Mandarin Orange and the Bakery Surprise Part 7

20170620_165010.jpg

 

The four FruitBats returned to the grove in the late morning. Luckily, the others would sleep for hours longer. Generally, they all woke up in the late afternoon. Apparently, Batnana had waited up and flew down to greet them. She was holding something in her feet.

“What is it?” Grape asked in a whisper.

Batnana passed it to him. A bunch of cherries! He immediately guessed that one was to put on the CupCake Bat’s head as a hat! Batnana looked proud of coming up with the idea.

They were happy to find that Mandarin had employed Chip with the task of guarding the CupCake. Chip wagged his curly tail at their approach. He almost barked, but Watermelon landed and put a wing up to his face and hushed. Chip plopped onto his butt and hung his tongue out with a chuff.

Kiwi and Grape distracted the gargoyle pup while Watermelon peeled at the wax on the bottle and snuck closer to the CupCake. The confetti eyes stared at him as he pulled the cork and lifted the cherry and the bottle over his head. He sat the cherry on a dollop of whipped cream that had been added the night before. It did indeed look like a hat! Ever so carefully, he tipped the bottle, then turned it up-side-down over the hat. The glittering dust spilling like sparkling liquid down the red shiny surface and into the icing.

Nothing happened.

He stepped back. “It’s not working,” he whispered back to the others. Batnana, Chip, BlackBerry, Kiwi and Grape peeked around him. The Cupcake didn’t move.
Grape suddenly perked up. “Wait, it didn’t work right away on us, maybe it will just take some time.”

“That is true. We might have to wait,” BlackBerry agreed.

“We should all go back to our trees, and come back when everyone wakes up.” Watermelon told them.

They nodded in agreement.

As the sun began falling slowly westward, the FruitBats began to rustle in their trees and bushes. Their squeaking yawns signaled to their friends that they were all getting up. News circulated about the mission, and in no time, the group was at the mouth of Mandarin Orange’s bakery. Even DragonFruit and the Flying Fox had stayed to see how things would turn out. When Mandarin Bat arrived, he looked at them with guarded suspicion. What were they all doing around his bakery. Had they come for his masterpiece?

“Hiii, guys, can I help you? Should I go in and make some orange rolls for breakfast?” They were all smiling at him, and Batnana looked like she might have a giggle fit at any moment.

“You all are acting weird. Did you ferment in one night or something?”

Batnana came forward in the bumbling half-walk/ half-crawl that bats do when they are on the ground. She babbled in her jazzy scat the whole time as she pushed Mandarin into the baking cave to bring out CupCake.

“Okay, okay, okay!” He said as he pulled CupCake Bat out into the sun so he had more room to work. As he brought he to a stop, he jumped. Wait. Did her eyes just follow him?

The others held their breath, waiting.

BLINK!

Suddenly, the CupCake Bat sat up straight and lifted her sprinkled wings into the air in a magnificent stretch as she awoke from the inanimate existence into life! Her confetti eyes sparkled as she looked out at them all.

“Hello, friends!” her greeting rang out in a clear and sweet voice!

Mandarin’s eyes were huge, his mouth gaping wide in awe. His wings popped open wide, and he toppled over backward in a dead faint.

“He will be fine,” Blueberry Bat assured CupCake as she fanned Mandarin Orange with a wing . “He was just really surprised to see you moving! He’s really…fond of you.”

CupCake Bat fretted with her sprinkles over Blueberry’s shoulder, looking down at him. “I probably should have been more subtle. Maybe it would have been better if I had just waved a little or something.”

Blueberry shrugged. “I donno, boys are pretty oblivious sometimes, he may have not noticed.”

CupCake giggled. She gave her wings a few flaps so she could lift off the ground a few inches. “It just feels so good to MOVE!”

Mandarin’s eyes opened a little. Blueberry stepped back so that CupCake could lean into view. “How are you feeling, Mr. Orange?”

Upon seeing her for the second time, he sprang to his feet, staring in astonishment. “It really IS you!”

