The Mystery of Willowyck Castle Part1

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“…and then there are the ‘Mato Mons’ers,” Grape Bat was explaining to BlackBerry. Since BlackBerry had decided to stay with the Bushel in the fruit grove, Grape had taken upon himself to educate him in all the different things he would find there.

“Monsters?” asked BlackBerry, understandably worried.

“Well, sort of.”

“Are they scary?”

“Not so much. Here, follow me!”

Grape led BlackBerry from where they were hanging in the grape vine to the low wall of stacked stones that skirted one side of the grove, opposite the cliff. The stone had been stacked that way a long, long time. They were covered in patches of moss and had fallen in a couple places. It wasn’t that tall, just a few feet. In fact, a six-year-old human child could have climbed up and over it with little trouble at all.

The two FruitBats landed on a nice thick clump of moss and bounced over to the far side of the wall. They peeked down. There were several tomato plants there, using the stones like a ladder to stretch up and find the sunlight between the shade of the trees on the edge of the forest. On the plants grew plump red tomatoes!

“Do you see them?” asked Grape.

BlackBerry squinted for a moment, studying the green and red vegetation. Then, just as he was about to give up, he noticed some of the tomatoes on the ground under the plants were moving!

“Are those tomatoes alive?”

Grape laughed and began to climb down the vine. BlackBerry looked skeptical about this decision. “Don’t worry,” Grape insisted “They don’t bite! …well, they don’t bite bats, anyway.”

Shrugging, BlackBerry started to follow. As they got closer to the ground, he could hear something like little voices chanting! When they were almost to the bottom, they could make out what was being said:

“’Matoes, ‘matoes, ‘matoes!”

BlackBerry wrapped his toes around the nearest leaf and hung upside down to have a better look at the Mon’sers. They were about the size of beefsteak tomatoes. They walked on two feet and had two hands with 3 pointy fingers. They had big black eyes and a big mouth with a set of fangs. On the top of their heads they had a stem with green leaves around it like a hat, and there was a curl of vine growing from them like a tail. They also had two leaves coming out of their backs like wings, but they were too small to lift them off the ground. They weren’t really scary, they were actually kind of cute. They looked very happy as they rooted around in the grass.

Suddenly, one yelled “MATO!” and they all gathered around as it pulled a squishy tomato from where it had fallen and rolled under some leaves.

“The squishy ones are their favorites,” Grape pointed out.

The Mon’sers cheered, then passed the tomato around, gobbling messy bites from it until it was all gone. It didn’t take long. Afterword, they all went back to searching.

Grape and BlackBerry flew up into the air and back into the grove.

“So they used to be tomatoes before the shooting star that made us into bats?”

“As far as we know, yes. We don’t know whey they turned into little monsters instead of bats, but maybe one day we will find out.”

They came to rest in the BlackBerry bush beside the edge of the cliff and looked out over the bay.

“And the name of the bay is Crescent Bay, because it’s shaped like the moon when it is a crescent.

Mandarin Orange Bat came fluttering up next to the blackberry bush with a plate of cinnamon rolls he was passing out to all his friends.

“What are you two talking about now?” he asked as they came out and they all sat down on some rocks.

“I was explaining that the bay is named after the crescent moon.”

Mandarin looked at him and laughed. “The moon? No it’s not! It’s named after croissants!” He gave a bounce and beamed, “You know, the pastry!”

Grape rolled his eyes and opened his mouth to protest, but before a word came out, Mandarin popped a cinnamon roll in it!

The look of utter surprise on Grape’s face sent everybat nearby into a fit of the giggles. Grape wanted to be mad, but he had to admit that the roll was delicious and so he began to chew it up instead. When he was finished, he lifted his eyebrow at Mandarin and shook his head. “Maybe I shouldn’t have given you that magic talking box the FluffBats brought me from the beach. All those weird cooking shows from other worlds are giving you funny ideas!” He was talking about a radio they would sometimes listen to.

“Aaaanyway,” he said, turning to BlackBerry, “What should we learn about next?”

But BlackBerry wasn’t paying attention, he was looking out across the bay at the mountain on the other side of the island. There was a castle perched just above the treeline.

“Remember you told me about Willowyck castle?” he asked. The rest of the Bushel had stopped laughing at this point and started to look in the same direction as BlackBerry.

Grape went over and stood beside him. “Yeah, it’s abandoned.”

“Sure,” Pear said, coming up too. “We never see any lights there. The FluffBats say they never see anyone there either.”

