Rain and Chip
Rain and Chip
The jungle rippled below Gecko like a green civet’s fur in the wind. No one was in sight; it was just Gecko, the ocean of a jungle, and the bluebird sky. Not even a cloud.
Gecko looked below him and started to panick. Civets couldn’t fly. Not even in any of their wildest dreams. But here Gecko was, floating ominously above the rainforest. If I fall, I’m going to die, Gecko realised. It’ll all be over. I’ll never see Waterfall again, or anyone. Then he looked above. What was suspending him? But there was nothing in the sky that loomed overhead like a giant blue leaf.
And then he heard a voice. So soft and soothing, it was a stream trickling by in a quiet forest. “Gecko, wake up. Gecko, wake up. Gecko, it’s okay! Just wake up. You’re having a bad dream.” Then the voice started to get harsher, and it was a bear waking up from a very good hibernation. “Gecko, you’re really starting to get annoying. Now wipe that stupid look off your face and wake up!”
Wait, he recognized that voice! It was Waterfall, his true love.
But then he fell. The sky turned black as obsidian in the night, and the jungle was as still as a gray stone.
* * *
Gecko woke up with a jolt. He was panting like a dog, and he was sweating. Then he looked into Waterfall’s vibrant purple eyes. They were in Gecko’s den, at the top of the tree. Outside, dawn was spreading out her rosy-pink fingers and grasping the rainforest.
Something in Waterfall’s eyes looked soothing, like nothing in life could ever go wrong, like a silent lake that had been untouched for thousands of years.
“Geez, you take forever to wake up, you sloth,” Waterfall growled. “Now I’m going to go look for food, but I’m sure you’d just want to hang around in this den all day and sleep.”
“I had a nightmare, and-and-and-I was floating and then you were talking and then I fell and-” Gecko was interrupted by a seething Waterfall stepping on his paw. “Owwch!” he bellowed. “What was that for?”
“For you being a big whiny idiot,” hissed Waterfall. “Now c’mon, are you going hunting or not?”
Gecko reluctantly followed his fierce love out of the den and they hunted for a while. But the whole time, Gecko still had the strange tingling feeling in his stomach like moths trying to escape a death trap. Did that nightmare mean anything? Was it a bad omen? What could happen, if so?
Rain had deep, brown fur as soft as new spring grass. Her eyes were like two little periwinkles glowing against a tree, and her patience was a spider waiting for its prey. Yet she still paced the bottom of the hollow tree. Something was missing. Something very important. She just didn’t know what.
Alas, mother finally bounded down from her room, which was a hollowed-out branch just like the rest of the house and rooms, and it was pretty high up. She landed with a thud on the ground, then regained her balance.
“Mommy, when is Chip gonna come out of the nursery?” Rain asked, finding herself something to do (complain about). Mother only looked a little startled at first, but then she answered, “I already told you, honey, as soon as she opens her eyes.”
Chip was Rain’s twin, and she was only born about five hours after Rain. But she still hadn’t even opened her eyes yet, and she was a month old! They were still glued stuck together like they were meant to be that way.
“Waterfall!” called a voice from above. Father majestically fell from the ceiling and landed in a delicate way. His eyes were as yellow as a daffodil, and his pelt was sleek like snake scales.
Mother nearly jumped as high as a tree frog when Father landed. “GECKO!!!!!” she shouted. “You know how I feel about heights and civets… falling from them…”
“Sorry,” Father said, very sympathetically. “I forgot.”
“You forgot that our children have a dead uncle because of heights?” she roared. Father flinched. “I’ll leave, if you like,” he said softly, nearly in a whisper. “No,” Mother said. “I’m sorry. I just get overprotective of Flood.”
Rain had heard of Flood many times; Mother had always been chattering about all this “be careful” nonsense like a monkey. Rain just didn’t know who Flood was. Or what an uncle was.
Then all the sudden they heard a sound from the nursery. It was like wood scraping against wood, and it made all their fur stand out. Mother started marching to the hollowed-out root, but Rain was too quick. The sight she saw made her nearly want to cry with joy. Chip was using the stick she always held in her mouth to feel around the walls and find her way out.
And then from that moment on, Rain had a strong feeling towards Chip. It was a mother polar bear with her baby polar bear… it was like nothing could ever happen to Chip or else Rain would beat herself up like a jaguar beat up its prey.
Slowly, Rain started to make her way into the nursery. Chip made a soft noise like a baby bird chirping, almost as if she could feel Rain move from the vibrations in the air. Rain’s heart was melting like lava. This young new creature was so adorable. Her fluffy fur stuck out in all directions like the branches on a tree, and she moved so carefully like a mouse yet confident like a leopard.
That was when Rain made her oath. Chip would be safe with her. Nothing would ever happen to this precious, precious civet as long as Rain lived.
It was nighttime for all Chip knew, it could be that the whole family was out hunting or gathering food. For everything that Chip had ever seen was darkness. She didn’t know night from day, but sometimes she could sense it by the feeling in the house.
As Chip kept walking forward, she felt her stick bump into something hard, and she knew it must’ve been the wall. But then she heard Waterfall and Gecko talking, so she knew it must be night. If there was one thing that Chip was good at, it was eavesdropping, because nobody even noticed she was there. So quietly she began to listen to her parent’s conversation.
“Should we tell them?” that was Waterfall. Gecko replied, “No. It’s too dangerous.”
“What, for them to NOT know their OWN secret?”
“It’s fine. It can wait until later.”
“But what if they need the information? What if something happens, and they need to know?”
“Listen, they haven’t even found out what their spirit crests are yet!”
“Yes, probably because they don’t even know what spirit crests are!”
“Who cares. They’ll know later.”
“Well I’m telling at least one of them.”
“Look, you can’t! They’re too young.”
“I know why you don’t want to tell our children about spirit crests. It’s because you don’t have one, and you’re jealous of us.”
“No, it’s not that!”
“Yes, it is. Now why did we build that other hollow at the top of the tree again?”
“So I could sleep there because this place is too annoying, at least with you around,” Gecko scoffed. “And if you’re asking me to leave, I’d be glad to.”
And with that, Gecko stomped out of the den with enough force as 1,000 gorillas. He could’ve even been angrier than 10,000,000 tigers as he fell to the ground.
Chip knew all this because of listening. She had the hearing ability of 30,000 owls. (For she was still blind, of course.) She tried to make herself as small as a lizard. She shrunk down in the shadows, but accidentally made a rustling noise of fur against wood.
Gecko’s head shot up and he scanned the whole tree. Fortunately for Chip though, he didn’t spot her and shrugged and murmured, “Must just be Waterfall.”
Chip held in a sigh of relief as Gecko bounded up to the wall, and climbed out of the hole near the very top which was the entrance to the family’s hollow tree.
Right as Chip was about to go back to the nursery and sleep, she heard a soft whimpering sound, like a night breeze across a pond. She quickly turned around and sniffed the air. It smelled… damp. It was coming from higher above, and slightly to the left; it was coming right from the place where Waterfall’s branch was, from what sister had told Chip.