Chia looked out over the fields of organic cane sugar with her dark almond eyes and sighed. Although it was only early September she could tell that winter was on the way, and from the feel of the nip in the air, the texture of chill on her whiskers in the early morning hours, she knew that it was going to be a rough one. As the sun slowly rose over the eastern fields, Chia paused to let the rays warm her fur, rolling down across her back and over her bushy tail. Finally, she pushed herself up off her paws, having lingered too much, as she had much work ahead of her.
Prior to setting off, she peaked her head in the cubby hole of her tree, gazing fondly on her son Buckwheat. He was nibbling on a few hulled hemp seeds, his tiny paws tossing the husks to the side. His sister, Cinnamon, had perished a few weeks prior, when a great owl had swooped and caught her just as she scurried up the tree in the dusk. Since then, Chia had been leary of allowing Buckwheat out in the early dawn or late evening hours, so she forced him to stay put when she ran errands before daylight was at full capacity. Chia chirped her goodbye and scampered down the tree, before sadness had a chance to grip her heart completely, like it had two weeks ago when they almost starved from her melancholy.
As she reached the foot of the tree, Chia scented the air. The faint whiff of apples, slightly dehydrated, rode on the winds this morning. The land was in dire need of rain. Chia took off across the dusty fields, headed towards her first stop each morning, the children's swingset. It was just to the side of The Big House, the one where the people that owned the fields lived. White, wooden, and looming, it wasn't unpleasant to look at, but Chia knew it held numerous dangers within its walls and borders.
Tentatively, she scanned the house before she approached the swingset. It was early, and all was fairly quiet except for the reassuring song of the birds. Chia loped over to the swingset and sniffed. She smelled sweetness, right there, to her left. Her eyes scanned quickly, and she had no trouble spotting the source. Raisins! A whole treasure trove of raisins right there on the ground. Why, there must be at least twenty there! Quickly, Chia began stuffing her cheek pouches full. They were made to expand and flex, so even as small as she was she had no trouble stuffing the raisins in. She might have paused to eat a few, savoring the sweetness, but she wanted to get back to Buckwheat as soon as possible before he could get into mischief. He was always in the back of her mind, and she knew how much he would love these raisins. They could eat a few this morning, and then store the rest for the winter. She had a lot of food foraging to do to get ready.
Once Chia was sure she had all the raisins, she began the journey back to her tree, moving at an easy pace. Stretching her legs felt good, and the sun was a little higher now, causing mists to waft over the fields. Chia hurried her pace, eager now to indulge in the raisins. As she ran, she silently thanked the Great Celtic Goddess Sea Salt for the bounty. Her tree grew and morphed, and she closed in on the distance. Already, chirps were coming involuntarily from her throat, alerting Buckwheat of her return, of her finds.
Nothing. Empty silence loomed, and her heart beat faster. Not even the birds were singing. Where was Buckwheat? Why wasn't he answering?
This story was inspired by the prompt at The Red Dress Club. The assignment:
For this week's prompt, grab something out of your pantry and write a short piece - using all the words in the ingredients. It can be fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose.
Ingredients: Chia, buckwheat, hulled hemp seeds, dehydrated apples, almonds, raisins, organic cane sugar, cinnamon, Celtic Sea Salt.
Incidentally, Chia Goodness is awesome. It comes in different flavors - even chocolate. If you haven't tried it, you should. I have a tablespoon stirred into my oatmeal each morning. Chia seeds are a super food!
The link will be up on The Red Dress Club Friday, so if you want to try to write on this prompt and join in, go check them out: