The Mystery of Willowyck Castle Part3

gargoylecastle 001“Hey,” Mandarin Bat called from the web, “I’m certainly grateful for the assist, but, uh, ya think you could work on getting ‘Nana and I OUT OF THIS CONFOUNDED STICKY STUFF?”

The Bushel fluttered over and grabbed their friends, pulling while DragonFruit burned the web from the wall. In only a few seconds Batnana and Mandarin were free of the sticky netting and pulling the last treads of it from their fur.

The Bushel and their new found friend flew back into the main room and settled down on the table top.

“So, you live here?” Apple asked DragonFruit in admiration.

“Yes. I was born from a cactus-like tree on the way to the bay. I didn’t know there were others like me! I saw the castle and decided it would be a wonderful house.”

“We are here because we saw a cloud over the castle, do you know what it is?” Watermelon asked.

“A cloud? Why would that be unusual?”

“We looked at it from across the bay. It’s dark. We think it’s some kind of animals, not just a cloud, and they are swarming above the turrets!” explained Grape Bat.

“I haven’t been outside recently,” DragonFruit replied, scratching his chin in thought. “Maybe I could come with you.”

Strawberry bounced, “Yes, but first: can we see more of the castle?”

“Why of course! I shall give you the grand tour!”

“Ooooo,” responded the Bushel.


…After showing them three rooms that looked pretty much perfectly alike: stone walls, a window, wood floor broken through in some places, DragonFruit paused.

“Come to think of it,” he said, turning to the rest of them, “Most of the rooms are empty and look about the same.” He scratched his head. “O! But there is ONE room, in the top of one of the towers that’s interesting!”

He led them up one of the winding staircases, passing through the shafts of gold light from the skinny, tall windows. They went up, up,up, all the way to the top floor. He stopped in front of an old wooden door that was open just a tiny crack. All the Bushel hovered around behind him.

“Whats in th-there?” Lemon Bat stammered nervously.

“You’ll see!” DragonFruit said, and wedged himself between the door and the door frame, pushing the door with his feet while clinging to the frame with his wings and pressing his back against it to open it just a little bit wider. “Go in!”

With a little wiggling, the bats popped through. The light in the room was much better than out in the tower’s hallway! The sun, on its way down for the day, shone through a big round window, much like the one from the feasting hall downstairs. There were also several smaller square ones, in order to bring in as much light as possible. After all, when people lived there they only had candles for light and having nice big windows would help tremendously! The room filled an entire half of the top floor of the tower. There were several tables, and they were covered in strange tools. Hammers, chisels of all sizes, tools for measuring, and tools for cutting. Everything was covered with dust and cobwebs.

“It’s a TORTURE CHAMBER!” Mandarin Orange insisted, picking up a chisel and brandishing it as best he could while flying at Strawberry. “I’ll get that secret outta ya, see!”

Strawberry giggled and spun through the air and out of the way. “You’re totally fermented”, she laughed as Mandarin lost his balance and summer-salted onto the table behind her. Dropping the chisel, he sat up and shook his head to regain his senses.

Grape smirked at him as Lemon grabbed hold of Lime. “You don’t think there are ghosts, do you?” he asked.

Lime patted him on the ears. “Of course not, you silly Lemon Drop.”

“It’s not a torture chamber, “Grape corrected. He flew over to the table right in front of the window. On it sat a big stone and more tools. “These are the tools of an artist!”

This got Batnana’s attention, as she always likes the idea of creating things. She landed on the top of the stone and looked down at Grape where he sat on the table.

“These tools are used for carving! Specifically, for carving stone. What we have here, is the room of a sculptor!”

Mandarin sighed. “Ya know, sometimes you’s a total buzz-kill.”
Ignoring this comment, Grape continued; “Some sculptors claim that they don’t create the sculpture, but that the sculpture is already in the stone, or piece of wood, they simply release it.”

“How poetical,” Apple sighed with stars in her eyes.

“So, what was the sculptor ‘releasing’ from the stone Batnana is sitting on?” Watermelon asked.

They all fluttered over to the light side of the stone to see.

Just as they turned to look, a giant shadow swept across the window! As it passed, all the Bushel squeaked in surprise, not only because of it, but because upon the stone was carved the face of a snarling dog with horns!


The Search for BlackBerry Bat Part 4

bat cage 001

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


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


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.


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


“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


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


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 #5 Lemon and Lime


lemontradecard limetradecard

Lemon and Lime are always together and will not be separated! They complement each other perfectly. Lemon is shy and sweet, easy to startle but always optimistic. He loves making lemonade for the Bushel on warm evenings, and at the parties that Lime is so fond of throwing. Lime loves to plan and host parties for the whole Bushel. When he plans a party in his Lime tree, the whole orchard lights up and it’s the best event on Willowyk Island. He’s loud and hyper, and always up for fun. When Lemon gets skittish if an adventure gets scary, Lime is always there to cheer him up and promises to protect him. He always finds ways to get Lemon to come out of his shell.

Introductions #3 Batnana


The Bushel would all agree, Batnana is the cute one. And the artistic one. And the weird one. Batnana is like the little sister, even though all the bats came to life on the same night. They feel very protective of her.  She has never gotten over the fact that she is now a bat, and will follow behind the rest of the Bushel doing barrel rolls and loop-de-loops in the sheer appreciation of being able to fly! Batnana never goes anywhere without her paintbrush and is always drawing and painting. Adding to her eccentricity, Batnana is unable to speak the same language as the other bats, as she only communicates in a cute version of Jazz scat. Luckily, her best friend Strawbatty has come to understand her, and can translate to the others. Fun fact: Batnana is the only of the fruits to have an eye color other than black. Around her eyes is a sparkling blue. The others guess this is because she just seems to see the world a little differently from everyone else.


Introductions #2 Grape Bat


Grape Bat is the Spock to Watermelon’s Kirk. Watermelon Bat likes to keep him close while on adventures, because Grape Bat is a keen observer and very well read (for a Bat that came to life from a fruit)! He is logical and thoughtful. Sometimes it’s hard to get him out of his head long enough to come on adventures, but once the Bushel gets going and there are problems to solve and new things to discover, he forgets his hesitation. To Grape Bat, nothing is more important than knowledge! He likes to tell everyone in the fruit grove about all the things that he learns, even when they might be busy with other things. Mandarin Orange likes to poke fun at him sometimes for being such a bookworm, but it’s all in fun. On a sunny day on Willowyk Island, you are most likely to find Grape Bat snuggled up with a book in the grape leaves.

Introductions #1 WATERMELON BAT

Watermelon Bat

If we are going to start with introductions, it is only right to introduce Watermelon Bat first, as he is  undoubtedly the leader of the Bushel! A good moderator and loyal to his friends, he is brave and makes sure to involve everyones talents when problems arise on adventures. When something goes wrong, the Fruitbats know they can count on Watermelon to fix it. Level headed and fair, he is also a good bat to go to if there is an argument. He has made it his responsibility to keep the Bushel happy, safe, and healthy, and that means adventures! Because there is nothing more healthy than a good adventure!