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       Adventures in Cottontail Pines - Blacky's Birthday, p.1

           TK Wade
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Adventures in Cottontail Pines - Blacky's Birthday




  T.K. Wade



  Cover Art Illustrated by:

  T.K. Wade and Coy Fields II

  Adventures in Cottontail Pines:

  Blacky’s Birthday

  Copyright © 2016 by T.K. Wade

  Thank you for downloading this free eBook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form, with the exception of quotes used in reviews.

  Your support and respect for the property of this author is appreciated.

  This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.






  I welcome you to the wonderful little town of Cottontail Pines. It is a place where many cute, little animals have come to live, for it really is a lovely place. It is never hard to find a cheerful animal walking about the cobblestone paths. It is quite the common thing to see smiles here, for there really is very little reason to frown in Cottontail Pines.

  The only place one might find a frown is with a particular skunk by the name of Blacky. You see, Blacky was not the type to ever smile. He was never happy about anything, and that was precisely how he liked it. That may seem strange to you–for most people think that happy thoughts are better than grumpy thoughts–but Blacky was always grumpy regardless of how he felt. Still, he had always been a good friend, and he would never, ever turn his back on those who had always cared for him.

  On a fine spring morning in Cottontail Pines, Blacky awoke in his bed with a lazy yawn. He really enjoyed sleeping. If he had his way, he might very well stay in bed all day. And candy–he loved candy. Candy and bed were his favorites, and sometimes, he would try and combine them; although, his mother would often be against this.

  But as I said: he was just waking up, and he was not a very good morning person. He was quite grumpy to be awake–even on such a special day as today. Indeed, it was a very special day for him. It was his birthday. He was another year older, and that is always worth celebrating. He thought about how he could go about and brag a little about it. It is not every day you become a year older. As a matter of fact, that reason was what finally got him to get out of bed.

  After yawning again and scratching himself under his tail, he dropped from his bed and headed out for breakfast. “How is my birthday boy?” asked his mother joyfully.

  “It’s okay,” said Blacky. “What’s for breakfast?” He sat down and waited for cake. It was entirely fair to wait for cake on one’s birthday, and that is exactly what he did. Pancakes and waffles was for any other day. Today, he wanted cake. Sadly, Mother Skunk did not have any cake. All she gave him was cereal, and it was not even the sugary kind that he liked. “What is this?” he asked grumpily.

  “It’s all I had time to make for you, honey,” replied Mother Skunk. “I have things to do today. You should go out and play after you finish it.”

  Blacky was incredulous! “But I wanted cake for breakfast!”

  Mother skunk kissed her son on his head and walked out of the door saying, “I’ll think about making a cake later. Have a good day, honey.”

  Blacky stared at his cereal. There was nothing special about it. It was just sitting there not trying to look fancy or anything. He stirred it around a little and finally said, “What’s good about a birthday without cake?” The question rattled in his mind as he ate the cereal in a rather bored way. Afterwards, he got up with a frown–yes, the same frown he had since he woke up–and headed out into the open air of Cottontail Pines to look for someone to brag too. After missing out on morning breakfast cake, this was all he had left.

  It was a lovely day in the quaint, little town. Blacky did not seem to notice it. The sun and flowers never really did anything for him. He would rather have stayed in bed or eat candy. He saw his friend Flopsy approaching him.

  Blacky really liked Flopsy–even though he would rarely say so. This Flopsy was a white lop-eared rabbit. Her ears were so long and droopy that she often had to be mindful not to trip over them. She was well-known for being very considerate of other’s feelings, and she was just the person that Blacky wanted to brag to about his birthday.

  So, when Flopsy hopped over towards him, the skunk stood his ground expecting her to stop. Flopsy did indeed stop and looked like she wanted to go around him. She stepped to one side, and Blacky copied the action to keep her path blocked. “Hello, Flopsy,” said Blacky with a frown.

  The bunny looked a little nervous, but she replied, “Hi, Blacky. Are you enjoying the pretty day?”

  “Not really,” he said. “By the way, it’s my birthday. I’m a whole year older now.”

  “That sure is great, Blacky, but I really got to go take care of something. I’m really happy for you.” She stepped to one side, but Blacky blocked her again.

  “Didn’t you hear me?!” he said in a surly way. “It’s my birthday! Not every day is your birthday, you know.”