BlackBerry pointed above the castle. “Then, what is that cloud over the castle now? It isn’t moving, it’s staying there.”

“Is it on fire?” Watermelon asked, as he joined them as well. “Hey Kiwi! Do you have your spyglass?”

Kiwi rushed over and lifted the glass. “Hm. I can’t really make it out. Looks a bit like birds though.”

“Birds?” the Bushel all asked from behind them.

“Why would there be birds flocking there?”

At that moment, Batnana, (who had been hanging on a root just over the edge of the cliff to observe the colors in the ocean) flew up and did several loops in the air in front of them spouting her usual unintelligible chatter. “Flibbity do-wa-ba-daba dop!”

Strawberry Bat translated: “She says ‘Well why don’t we go find out!’”

All the bats exchange looks with excitement. “An Adventure!” they cheered!

The Search for BlackBerry Bat Part5 Finale

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All the Bushel came fluttering and tumbling into the open, keeping their wide eyes on the looming figure.

THUNK! went the cage over the pile of berries on the banana leaf! All the leaves and moss they had stuck on it bounced onto the ground by the force of the landing. As planned, they drew their swords and flails in case the cage was not heavy enough.

“ROAR!” screamed the monster in the cage…but then it was silent.
Lemon Bat, standiong behind the rest of them, picked up the lantern and handed it to Lime, who passed it to Watermelon, who stepped out in front of them and lifted it high. The light was not very bright, and all they could see at first was a black lump on the banana leaf. How odd. Where had the monster gone?

“Hey, you in there,” Mandarin said, taking a step forward. “What’s the matter? You’re the one who likes to hop out of bushes at folks. Hellloooo.”

Just then, the sky showed signs of dawn. It started to glow pale, faint blue. They could see the lump in the cage shiver, and one ear with a tuft of fluff on the tip lifted up and wiggled. A moment later, a glowing purple eye appeared! They all took a cautious step back. Soon they could see from the new light in the sky that this ear and eye were peeking out from between two wings. Slowly, both the ear and the eye had a twin, and a purple nose emerged as well. To all of their surprise, this face looked a lot like the ones they saw in the mirror!

“Go away!” the face abruptly said, and immediately hid back behind the wings.

The Bushel all turned to look at each other. Everyone looked confused, except for Grape Bat.

“See,” he told them in a low voice. “This was my other idea. There wasn’t a monster at all, it’s BlackBerry!”

Lemon fanned himself, “Oh, good!”

“But why does he want us to leave?” Blueberry asked. “Does he hate us?”
Mandarin snorted “Why? He doesn’t even know us!”

Strawberry looked around and noticed Batnana was not beside her anymore.

“Batnana? Where did you go!”

They all turned back to the cage and there she was, her face up to the bars, her wings trying to lift the edge.

“Stop!” They all cautioned her.

“Are you fermented?” asked Mandarin

She looked at them funny. “Boop-de-doop?”

“Because,” Strawberry insisted, “We don’t know him yet.”

They gathered close to the cage, but pulled her back a few steps.

“BlackBerry Bat?” Watermelon asked.

The lump wiggled. “Go away,” it repeated.

“Yes, we got that part,” Mandrin Orange said. Watermelon waved for him to be quiet.

“We don’t want to go away, we want to meet you properly.”

BlackBerry Bat stuck his face out again and glanced them over, apparently seeing clearly in the dim light. “Why?” he asked with suspicion.

“Well, you are a FruitBat, and we are too, so we thought you might want to come live in the grove with us.” Blueberry told him with a smile.

His eyes went to their weapons. “Awefully funny way of showing it,” he said. “Trapping me, pointing pointy things at me. Why should I?”

They looked guiltily at their swords and flails.

“These things?” Mandarin said, poking the dirt with his tulip pistol sword and the tip broke off. “They’re just for games. They don’t do much, really. Besides, all that scaring us made us think there was a monster so that’s why we made the cage.” They dropped the weapons.

Blackberry sat up a little more. “Maybe I am a monster.”
Apple giggled.

“What’s so funny about that?”

“You don’t look like a monster, with those fulffy tufts on your ears,” she told him.

BlackBerry covered the tops of his ears with his wings and they all suddenly noticed that at each point of his wings there was a purple thorn!

“Ooooo,” Batnana said.

He saw them staring at his throns and his face contorted like he was going to cry. “Oh no, this is what it was scared of! You think I’m weird looking, don’t you! I have thorns! Thats why I have fluff on my ears, it hides them on my ear tips! And my eyes glow, too!” He curled back into a ball and covered his face again.

The bushel just blinked for a few seconds, then they all exchanged nods and grabbed the vine that attached to the op of the cage and lifted it up off of the scared trapped bat. When it was up high enough, they pushed it off to the side and let it bounce into the undergrowth. That finished, they all went back to BlackBerry and sat down around him.The sun was truly coming up now, warming the sky to pink and orange.

After a minute of quiet, BlackBerry peeked out again.

“Please come with us,” begged Blueberry.

“We are really sorry,” Watermelon told him. “We thought that whatever was trying to scare us off might have eaten you. We didn’t know you were scared of us!”

“I’m not scared of you,” he insisted. “I just, I thought you wouldn’t like me. It would be easier to scare you away.”

Batnana shook her head and laughed a squeeky laugh. She walked over and spread her wings in front of him.

“I think… she wants to hug you,” Strawberry told him.

“Oh, um…ok?” he replied, sitting up.”

Batnana gave a bounce of joy and swooped over, wrapping her wings around him.

His eyes got big from the tightness of her hug “Ack!” he managed to eek out.
The Bushel giggled. Luckily, Batnana didn’t get any thorn prickles this time.

“I’m thinking that means you should come with us,” Watermelon suggested when she let go. The others all looked at him with expectation.

“Pleeease,” Blueberry said, leaning in and smiling. “We don’t think you’re weird, or scarry. We want you to come to the grove. It’s so pretty, and the bush you came from is there and it has yummy berries to eat!”

“And you can see the ocean,” said Pear.

“And I will make a cake to celebrate!” Mandarin chimed in.

“And we can have a proper welcome party at my place!” Lime added.

“Yes! You have to come. And if you don’t like it, then you can come back here,” promised Watemelon.

Blackberry looked around at all of them He felt a little overwhelemed, but maybe it wasn’t in a bad way. “Well, I guess I could give it a try-”

“YAY!” the Bushel cheered all together. Batnana did loops as they all took off.

“Follow us, BlackBerry Bat! We’ll take you home!”

A big smile grew on BalckBerry’s face. “You know, that sounds great.”

THE END

The Search for BlackBerry Bat Part 4

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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!

The Search for BlackBerry Bat Part 3

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It was so dark!
Watermelon gave his lantern to Lemon Bat to make him feel better. The FruitBats weren’t like many bats, who could chirp and click and listen for the noise to come back after bouncing off objects around them in order to find out where they were. That is called echolocation, but since the FruitBats eat fruit, which doesn’t run away and doesn’t need to be hunted, they have eyes like people, and just look and smell for their food. In the deepest darkest part of the forest though, they were wishing they had the talent for it!
“Maybe we should find more glow worms,” Lemon suggested, swinging the lantern left and right in the attempt to light up more of the darkness. They hovered low to the ground.
A rustle came from the bushes beside them! All the little tulip swords pointed toward the sound as squeaks issued from the Bushel.
“Hello?” Watermelon said as the FruitBats landed on the ground.
There was no answer.
“We’re here to find a BlackBerry Bat,” he explained.
Suddenly, something burst up from the bush! From the yellow-green light of the lantern it looked so big as it flashed above them. Great glowing purple eyes swooped over their heads and disappeared into the darkness on the other side of the clearing! Swords and the lantern scattered as they all ducked and tumbled on the ground in panic.
“Maybe that thing ate him!” Mandarin Bat yelped from where he lay sprawled on the dirt.
“Holy cannolie,” Strawberry said, giving Batnana a pat on the head because her ears were standing straight up and eyes were as huge as the moon in fright. “I don’t wanna face whatever that thing is in a fight in the dark.”
Grape went over to the bush it came from holding a sword and the lantern. It was a blackberry bush, but the berries were not ripe yet. He sniffed around underneath and came back a moment later.
“Kiwi?” he asked the Bushel as they regrouped.
“Yes?” she answered while plucking burs off of her ears from where she had landed for cover in a plant covered with the things.
“Do you think we could trap this monster?”
“Well, sure, anything can be trapped with the right bait.”
“If I provide the bait, can you build something?”
Kiwi Bat stopped playing with the burs and puffed up he chest with pride. “Always up for a challenge!” she said.
“Good!” He looked to Watermelon. “I need blackberries. Ripe ones.”
Watermelon Bat nodded. “Right! Apple, Pear, Lemon and Lime, can you fly back to the grove and bring back as many blackberries you can carry?”
The four exchanged glances, a little nervious about leaving the Bushel, especially Lemon.
“I’ll help too,” Watermelon volunteered, and they seemed more comfortable with that. “Everyone else, stay here and listen to Grape and Kiwi, I’m putting them in charge.
They all nodded in agreement..

