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Ferae Naturae[]

Sequel to Other People's Houses

==Ch. 1--Gateway==

Let me take you on a journey to the far North, where the Simak Chain stretches out to its most Northernly point--Narrak. But wait, don't let the name fool you! Despite its location, Narrak is actually situated in the Southern Hemisphere. That's right, its seasons are the complete opposite of what you'd expect in the North. So while the rest of the Simak Chain is basking in the warmth of summer, Narrak is experiencing a chilling winter from June to August. And if you thought that was cold, just wait until July--it's the coldest month of them all!

―Gavin Hobart, 'Seasons in Simak' (2012)

Year of the Silver Tiger Narrak Island, Simak Archipelago 4th of June 2016

If there was one thing Kes couldn't do, it was sit still for several hours thinking about nothing. She busied herself with various household chores, and then decided to take advantage of the reasonably good weather to pick up driftwood off the nearby beach.

Winter was coming, and she knew from previous experience back in Orrim that winter wasn't something to be taken lightly. A person could easily freeze to death without sufficient fuel.

The beach she was on was vast with really high dunes. She called it Singing Green Beach because the sand here was olive-green and made a faint reedy whistle if you skidded along in your bare feet.


Unbeknownst to Kes, there was a Melgalish Gateway laying several dozen paces from where she was gathering wood. However, she wouldn't have noticed it anyway because it was cleverly disguised as a large beech stump.

Weathered-gray by the elements, it look innocent-enough, no different from the other half-buried flotsam dotting the beach.

Yet beneath its gnarled surface, it was an entirely different world bustling with rush-hour activity reminiscent of New York's Grand Central Station. Everywhere, doors were opening up and various creatures were hurrying to and fro to various destinations.

Those that walked in pairs or alone hurried more. They had every reason to pick up the pace. They knew that horrible things could happen should they venture into the deeper vaults of the House.

There were certain doors here that should never have been open in the first place. What came out from behind those doors was more frightening than even Death himself.

A small rodent, known as a Zimak, scampered through the halls. Every now and then he would stop to scarf up a bug or a food scrap left by some visitor. He paused at a door, sniffing with interest.

From inside the room came the unmistakable smell of cheese.

"Hhmmmn, I wonder if it's Stilton," said the Zimak to himself. He crept cautiously nearer and sniffed harder. "Yes, yes. No doubt about it—its Stilton all right!"

Then the door opened a crack and a deep crooning voice whispered. "Hey, buddy, you hungry?"

The Zimak was just about to flee, when the voice whispered again. "Wait, I got something for you."

The Zimak pricked up his ears. "Could it be a scrap of Stilton?" he tentatively asked.

"It's lots better than a measly scrap. "Look."

A tin full of scrumptious cheese balls poked through the crack.

The Zimak hesitated, blinking his bright button eyes.

"Go on," the voice urged. "Try some."

Licking his chops, the Zimak reached out a paw. Yet, as soon as he took one, a purplish red tentacle shot out from behind the door.

Squealing in terror, the Zimak quickly dodged the clutching appendage. Spinning around, he ran down the hall. He heard the door opening and then footsteps behind him.

As he crossed an entranceway, he felt the sudden grasp of a sharp-nailed hand. He promptly let out a shriek and started snapping at the bony talons, the hand didn't budge. It began to draw him upward.

The Zimak would have shrieked again, but was rendered speechless when he met the piercing yellow stare, and in that instant, the Zimak knew his crumb snatching days were over.

"Mmm, tasty," said the thing, smacking his lips. Then humming a tune, he strode down one of the dimly lit hallways of the House. He had important business to attend to elsewhere.

Around the same time, a Hobgoblin and Churcka were coming back from visiting some friends.

Turning a corner, the Churcka skidded to a dead halt.

"Oh Cripes!" she hissed, shoving her startled companion back. "Quick…we got to hide! Hide fast!"

"Why?" spluttered the Hobgoblin. "What's up?"

"Something's coming this way!" came the frantic reply. "Something really bad!"

"What?" he asked impatiently. "What's coming?"

"Hell lion," the Churcka said shatteringly. "There's a Hell lion fast approaching!"