CupCake nodded, “Who else would I be, silly?” she asked. She opened her wings and hopped from one little pink foot to the other. Mandarin Bat imitated her little dance with a joyous laugh. In a moment they had hooked their wings together and were dancing together. The other FruitBats, who had flown to the trees to give them some space, cheered and swooped down to join in their happy dance. The resulting party was definitely the happiest in the Fruit Grove to date!

 

The next day, Flying Fox gathered up all the things that had come from his magic bag, and strapped a top hat to his head. He thanked his hosts while brushing his fluffy white mustache into place.

“I shall remember you fellows and return when I’m back this way. You’re a lovely Bushel. He gave Mandarin a bag of chai spices to experiment with, and Mandarin gave him a jar of honey in trade. They were all hanging in the branches by the cliff side. Batnana flew over and gave him a hug. She had been the most enraptured by is tales of adventure. With a jolly laugh, Vulpes released the branch. He snatched his bag from where it hung from a nearby twig and dove over the cliff’s lip, swooped back up, and barrel rolled into the sky.

“Tata!” he yelled back to them.

In another moment, he banked right and headed over the island in the direction he had been headed in when he’d first come crashing onto Willowyck’s beach.

“There goes a truly adventurous bat.” said Lemon Bat in wonder.

“I wonder what he’s looking for,” BlackBerry added, tilting his head.

Grape smiled. “I don’t think he’s looking for anything. I think he’s found something in himself. He’s a Traveler.”

CupCake snuggled up to Mandarine as the Bushel nodded at these sage words, and they watched as the Flying Fox faded off in the direction of the sunset.

 

 

Advertisements

Mandarin Orange and the Bakery Surprise Part 6

001

Meringutan looked like no one the FruitBats had ever seen before! You would recognize her as an orangutan of course, because they had never seen an ape, and they had to take a minute to observe her. She wore a lemon colored flower print skirt and a necklace with a cherry pendant and cherry earrings. Grape noticed that she wasn’t shaped all that different from a bat actually, when he really thought about it. Two arms, two legs, head, spine. If she was to be shrunk down and given wings, she could fly with them! He laughed to himself at the idea as Meringutan swept them into her cottage and deposited them onto a low, lace covered table. The cottage was all one big open room, with a loft that appeared to be filled with big leaves for a bed. The colors were bright and cheerful in the morning light that came in from 2 small windows and one big one at doubled as a back door. A threadbare rug filled most of the floor, and a faded, comfortable looking chair with a knit blanket stood in one corner with a small table beside it. there was a basket filled with yarn, and several paintings on the walls. there was also a phonograph with its big horn filling space across from the chair. None of the bats knew what that was of course, but Kiwi was especially fascinated.
“We haven’t introduced ourselves!” Watermelon realized as the strange Meri bustled about in her kitchen with a tea kettle like the one the Flying Fox had. “This is Kiwi, Grape, and I am Watermelon. We’re FruitBats and we come from an orchard across the island.” They all sat in a row on the table, watching as she started a small fire in the belly of a big iron stove. Once it was lit, she sat the kettle on top and turned back to them.

Meri came over and got at closer look at them, sitting on a pillow beside the low table. “I have never seen bats like you on the island,” she said.

“We aren’t that old yet,” Kiwi pointed out,” And I think we, that is, the 12 of us in the grove and DragonFruit at the castel, are the only ones.”

“How very interesting! I’m glad to meet you three, but what are ya’ll doing over on this side of the island if ya’ll are from the grove? That’s a bit of a …flight!”

“We’re looking for something. The fallen star!” Kiwi said, excited to tell someone about their secret mission.

“You know the grove?” Grape added.

Meri addressed Kiwi first. “I think I may be able to help with that.” Then she turned to Grape. “I know most of this island, I’ve been here a while and I’ve tried to cover the whole place in my hikes. I collect things and I’m a photographer, you see. There’s plenty of neat stuff out there to explore!”