  The bunny whimpered a little. “Happy birthday, Blacky,” she quickly said and managed to hop around the skunk.

  Blacky stood there watching her hop away. His face was no grumpier looking than it had been before the odd conversation had begun. It had been very uncharacteristic of the bunny. Normally, she was so sweet and happy when things of this nature happened. And although Blacky did not like any of that sort of thing, it still seemed rather rude of her to be so dismissive. With a heavy sigh, he began to walk. There must be somebody out there who would give him a moment to brag about his birthday. Perhaps, someone would offer him some candy for it. That would make it all worthwhile, he thought.

  Blacky wandered off in search of attention. Along the cobblestone path, he noticed the house of Goober. Ah, here was a fine fellow who always was very polite to the point of silliness. Goober was a brown bunny who was of a very timid nature. Blacky often found it quite easy to deal with him. The only problem was that Goober had this annoying habit of giving advice. He would always raise a finger and say something which was brimming with wisdom–but a little too wordy to Blacky’s liking.

  As a matter of fact, Blacky did not really enjoy getting advice. There was never really any advice out there that suited him. If someone could advise him how to find better candy or how one might sleep longer without any problems, then those words might be worth listening to; however, that sort of advice never seemed to come up. Fortunately, all he wanted out of Goober was simply praise for his new age and then maybe they would do something together to pass the day along; at least, until his mother could get around to making cake.

  As Blacky approached the door to Goober’s house, the bunny in question was just backing out. He was pulling on a large chest for some reason. Blacky stood there watching him for longer than he probably should without speaking. As Goober nearly bumped into him, Blacky suddenly said, “Guess what day it is, Goober.”

  “AHH!” cried the bunny. Goober turned about looking positively frightened. “Blacky! How long have you been there?!”

  As if Goober had instead replied, “What day is it, Blacky,” Blacky replied,” It’s my birthday. I’m one year older. What do you think?”

  Goober tapped his chest to keep his heart from beating so fast. He then rais
ed a finger and said, “Blacky, you should never sneak up on people without announcing yourself. You gave me a terrible start.”

  As if Goober had actually said, “Happy birthday, Blacky,” the skunk proceeded to answer the phantom reply with, “Yep! Another year older. Isn’t it great? Did you want to do anything with me? It’s not every day I have a birthday. Let’s go to the park.”

  “I can’t,” said Goober with a sigh. “I’m very busy, but happy birthday anyways.” He began dragging the big chest away from the skunk.

  Blacky watched him and said, “Do you want me to help you with that?”

  “No, I got it.”

  Blacky was very happy that Goober did not want help. Really, the chest did look very heavy, and the skunk was rather opposed to physical labor. The problem now was the fact that two of his very best friends had been rather involved in their own things than with what was really important–Blacky and his birthday.

  Why were they suddenly being so selfish? Did they not like him anymore? He had always liked them. Why… they always put up with his grumpiness. To Blacky, toleration was the ultimate sign of friendship, and they tolerated him more than any other thing. Why would they not tolerate him today? And on his birthday too! All these thoughts only made Blacky grumpier, but you might not really notice the difference as he was always grumpy. Sadly, the skunk continued walking on hoping that he could still find someone who cared.

  As he walked down the pathway that lead through Cottontail Pines, he began to notice that all the animals were walking away from him. Some even dove into their homes to avoid a conversation with the fellow. Blacky suddenly stopped in place. He looked about the area. Silence! Everyone was gone. It was a beautiful day, and everyone was missing. Blacky sustained his frown and continued on through the town.

  He saw in the distance two animals he knew well. It was Mister Hooty the owl having a chat with Gumdrop the little mouse. Mister Hooty was the leader of Cottontail Pines, and he was also the teacher of all the little children. He was a very nice fellow who cared very deeply for all the animals that lived in this fine town. Gumdrop was also a good, little person. She was the very best friend of Flopsy, and–although not seen with her today–she was nearly always the shadow of the rabbit.

  Blacky thought to himself, Now, here are two more friends of mine. Surely, they will give me some praise for my birthday. The skunk approached them, but when they saw him, Gumdrop squeaked and ran off leaving the owl behind.

  “Where is she going?” asked Blacky fairly annoyed.

