From Mike and all the humble woodland creatures – Happy Valentine’s Day! We wish you all warm memorable moments and cherished time spent with loved ones today.
Our last installation of Mike Finnegan’s story left him in the cozy burrow of Tilly’s Auntie Marie trying to learn of the fate of the she tinkers that used to live in the park. We continue on today with Mike’s adventure.
To read the previous episode, click here!
To start at the beginning, click here!
Mike awoke to quiet voices coming from the burrow’s kitchen. He squinted in the dim light trying to make out what time it might be and found it hard to tell. It had to be morning, and early at that. He felt as if he had only just curled into the downy mouse nest to sleep a few hours ago and would have liked a few more.
He went to push open the rounded door separating the sleeping area from the rest of the burrow to join Tilly and the others when he heard something that made him stop.
“But surely you knew that poor Benjamin has gone a bit mad didn’t you?” he heard Auntie say.
“Well, no. How would I have known that?” Tilly replied, sounding a bit exasperated.
“She’s right Til. Ever since that summer storm a few months ago, when lightning hit his tree, he’s been a bit off,” Jacob added.
Mike decided that it was time he joined the conversation, eavesdropping was a frightfully rude habit and the last thing he wanted was to be thought of as rude. The three stopped talking when they saw him. Tilly’s ears flattened against her head as if she were ashamed.
“I hope we didn’t wake you Mike, field mice are early risers. Did you sleep well?” asked Jacob as he offered Mike a biscuit and a chair.
“Well enough I suppose. Thank ye.” He took the biscuit with a nod. “I thought I heard mention about the blue jay, is there somethin’ wrong?”
Tilly was about to answer but Auntie beat her to it. “The poor thing has had a rough year, I’m afraid he’s quite addled. Nothing he says makes any sense anymore. A few weeks ago I asked him if he had seen that the autumn roses were in bloom. Instead of answering he stood on his head and started to sing about rainbows being smiles when looked at upside-down…”
“I’m so sorry Mike, I didn’t know.” Tilly leaned in to tell Mike as Auntie prattled on about her encounter. “I wouldn’t have brought you all this way to talk to a crazy bird.”
Mike patted Tilly’s paw. “I know lass, don’t ye be bothered by it.” He turned to Auntie, who was still talking to anyone who would listen. “Excuse me, Auntie, hate to interrupt. Ye say he acts a bit odd, and talks nonsense and what not, right?”
Auntie nodded and opened her mouth to start talking once more but Mike didn’t give her the chance.
“With all that, is he still friendly? Or should a stranger like me be wary?”
Auntie cocked her head. “I suppose he is still friendly, he hasn’t shown anyone otherwise. Why do you ask?”
“I’d like to meet him still. Me ol’ great uncle was also a bit mad, would sing folk tunes to answer questions and sometimes said words backwards and what not. It took some work, but in the end we figured him out. I’m hoping to do the same with old Benjamin.”
Jacob stood and brushed the crumbs from his fur. “Tilly and I can take you as far as the edge of the hedgerow that leads to the tree. That’s the edge of our land here, we can’t cross further. We should be on our way.”
Mike nodded toward Jacob. “I thank ye for the kindness you’ve shown me, it’ll not be forgotten.” Then he turned to Auntie. “You should be proud of your kin. As for you, my dearie, you are surely the best cook in all the park, me stomach will be missing your biscuits before long.”
Auntie blushed beneath her fur. “You are too kind. I’ll pack you a little something to take on your way while you collect your things.”
With his cane in hand and his hat on his head, Mike bowed and placed a gentlemanly kiss on Auntie’s paw. “You are indeed a marvel. I hope to cross this way when I return.”
To be continued…