Owl and Raccoon tossed rocks at the thin ice on the edges of the creek.
A struggling whine of an engine broke through the morning’s quiet. They looked up the hill, and saw a shadow cast by the low morning sun. “Plane,” Raccoon said. They hopped over the creek and sprinted to copse of thin birch and alders for cover.
A biplane flew low enough overhead for them to spot the sun glinting off the machine gun perched on its nose.
“Gonna spot the camp, for sure,” Owl said. Raccoon nodded, knowing they couldn’t possibly warn their squad in time.
Raccoon went home again.
“Here already?” his mother asked, drying her hands and moving from the sink to the front door. Her smile growing as she approached. “We thought you didn’t get in until tomorrow morning. You should have called.”
“Caught an earlier flight,” he said.
“Well, come in. Don’t stand in the doorway like some stranger. Go freshen up.”
Raccoon hesitated. Then he lifted his bag and started up the stairs.
“Your room’s the same place it was,” his mother called after him.
He looked out his window, and saw the empty spot where Owl’s house used to be.
“What do you mean you aren’t coming out?” Owl asked, pushing his the brim of his cowboy hat back with his plastic revolver, as he stood on Raccoon’s porch in the quiet, wet, dark evening.
Raccoon made a face. Owl recognized what it meant.
“Ok,” he said, keeping his voice down. “Do you want to come over then?”
Raccoon looked back over his shoulder, past the dark kitchen, to the sliver of light showing under a closed door.
“My sister’s there,” Owl said, “With some of her friends.”
They hurried away. Halfway between the two houses, they heard something howl.
Owl and Raccoon set the notched doubloon in the hole bored through the stone wall.
“Think it’ll work?” Raccoon asked.
“Positive,” Owl said, taking a few steps back.
The sun began to set. He hurried back to the wall and rotated the coin’s position in the hole, so that it mirrored a nearby paint-flecked stone.
“Look at the shadows the sun makes through the crack and fissures.”
In the growing, purple night, they followed the narrow beam of light from the coin’s notch, and dug where it landed.
“We’ve finally found it,” Owl said, his shovel striking wood.
Prompt courtesy of Sue Vincent’s Writephoto Challenge.
Also, 31 stories in 31 days for August.
An eyeball, a somehow darker than black, appeared between the slats of the fence.
“What do you boys want?” the thing on the other side of the fence asked.
“Nothing,” Owl and Raccoon said in unison. “You called us over.”
“Good, good. You two’ll do. You’ll do. Come over to the gate.”
The eye moved in one direction, and they followed it. A door in the fence creaked open just wide enough for a jar and the bony fingers holding it.
“Take this to the river. Set it free. I’ve learned my lesson.”
The jar contained a dragonfly.
Owl and Raccoon took off their pith helmets and used them as cups, scooping water from the shallow river. They’d been exploring the jungle for weeks. Four days ago, a rock fall swept their guide, and most of their supplies, away.
“We’re going to die,” Raccoon said. He kicked a stone into the jungle. But it hit something solid. Curious, the adventurers chopped at the vegetation. After several hours, they found two small dark tunnels carved into the earth.
“This must be the temple,” Owl said, excitedly flipping through his notes. “From my empty eyes, you will find untold riches.”
Prompt courtesy of Sue Vincent‘s #writephoto challenge.
Owl and Raccoon found something in the woods behind their houses. Someone had chipped or chiseled away the bark from the middle of a fallen white pine. Smoothed it down so that it seemed like a table.
A single thrush sang from somewhere above.
This was a place to be solemn.
They knelt, the ground covered in fallen needles, elbows against the smoothed trunk, hands clasped and heads bowed. Breathing in time with the breeze.
The spirit had been watching them since they jumped over the creek and made their way between the trees.
But, for now, it stayed away.