Thankfully, when Watermelon Bat and the others flew up from the tree tops, the moon had come out; big, white and lighting up the island from one side to the other. With its help, they were able to find the fruit grove with no problem, and getting there took little time at all. They piled a banana leaf with blackberries and everyone took an edge to carry it back to the rest of the Bushel. To keep them all motivated and cheerful, Apple and Pear made up a song about their adventure to sing as they flew. They lost a couple berries when Batnana bobbed around too much in excitement when they mentioned her trying to hug the blackberry bush, but otherwise, all went as planned.
When they arrived back in the deepest, darkest part of the forest, a big cage with no floor and rocks bound around the bottom edge was being hoisted into a small tree on the edge of the clearing.
“Wow, that was fast!” Mandarin Bat exclaimed, looking at the vine that went up and over a branch high over their heads which attached to the top of the cage.
“I’m nothing if not efficient,” Kiwi said with a big grin.
With everyone there, it was easy to get the cage all the way up where Kiwi wanted it. They tied the vine to a root sticking up out of the ground to make sure it wouldn’t come shooting down before they wanted it to.
“We need to cover it in leaves so it isn’t so obvious,” Grape pointed out. “I don’t know how smart the monster is, but standing under a cage is a pretty silly thing to do.”
Depositing the banana leaf with the blackberries on it under the cage, they all gathered green leaves and began decorating the cage to look like the tree it was hanging from.
The moon sailed overhead. They finished when it was almost gone for the night, making the clearing darker and darker. The Bushel huddled together hanging upsidedown under a bush nearby and waited. They had untied the vine from the root and Watermelon had it tied to a branch of the bush where he hung.
“Why did you get blackberries as bait?” Kiwi asked Grape Bat.
“Because the bush the monster pounced from was a blackberry bush. What there were of them were small and shriveled, but most were eaten, so I have guessed it ate them anyway. This makes me a little worried, but also hopfull.”
Pear tilted his head. “Why?”
Grape gently swung back and forth looking thoughtful. “Well, if the monster ate those berries, then he might have eaten, or tried to eat, BlackBerry. But also, if we used the ones from the bush from the grove, which are much bigger and juicier because it gets so much more sunlight, then they will be irrisistable. There’s also the chance that-” But at this point he stopped because he realized they had stopped listening after he had said that the monster may have eaten BlackBerry Bat.
Mandarin’s belly rumbled and eveyone jumped.
“REALLY?” Lemon asked, looking at Mandarin Bat in shock.
“What?” Mandarin responded “We haven’t eaten all night, am I really to believe none of you want a snack?”
“Timing could be better,” Lime scolded.
Mandarin stuck out his tongue.
Soon, the moon had left for the night and everything was total darkness except for the glow worm and sea glass lantern that Lemon held in the middle of the Bushel. Lemon flooded his wings around the lantern so they could maybe see better in the dark. Everyone hung completely still, their ears perked up and only twitching around like little satellite dishes when they heard something. They stayed that way for a long time. A warm breeze carried the smell of the berries to their noses. Mandarin’s belly growled again and Batnana got so startled by it that she squeaked.
Suddenly, there was a loud rustle in the direction of the bait! Lemon threw the lantern out the bush, lighting a big, dark figure standing over the berries!
Watermelon released the cage!