As Watermelon led Apple, Pear, Lemon and Lime back to the grove by the light of the newly risen moon, Kiwi had Mandarin, Blueberry and Batnana collect sticks while she filled Strawberry and Grape in on her construction plans. They looked on as she drew in the dirt with a stick.
“It’s gotta be simple,” she said. “The simpler the plan is, the fewer things can go wrong. Now, I’m thinking the old dropped cage on a pulley should do the trick. The spooky shadow looks like it might be bigger than us, so we will have to make it big enough for two of us to fit inside in order for it to fit the monster. Once we have it, we will be able to ask it questions about where BlackBerry is.”

The Search for BlackBerry Bat Part2

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An hour later, all the Bushel were gathered at the top of the Banana tree, the tallest in the grove, where they could hang from one of the many giant leaves and look out across half the island. The sun was coloring the sky a rainbow as it slid west. Soon it would pull the edge of the world over it’s head for the night.

Kiwi Bat pulled a hollow reed from her backpack and grabbed one of the early dewdrops from the leaf where she hung. Sliding the drop down into the reed, she put it to her eye, and it became like a sea captain’s spyglass!

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Grape asked Watermelon Bat. “We’ve never left the grove before.”

“Sure it’s a good idea!” Mandarin answered for Watermelon, giving Grape a slap on the back. “It’s YOUR idea, Grape!”

“It is?”

“We wouldn’t be here without it!”

Grape Bat flashed a worried smile at the others.

During this exchange, Kiwi scanned the forest for signs of BlackBerry Bat. “Um, what exactly do you think I should be looking for?” she finally asked, lowering her glass and glancing around at her friends.

The Bushel exchanged looks, shrugging their wings.

“Wait, I know!” Apple said, dropping from her perch and doing with a twirl in the air. “We should call the FluffBats! Maybe they’ve seen something helpful!”

“An excellent idea!” Watermelon replied.

“Horray!” the Bushel cheered as they flew up over the banana tree and surveyed every direction of the island. As the last of the pink light of the sunset started to fade, Kiwi cried out “I see them!”

Squinting their little eyes in the direction in which Kiwi’s spyglass pointed, sure enough a tiny puff of white floated just above the trees way on the far side of the island.

“Beep bop, skippitty dop,” Batnana said, bouncing excitedly on one of her banana leaves.

“Yes, yes! Sound the shell!” Strawberry translated with equal excitement. A moment later she remembered that blowing the conch shell was her job, she fluttered down to where Kiwi had strapped it into a tree. She took a deep, deep breath, and blew as hard as she could!

BBBWAAAAAhhhhhhh! went the shell!

Not a second later that tiny puffy cloud turned and started heading toward the fruit grove. It grew bigger and bigger until it was so close they could see that it wasnt a cloud at all, but a gigantic group of tiny, cottony white FluffBats with golden-yellow wings! The itty bitty bats came in for a landing, tumbling and giggling and grabbing onto the FruitBats with their little wings and toes.

“HI!” they all cried in unison. “YOU CALLED?” The FluffBats always mamaged to say the same thing at the same time. Grape hadn’t quite worked out how yet.

Unable to resist their cuteness, Blueberry scooped up three of them for a snuggle. “Yup, we are looking for a lost member of the Bushel,” she told them.

The tiny bats looked around at the FruitBats around them. “YOU LOOK LIKE YOU ARE ALL HERE.” they said.

“But there should be a BlackBarry Bat, because there is a blackberry bush,” Grape informed them.

The confused FluffBats huddled together as if to discuss this information, but they didn’t say anything, just wiggled their ears at eachother.

“We do drop seeds from our wings sometimes, maybe you have seen another bush someplace?” Grape added.

Another minute of ear wiggling and the fluffy bats turned to face their audience.

“THE PLACE YOU SEEK IS ONLY A MILE FROM HERE, BUT IT IS IN THE DEEPEST, DARKEST PART OF THE DENSE FOREST,” they warned. “THERE ARE INDEED SEVERAL SMALL BLACKBERRY BUSHES THERE, IN A SMALL CLEARING. THEY ARE COVERED IN THORNS, BUT VERY FEW BERRIES BECAUSE THEY DON’T GET ENOUGH SUNLIGHT.”

“Oh, of course it is,” Lemon lamented. Lime put a wing around his shoulders.

“WE HAVE NEVER SEEN A FRUITBAT THERE, BUT A DARK FIGURE HAS BEEN SPOTTED, FLAPPING IN THE SHADOWS.”

“Maybe he’s shy?” Blueberry suggested, but didn’t sound very confident.

Having delivered the needed information, the FluffBats re-formed their cloud and rose up into the sky. “GOOD LUCK!” They called as they floated away on the evening breeze.

The Bushel contemplated this new information seriously. The deepest, darkest part of the forest did now sound like a terrible inviting place after all, especially for their first time adventure form the grove.

“I still say we need to investigate,” Watermelon insisted when he say their enthusiasm flagging. “If it were any of you in the deepest, darkest part of the forest, wouldn’t you want us to find you?”

They all exchanged wary looks, but couldn’t help but recognize what he said was true.”Of course,” Pear piped up, “But what if BlackBerry doesn’t WANT to be found?”

Watermelon considered this. “I guess that’s possible, but we should at least ask, and in order to do that, we have to find

 

The Search for BlackBerry Bat Part 1

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For several weeks the FruitBats stayed in their grove and played together under the protective leaves of their trees, bushes and vines. Watermelon led them in many games. Kiwi invented fun gadgets. Grape learned from other animals about the island. Mandarin created tasty treats. Pear and Apple sang songs. Batnana made art. Strawberry always lended a hand with building and Blueberry was sure to help if anyone got hurt. Lemon and Lime gathered the whole Bushel together to host fun parties whenever they found an excuse.

One late afternoon (for that is morning to a bat) Watermelon woke up and swooped out of his hollow watermelon house. Everyone was getting up, but Grape Bat, sitting in his favorite clump of grape vine leaves, looked awfully contemplative for having just awoke. Watermelon decided to go over and find out what’s up.

“Sure is early for thinkin’ so hard,” he said, landing on a leaf and having to scramble up to where his tiny toes could grab the vine. Grape didn’t appear to hear him, so Watermelon poked his ear. “Hello?”

Finally paying attention, Grape wiggled his ear. “Oh, hi, I’ve been thinking!”

“I can tell,” Watermelon replied, “But about what?”

“Well,” Grape looked out across the fruit grove, “About all of us.”

Watermelon tilted his head like a confused puppy.

“You see,” Grape explained, “When the shooting star spread it’s magic over the grove, every fruit plant grew one fruit that became a bat.”

“So we’ve come to learn, yup.”

“So, logically, there should be a BlackBerry Bat!”

Watermelon looked to where Grape was staring, and sure enough, on the edge of the cliff that overlooked the bay, there grew a blackberry bush.

Grape leapt into the air and started flapping his way toward the bush, so Watermelon came along. The other bats, now alert and following their conversation, began to stretch their wings and join them.

“Maybe the magic just missed it,” Lemon suggested shyly as they all gathered in front of the bush.  It’s dark, plump berries looked juicy in the low afternoon sun.

“But what if it didn’t? What if BlackBerry is out there somewhere all alone?” Blueberry chimed in. “That would just be awful!”

“Yes, I don’t think we should take the risk. If there is a BlackBerry Bat out there, then they should be a part of the Bushel!” Watermelon declared.

“Flippidy-piboppidy-wop,” Batnana said as she did a loop-de-loop and landed smack in the blackberry bush with her wings open for a hug. A second later she fell out, hopping around with her eyes crossed in pain. “Owowowowow!” Sticker thorns were all over her. Blueberry and Strawberry came to the rescue: Strawberry holding her still while Blueberry gently and expertly plucked the thorns form Batnana’s belly. Strawberry told them that Batnana was agreeing they needed to find their lost Bushelmate.

“Well that’s one exciting way to start an adventure,” Mandarin Orange Bat said as he joined the circle of on-lookers. “Haven’t even left the grove yet and we have our first accident. I’ve heard of a prickly pear, but a prickly banana is new to me!”

“What adventure?” Apple asked, checking Pear Bat for thorns. The Bushel turned expectantly toward Watermelon.

“We,” he said, lifting one wing into the air dramatically, “are going to find BlackBerry Bat!

“We are?” Grape asked, looking a little worried. “Oh my.”