Fortunately, they happened to be standing near an unlocked door. The Churcka shoved her friend in first, and then quickly followed, closing the door behind her.

"This place looks like a janitor's closet," the Hobgoblin muttered, peering around. "Let's hope that door holds up against that beastie, or we'll end up having to use that rear window as an escape hatch. I don't think I could squeeze through that wee small space."

"Ssh!" whispered the Churcka hoarsely. "Don't make a sound."

They listened, holding their breath. After ten minutes of utter quiet, they heard a slow tread of feet on oak boards. The footsteps soon passed the door, and faded into the distance.

"It's gone," the Hobgoblin said, highly relieved. "We can go now."

"You really think so?" the Churcka said, looking uneasy.

"Well, why don't we check?" he told her. "We can't stay here all day."

Eventually they got up enough nerve to open the door and peered out. At the end of the corridor something shadowy was moving away. It soon vanished around the corner.

"Well, that sure was a narrow squeak," muttered the Churcka, greatly relieved.

"Where's he's off to, I wonder?" the Hobgoblin said curiously.

"I don't know and I don't want to know," the Churcka replied. "I just hope the next poor bloke who runs into the guy comes out as lucky as us."

Meanwhile, the Hell lion finally found the exit he wanted, and stepped outside. He found himself looking out over a long stretch of green beach strewn with driftwood and hummocks of beach grass.

Dull, he thought.

Walking to the edge of the beach, he took something shiny from his coat pocket and flicked it out onto the sand. Then he watched and waited.

==Chapter 2--The Crystal Eye==

Kes decided it was time to go. She had a heavy load and the fog was coming in.

Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Miss Tabitha pawing at something sparkly. Kes walked over for a closer look.

At first, she thought it was a piece of abalone shell, but looking more closely, she saw it was a crystal eye.

Kes sometimes found things washed overboard from trading vessels—trunks full of clothes and ceramics, barrels of dried fruit and salted meat, bales of silk and linen, hardly ever jewelry.

She decided to keep it; it was a curious thing that kind of reminded her of one of her spirit allies, only this artifact was as flat as a tiddlywink, whereas the ghostly entity that had watched her was a floating eyeball. Who knows what this new find might do? It might have a smidget of magic, maybe even Old Magic. It might even bring her good luck.

Shouldering her kindling bundle, she started walking again. At first, she heard nothing but the muted sound of waves breaking and the shuffling of her feet. Then suddenly, she became aware of another sound—like someone was moving closely behind her, mimicking her every step.

Kes froze in mid-step, her skin prickling with goose bumps. Slowly she turned around and peered over her shoulder. There was nothing to be seen except empty dunes. Still she continued staring behind her for a long while before resuming her hike. Eventually she dismissed the sound completely as having been made by a wandering fox or rabbit.

However, she kept scanning the beach as she walked. When she happened to look back again, she got just a glimpse of something—a whirlwind… a fragment of billowing fog?

Whatever it was, it vanished just as quickly as it had appeared.

Kes turned around and headed for home. Gradually, it dawned on her that what she saw might just have been a trick of fog and ocean breeze.

BlueCrystalEye 03c

Yet as soon as she got home, she bolted the door tightly behind her.

After she put away the kindling, she examined the crystal once more. It seemed much radiant then when she first found it.

Kes wished she had a book on different types of jewelry, and then she might find out what this thing was and who exactly made it.

After a moment of wondering, she placed it in a basket with some other curiosities. Days went by, then weeks. Nestled within its tissue nest, the crystal bided its time.

==Ch.3 The Skunk Cometh==


Year of the Red Fire Chicken

Maison de Aigrette, Brittany

18th of July 2017, 7:45 AM

From the Account of Marzi Allyntahl

Exiting from the laundry room, I saw my twin sister Kes stumbling out of her room, looking disheveled and frazzled.

“Skunk!“ she gasped, her face twisted in a mix of shock and disgust.

