A chipmunk ran first in one direction, then another while chattering noisily to himself. His face was painted with a dark stripe that continued down his back. Sparkling brown eyes peeked from his pointed face.
"Chips," was the name his mother gave him. However, this moment he didn't quite know where he was. He must have gotten turned around somewhere. He had been searching everywhere for his family and now his paws were aching. Sitting on his back legs he wondered what to do next.
A stream bubbling nearby whispered, "I am cold and tasty." Chips became curious and his dry throat led him directly to the stream. Quick choppy hops hurried him along.
When he reached the weather worn bridge, he discovered it was only partly there. The rest had collapsed into the stream. He knew there was no danger, since he wasn't very heavy. He saw nothing but wet leaves as autumn colors covered the ground. His heart beat quickly as he stared into the water.
A darting trout paid him no attention. Other fish were more like dark shadows under the water. Their bulging eyes noticed him and scoot before Chips could even say, "HELLO."
Is that something else in the water? He wondered. At first he thought it was a frog. Or was it a face? Yes, that's it. But to whom does it belong? There wasn't anyone nearby. At least no one he could see.
Looking back from the water was a little boy's face. When Chips was younger, his mother warned him to be careful around humans. "They could be dangerous," she said.
The face below him had dark hair and big ears. It was a very serious face. Chips stood up when he was nervous, like now.
"I can see you," the face said. "My name is Thomas."
Chips looked all around. He looked for an escape route, in case he had to scoot. This boy's face didn't look like it was going to harm him. "What are you doing there?" Chips asked.
"I'm all alone and I would like to have a friend."
"Me too," Chips answered.
"You want a friend too?" Thomas asked.
"Yes," said Chips. "I can't find my mother, either." He pinched himself. Except for him, it was more like scratching on his chest. "Am I really talking to a human?" The chipmunk wondered.
"Its okay. See, we're talking like friends," Thomas said.
"It still is kind of funny though, don't you think?" Chips wasn't giving up easily with his questions.
"I suppose," answered Thomas. " Wow. I'm speaking to a talking chipmunk. Isn't that something?"
"It is kind of unusual," Chips answered.
"If you really want a friend, anything is possible."
"How did you know I needed a friend?" Chips asked. By now he was hanging over the bridge with his face almost in the water.
"The wind tunnel sent me a message as I lay in my bed trying to sleep," said Thomas. So now you can see me. Do you want to be my friend?"
"I sure do," Chips replied twitching his nose.
"Then look into my eyes," the boy said.
Chips did as he was told.
Then an eerie thing happened. Suddenly Chips felt like he was traveling through space, heading in an unknown direction. He didn't even have time to think. Or change his mind.
Colors and odd sounds came from everywhere. Trees waved their branches in what seemed like a fierce wind. To top it off he was sure coyotes were barking nearby.
Chips rolled from side to side through a winding tunnel. It twisted round and around like a water slide. It was scary but exciting at the same time.
Suddenly there was a plop as Chips landed on a soft pillow. Stretching his paws he looked around curiously. A little boy sat beside him on the bed. He looked huge compared to Chips. His smiling face looked friendly.
"I knew you would come," said Thomas. "I'm really happy to see you." Then the boy lay on his tummy so he could observe his new friend. "I also wished upon a star. I didn't think anything would happen. But, you're here. Wowee."
Chips looked around the large room and saw how different everything looked. It was huge as a cavern he once visited. It didn't take them long to become friends.
Thomas had no fur so had to wear clothes instead. He said he liked to eat cooked food, meat and vegetables instead of grasshoppers or caterpillars. Imagine, Thomas even had snacks like cookies, and ice cream, and then explained what they were. He never had to search for seeds and nuts, the same as Chips.
Then the boy told Chips about how much he liked playing baseball and swimming in the warm weather.
Scattered around the room were coloring pencils, a drawing pad and chapter books. Thomas told about going to the park and having birthday parties. There were still so many things to tell each other, when suddenly their visit came to an end.
Thomas said it was his bedtime. "I'm very tired," he spoke quietly and gave a big yawn.
Chips wished he could visit longer. He was just getting to know his new friend. He had been so busy listening he hardly got to tell any of his own adventures.
They both said goodnight and promised to get together soon.
Chips watched as the boy slowly closed his eyes. It seemed like only a few moments before Chips returned to the stream and sat staring at the water. Thomas was gone. Poof, just like that. Had they both been dreaming?
Chips began to make soft noises deep in his throat. It was his way of showing how happy he felt. He scampered down the trail, chattering excitedly.
Thomas was a friend he would never forget. His memory would help Chips be strong for what lay ahead. The chipmunk began to search earnestly for his family.
This time he knew he would find them. He wouldn't stop until he did.
* * *
Richard & Esther Provencher 2008
All messages for Richard or Esther can be sent directly to: email@example.com. They enjoy reading comments on their work. Readers are welcome to visit their website at: www.wsprog.com/rp/. Free downloads also available. They live in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Many blessings on your loved ones.