“The plebs. Why do they leave? Don’t they know all roads lead back to Rome?”
“Their shepherd understands this but he must delay, lest slaughter and slavery reach his people.”
“So exodus he proffers but revolution he disguises. Marching in circles to cull the weak, breeding the strong to fight the stronger.“
“Would the empire be so blind? Wolves can smell their sheep a hundred leagues away.”
“The empire let them go for they no longer desire food but a challenge.”
“And the shepherd?”
“A sheep-wolf or a wolf-sheep. Makes no difference.”
I saw the man jump. It wasn’t a bunny hop that a self-doubting soul half-committed to, but a magnificent leap of one determined to soar. The dream however would always end on an ambiguous note… Sometimes, the water below the bridge broke him in two. Other times, he shattered water itself, continuing to plummet unscathed. Never once did the man fly but in his repeated attempts, I’d come to realize that he did soar in another way. He soared above fear… Now as I look over the same edge and prepare my leap, another person can watch, learn, and overcome.
The fishing line yanked far to the right. “Looks like we got a live one Jimmy! There she goes!”
“Careful with the reel Buzz. The line could snap if you’re too quick with the handle.”
“I know I know! But at this rate, the spool is going to run out. Lemme add a bit of resistance.” Suddenly, the reel stopped spinning. Jimmy and Buzz stared at the slack line for about a minute. The sound of ocean waves sloshing against the dinghy’s stern filled the silence.
“Crap, you think the bait came out? I thought they swallow these things whole like babies with candy.”
“Just reel it in slowly. Don’t want to startle it.”
After several minutes of winding, the end of the line resurfaced. Jimmy and Buzz jerked backwards in shock of what they had caught… A human skull dangled from the ends of the fishing pole. Wedged between its jaws and teeth, the silver-dollar lure remained intact.
Bee, the squirrel had discovered the stash of a life-time. Acorns upon acorns, piled a mountain high, shimmered like gold under the sun. Bee immediately set out to secure his massive find. Digging several pits, he sought to cache away as many as could for future use. However, this would clearly fall short as most would go to waste in the coming winter. Instead, he would need recruits whom he could trust to share in secret. Thus, an idea came to mind. He would ask strangers, friends, and family alike if they would lend him a third of their harvest. Most were reluctant to concede such a large portion. Some were even downright hostile to the question. But to the exceptional few who agreed, he revealed the secret location of the stash. By winter’s time, the mountain of acorns had been harvested and Bee had gained a new inner circle of friends.
Rudolph, the bulldog circled about the twenty-by-twenty fenced yard. Having been chained to a tree since birth, the yard was both his home and universe. Others who ventured close to his territory were met with streaks of vicious barks. Those who found themselves inside the yard feared for their lives.
Rudolph only had a soft spot for two things in the universe. His owner, an old lady who fed him daily, and butterflies that would flutter freely in and out of the yard. Like a child that had just learned to walk, he would prance around dancing with the butterflies before the chain would snap taut, sometimes coiling around and yanking his neck. The old lady would then have to untangle the mess before his ADD kicked in again.
So it came as a surprise that when the old lady had finally decided to enter a retirement home and Rudolph was unchained, he stopped dancing with those butterflies. In fact, he spent most of his time nuzzling the metal leash that used to collar his neck. Like a third arm that had been severed, he had tried reattaching it with his awkward paws to no avail. Tragic that the butterflies that once brought him such joy to life no longer held the same appeal.
Dandelion and Rose found themselves on opposite ends of a seesaw atop a sharp precipice. They were attracted to each other but neither could see, hear, nor talk; only their sense of balance gave away the other’s presence. To maintain such a relationship, both had move in harmony. If Dandelion took a step forwards, then so would Rose. If Rose doubled backwards, then so must Dandelion. Otherwise, both would fall, injure each other, and think twice about getting back on the seesaw again.
When the two first met, neither dared to make sudden movements out of fear. This would quickly change as the cold nights drew them closer to share warmth and the windy days forced them further apart for some stability. Most days however were calm and so to ease their restlessness and learn more about one another, the two took turns leading. Rose would slide forwards a meter and Dandelion would follow suit by three-quarters to maintain weight parity. Walking soon turned into hopping and then evolved into various forms of kicks, spins, turns, pivots, crosses. Many times they fell off the seesaw but every time they got right back on again. Movement itself communicated their bond and deepened their trust in each other.
Two centuries had passed since Dandelion and Rose were last seen atop that fateful seesaw that once united them in movement. Legends tell of a violent squall that had swept through the mountain side. After the storm had cleared, the seesaw atop the sharp precipice had broken cleanly in half. Some say that a disagreement had end their relationship for good; their combined weights crashing down upon two ends would have severed the seesaw. Others claim that lightning struck the seesaw, splitting it in two from divine jealousy of mortal love. Whatever the case, the bodies of Dandelion and Rose were never found but their movements could sometimes be felt today whilst engaged in dance.
Two wolves sought to capture a herd of sheep. The first wolf would attack head-on and scatter the flock. The second wolf would dress up in sheep’s skin and lead them to a cliff. When they put their plan into action however, only three quarters had fled. The remaining ones bared fangs.