I couldn't help but burst into laughter as the pungent odor suddenly pervaded the air around us. It was clear that Kes had also fallen victim to an unfortunate encounter with this odorous adversary, and now she resembled one too- with her wild hair and yoga style pajamas clinging to her desperately. Effortlessly navigating through the cloud of stench, I held my nose while trying to contain my amusement.

“It’s not funny!” she yowled furiously, “I was just trying to meditate when it suddenly came up from the floor worse than before! Like a stink bomb going off!”

“I think one of Leonard’s snake ferrets might have been hassling it,” I suggested, trying to stifle my chuckles. “Or else, he might’ve gained a new pet.”

Kes grimaced at the thought. “Ugh, that thralldorp brother of ours. He'd better not be responsible for this. I mean, how in the multiverse did he get hold of a skunk?”

I shrugged. "Yeah, Leonard can be a real gúkk sometimes. But who knows, maybe he found it wandering around and thought it would be a cool pet or something.” Sighing, I shook my head and made a face. “That’s how he found those snake ferrets. But knowing Leonard, he always manages to find a way to get his hands on strange things."

Kes rolled her eyes. “Well, we’d better shoo this thing out of here before Mom and Dad wake up.”

Unlike my long-lost sibling, I’ve lived here most my life and so was accustomed to Leonard’s eccentricities. They ranged from collecting bizarre artifacts to bringing home unusual pets. However, acquiring a skunk seemed to be a new level of absurdity, even for Leonard.

“Maybe we can trap it even,” Kes suggested, “like go look in the garage and see if we have any brooms or mops and maybe even a metal trash can.”

“We’re doing nothing of the sort,” l growled, putting a hand on her sleeve to stop her. “This is a job for Animal Control.”

“I’m not going to grab the skunk,” Kes argued, “l’ll just prod it along until l can trap it in the can.”

“Psh, you wanna get sprayed again or bitten?” I chided her. “What if it has rabies or even lycanthropy?”

“That’s stupid!” she fumed. “It’s daylight now, and c’mon, there’s no such thing as a were skunk!”

“Well, we’re right in the heart of Faerie Country now,” I reminded her. “So there’s all kinds of bizarro things going around here.”

“So we’re just going to stand around and do nothing?” Kes grumbled.

Before I could even open my mouth, bam! The door to my folks’ room swung open and out came Mom, followed closely by Dad.

“What the hork happening here?” she asked, her eyes widening as she caught a whiff of skunky stench. Her face turned a sickly shade of green, like she was about to hurl or something. Instead of being sick, she uttered a strangled “Great Bubastis, what’s that smell?”

“What . . .?” Dad began before being seized by a crazy fit of coughing. He quickly grabbed his handkerchief and pressed it against his nose. “Did some stink weasel sneak in here?”

"It was Leonard!" I blurted out.

Mom and Dad stared at me in disbelief.

"He probably got a skunk from the underground market," Kes added with a sigh and another eye roll.

Leonard, our six-year-old naturalist brother who we always thought was harmless in his devotion to natural history, went and did something absolutely insane. He somehow got his little hands on this crazy rare animal from Midgard Prime, and get this, it’s not even supposed to be in our area!

And to top it off, it’s totally illegal to have! I mean, seriously, how the hork did he manage to pull that off . . . in such of a short period of time without anyone in authority or in our immediate vicinity finding out about? It would have been like a simple cat burglar sneaking into one of the most secure government facilities on the plant and swiping a priceless artifact from under the very noses of trained professional agents and watch drones.

Midgard animals are like the celebrities of the wildlife world, receiving superstar treatment in terms of protection, even governments outside the Nine Worlds have implemented stringent regulations and laws to safeguard these creatures from any harm or exploitation. But there’s always those few folks out there who just don’t care about following the rules, like those Space British or the Salamandrine . . . or Leonard, who might have some shady dealing with them.

Well, anyway, I continued explaining to them what had happened, trying to sound casual but failing miserably. My heart raced as I anticipated their reaction.

Mom and Dad exchanged concerned glances, prompting me to hurriedly explain that Leonard probably found the injured animal on the side of the road and decided to nurse it back to health. As their shock subsided, understanding gradually replaced their initial skepticism.