The bats didn’t really see, because none of them knew what a “photographer” was. Watermelon was about to ask, when the kettle began its whistle. Meri spun around and found the smallest teacup she could from the shelves above the counter and filled it with fragrant herbal tea she dried from her garden out back. Then she dropped in a dollop of honey and stirred it all up.

“Hope ya’ll don’t mind sharing a cup,” She said as she placed the tea on the table before them. “You might have to wait for it to cool.” She added when Kiwi leaned in for a drink. It smelled like flowers! Kiwi Bat almost wanted to jump in for a bath, though the honey would make her sticky.

“Now,” Meri continued while making a cup fro herself in a big ceramic mug and taking a seat back on her pillow. “What as it ya’ll were looking for again?”

“There was a shooting star that landed on the island. We need some of its dust! We went to where it touched down, but it was dark and too hard to see, so we were waiting till morning.” Watermelon explained.

“But your Jellyphant grabbed Watermelon before we were awake!” Grape finished for him.

Meri nodded. “Yes, they are good at bringing me new things, but they don’t quite understand manners. But you aren’t hurt, I hope?”

Watermelon stretched his wings. “Nope, though they do have a firm grasp!”

“Yes, they come in very handy when I have to move anything too big.” she sipped from her cup. “I’m afraid the star itself is no longer where it fell though.”

The FruitBats gave a collective sigh of disappointment.

“But,” she added ,”I did meet it, and I might be able to help.”

“You met it? It’s alive?” Grape said in awe.

“Yes, a sweet little thing! It stayed with a friend of mine for a while, but it missed lighting up the night. We had no way to put it back in the sky, so we introduced it to the glowing starfish that live in the ocean out near the beach! My friend says it’s quite happy there.”
They all smiled at the thought of a real star lighting up the night with the bioluminous starfish at the beach. It must be so pretty!

Shaking himself out of it, Grape remembered their mission. “You said you might be able to help though, to get some of the star dust?”

“Oh!” she put her tea down and stood up. “Yes, as thanks for helping it feel at home, the star gave me a little of its dust. I’ve been keeping it in a bottle, because it’s so fine that it could just blow away!” Meri went over to a hanging paper lantern beside the ladder to the loft. She reached into the top and pulled a jar out. The powder inside glowed and sparkled! “I will have to find another jar to put a pinch in for you to take. It will have to be small since you will have to carry it such a long way.” she dug around in the kitchen cabinets. When nothing was satisfactory, she went to a trunk that sat in front of the comfy chair and opened it. Inside were a lot of old, browning papers and books. Grape wondered where they came from, and what they said. After digging around the bottom, Meri pulled out a tiny bottle only a little bigger than an acorn made of blue glass. She looked at it for a long moment, then shut the trunk and returned to the table. “I’m going to let you borrow this old perfume bottle, but you have to bring it back when you’re finished, ok?” It clearly meant something to her.

She took a tiny funnel from the kitchen drawer and tipped a little of the glittering dust through it into the tiny bottle. “What are you going to do with it?” she asked.

Watermelon explained their mission, and how they guessed the dust would do the trick.
Meri smiled, then laughed. “Well that’s just adorable! I do hope it works for ya’ll, and I also hope that you can bring everyone to visit when your CupCake Bat gets settled in.”
“Of course!” Watermelon agreed. “We wouldn’t be able to do it without your help. We can bring them when we return the bottle.”

It wasn’t long after that Meringutan walked them outside and they took off in the direction of the fruit grove. She had sealed the bottle with some wax to make sure the cork wouldn’t pop out and ran a piece of yarn through the little handles on either side so that Watermelon Bat could wear it around his neck to carry it. As they passed over the house in an acrobatic farewell circle, Grape wondered if she had built the cottage herself, or just inherited it from some other creature. There were certain elements that didn’t seem right with her proportions. He thought for sure there would be more to her story. He would have to ask upon their return.

Mandarin Orange Coloring Page!

mandarincoloringpage

Another coloring page for you! Since I was so busy and took sooo long to post part 5 of the Bakery Surprise, I thought I should.add more to this month!

