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Rated: E · Short Story · Animal · #2318433
Where will the animal escapees venture?
         In the early dawn hours the old metal farm gate creaked and swung lazily upon one battered bolt. Its detainees crept up to it and sniffed the air.
         "My whiskers aren't twitching with apprehension and my fur remains unruffled. No imminent danger is detected here. Are we making a break for it?"
          The undisputed and revered leader of the clan, bestowed his position because he had weathered far more winters that the rest, rubbed his greying chin and contemplated this fortuitous opportunity. No one realized more than he that his very survival had been based upon caution. Sometimes though the path forward was just that, a path and a not so subtle hint to move it or lose it. As far as he was concerned they could do just fine losing this dismal place. It would be no skin off any of their noses.
         "Let's do it. Everyone move out. The sun is coming up and the humans will soon be out and about. Let's skedaddle. Pick up your tails and head for the woods."
         Together the beavers surged through the swinging portal of freedom. In their now unfettered minds they were hustling. In reality they waddled perhaps with a few scampers thrown in. Their physiques tended to the short legged, broad-tailed kind. Initially, there was some congestion and unfortunate bumping and tripping. No one wished to be left behind.
         The guard who had tested the gate reminded them to stick together, but not so much that they couldn't identify their own feet shuffling along. If anyone had witnessed this exodus, they would have blinked with disbelief. A mound of brown fur seemed to be undulating across the green field. No one would have described it as a stampede and as such the beavers disturbed very little dust.
         "Trees ahead! shouted the self-appointed scout and this welcome news travelled and rippled through the pack.
         Once safely embraced by the tree line a few of the younger and always peckish beavers dropped to the ground and nibbled upon a few scattered branches. Who could deny them sustenance and an excuse to rest?
         Many of the sensitive snouts were pointed at the distant sky snorting and sniffling.
         "We sense a large body of fresh water. Oh, it's such a lovely smell. We 're tingling all over."
         Their venerable leader also felt something, but it was more of a prick. It was quite unlike the twinges of what he suspected to be arthritis. He jerked when a chorus of squeals exploded too close for comfort.
         "Run! We've disturbed a hornet's nest. They're not too happy we're here. The buzzing is amping up. We need to find that water. It'll be hornet-free and possibly a site for our specialized construction. Ouch!"
         With a few high-pitched whimpers , the beavers jostled away from the angry, territorial insects. They now had a destination, a goal, the tantalizing possibility of a new home. The vision of fresh, succulent saplings swam in their collective conscience. Being free to swim and paddle in clean, unfenced water also appealed to them. They continued their exploration march.
          Just when the eldest of their family contemplated a surrender to his quivering, exhausted muscles the scout slowed to a stop and promptly was bowled over by the plodding mass. Scrabbling to his feet and shaking himself he regretted he could not deliver the good news.
         "We're here! Oh, it's beautiful! Have you ever beheld such a lake? It must be a lake, right? I can't see the opposite shore line. I can erect my lodge right over there. There's no time like the present. Who's with me? Let's start chewing."
         The younger beaver , the kits, cannon-balled into the water splashing their elders with refreshing plumes. Wading slowly next to them, the leader slapped his tail within inches of the frolickers. Everyone snapped to attention.
         "I, like you, hope this will be a far better home than that farm. Too many of us disappeared there never to return. Let the rebuilding begin! Could someone please pass me a stick? I'm not sure if I should munch on it, or lean on it."           (687 words ) (Fantasy Prompt 4)
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