I knew they were worried about the smell and potential dangers of having a skunk on the premises, but I pleaded with them, emphasizing Leonard’s good intentions and his unwavering desire to help animals in need. Although hesitant at first, my parents agreed to meet Leonard and assess the situation firsthand before making any final decisions–a small victory for my persuasive skills.

Kes, meanwhile glowered and muttered something about how we were all going to regret this. But despite her protests, my parents seemed to soften towards the idea. They knew how much Leonard loved animals and how he always had a soft spot for the underdogs.

Eventually, we decided to find Leonard and have a talk about the whole situation.

We followed the strong stench of skunk spray towards the backyard, prepared for the worst. As we stepped outside, our noses wrinkled in disgust. A cloud of noxious fumes hung heavily in the air, making it difficult to breathe.

"We should have known he would pull something like this," Kes grumbled, yanking up her yoga pjs to cover her mouth and nose.

Together, we moved cautiously toward the source of the odor. Through the haze, we spotted Leonard wearing yellow fisherman oilskins and oversized goatskin gloves.

"Leonard what on Hiramesawa were you thinking?" Dad called out; his voice muffled by his handkerchief. It sounded like he was now having doubts about our “guest.”

Leonard turned around, a sheepish grin on his face. "Hi, everybody! Look at my new friend!"

Stepping aside, he reveled one of Mom’s large wicker clothes baskets overturned. The furry creature inside, with its distinctive white stripes and fluffed up tail, was undeniably a skunk and a very large one too.

“Leonard, I’m sure you’re only trying to be helpful!” Mom called out; her voice muffled by her hand. “But I really think you’ll have to take that animal somewhere else. We can’t have this smell all over.”

“Yeah, that’s telling him, Mom,” said Kes through her collar. “Tell him to go dump the damned thing in the woods!”

Kes, don’t be rude,” Mom warned softly, giving her a nudge.

“Mom, he’s a bloody menace!” Kes yowled, clasping her pjs more firmly about her. “We need to call Animal Control then to take this bloody thing away from here! It’s stinking up the place!”

“Leonard, you can’t just keep bringing wild animals home,” Dad muttered, fanning himself with his handkerchief. His eyes darted to the skunk suspiciously. “And why would you ever want a skunk in the first place?”

“Finally!” Kes’s narrow glance flicked between Leonard and Dad and our “guest.” “Someone’s finally seeing the light and using some common sense.”

“Kes, that’s enough,” Mom told her firmly. “Let your father handle this.”

“Sorry, Mom,” Kes mumbled, burying her face deer into her collar. Her eyelid flared rosy pink in a mixture of shame and embarrassment.

Now I felt bad for Sis. She didn’t deserve to have her feeling hurt like that. All she wanted was a happy family reunion after a ten year absence, and now we had this exotic ruining everything. It was a real bummer. Now I was serious regretting sticking up for Leonard and his animal rights stuff.

Dad cleared his throat and continued, “We can’t have this smell lingering around. It’s not fair to the neighbors or us. Leonard, this animal needs to go to a wildlife center where it could be taken care off.”

Leonard frowned as he crossed his small arms defiantly, causing his oilskins to squeak. “But I can’t! It’s gifted!”

Dad raised an eyebrow, clearly puzzled as the rest of us. “By whom? An alien smuggler?”

“Nope!” Leonard shook his head. “A friend. And it’s not just any skunk, it’s a cool one that does magic.”

Kes and I exchanged worried glances, realizing that convincing Leonard to relinquish his prize would be an uphill battle. But we were determined to try, nonetheless.

Dad raised another eyebrow, clearly unimpressed by Leonard’s magical claim. “I get that you’re excited about owning an exotic, but we can’t just have a skunk roaming around the place. It’s not safe or practical.”

“No!” Leonard yelled, stamping his booted foot. “You don’t understand! This skunk’s special! It’s like a licorne or dragon horse! Like a watchdog!”

Dad sighed, clearly growing frustrated.

“Leonard, I know you think this skunk is amazing, but we have to think about what’s best of everyone. It’s not fair to the neighbors or to us to have a skunk running wild in our backyard.”