The FruitBats are going to have a busy 2017. In January, they will be visiting Anime Impulse in Los Angeles! They will also be in St. Louis, Kansas City, and maybe Indianapolis (cross your fingers, it could be a big deal if we get in)!

Mandarin Orange and the Bakery Surprise Part 5

fbparty

“There once was sculptor named Pygmalion, who an ivory statue of a woman. He fell deeply in love with his creation.

Now, these peoples have gods and goddesses sometimes, and one of these is Aphrodite, a goddess of love and beauty. Pygmalion went to a big festival celebrating her, and though he looked for a people to become his bride, he found none that he liked the way he did his wonderful ivory statue. He prayed to the goddess Aphrodite, asking her to bring him a woman who looked like his art, so that he could know love and have a bride!He was afraid he would never find anyone, you

But no woman like his statue appeared at the festival. He felt very downhearted on the way home. Would he be alone forever?

Now, despite what he thought, the goddess had heard him. She whisked away to his house and beheld the statue. It truly was a master work! Every line, every detail so lifelike, and, she thought, exquisitely beautiful. She thought this of course because it looked so much like her!

When he got back to his home, he went up to the statue and gave it a kiss. What was this? The lips of the statue were warm! Was it his imagination? He kissed her again. They were indeed warm! In another second, the statue came to life! Aphrodite had heard him and blessed the statue with life! Her skin grew pink and her eyes smiled and she became just like another people! They got married and even had children.”

“But that,s a wonderful story,” Blueberry Bat said. “Why will the CupCake Bat cause trouble?”

“What’s “married?” Lime whispered to no one in particular.

“Don’t you see? Grape said, “We don’t have any goddesses here to bring her to life. Mandarin is set for heartbreak if he has fallen in love with his masterpiece!”

The Bushel gasped.

“That’s awful! We don’t want him to be sad,” Lemon said, his eye big and watery.

“Shooby doda dawabbly,” Batnana said.

“Yes, surely there’s something we can do,” Strawberry agreed.

They all fell silent in thought. How could CupCake come to life?

Grape perked up. “Wait, how did WE come to life?”

“A star fell on the island. Its dust fell over the grove and it was magic and brought us to life from fruit, or so we’ve gathered from the other animals here.” Watermelon recited.

“That’s right!” Grape said, striding to the middle of the Bushel. “So if we can find the star, maybe we can get some of its dust and we can sprinkle it on the CupCake Bat!”

There was sounds of excited agreement all around.

“I like this idea, but we shouldn’t tell Mandarin, just in case it doesn’t work. We don’t want to get his hopes up!” Blueberry pointed out.

“We need to distract him, then,” Pear suggested. “Otherwise he’ll notice something is up.”

“We could hold a party to celebrate his masterpiece,” Lime chimed in, dancing Lemon around in a circle in his excitement.

“Yes!” Apple cried. “With singing and dancing and music. Lemon could make everyone lemonade, Kiwi can string up some lights.”

“And in the midst of the action, a couple of us can slip away to find the star,” Grape said.

“Perfect!” Watermelon said. “I think we have a plan!”

The Bushel all nodded their agreement.

“Grape, Kiwi, and BlackBerry, you’re my away team. The rest of you stay here and keep Mandarin in the blue. Now, let’s get going!”

“Llllet’s get ready to partyyy!” Lime cheered.

They all flew off to decorate for the party.

By the time the moon was full in the sky, everyone was having a great time at the party. They were so full of sugar that sometimes they had to fly in circles just to burn some off. Batnana painted portraits and Apple made up songs on the spot. Pear had made some drums out of leaves and acorns and was pounding away. The Flying Fox was very entertained by all the littler FruitBats and their antics and watched from where he was hanging above them in a tree. Kiwi had caught fire flies and ut them in lanterns and so light blinked everywhere in the trees. Watermelon, Kiwi and Grape met BlackBerry off to the side, under the cover of the BlackBerry bush. When it was clear that Mandarin was fully in the swing of the party, they slipped away from the grove.

“Did you bring the map?” Watermelon asked Grape.

“Of course!” he unrolled it. He’d been working on it every time they went on an adventure, and sometimes he would fly really high so see the far side of the island and add to it. He was pretty certain he knew where the star had fallen, because there was a dark spot where foliage had just started to grow again after being burnt off. He figured the star was really hot when it came down.

He pointed to it on the map. “There, that’s where we’re going first.”

Mandarin and the Bakery Surprise PART 4

20160923_182354The FruitBats happily sipped their tea and chatted together until the moon had set and Batnana was yawning. They invited the FoxBat along with DragonFruit and Chip to come back to the fruit grove for a snack and a place to nap away the morning. He agreed and they flew off to the cliff and up to the grove in the pale, dim light of the stars.

In the afternoon of the next day, when they began to stir in the trees and bushes and the temperature began to drop as the breeze came in from the ocean, Mandarin was excited to talk more with their guest.

Vulpes was hanging with Batnana at the top of the banana tree, facing the ocean. Mandarin landed beside them.

“-Well, if you like art, you should visit Italy!” Vulpes was saying “There’s great art everywhere out there, but I love some of the statues you can find in Rome. The people, who I was speaking of last nigtht, they like to carve big statues of themselves from glittering white marble. Seems a little conceeded to me – putting fancy statues of your species everywhere – but maybe they just have an easier time relating. Not a lot of peoples can talk to us other animals very well.”

Batnana sagely nodded her yellow head. “Swooby do da wao,” she agreed.

Even though Strawberry wasn’t there to translate, the Fox seemed to understand her just as well.

“Then again, maybe they are just celebrating their achievements with these statues, and that’s totally acceptable. Always a good thing to know when one has done a good job at something, right?”

At this revelation, Mandarin had one of his own! “Oh, thank you, you gave me an idea!” he shouted, and dropped from the branch, flapping off back to the orange tree. Batnana and Vulpes exchanged a confused glance as they watched him go.

Later in the evening, the fruit grove was filled with the smell of baking cake. It had been several hours since Mandarin had peared into the old hollow log he used as a kitchen beside the base of his tree. He’d only come out once to ask DragonFruit to come help light his little stone oven. Everybat was get getting more and more curious about what he was up to in there, but whenever anyone asked, he shooed them away, telling them he would show them all when he was finished.

“He is obviously at his baking again,” Grape said. “Though he’s never been this secretive about it, not even when he made that big blackberry pie to welcome BlackBerry Bat to the grove.”

Strawberry and Kiwi, who were enjoying a game of tulip tree pistil sword fight, eventually gave up because the smell was so good that their bellies began to growl. Strawberry dismounted Chip and dropped the dried tulip pistil. They were all gathering infront of Mandarin’s “bakery” in anticipation of his newest creation.

“Hey,” Watermelon cried into the opening. “You’ve got everybat out here wondering: What is that amazing smell?”

Mandarin Orange stuck his head out. Just wait a sec, she’s almost finished!”
The whole Bushel was suprised by this, looking around for somebody missing. Who is “she?”

A minute later, Mandarins butt wiggled backward out of the shadow of the log; he was pulling something heavy. They all took a step back to give him some room.

When the creation pulled into the sunlight, Mandarin sat back and admired it. Around the base were flesh flowers in the shape of the paper lining of a cupcake, and in the middle sat a cupcake the size of a bat! In fact, it WAS a bat! Mandarine had baked several different pieces of chocolate cake and put them together to make a life-size CupCake Bat! Pink icing and sprinkles decorated her and her eyes were multicolored candies! The fruit grove filled with gasps of admiration!

“She’s beautiful!” they all cheered.

“And not to mention, she smells delicious!” Blackberry complemented.

At those words, Mandarin froze. For the first time since having the idea of baking the bat, it dawned on him that they would be eating it. In his imagination, all the Bushel’s faces started to look sinister and hungry.

“Oh NO!” he screamed, standing before his creation with his wings spread wide to protect her. “You can’t eat my lovely CupCake Bat!”

His friends frowned.

“But you’ve been baking all day and it smells so good,” Lemon pouted.

“Errr, wait, I have some more batter, I’ll go make another cake for us to have with dinner. But NOBODY better touch my CupCake while I’m gone! You swear!”

“We solemnly swear,” the Bushel agreed, raising their left wings.

Mandarin squinted at them, seemed satisfied, and went in to make them a cake.

“This may lead to trouble,” their new foxy friend told them as the went back to playing in the grove.

“How’s that?” Blueberry asked.

“Let me tell you a very, very old story from a land far away…”

Mandarin Orange and the Bakery Surprise Part III

mandarinchai

All the Bushel shuffled forward together as he plunked down on the tree trunk, his fox tail twitching.

“Where did you come from? We’ve never seen you on the island before!” Watermelon asked.

“You don’t eat meat like a fox, do you?” Lemon asked.

“I come from everywhere!” Vulpes answered. “Here and there and near and far. I travel, you see. It’s why I have a bag. And a hat. Not proper to go traveling without a hat!” He looked at Lemon. “And no worries, little Fruit, I do not eat other animals, though I do eat lots of things! It’s one of the best things about traveling!”

This caught Mandarin Bat’s attention.

“Come sit by the fire with us,” Blueberry Bat offered.

They all hopped down to the sand beside the fire and Vulpes leaned on his bag. The flames had almost gone out from neglect, but DragonFruit threw on some more sticks and breathed fire on it to get it going again. The FoxBat lifted a log that would have been too heavy for them and pushed it up against the side of the flames so it could catch.

Mandarin Orange asked what sort of things Vulpes ate on his travels.

“All sorts,” he told him. “There’s different fruits and veggies all over the place! And then there’s all the stuff people make!”

“What are people?” Grape asked.

“You mean, you’ve never met a people before?” he replied, shocked. “They’re almost everywhere. Some are scary, but most are magic, even if they don’t know it! They make all sorts of fun and wonderful things!” he pulled his bag out from behind him and opened it. “It doesn’t look that big, but I swear it’s bigger on the inside,” he told them as he stuck his upper half down into the mysterious thing. “Aha!” came a muffled sound and he came back up with a strange metal object with a handle and a spout. He stuck his head back down inside again and came back once more with a white bag filled with broken up dry leaves and a jar of thick amber liquid.

“Honey!” Mandarin squealed with joy. He’s rather a fan. “The BuzzBees trade that to us sometimes when Apple and Pear give them a song to sing as they work!”

The FoxBat nodded and held up the honey to the light of the fire. The sun had set now and the light made it look like it was glowing. Batnana cooed at how pretty it was.

“I am going to make you something tasty, right now!” he told them. “Back in a sec!” he flew off in the direction of the stream that came down the mountain to the bay to fill the kettle.

The Bushel talked excitedly together all at the same time while he was gone. Mandarin just knew that this new friend could give him an idea of what to make with his flour!

A minute later, Vulpes returned, water sloshing in the kettle. He plopped it onto the big log right beside the fire.

“When the kettle -that’s the thing with the water in it- when it screeches, it will be almost ready. We’re making the water hot.” he looked around. “Do you guys have cups?”

Mandarin had brought the emptied flour sack with them to hold their hollow acorn shell cups that morning so they could drink from the stream or for if they found a citrus tree to squeeze. He scrambled over to where he had stashed it under the bent over palm trunk and retrieved them.

“Excellent!”

“This drink was invented by people in the east part of the world. They take special plants and dry them and grind them up. Then they add spices. There’s all different kinds, but this is my favorite! Smell!” He passed the bag around the fire and they all took turns sniffing.

“I smell Cinnamon!” Mandarin claimed. “Lots of other things too, but I don’t know what it all is.”

“That would be the cardamom, cloves and ginger!”

