“c’mere, ‘Animakul.’ c’mon… ” Sally whispered, trying to coax him out from hiding. “Billy and Angel are gone. They won’t hurt us, they’re just meanies.” A cool beginning of Fall light wind blew Sally’s dark brown hair into her face. She “pfffdd” it out of the way.
An answering, tiny huffing came from her jacket pocket. Lint was shoved aside and shaken off as her Animalcule poked his very small head out and “wiffed” at her. Sally, grin wide, held her hand out by the pocket, and ‘Animakul’ jumped on it and plopped it’s very tiny behind in her palm. Blowing him a kiss, she lifted ‘Animakul’ to her shoulder, where he settled into the epaulet that her brother had sewn to the jacket. Just for her, and ‘Animakul’.
Brandon was the one who introduced her to ‘Animakul’ a couple of weeks ago. He was almost five years older then she was, and at six years old an eleven year old brother who did things with her was heaven. Usually. Their parents were busy around the house that Saturday, and Sally was “getting in the way” (“I just wanna help!”).
“Brandon,” their Dad yelled out from the basement. “Could you PLEASE take Sally outside and watch her?” Brandon had already heard the rumblings and had tried to make it to his room, but his mother eyed him from the living room as he tried to get upstairs. She shook her head and gave him The Look. He turned around, got Sally from the stairs to the basement, and walked/pulled her out of the house.
Twenty-one minutes later, Brandon had had enough. “Let’s take a walk,” was all he had to say. She ran behind him, swatted him in the tush, and ran giggling away towards the back woods. “Hey, Sally..not there…,” he moaned, but he was already giving chase. He just hoped no one was watching where they were going. They had both been warned not to go there without an adult.
It wasn’t too long before he caught up to her, caught her, and they tumbled down tickling and being tickled. Rolling on the uneven ground, they careened into a small mound of rocks and dirt by a Rooty Tree. That was Sally’s naming, one day she and her Mom went for a walk. She had almost tripped over a tree with a lot of roots wending this way and that above ground. “Rooty Tree, don’t you trip me!” All older trees were now a Rooty Tree.
“Ow! Something bit me,” Brandon exclaimed, reaching around and then through the small outcropping. He stood up and held something in his hand, something small and just a tiny bit fuzzy. It had four legs, and kinda looked like a tinier gerbil (they had them at school as class pets), but it’s face was flat, it’s ears flopped over, it had TWO straight tails (which was weird itself)…and it was BLUE. Well, bluish patterned. Sky Blue mixed with Purple, crayon wise.
It had tiny claws that dug into Brandon’s hands, which hurt a bit, but it was making the loudest tiny angry sounds he’d ever heard. He was just going to put it down and back, when Sally, who had been screeching “LETMESEELETMESEE” grabbed the creature from him.
Before Brandon could issue a warning of any kind, the little thing quieted right down, and made a small, very contended sounding, “wiffle.” The next half hour was spent arguing with Sally, Sally with Brandon, the thing wiffling, over why she should, shouldn’t, can’t, will, NO, YES…until Sally won, and took the thing back to the house, reallllly quietly up the stairs, and into Brandon’s room.
He got online and Googled and Binged and Yahooed, but he couldn’t find any picture or reference of what that thing was. Sally had run downstairs to the kitchen, got a carrot, and ran back up as fast as she could (her Mom noticed and smiled, then frowned, went up to check if either of them brought home another wild animal, and, seeing nothing, went back downstairs) while Brandon did his interwebby thing.
One word, in his search, struck Brandon: Animalcule, “a minute or microscopic animal, nearly or quite invisible to the naked eye.” Well, it wasn’t that small, but he thought it was a cool word. He told it to Sally, after she bugged him to tell her what he found, and she thought it was cool too.
“Hi, ‘Animakul’,” she said as she petted it, and ‘Animakul’ wiffled. Brandon tried to correct her, but ‘Animakul’ it was.
The two weeks into Fall went fast, from warm like weather to needing a jacket, which was perfect for sneaking ‘Animakul’ out of the house in her jacket pocket. ‘Animakul’ stayed by her at all times, especially when they were outside. Sally talked to it (still not knowing or caring if it was a boy or a girl ‘Animakul’), fed it, stroked it, sang songs with it, tried to play games (but, that was hard to do, not knowing the type of games an ‘Animakul’ would like to play) with it, and was overjoyed in her own pet. Her ‘Animakul’.
Billy and Angel had surprised her, first coming to retrieve their ball which came rolling into her back yard. Neighbors and not friends of either Brandon or Sally, they teased her, called her names (seeing that Brandon wasn’t around) and threatened to take her hat. ‘Animakul’ had been shoved into Sally’s pocket real fast when she saw the ball, having an idea whose ball it was. “MOOOOommmmmmMMMMMMMMMYYYY!” she bellowed.
Before any action occurred from the house, the two ran off, ball in hand. Angel was laughing, but Sally did not like that laugh.
‘Animakul’, from his (yes, his) perch on Sally’s shoulder, under the epaulet, honed in on the sound of the running feet, and nasty laugh. His teeth vibrated, and his mind was set. He would pay a visit to the boys, tonight, after Sally went to sleep. No one threatened what was his.