Leonard pouted, his arms still crossed. “But Dad, I’ve already named him Sparkles! He’s my best friend!”

Once again, Kes and I exchanged sidelong glances, silently pleading with Leonard to see reason, but before either one of us could convince him Mom stepped in.

“Leonard,” she said, looking at him sympathetically. “I appreciate your compassion, but we need to think about the safety and well-being of our family. Skunks can be dangerous, and they carry diseases.”

Leonard made a puffy, sad face. Stubbornly, he shook his head again. “But Mom, I promised Ken,” he insisted. “I promised to take care of it. Ken told me he can help me build a special pen and make sure it doesn’t cause any trouble.”

“Oh gods,” I groaned, noticing the tears glistening on his cheeks. “Not the waterworks again.”

Kes’s eyebrows shot up, as if she was watching a totally mind-boggling foreign language film with subtitles that made zero sense. She couldn’t help but scrunch up her face in confusion, like seriously, what is going on here? It was as if she trying to crack this insane jigsaw puzzle that didn’t have any answers.

Finally, she looked at me blankly and said, “Who’s Ken? An imaginary friend?”

I couldn’t help but let out an exasperated sigh mixed with a chuckle.

It seemed like no matter what was going on in our family, there was always something fun to talk about.

“No, Ken’s quite real,” I replied, managing to keep a straight face. “He’s twelve and one of Leonard’s American expat friend, and probably the weirdest. In fact, the whole family’s weird. They’re all to a level that’s almost unique to them. They even make my Goth bestie Vanessa seem like a strait-laced conservative in comparison.”

Kes raised a painted eyebrow and jokingly said, “So, it’s like an updated version of the Adams Family, huh?”

"Yeah, but way more chaotic and unpredictable," I said with a grin. “But that’s what makes them so much fun to be around. You never know what crazy thing they’ll do or say next. It’s like living in a sitcom sometimes.”

“Well imagine that,” Kes looked slightly awed. “Where do they live? In the middle of the Yggdrasil Wood where that creepy Château des Chanterelle is?”

I chuckled and said, “Nah, they have a vacation house just a few miles up the hill from us. But seriously, Ken’s obsessed with animals just like Leonard, only they’re all things creepy and morbid. He’s always chatting about ghosts and monsters and stuff.”

Kes gave a slight nod.

“Well, aren’t many kids, especially boys, fascinated by monsters, dinosaurs and creepy crawly things?”

“Yeah, I suppose–” I began before I was suddenly cut off.

“See!” Leonard shrilly exclaimed. “Told you he’s magic!”

Startled, we all looked over at Leonard and then down at the skunk, which was now snuggled up against his leg. “Ken says Sparkles will protect.” Leonard’s eyes gazed back at us, huge and triumphant. “He’ll protect us from the Reynardine.”

“The what now?” Kes asked in bewilderment.

I sighed. “You heard of werewolves, haven’t you?”

“Yeah,” she gave me a curious glance, before shifting her attention to Leonard and his doubtful companion.

“Well, we got another weird local lycanthrope legend,” I replied, shaking my head and making a face. “Shapeshifting, half-human, half-animal vampire with an insatiable appetite for innocent damsels.”

“Great,” Kes muttered, folding her arms. “More bloody eldritch wildlife. What’s next? Giant flying man-eating hamburgers?”

I couldn't help but snort and hold back a laugh, acting like it was just a sneeze, as I pictured these massive burgers zooming around with gigantic slash like mouths full of super sharp fangs, gobbling up scared folks like kaiju Pac-man.

Dad sighed again, clearly losing patience. “Look, Leonard, we really appreciate your enthusiasm for wanting to house this new friend, but he’s not from around here.”

Mom chimed in, her voice filled with frustration. “Look, we understand that you’ve grown attached to Sparkled, but we need to find him a proper home. A wildlife center would be the best place for him, where he can be taken care of by experts.”

Leonard’s face fell, his stubbornness starting to waver. “But . . . but what if they don’t take care of him right? What if they don’t believe he’s magic?”

Keeping a wary eye on Sparkles, Dad put a reassuring hand on Leonard’s shoulder. "I promise we’ll find a wildlife center that will take good care of Sparkles. And who knows, maybe they'll even have some other cool animals for you to learn about."