  The owl fluffed up his feathers for a moment as he looked at the boy. “Oh, Gumdrop, you mean?”

  Blacky glared at the owl for a moment. “Yes,” replied the skunk with some annoyance.

  The owl became somewhat shifty. “The mouse you saw a moment ago, correct?”

  Blacky huffed and rubbed his face with an air of exasperation. “Yes, the mouse. I know that was Gumdrop. Why did she run away without talking to me?”

  “I suppose she was in a hurry,” said Mister Hooty. “As a matter of fact, I too—.”

  But Blacky interrupted, “You’re busy too? With what?!” The skunk was trying not to yell, but he was so annoyed, it was hard to keep his voice subdued.

  The owl looked around. Indeed, his head almost turned entirely around as he seemed to be trying to think of an answer. “Weeeeeeeell,” he said with a stall, “You must understand how much work it is to be leader of such a fine town. It keeps me busy, busy, busy, you see. I have many animals who depend on me, and I must not forsake them.”

  Blacky actually thought that explanation was fair. Mister Hooty was quite a good leader, and he did usually pay everyone a good deal of respect. Blacky thought that he should point out his own problem so that it might be remedied. “Mister Hooty,” began the skunk, “it’s my birthday today, and nobody wants to talk to me about it. Maybe, they don’t understand how important birthdays are. What do you think?”

  Mister Hooty looked perfectly uncomfortable. He stood there like a statue as if he did not know what to say. Blacky stared back wondering what was taking so long. Finally, Mister Hooty said, “Well, may I be the first to wish you a very happy birthday, dear Blacky. It is not every day that one turns another year older. How do you feel?”

  “Lonely,” said Blacky sardonically.

  The owl nodded and said, “Ah, well, yes. You should find something to do for your birthday. Perhaps, something will arise before long. You never know. But really, I must be going. I am a busy owl after all. Goodbye, Blacky.” And off he flew.

  Blacky stood perfectly still as he watched the owl glide away. He thought about what Mister Hooty said. As birthday greetings go, it could have been better. It was not really what he wanted. In fact, it was entirely the opposite of what he had wanted. It was beginning to look like none of his friends really… cared about him anymore. Flopsy, Goober, Gumdrop, and even Mister Hooty had simply wanted to be somewhere else on such an important day.

  But there was another! Yes, there was one more little fellow who could never forsake Blacky! There was one remaining animal who could never, ever run away from him. They had been pals for as long as he could remember. His name was Walnut the squirrel!

  Walnut was probably Blacky’s closest friend. He was such a silly child. He always enjoyed sizing up his tail with Blacky’s to see if he had grown bigger or not. The skunk always thought this little game was silly, but he always let him do it. Yes, if there was anyone left in all the world who still cared for poor Blacky, it would be Walnut!

  The squirrel lived near Donut Park which is also where the two would often play. His mother Mrs. Chipper would often supervise them–as she was very protective. After inquiring where the boy was, Mrs. Chipper said that he was out working on some project in Donut Park. Without smiling, Blacky thanked her and proceeded to find little Walnut in the park carrying some sort of rolled up paper.

  Blacky waved his paws and called out, “Hey, Walnut!”

  The little squirrel looked at Blacky as if he saw a ghost. It was quite perfectly like Blacky was the most terrifying thing that he ever saw. He froze and trembled in a way that was very surprising to the skunk.

  Blacky approached him wondering what in the world was wrong with him. “Walnut,” said the skunk, “How are you?” The boy was speechless. Blacky tried again, “It’s my birthday today. Did you know that?” Walnut was still silent. He looked about as if wondering what to do.

  Blacky then asked, “What is that you are carrying, Walnut? Can I see it?”

  Walnut suddenly screamed at the top of his little lungs and ran away from Blacky until he was out of sight. Once more, Blacky found himself alone. His best friend in the whole world was afraid of him. What did it mean? What did anything mean anymore? The whole world had turned away from him which would have normally be okay with him… But this was his birthday! This was the one day when everyone usually paid extra attention to him! If everyone wanted to ignore him on his own birthday… what was the point?

  With a heavy sigh, the poor skunk slowly treaded his way back to his house where he would go back to bed. He did not really care if he ever got up again. He would just lay there and dream of cake and candy and maybe more sleep. Poor Blacky.
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