp on a yellow flower. Hmmm, not bad, but not as tasty as the ones at home. My jaw stopped mid-chew as my attention was diverted by distant sounds, but when I pricked up my ears, I didn't recognise them. Their pitch was different to any mammal I'd heard in the woods before. Were these howls of play or were they to mark territory? Do I turn around or press forwards? I couldn't call it...
I glanced behind, to my left, to my right, and straight ahead, but all I spotted was a couple of crows circling above. I knew I had to find out what was making these noises, so I trampled the ground until the howls got closer. Small creatures came into view that were howling and running on their hind-legs. They didn't have antlers and some had tails cascading from their heads. One with no tail raised his front leg at me and bellowed. The others halted and stared in my direction, and then gathered round a taller, upright mammal. I stood proudly. They must know who I am: The Great Prince of the Forest.

Cor', look at him Miss!” Said the boy still pointing.
Children, stay off the playing field! Hattie, go and fetch the Headmaster.” Miss Crawley said struggling to maintain order. Some girls had begun to leap around shrieking, “A deer! Oh deer, oh deer!” And then collapsing in giggles. Others were picking daisies to make him a crown. The boys were grouped together, taking shots with pretend rifles and “Bang-bangs!” The stag watched on with interest, his muscles scarcely twitching.
Class Three, BE QUIET!” They could tell from Miss Crawley's tone that she meant it. “Whisper or you'll scare him.”
He doesn't look very scared to me Miss.” Whispered the boy, “Bet those antlers would hurt if they pierced you.” He mimed his imaginary death convincingly.
Luke, that's quite enough.” She said exasperated. “Where has Mr. Kingsbury got to?”
He's coming now Miss.” said Luke as loud footsteps rang out across the school-yard.
What's this about a deer?” Mr Kingsbury asked tiredly as he took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. When he replaced them, Luke was again pointing in the stag's direction. Mr Kingsbury inhaled sharply, “What a beauty!”
Never mind that! What are we going to do?” If we do nothing and the parents find out, they'll say we risked their children's safety, but if we call in a licensed hunter then the vegetarian ones will complain Bambi was needlessly shot!” Muttered Miss Crawley in hushed angry tones.
Venison, haven't had that in a long time. I wonder if we should add it to the school menu.” Mused Mr. Kingsbury. “Sorry Miss Crawley, you were saying? Why do we need to do anything? He looks harmless to me and besides we can say his visit is educational.”
As they were locked in their battle, the school bell rang loudly. The stag, startled by this new sound, bolted.
Matter closed. The Great Prince has returned to the forest.” Mr. Kingsbury mumbled, striding back to his office to a plate of digestives and a mug of lukewarm tea.