I know you guys don't like to read my long winded passages so this one is less than 1000 words, barely 4 pages.
This one will eventually be worked into a book. Whether or not it's ever published is another matter entirely, but I like it.
Chances are that if it looks like I misspelled something or used punctuation improperly that I did it on purpose. I may have missed something though so if you feel the urge, critique away, about the story too, should you be so inclined.
My target audience is kids in the 7 to 11 range. This could be a read aloud to younger ones and will hopefully hold the interest of the slightly older ones that like to read themselves.
I'm trying for something that any kid who liked snakes would enjoy reading. I've toyed with the idea of making the snake other species, but I like this one best so far.
I don't know if I like naming the snake either, which is why it is not done until the end of this first chapter/section.
In the middle of June his mother had found this place. The tunnel from the surface was long and steep, with several sharp twists and turns. Safe, it felt safe. It should keep out most predators. She hoped it would. She would not be there to protect her eggs. Once laid, they were on their own. She didn’t even consider staying, it was not the way of her kind.
Dark and warm in the egg chamber, no light at all, protected on every side by granite as old and hard as time itself, one way in and one way out. His mother had chosen wisely. Dry and clean and safe, a better place was not to be found. It was perfect.
August had arrived, bringing with it the long hot days and short cool nights of Summer. Almost two months ago his mother had found the tunnel in the rocky hillside and slithered her way within to find the hollow where she had laid 9 creamy white oblong eggs. For over 50 days the eggs had been sitting in the dark warm safety of the granite hillside, growing baby snakes. Baby snakes that were now ready to hatch.
Using the egg-cutting tooth on the tip of his nose, a tooth whose only purpose was to slice open his egg from the inside, allowing the baby to hatch, to crawl out of the egg that grew him, the snake sliced the egg again and again, making openings big enough for him to stick his nose out for his first breath of real air, to take his first taste with his tongue. He sat that way, with just a bit of his head sticking out of his egg, watching, for a long time.
Some of his siblings had slit their eggs open and immediately left, anxious to get away and hide. The all knew that everything ate baby snakes, especially the brightly coloured babies like they were. The urge to hide was great within him. He wanted to live.
Being red and black and white was all well and good for a big snake, a snake that could defend itself, a snake that was more than a mere morsel, a snake that had a chance against anything larger than a baby salamander , but for a him, being so small and brightly coloured was akin to advertising his exact whereabouts to every carnivore in the area. It was much like shouting to all the snake eaters out there, “I’m over here, come and eat me!” He had no desire to be eaten so he stayed hidden.
He waited patiently, silently sitting in his egg, absorbing his yolk, flicking his tongue out and in, out and in, over and over, tasting his environment, preparing to face the world all by himself. He was a brave little snake. He had to be. Cowardly snakes died in their eggs.
The first day of his life as an air breather was coming to a close. The sun was going down, nighttime predators were coming out. The little snake snuggled down as deeply as he could into his egg, waiting for dawn so he could make his escape. He knew, he didn’t know how, but he knew, night time was not a safe time for baby snakes. He knew too that tomorrow he would leave.
The ground shaking woke him up. Rocks were rolling by above him, dirt was falling, dust was in the air, the entire hillside was shifting. He had no ears and so heard no sounds, but he could feel the vibrations of not only rocks tumbling and sliding, but a heavy regular thumping and scraping following the slide. Something was coming. Something big was right outside.
A four footed lump was coming down the hill, waddling from side to side as it ambled, causing the rocks to fall and collide, knocking more loose, speeding their rush to the river below. Nose snuffling and whiskers twitching, it tasted the air as it came closer, smelling for tasty treats, hoping for easy eats.
Feeling the scratching of the creatures claws on the rocks as it scrabbled for purchase, the little snake hunkered down even further into its egg, knowing that something bad was coming his way. Escape was not an option, there was no place to go.
A gleam of moonlight reflected from the creature’s eye as it searched the dark recess of the egg chamber told the little snake that his hideout had been found. His little heart pounding harder than it ever had, perhaps harder than it ever would, he stayed in his egg, hoping to escape notice.
Suddenly a huge black paw came shooting down a newly made opening in the granite, toes fully extended and claws out just as far as they would go, the creature raked its paw back and forth above the eggs. A raccoon, champion of egg stealers, was trying to snag an egg or three to make himself a snakey meal. Raccoons truly loved eggs, snake eggs best of all.
The little snake watched the raccoon’s wildly waving claw snag an as yet un-hatched egg and pull one of his siblings up out of the chamber. He felt the raccoon, a big fat one, turn and trundle down the hill, no doubt looking for water in which to wash the egg before he ate it, raccoons being fastidious about food above all other things, knocking more rocks loose, caring not at all.
Already at least one of his clutchmates had become food. Life wasn’t easy. Chances were good that out of the nine eggs his mother had laid, only one would survive to adulthood. Would it be our little friend? Would Markenee the Mountain King be the one?
I may not be very smart, but what if I am?
Stinky says, "Women should be obscene but not heard." Stinky is one smart man. www.humanewatch.org