Now you really stink!
These are the words that Peeu longed to hear, but it hasn’t always been that way.
Peeu hit Ava, a neighborhood playmate with a tagball so hard, it left an imprint of muddy dimples right in the middle of her dress. Her favorite, perfectly fitting, pleated blue dress. She was upset.
Ava quickly unleashed on Peeu. Throwing herself into a handstand, she saturated him. The smell was so noxious it made him gag. Trapping him in a foggy stench.
Peeu hacked and coughed trying to clear his throat.
Ava’s pungent plume stunned Peeu.
She didn’t get her nickname Herfume because she smelled like roses.
He dared not fire back, but he thought about it.
Peeu was the smelliest skunk in all of Descent Dale. He could gas someone in seconds if he wanted to, knocking them off their feet with his noxious vapor, much more powerful than a stun. Even though he could unleash on Ava right now, he would never harm a girl.
Ava still fuming, screamed, “What? Are you blind?
Proud of the prickly orb he launched into the air, Peeu didn’t mean to hit Ava with his ball. He usually aimed at one of the tall brown Cypress trees that surrounded the park. Normally he wouldn’t even be outside at this time of day, as a matter of fact, anyone who lived in Descent Dale rarely showed their face until it was dusk dark.
He wondered why Ava was even outside.
Peeu needed to practice his pitch against the mild wind, so he bravely ventured out. He always kept his arm in shape. At 90 mph, he was the best on his team. In one week, the game of his life would take place.
Descent Dale was known as the smelliest place on earth. But to those who lived there, it was the best smelling place on earth. Descent Dale is the Mecca for skunks.
In the stinky breeze, a chase ensued at Cypress Park. Peeu snaked through the park followed by an angry Ava in her now dirty indigo smock trailing him as she clenched his grimy ball.
“My bad! I’m sorry! Peeu yelled as he fled across the park weaving around murky streams as ducks cleared the way. He was slim and muscular, his long stride against the wind made his denim jacket look like a cape.
Zigging and zagging past the benches, he picked up speed. Peeu imagined he was on the field headed for victory with rivals hot on his trail. But all victory was lost when he tripped on a knotted vine hidden in dry leaves.
Face first he hit the ground, his bottom lip filled with clumpy dirt, and his glasses became tangled in his hair. He furiously tried to spit out the gritty granules, but before he could, his head took another dive into the dirt when Ava pounced on top of him.
With one leg over his back, Ava scrapped to straddle and restrain Peeu as he squirmed from side to side. She pummeled him with his dirty ball over and over again.
He shielded his head with his forearm, letting out short deep groans with every strike to his coiled body.
“I said I was sorry!
“Sorry won’t clean my dress!
Peeu wiggled and rolled from under Ava disoriented. He was now free trying to brush dirt from the narrow stripe of white fur that ran down the back of his head.
“Ugh!! Said Ava as she looked down in disgust at the million mud spatters on her pleats.
Every spot stared back at her.
Scowling,“You stay away from me” she said
Ava turned and stormed off, leaving Peeu where he stood, that’s when Peeu caught a glimpse of a large dark shadow from above.
Huge wide wings passing through the sun, Peeu had never seen wings that big before.
What is that? He wondered to himself.
Peeu paused and stared hard up into the bright sky.
We’re his uncles stories true? Huge wings fixed on either side, gliding in the sky. Eyes locked right on you.
With his breath held at bay, he whispered “No”, it can’t be?
His jaw slackened when he then realized what he saw, but in her anger, Ava did not see it.
Peeu wasted no time heading for Ava as the shadow from the sky began to darken and head straight for them, he had to save Ava and himself.
He’d only heard tales about terror from above. The town elders would talk about things that never were again. Peeu remembered what his uncle use to say: Shadow in the sun, be sure to run, but hearing this, never meant much to him until now.
This shadow belonged to a giant gray owl.
Not just any owl. Bubo.
Bubo was the King of the Great Horned Owls. He ruled a large parliament of owls in which his father and grandfather once reigned. Bubo was strong and fierce. Him and his mob were known to commandeer towns and ravenously feed on the inhabitants after the sun went down until no one was left.
He leapt and tackled Ava, knowing he was going to pay big time for doing it, but he had no choice. He embraced her as they tumbled to the ground smashing a patch of beautiful pink stinkhorn mushrooms. Realizing it was Peeu again, she threw a fit of punching, kicking.
Medium height and slim with evenly trimmed marbled fur from head to toe, Ava looked like a rag doll having a tantrum.
“I did nothing to you! Ava said winded.
He managed to grab her flailing hands and pin them to the ground.
Peeu learned that if owls were seen in day light, it was a sign of great danger, they were desperate. Owls normally hunted at night, but hunting in daylight meant that food was scarce at night.
In an instant he froze. He remembered listening when his grandmother would tell stories of being still so she wouldn’t be seen or heard when owls were on the prowl.