Leonard's face lit up at the idea, and his resistance started to fade. "Really? You promise?"

Dad nodded, a small smile of relief appearing on his face. "I promise, Leonard. We'll find the perfect place for Sparkles, where he'll be safe and happy."

Relief washed over Leonard’s face as he finally let go of his stubbornness. "Okay, Dad." He waved a final goodbye to Sparkles.

Mom slowly moved closer to Leonard, keeping a wary eye on the skunk. "You know what, Leonard?" she said cheerfully, taking his hand and leading him towards the house. "Why don't we find another way for you to express your creativity and energy? Something that doesn't involve bringing wild animals into our house."

Leonard looked disappointed but nodded. He kept looking back longingly as Mom hurriedly guided him away.

"I'll be in the bathroom," Kes grumbled, straightening her shoulders and walking away.

"Oh, Marie," Dad called her by her French name. "Maybe you could help us find a pen."

Kes stopped in her tracks and was quiet for a moment. Then she gave a slight nod.

"Okay, sure," she replied finally, “but only because I don’t want any more skunks around here.”

==Ch. 4 Ferae Naturae==


A few miles up the winding road from the Maison de Aigrette in the shadowy depths of a towering privet hedge, there came a faint sound of branches cracking and leaves rustling. In a damp hollow, something thrashed wildly about, desperately trying to wipe away the sickening stench of skunk from its blunt whiskery muzzle. With its scrawny limbs, the large hare kicked up clouds of moist earth soil and silvery leaves as it desperately darted through the dense underbrush. Gasping for air in between each strained hop, its silvery-gray form struggled to burrow deeper into the further shadowy depths. The hare's once nimble movements were now crippled, its heart pounding erratically against its ribcage.

It choked and gag, struggling to breathe through the thick, pungent stench. As it lay there, it could see the morning mist slowly lifting, revealing the warm, golden light that filtered through the lush greenery surrounding its temporary refuge. A pitiful squeal escaped its lips as it trembled with fear, imagining the dire consequences that awaited it if it failed in its daunting mission.

The hare could feel the fear coursing through its veins like a raging river, threatening to consume its already weakened senses. It had been a long night of delivering the packages to designated addresses in the nearby town, but its efforts were rewarded only with a nasty surprise upon its arrival at the outskirts. First, a mischievous pair of ramidreju startled the hare, forcing it to flee from the peaceful meadow. Then, a smoky-gray terrier cur relentlessly pursued the hare, driving it to finally seek shelter beneath a quaint white cottage. Just when it thought it had found solace, a colossal skunk appeared out of nowhere, drenching the poor hare with its pungent spray.

The moment was within reach, so tantalizingly close. The Château des Chanterelle stood like a beacon of hope, promising respite and security. If only it had managed to reach its destination, it could have breathed a sigh of relief, knowing its mission was accomplished. But fate had other plans.

For what felt like an eternity, it had been sprinting through a treacherous maze of challenges, both man-made and nature's own. It had skillfully evaded every obstacle and trap, its determination unwavering. Yet, as the first rays of sunlight pierced through the darkness, it found itself trapped within the confines of a dense hedge.

Disoriented and partially blinded, it struggled to regain its composure. The exhaustion weighed heavily on its weary frame, and a sense of desperation crept in. How had it come so far, only to be ensnared in this cruel twist of fate?

The hare, its long ears quivering and twitching like antennae, desperately shook its head in a futile attempt to regain clarity. The once agile creature was overwhelmed by a maelstrom of confusion and dread that had infiltrated the very depths of its mind. Every ounce of instinct screamed at the hare to flee from a myriad of ominous threats possibly lurking in the shadows. Its heart pounded fiercely within its fragile chest, as if determined to break free from this harrowing situation. With wide pale eyes darting hastily in all directions, the hare's anxiety seemed tangible, hanging heavily in the air like an oppressive fog. Each jittery twitch and quiver only served to emphasize the gravity of this daunting predicament that had ensnared its very being. In that moment, it became painfully evident that survival depended on finding focus amidst chaos; only then could any shred of hope be salvaged from this tumultuous plight.

It had to focus on the task at hand. There was no time to rest or to consider its possibly bleak fate. It had to find a way to free itself from the privet hedge and make its way to the Château des Chanterelle. The Château des Chanterelle, with its majestic presence, offered a sanctuary from the perils that lurked outside. It yearned for the safety and tranquility that awaited within those grand walls.

With its sharp teeth expertly snagging the twine, the nimble hare snatched up the package and anxiously surveyed its surroundings, desperately seeking an escape route from the prickly fortress that surrounded it. Undeterred by the temporary setback, the determined hare forged ahead, refusing to let adversity extinguish its fiery spirit. The majestic estate loomed in its mind, promising a momentary sanctuary before embarking on its noble mission once more. Suddenly, a glimmer of hope appeared as the hare spotted a small, tunnel-like gap near the ground. Without hesitation, it cautiously squeezed its slender body through the narrow opening, mustering every ounce of energy for one final, frantic burst. With a triumphant wriggle, the hare emerged from beneath the barrier, basking in the freedom of the open space.

With a sigh of relief, it paused, finally liberated from the clutches of the hedge. But there was no time to bask in its newfound freedom, for the mission was far from over. Fueled by a surge of determination, it sprinted forward, its paws pounding against the damp earth as it raced towards the majestic Château des Chanterelle.

Every fiber of its being was focused on the task at hand, fully aware of the dire consequences that awaited if it were to fail. As it drew closer to the estate, the stench of skunk began to dissipate, a sign that it was making progress

At long last, the hare arrived at the grand Château des Chanterelle, just in the nick of time. It wasted no time and swiftly made its way to the front door, where it was met by a towering, elderly butler adorned in exquisite Regency attire, complete with a mysterious Venetian rabbit mask.

Standing tall on its hind legs, the hare presented the butler with the tightly wrapped package, avoiding direct eye contact with the piercing gaze of the gimlet eye. In a voice that seemed to carry the weight of centuries, the masked butler expressed his gratitude and ushered the creature inside.

After a brief respite, during which the hare indulged in some much-needed rest and refreshment served on gleaming brass and mahogany trays, it was ready to embark on the final leg of its mission. Casting one last glance at the now dilapidated estate, its crumbling walls entwined with the tendrils of ivy and lichen, it felt a sense of accomplishment and relief wash over it, as the warm rays of sunlight filtered through the forest canopy.

With its task fulfilled and its fear dissipating, the hare vanished into the depths of the forest, leaving behind a trail of triumph and mystery.

Mmpratt99 deviantart (talk) 03:07, 7 October 2023 (UTC)

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Aphibacus192000 (talk) 18:12, 12 October 2023 (UTC)[]

Are you sure you posted this to the right place? Its not a creepypasta, and not really a horror story. Everything up until the last section is more of a slice-of-life family story, and then the last section has a bunch of action that is seemingly intentionally left vague. I get that the skunk from the first section is what must have protected the family from whatever the creature was in the second section, but there's not a lot going on here. I don't think this will be very well-received on this creepypasta site, but it may have a lot more success somewhere else. This website is primarily for relatively quick horror stories. The audience here is going to want the horror to hit fast, strong, and early. Or at least have a hint at some of the horror to come. I don't really know where the horror is in here. I know this is a sequel, so maybe its there, but if this story is to stand on its own it needs more of a hook.

I would recommend combing through this again to look for typos, copy/paste errors, and grammatical errors. I found a few in here on this readthrough, but there are more that I didn't write down. I'm noticing a lot of one sentence paragraphs in this already. Which may or may not be fine. Some typos too, like missing words from sentences. "one Leonard’s snake ferrets" should be "one of Leonard’s snake ferrets", etc.

Some more typos: "there’s no such thing as a we’re skunk!" I like this dialogue, but I think its supposed to be "were-skunk" or maybe "wereskunk".

"swung open and out came. Mom, followed" Remove that period.

"trying to sound casual but failing miserably. My heart raced as I anticipated their reaction." You have this exact section of text twice in your story.