 

 

The Origin of the FruitBats

FruiBatslogoOne night, before the sun rose and most creatures were still asleep in their dens, a star fell over Willowyck Island. As it streaked over the fruit grove that overlooked Crescent Bay, some of its magic stardust sprinkled over the fruits like sugar crystals.

The very next day, as the sun warmed the fruits, everyone on the island agreed that it was the best bunch of fruit they had ever seen in the grove. In fact, the colors were so bright and brilliant that nobody wanted to pick any of them because they were afraid they would spoil. This was a good decision, because something very strange was about to happen; just as the sun began to roll over the horizon for the night, the fruit began to tremble, then to down-right shake!

Suddenly, they started popping! On the grape vine, a bunch of grapes grew a pair of purple wings. A moment later, a purple face with big ears and beady black eyes appeared as grapes went dropping to the ground below. Nearby, on the lemon tree…

…a yellow face emerged from a lemon as the rind peeled back, likewise a green face came out a few inches away from a lime on the lime tree next door.

Next came Apple Bat and her brother Pear. Climbing out of their fruit they begin flapping their wings, which had seeds in them, and shaking off their juice. On the orange tree, the biggest, plumpest orange wiggled and wiggled, and all of a sudden Mandarin Orange came out. He shook off the orange juice and proclaimed that he was hungry, so he ate the rest of the orange!

From the little kiwi tree, one of the fuzzy brown fruits unfolded and it turned out not to be a fruit at all, but Kiwi Bat! Awkward on her new wings, she wobbled over to the banana tree, where a small bunch of ripe yellow bananas swung back and forth. Out of the bottom, a little yellow bottom popped out. It gave a brief wriggle, then went back in and a moment later, Batnana’s head emerged instead. Kiwi helped her get out the rest of the way and they went tumbling down into the strawberry patch.

When they landed, they were beside the biggest Strawberry ever to grow on the island! And as they watched, Strawbatty pushed her way out, and sat licking yummy juice from her wings.

Over in the watermelon patch there came a thumping. All the bats heard it. In the center of the patch lay a watermelon that bounced with every thump. They flew over to investigate. With one last BANG, the top of the watermelon cracked, and a second later, it cracked more. Then, a head peeked out: a green head, with bright pink in its ears.
Watermelon Bat looked around at his fellow FRUITBATS. All were colored like their fruit of origin, and they had seeds on their wings. They looked on him with their new eyes, curious and surprised at their own existence and the giant bouncing fruit. It is an awfully strange thing to wake up one day and be a bat, when just the day before you were a fruit!

Watermelon looked at is fellow fruits-become-bats and thought: “This is going to be one big adventure, we better stick together!”

Introductions #9 Strawbatty

Strawberry Bat, or Strawbatty, is the strongest FruitBat in the grove! She is the only one who can blow the conch shell that Kiwi put up in her tree to use for calling other parts of Willowyk Island. She is bursting with energy and ready to do the heavy lifting to help a friend. Her best friend is Batnana, and she is the only one who can understand Batnana’s funny way of talking. She is not afraid to get messy and her favorite game to play in the grove is knights. To play, the bats use the dried stamen from a tulip tree flower as a sword, a walnut shell as a shield and gum balls as a swinging flail. Blueberry always gets nervous when the bats decide to play knights, because she is always worried someone will get hurt. Strawbatty tells her a few scratches are good for you!

Introductions #8 Blueberry Bat

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Meet Blueberry Bat. She is the nurturer of the bushel. Whenever anyone gets hurt, she is there with her little first aid bag and knowledge of herbs to make them all better, and lots of hugs of course! It’s always a good idea to have a healer on an adventure, and that is Blueberry’s purpose. She also has a weakness for adorable things, and will go all squishy when those puffy little cotton ball FluffBats come by to gossip about Willowyk Islands current news!

Introductions #7 Kiwi Bat

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Kiwi is an engineer. She is constantly planning and building new things for fun in the orchard, and her inventive mind is always useful when the Bushel goes on adventures. She helped Mandarin build a stone oven so he can create his baked goodies, and her understanding of mechanics is key in the first of the FruitBat’s adventures out of the fruit grove! Her favorite tool is her spyglass (two hollow reeds one inside the other) which she puts a dew drop inside to see things far away. Great with weights and pullies, she hauled a big conch shell up to the top of her tree and cut off the tip so that they use it to blow an alarm, or to call Willowyk’s fastest news service, the FluffBats, over for a chat.