Just then, the kettle started to whistle. Vulpes pulled it away from the fire, opened a latch on top, and stuffed the bag into it. He took their acorn cups and nestled them in the sand so they wouldn’t tip over, and put a big dollop of honey in each one.

“Now, normally there’s milk, but I assume that would be hard to get at the moment, so it can wait” Another minute and he poured the hot water, which now smelled like the spicy bag, into each cup and passed them out.

“I give you: Chai Tea!”

Mandarin Orange and the Bakery Surprise Part 2

flyignfoxcoloredThe next afternoon, all the Bushel decided they wanted to spend the day at the beach. Mandarin still couldn’t think of what is masterpiece should be, so he agreed to go along, thinking he might find inspiration by the sea.
In pairs, they jumped from the edge of the fruit grove and dove, letting themselves circle and loop until getting close to the breaking waves. Then they opened their wings and caught the rising air, feeling the mist on their wings. The weather was bright and sunny, though the sun was close to Willowyk mountain, there was still hours of sunlight left to enjoy.

There not being much of a sand below the cliff, they flew over to the west edge of the bay where a nice wide beach and much calmer waters resided. Having recently discovered that they could flap their wings in the water to swim, they were a funny sight! Colorful little bats all flopping about in the water, splashing each other and squeaking with joy. Batnana and Strawberry Bat built a sand castle together. After about an hour, DragonFruit showed up with Chip. Chip couldn’t swim. He sunk like a stone, which one expects from a Gargoyle. So he played in the surf while they took turns riding on his back. He had grown a lot since they last saw him weeks before, but he still looked more like a rolly-polly pugoyle rather than a big scary gargoyle.

After a few hours, the Bushel retreated to a clump of low leaning palm trees beside some big rocks for a break from the sun and surf.

“I think I’ll build us a beach bonfire we can enjoy with the sunset!” Kiwi said.

“Great idea!” Watermelon agreed. “There’s a nice pile of driftwood, and it’s almost twilight.”

“It will be a nice way to start the night,” Blueberry pointed out. Chip wagged his curly tail and gave a “chuff”.

They gathered the wood and Kiwi stacked it just right so enough air could feed the fire. Then she stuffed some of the fallen palm fronds into it and used a piece of sea glass she had collected earlier to focus just enough of the almost setting sun’s rays to light it. The Bushel let up a cheer as the dry driftwood caught, and soon they had a nice fire. They perched in one of the bent over palm trees and watched as the sun began to slide behind the foot of the mountain. They could just make out the silhouette of Willowyk Castle.

“I wonder how many different trees are on the island,” Grape said as he looked at all the different shapes that the trees painted against the pale pink sky.

Suddenly and without warning, a loud voice came booming from above “Coming in for a landing!” it yelled just as a huge figure zipped into one of the taller palms! THUNK! There was a scattering of palm fronds and the tree swayed. A moment later, something big and orange plunked down onto bent low tree trunk that the Bushel was clinging to. The first thing they saw emerge from the pile of orange was a fluffy tail with a white tip! Then, the creature righted itself. He was much bigger than them, probably 3 times as tall and he stretched out giant black wings that were twice as wide as he was tall! He had a white mark on his muzzle that looked like a moustache, and on one of his black and white ears sat a top hat. He scampered down to the base of the trunk to retrieve a bag he had dropped before he fell. It looked like one of those old black leather doctor’s bags with a handle at the top.
The Bushel, rather in shock from the speed at which this had all happened, looked on silently, merely blinking every few seconds.

“You must excuse my rather unseemly arrival,” This weird stranger said as he dragged his bag back up the trunk toward them. “I was on a rather strong breeze, you see, but my wings are awful tired and I saw your fire and thought how lovely it would be to have some company and a bit of a break-” He noticed how they were all staring at him, Lemon hiding behind Lime with an alarmed look on his face. “So Sorry,!” he went on. “I didn’t mean any harm! I should introduce myself,” Doffing his hat he gave a little bow. “My name is Vulpes, and I’m a Flying FoxBat”