The Scrufflings: A New Children’s Series by author and artist Claire Brandenburg. Book One: Escape to Mihael is now available. Below is an excerpt.
ESCAPE TO MIHAEL
Pata-Pikki jumped out of his soft bed of grass. Something was in the wind. The wind was making a strange sound as it blew across the top of his hole. He threw on his grass muffler and pulled on his woven bark pants and rushed down the earthen passageway to the ladder which reached up into the interior of the mighty tree. Running up the rungs and then the stairs that lined the interior of the trunk, he looked out of the bottommost window next to the lowest branch.
The wind hit his whiskers and blew them into his eyes. He could hardly see. Ducking back inside he said somewhat to himself but mostly to the One, who sat above him, far-away. What is happening? He was a little afraid and a lot curious. He approached the window again, this time with great caution. He peered across the meadow that lay in front of him. Near the forest rested a Strange Contraptor.
The Strange Contraptor was sitting on its haunches, so its cubical body rested on the grassy meadow and the whirligig on top was still. Shaggy Narflbots were moving in and out of the doorway, carrying things on their heads. It looked like cartons with strange lights and there were whirring noises coming from the boxes.
Pata-Pikki narrowed his eyes and twitched his nose and waited and watched. He was curious. What they were up to?
He asked the wind, “Do you know what they are doing?” The wind whispered something, but he couldn’t quite catch it. “I wish you would speak up,” he whined.
The wind probably knew. It had trouble communicating. There was always the extra sigh and whisper that were part of its language. The South wind was easier to understand as it spoke more slowly. It was winter, Pata-Pikki ought to be used to the long drawn out sighs of the North Wind, but still, he had trouble understanding. He paused, listening to his heart. The far-away One, was close now. Pata-Pikki felt His Presence and it seemed from the warmth in his heart that the One wanted him to be watchful and investigate this happening.
A feathered Hatch landed on the window sill and chirped, “Pata-Pikki, Pata-Pikki, where are you? Narflbots are in our meadow!”
“I see them! Shh, not so loud. It will be better if they think no one cares that they are here. I wonder if Hoopy knows? Fly to his cave and tell him. He will want to know. We must all keep an eye and see what they have in mind.”
“They are up to no good I’m sure. All their machinery with its noises and whirring, how disgusting!” peeped the Hatch with indignation.
“Tell Hoopy to come,” whispered Pata-Pikki as the Hatch flew toward the deep forest. Pata-Pikki remembered when Hoopy and he were pups. Hoopy had a terribly long name that had been given to him by his great-grandmother, Hoop-Hop-Hark-Oona. Between the two of them they had changed his name to Hoopy. It fit him somehow a little better and was easier to say.
Pata-Pikki paced up and down in his hole waiting for Hoopy. Happily, he heard a scuffling at the entrance of his hole in a short time. A bowlegged, Scruffling, looking something like Pata-Pikki, came through the door with a long bristly mustache and ear mufflers of cattail fluff on top of his floppy ears. “Narflbots!” he growled. “Why don’t they stay in their own kingdom?” He scruffed at the entrance to the hole in frustration.
“Mind the entrance Hoopy!” Pata-Pikki cried alarm, “Every time you come in you make it larger and larger. Soon even Bar-Thur the bear will fit though my door!” Then, changing topics he said, “We need to do something. The One wants us to be watchful, as we may need to act. The Narflbots are up to no good!”
TO BE CONTINUED…