Blink Back Tears

I don’t own Ice Age, and since there are songs in there that I obviously DON’T own, and I don’t want to risk getting sued, I’ll just say this:


And now, on with the show!(Please, Please, Pleese Comment!!!!!!)

Chapter one: The TWILIGHT ZONE……..Wait, I thought this was Ice Age?
There was a time, beyond that which is recorded by man. It was a time when the world seemed
as vast as space, and hardly as timeless as infinity (in other words it changed a lot). It was the middle ground between Dinosaurs being the main predator, and humans being the main predator, between scientific theories, and Biblical theories (on how we humans came to be). It was the pit of cold fears, and the summit of a herd’s knowledge. This time was known as The Ice Age. And in this ice age, lived a herd of….animals, to say the least. It was a rather remarkable herd, for it is almost always in story tales in which we hear of lions and lambs dwelling together in peace, or, in this case, Mammoths and Saber-toothed tigers (not to mention a sloth and two possums, and for a brief while a weasel, but he’ll come into the story later).It was on an ordinary day that they were separated. At least, normal until….they got separated. Then it wasn’t so normal. The day started out as always: Diego wakes up; yawns, stretches; goes to hunt for food; Manny wakes up, wakes Ellie, who in turn wakes up their six (hey look I finally listened to Mr Knox and DIDN’T put the actual number 6!) year old daughter, Peaches; Peaches groans and gets ready for school; In the daily fuss she makes, Crash and Eddie wake up, who then proceed to do ”horrible, unspeakable things to Sid as he innocently slumbers”. Sid wakes up. Ellie scolds the twin possums (though Peaches finds their pranks highly laughable and so do i. See? HA HA HA!).
Peaches goes to school. Blah blah blah. But while Peaches was off gaining smarticles, and Diego was hunting, and the rest of the herd was….well, doing whatever they did throughout the day (what? it’s not like I know their every move throughout the day), a careless human child, who had been instructed to douse the fire, had failed to see if any glowing embers remained. We all (or at least most of us…) know that fires can start easily, particularly in heavily wooded areas on very windy days, such as that day. The wind blew a crisp leaf into the fire-that-was-partially-put-out-but-not-entirely. A spark. The leaf was slowly ignited. The leaf was blown into a pile of foresty…stuff (like, you know…leafs, wood remain things, dead plants, living plants…a lizard…feathers..hmm, what else? Oh yeah, SCAT!), which caught fire. This spread to a tree, and the cycle goes on. But the point is, that one careless mistake started a full blown forest fire.
Chapter TWO things get INTENSE kind of
“Ellie?” asked Manny, “do you smell something?” ”Other than you?” asked Eddie, appearing seemingly out of nowhere, followed by Crash. “Yes, other than me,” the mammoth said, irritated. Ellie sniffed. “Smells like someone’s having a campfire.” “And they didn’t invite me?” asked Crash. ”Who would want to invite YOU?” asked Eddie. Manny ignored them, “But this early in the day?” Ellie shrugged. “Maybe they really, really like…campfires?” Manny shook his head. “I gotta bad feeling,” he mumbled under his
breath (which stank).
Buck, who was, you guessed it, SOMEWHERE ELSE, struggled as he tried (and failed) to untangle himself from the many vines that grew in the cavern which he was in. “I’m losing my touch,” he muttered, at last freeing himself. I bet you’re wondering what exactly was he doing in that un- described cavern. Well, it’s kind of a long story, so I’ll do my best to sum it up in one sentence. The herd had long since left; Buck had been thinking more and more about their offer for him to join the herd; Rudy died; Buck is sad but decides to find that oddball herd; knows of another way to the Winter Wonder Land; goes to it, it is a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong cave with a bunch of small dinosaurs and many, many, MANY vines; Buck is entangled in vines; Buck is angry and struggles to free himself; Buck frees himself; I begin a long sentence to sum all this up; I end the long sentence to sum it all up. Once he was free, he noticed it. Just a pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel. But, even after ten years, he hadn’t forgotten what it was. The sun. A spark of hope lit up inside of him, and his jog turned into a run, and that run became a sprint. He tripped and fell but nothing was stopping him. Nothing was going to hold him back from feeling the warmth of actual sun of his back. Of feeling the snow on his feet. Of seeing them. And by ”them”, he didn’t mean the herd.
Peaches coughed. She was lost. They had all been at recess when there had been a
light in the forest. Curious, she had followed it. It was a fire. She tried to turn back; tried to tell her teacher, but the smoke had become too thick. She couldn’t see two feet in front of her. It was getting hotter. She tried to
scream, but the smoke and ash clogged her lungs and she started choking. She heard someone running above the roar of the fire. “Peaches!” it was Diego. ”Follow me!” Dutifully, she followed her uncle through the maze of FLAMES!
Sid was distracted from his flower eating when he heard a crash. He turned around, only to find his home burning….burning…………there it goes…going…going…oh *sigh*….it was gone.
As Buck drew closer to the exit, the air became thicker. He coughed. Stupid asthma, he thought (oh I bet you didn’t know he had asthma did you?!). He slowed down to a walk. His coughing became worse, racking, even. And when he put his hand to the wall of the cave to steady himself, it was gone. He wasn’t in the cave anymore. He was in A forest fire.

CHAPTER 3:séparés par un incendie
“ELLIE!” screamed Manny. “PEACHES *coughs*” He couldn’t find them. But, he noted, the smoke became lighter when he went “this” way. So, (well, duh, he wasn’t suicidal or anything) he went “this” way.
Crash was terrified. What could he do? Where was Eddie? Where was Ellie? Not knowing any other way, he ran blindly, knowing that at least he had a better chance of living………Suddenly, his foot caught on something and he tripped. He whipped around to see what it was. Eddie.
-Some where else…perhaps over the rainbow-
Buck ran blindly, remembering that night….that day….those weeks…..No. He had to get out. Fast. Before he lost his mind…or at least what remained of it. (TEE HEE!!!!!!) He couldn’t waste time having flash backs.
Someone screamed. His ears perked up: there it was again. He ran towards it, dodging the falling debris and flames.
THERE IT WAS! Scrat’s beloved acorn! He jumped up with glee when all of a sudden, a firey bush flew out of nowhere and toasted it. Scrat was having a bad day, and was feeling very emotional, so he got a fly swatter and started EATING BUTTERFLIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! “HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!” he laughed manically. Suddenly, he was falling off a cliff. “OMG!” screamed Scratte. Then she picked up the toasted nut and ate it with a leetle bit of butter and seasoning.
Yes I know, what a short chapter.
————CHAPTER three CONTINUED? Nos encontramos con algunas caras nuevas—?
Melody screamed. “SOMEBODY, HELP ME!” She tugged at her leg. Stuck fast. She pulled harder. The fire was getting closer. “Please,” she rasped (I like that word). The smoke blurred her vision. She screamed as the flames bit her foot. “Help. God, please help me,” she prayed. And He must’ve heard her prayers, because as the last word passed through her lips, two strong arms pulled her up.
“Eddie! Wake up, dude,” cried Crash. Eddie moaned. Crash frantically slung him over his shoulder and hopped away from the dancing flames. “Stay with me, bro.” He only hoped he could make it to the lake. And he clung to the thought of living as if it were a flotation device.
“Diego?” asked Peaches, her voice cracking. They were on a small island in the middle of the lake. it wasn’t much, but it’s not like fire can burn Water, right? ”What?” he asked, still panting. ”What’s gonna happen now?” “Now?” he asked. Peaches nodded. “Well, I don’t really know.”
Manny came to a clearing, and area the fire hadn’t consumed completely yet. No, he was no where near the lake. “ELLIE!” “Manny!” “Ellie?” he asked. “Over here!”
Melody ran behind her rescuer, trusting he knew the way out. He tugged her arm, “C’mon, almost there..I think.” Although that last part didn’t exactly relieve her, something about his voice sounde3d familiar. She let herself relax a bit…inwardly. Now she needed to concentrate on getting out alive. The only problem was her darn ankle screamed at her. “Please,” she panted, “Slow….slow down.” He slowed a bit, looking back at her for a moment. And in that moment she saw someone she thought she had lost. And in that moment she knew he must be as darn terrified as forest fires as she was.
Crash looked around. This wasn’t the lake. Oh no,he thought. No. This was even farther from the lake. A floppy green thing caught his eye. “SID! SID!” he screamed. He ran as fast as he could with Eddie’s dead weight towards his friend. “Oh Sid I never thought I’d be HAPPY to see you!” Sid was running (or, rather, walking with a slight urgency to it, if you judge by speed) for his life. “Eddie! Mi Amigo!” “Sid, no time! We gotta get outta here,FAST!”
Buck kept on running, pulling the lady along with him. He heard her plead for him to slow down, and he swerved around to tell her, “Just a little.” But when he saw her, he was so shocked all he could do was nod. Now he really had to get her out of here. Because he wasn’t about to let his twin sister die.
Matthias kept running. “MELODY! DOROTHY!” he yelled. “Matthias!” He thought he heard his youngest sister yell. “Matthias!” She took hold of his hand. “Dorothy, have you seen Melody?” She shook her head frantically. Great. “C’mon, mate.” Towards the thinning smoke we go, he thought.
“Ellie! Have you seen Peaches?” “No,” she said worriedly. He saw two weasels running their way. ”Excuse me,” he called. The taller one, a male, turned to look at them. “Have you seen little mammoth, about six?” He looked at the female, wo shook her head. “Sorry, mate. Best wishes in findin’ her.” As they resumed running, Manny couldn’t help but notice two things:
1. They looked like siblings.
2. The male looked almost exactly like Buck.

Chapter 4: Remember Me?

It was over. maybe not completely, maybe the smoke was still there, the last embers, the ashes, but the fire that once raged was gone. The only problem? The herd was separated, and had no way of getting together. Cross the debris that were still falling, still crumbling, still smoldering with heat? Ha, with a six year old, NOT LIKELY! There was only one way to see each other again, and they all knew it: the ocean. You see, the fire had run in a straight line, almost, and the ocean was only a week’s journey away, and well, like i said before, fire doesn’t burn water easily. Manny and Ellie had gone one side of the fire, away from the lake, Diego, Peaches, and, yes, Buck had gone TO the lake. Sid, crash and Eddie had gone on the other side with Manny and Ellie, they just didn’t know it.
Chapter 5: candy storm? BY Michelle Wang (because I asked her to)
“Manny, Ellie!’’ screamed Sid like a rare scared purple gopher from Lithuasuania having a cardiac arrest. “CALM DOWN!” yelled the others of their frightened pack while moving slowly through the ash.

As the echoes drifted down where Manny and Ellie were, the fire was getting stronger and stronger. Ash drifted down into their faces as they slowly but steadily crept toward the ocean, which was not easy for them since they were mammoths and mammoths don’t creep most times. Every time they opened their mouths to say something the ash went in, and all they tasted was salt and surprisingly some licorice. Step by step. Creep by creep as they ventured through the freakishly candy salted ash storm.

Chapter 6: running out of cool titles……..
The candy storm had passed and everything was a wreck. “Uncle Diego?” asked Peaches scaredly. “Yeah?” they heard someone coughing outside, a rasping, very-bad-cough. “Stay here,” Diego commanded his niece. He cautiously crept out of the small cave they’d been hiding in, waiting for the fire and storm to pass. He caught sigh of the person–no, persons– and couldn’t help but gasp.
“Sid?” asked Eddie. “Hey Eddie… what just happened?” “I think we just got owned by a licorice!” yelled Crash, rubbing a bruise on his hynie. “You guys….” began Sid. “YOU GUYS!” “What?” “HOW ARE WE GOING TO FIND THE REST OF THE HERD?” The twins looked at each other. “Simple,” said Crash, “We go to the Beach!” The other two gaped at him, “THE BEACH?” “Bro, do you know how FAR the beach is?” “Well do you ever want to see ELLIE again?” he asked. Eddie nodded silently. “Then COME ON!”
“Ellie, we HAVE to get out of here,” said Manny worriedly, “NOW.” “Manny, don’t you think I know that? But we need to find Peaches, along with the rest of the herd,” she said. She thought for a moment. “The beach.” “The beach?” asked Manny. “Yes,” replied Ellie,” Fire can only burn so much, and I’m sure the rest have already thought of that.” Their conversation was interuppted by the sound of yells. Humans.
– – -hi- *waves* (dramatic pause) – –
“Ellie, we need to get out of here,”panicked Manny,” like, now!” “Well, you don’t think I know that? The question is, how?” And she was right. Because the yells and screams were surrounding them. And with the yells and chants came a new sound: footsteps.
A pebble hit Manny’s cheek. He thought nothing of it, considering the fire was still going on his left, thereby blocking ONE escape route. Another hit his cheek. This time he turned. A small, black face peered out of some burnt logs. The creature motioned to follow. The humans were there. No, thought Manny, I won’t lose another family to humans. A spear landed only inches away from Ellie. She screamed. “Ellie!” He yelled, motioning with his trunk for her to follow. He bounded (well, if a mammoth can bound, I mean, they ARE pretty BIG, you know…..) after the small creature, who in turn led them back into the fire.

~ THE END! ~ (of this chapter)

Chapter 7: Okay, we need directions.

“Sid, admit it we’re lost,” panted Eddie. They’d been walking all day, and he couldn’t help but notice that the land was getting distinctly UNLIKE the beach. “Just stop for directions , buddy,” pleaded Crash. “But none of these people look friendly,” said Sid. He was right. Most of the people looked gruff, mean, and tough. Crash looked around. There was two figures, though, that looked decent, if a bit familiar……
As the light grew stronger, and the surroundings became audible. Manny and Ellie finally got a view of their guide. Female weasel, Black/Brown fur (although it could’ve been the soot, they couldn’t be sure), and quite young. They just didn’t expect her to be THAT young.

“Alright, dudes,” she began as she turned around, “This is where I leave ya.” Manny looked at her in shock. “Your, you–you’re just a teenager!” She glared at him, “And?” “Well what are you doing out here all alone?” he still couldn’t believe that he’d been saved by humans by a mere child. The weasel stiffened a bit. “None of your business.” “But a child–” Manny was cut off by the teen. “Shouldn’t you be, I don’t know, ah,going somewhere?” She asked impatiently. Ellie looked at her. She looked as though she’d been out here alone for some time, and she seemed just fine. Orphaned,she thought sadly. But she understood. “Manny, she’s right. Anyway, the sooner we go, the sooner we find Peaches and them.” Manny sighed. “Thanks, for….saving…us….I guess,” he said after Ellie hit him with her trunk. The girl nodded, ” You’re Welcome.” As the mammoths turned to walk away, she stopped them,” What were you doing there, anyway?” “We were separated from our herd by the fire,” answered Ellie. “Oh.” Manny frowned, “What, you thought we were just there on vacation or something?” The girl grinned, and Manny couldn’t help but note a familiar crookedness in it. “Something like that.”

It hadn’t taken long for Diego and Peaches to find Buck and the other weasel, get aqquanted, and to shower each other with questions.

Buck: “How’s life, tiger?”

Diego:”OK, how’s yours?”

Diego (And Melody): “Where have you been?”

Buck:”Where you left me.”

Melody: “Wait, what?”

Peaches:”Who’s she?”

Buck: “My sister.”

Buck: “Is that seriously Peaches?”

Peaches: *nods happily*

Melody:”How do you guys know each other?”

Diego: “Wait, is she seriously your sister?”

And so on.

“Excuse me, Mister..and Miss,” said Crash as he tapped the two on the shoulder. They turned around. Both were weasels with brown fur and blue eyes. Crash couldn’t help but accidentally utter,”Buck?” The male smiled, “Wrong. Matthias.” The girl (whom the trio presumed was his sister) said sarcastically, “But you were real close. Buck and Matthias are two names that get confused ALL the time.” Crash decided to just get right to the point, “Uh…do you guys know where the Beach is?” Matthias grinned. “Well, we were headed over there ourselves, so I would think so,” he said. This was the first time Crash noticed that they had English accents. “So could you help us? Get there, I mean,” said Sid. The weasels shared a glance. “Sure,” said the female, “But first, may i ask your names? Mine’s Dorothy.” Sid stuck out his hand, and she took it (they shook hands), “Sid the Sloth. AKA the Fire King. That’s Crash,” he said, pointing to Eddie, “And that’s Eddie, “he said, pointing to Crash. “Wrong, Sid,” said Eddie irritably, “I’m Eddie, and that’s Crash.”

It was almost night when Manny and Ellie stopped to rest. They decided to spend the night in a small city/village/town. The animals there had made the city beautiful to look at, with tar covered wood lanterns strung across from trees and dens and other things. In the middle was a stage-like platform, with small candles lining it. A crowd was gathered round, and a Spanish speaking fox was singing a lively song. Eventually his performance came to an end, and it was followed by loud applause. There was a large willow tree above, and someone had tied the vines just so, giving the appearance of curtains. The “curtains” drew, and a hidden piano played a scale. The “curtains” slowly opened, revealing a female weasel with black/brown fur and blue-green eyes. “No way,” muttered Manny. Another weasel around her age came up, this one with sandy blond. “This one’s gonna take some crowd help,” he said loudly, so everyone could here. Tabitha brightened and said, “We think you’ll know this one.” For the first time, Manny noticed that the town looked pretty run down, despite efforts. The people looked tattered, tired, and worn out. However, they still looked happy, despite all odds. ”In case you’ve forgotten, I’m Tabitha,” she said. “And I’m Silas,” said the boy.

The two began, singing sometimes Verse by Verse (Tabitha sang one verse, Silas the next) and other times in unison.Why? Because they felt like doing that!

“Some folks say that life is cruel,” sang Silas. “At the orphanage they fed us inedible gruel.” “We slept on beds with springs that hurt; the faucets had hot and cold running dirt.” Some body from the audience joined in. “The windows were broken; the roof was leaky. The walls were cracked, the floor was creaky. They shut down the orphanage an now we know!” The two sighed, “Those were the days we miss them so!” The tune brightened, and by this time, a lot of the audience was singing. “………………We’re so far below the poverty line: we’re off the graph!” “But don’t fret, Sil’, ’cause things’ll get better in time, then you gotta laugh!” Sang Tabitha. ”…………..Life’s so lousy we can no longer cope!” Sang the Audience. “You gotta cheer up and Never Give Up hope!” “All of the shops are closin’!” “Things couldn’t get much worse!” A squirrel came up, and, holding out acorns, sang, “Even my nuts are frozen.” Tabitha glared at him, “Be careful with that last verse!”

The two mammoths marveled at how well the two children sang. ”…Drat the temperature’s falling!” “I love when the weather is cool!” “A new ice age is calling!” “Look I can freeze my drool!” By the time they were done with the song (which is Called “Never Give Up Hope”, and is owned by Warner Brothers and Steven Spielberg/the guy who wrote it), everyone was singing, even Ellie was singing the chorus. When it was done, the two recieved a lot of tips, and they both thanked everyone, and the next act came on. Ellie looked around for Tabitha. When she spotted her, she walked over to her. Tabitha was chatting with Silas the way old friends should, when Ellie tapped her on the shoulder. Startled, Tabitha turned around. “Oh, you again,” she said. “Hey,” said Ellie. “You know her?” asked Silas. Tabitha scratched the back of her neck, “Uh…yeah. Sort of.” Silas stuck his hand out to shake, ” ‘Name’s Silas.” Ellie shook her trunk/hand/whatever, “Ellie.” “Pleased to meet you.” “Yeah, before they start stalking you,” muttered Tabitha under her breath. “What was that?” asked Ellie. “Nothing.” Silas looked curiously at the mammoth before asking, “So. You two aren’t from around here, I’m guessing?” “Why, no. How’d you know?” Silas grinned, “This town isn’t very big. The people here know just about everyone, not to mention the fact that there are no mammoths here.” “Why?” Silas shrugged. “Who knows? Most of us just presume they consider our town too small for their liking.” Seeing Ellie’s discouraged face, he quickly added, “But, then again, not all creatures can be judged by another of their kind. I mean, really. Weasels are known for their sneakiness an trickery, and have you seen me steal one thing so far?” He held up a small figure carved from what looked like ivory and grinned. Ellie took it in her hand. “How’d you–” Tabitha interrupted, shaking a finger, “Ah-ah-ah, my dear! Like he said, not all creatures of one species are the same. He never said he was different.” Ellie smiled and looked down at the carved figure of her daughter, much younger. Buck, who had wanted to give the herd something to remember him by, had hastily carved it. “Well, I guess I better go,” she said, turning to walk away, but then she stopped, remembering the many things the girl had in common with Buck. “Tabitha, do you happen to know anyone by the name of Buck?” She saw Tabitha stiffen. There was a pause. “The only one I knew died. A long time ago.”

After Ellie left, she pulled Silas into his father’s Map-making shop. It was always peaceful and quiet there. “Silas, how could she know?” she asked. “Know what?” “Remember? My dad’s name was–is Buck.” “Oh,” he said. “Maybe she knows him and you remind her of him?” Tabitha shook her head. “But…..” Silas layed a hand on her shoulder. “Hey, maybe you should help them, you know, go with them. You never know, you just might see him. Either way, you should help them. I’ll give you the maps and everything, depending on where they’re headed, and they’ll probably give you some pay or some sort.” Tabitha fidgeted. “But I thought….Well….Let’s say I do see my Dad again–then what? Of course I’m going to stay with him, and then what about you?” Silas smiled, “Tell him a friend’s waiting for you. That you left something over here. And if he still won’t come, then…” He trailed off for a moment, then said, “There’s an old saying that goes, ‘If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn‘t, then it was never meant to be.‘” Tabitha hugged her friend. She pulled something seemingly out of nowhere– a beautiful pendant, made of purple stone and what looked like gold. She put it in Silas’s hand. “What? You–you can’t! I don’t have anything this special to give you!” ”Yes you do. Your friendship. And as long as I’m gone, you can have this. No, you can keep it. Forever.” Silas ran to back of the room, rumaged through some things, and pulled out a shoulder bag, made out of what looked like very tough flower petals woven together. “Here,” he said. “You’ll need it.” They hugged again, two best friends parting ways, maybe forever. Silas strung the pendant on the rope that held the key to the workshop and other small items. “You–you can stay here the night. I mean, Ma loves you like she would a daughter, and Pa, he likes ya and….you could…well there’s that spare room way in the back. The one where we used to play Pirates when you first came here. The old blankets are still there.” Tabitha agreed, and together they headed off to what would probably be their last night together. And no, this is not a love story, so quit thinking that. Their friendship had been nothing more than that. Maybe they considered themselves a sort of sibling, but no, definitely not Boy friend and Girl friend, so (thank heavens), the night was “Elmo rated”, as i like to call it (in other words, G ). Just two little kids looking up at the stars and telling stories; sharing hopes. So if you’re looking for a romantic love story, I suggest you go look elsewhere, such as the Library, or, if you want a fan-fiction,

Buck struggled to decipher the map Diego had given him. “Er….I suppose we should go…….South-East. I think.” Melody snatched the map from his hands. “What do ya mean, South East? South is the opposite direction than the beach!” “Well excuse me if I can’t read a map so well!” Diego sighed. “You guys, we should settle down for the night.” Peaches yawned. “Sure,” said Buck. “Can we tell stories?” asked Peaches sleepily. “Or sing songs?” asked Buck, eye wide like a child’s. Diego laughed, “Yeah. We can sing campfire songs and tell stories.”

“OOH! Me first! Me first!” cried Peaches as Buck started the fire. They’d found a small grove of trees, barley singed by the fire. Buck couldn’t help but feel he should remember this place. The small flame grew until it danced. Melody looked around. This was familiar. She dug around inside her brain. And then it hit her. She drew her breath in sharply and whispered, “Buck! This is where you and Katherine got married.”

Chapter 8
The herd, although split, was doing the same exact thing. Sid, Crash, Eddie, and Matthias and Dorothy of course had a fire, after all, Sid WAS the fire king. Tabitha had made a small flame–too small to be called a campfire, but a flame nonetheless. And the four creatures who we left in a “familiar place” had a campfire going. At the time we resume the story, the said members of the herd were around the campfire and Melody had figured out why the place seemed familiar to her and Buck…..
“Wait, hold on, married?” asked Diego in disbelief. No way. This was BUCK they were talking about. The insane hermit who lived with dinosaurs for who knows how long! Diego looked at his friend, ready to pepper him with questions. But when he saw the look of nostalgia on the weasel’s face, he decided on only three questions, as opposed to three-hundred. “You were married?” he asked again. Buck nodded, still looking around. “And you don’t mean to the you?” Buck looked at Diego, an eyebrow raised. “Did you seriously just ask that?” “Okay, okay. Just wanted to make sure…So….if….Well how did you get down there then? All alone, I mean. ” A pained look flashed across Buck’s face, but it was gone in an instant, leaving Diego to wonder if he had imagined it. “She….died,” he said quietly. “Oh,” said Diego, at a loss for words. ”Any kids?” Buck shifted uncomfortably. “Er…one.” Diego looked at the weasel sympathetically. “Boy or girl?” “Girl. Her name was Tabitha…She……eh….She was presumed dead about a year after she went missing….which was when our town was pretty much ripped to shreds….and when Katherine died…” Diego was unsure of what to say. “I’m….sorry. To hear that…..Manny lost a family once…..I believe….” Buck gave the tiger a small, sad smile. Peaches, who had tuned out of the conversation, was now fully awake and waiting for the campfire “festivities” to begin. “When can we tell stories?” She whined. ”There once was a man from Nantucket,” began Buck, his usual insane self returning.
“Hey, any one know any campfire songs?” asked Sid. “Let’s gather ’round the campfire,” began Crash, “And sing our campfire song.” Dorothy joined in merrily, “Our C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E-S-O-N-G- Song! And If you think that we can’t sing it faster than you’re wrong but it’ll help if you just sing along! Bum-Bum-Bum…” “Please no,” muttered Matthias as his sister, the sloth and the twins began singing even faster. Just as they were beginning the third round of Sponge-bob’s Campfire Song Song, There was loud SNAP! and a low growl from behind them. They stopped singing. Matthias groped around for a stick. “Hey,” whispered Sid, “is it just me…or does that bush have eyes?” Then, with a roar, the beast pounced.

“So….” said Tabitha awkwardly. “Uh huh….” said Ellie. “You guys, maybe we should, oh, I don’t know, SLEEP?”asked Manny. “Good idea,” yawned Tabitha. “Good night,” said Ellie. “G’night,” said Tabitha. “Yeah, see you in the morning,” said Manny.

“Let’s sing campfire songs now! Let’s sing campfire songs now!” squealed Peaches. “Isn’t it getting late?” asked Diego. “No,” said Peaches, “let’s take turns singing!” Buck groaned, “Please,no! We can sing all you want tomorrow. You know, traveling music. Whatever. But I haven’t slept in almost a week.” He yawned. “Then you can sleep while Uncle Diego and Melody sing.” Melody scratched the back of her neck. “Yeah…about that……..uh…..” “Peaches, you have to wake up early tomorrow,” said Diego. He glanced at Buck. The weasel had his tail wrapped around himself, covering his face. Diego had a feeling he was out cold for the night. Peaches yawned and said nothing more. “G’night Diego,” said Melody. “Good night.”
Diego stared at the fire long after every one else was fast asleep. He sighed. He didn’t know how Buck did it to stay awake for so long. But then again, he thought, I don’t know how he did it to survive in Dino-land.

“AAAH!” screamed Sid and Dorothy (and the possums) in unison, Sid’s voice a few octaves higher than the rest. But they opened their eyes when they heard Matthias laughing.

Now, I relize now that I didn’t do a very good job of describing Matthias, other than that he bears a “startling resemblance to Buck.” In truth, though, once you knew the two, they were quite easy to tell apart. If you have seen the Movie, Ice Age 3, then you will know that Buck’s features are rather…..I don’t know…sharp? Like, he has sharp teeth and well he’s always like…..Well, you know….Insane…I guess. Matthias, however, had almost always been one to keep his head, after all, he’s spent a good deal of his life rasing his siblings. Matthias’s features were softer, friendlier, more…gentlemanish. I also suppose it’s safe to say Matthias had a “rounder” head…just a little. Not much. But Back to the story.
So, where were we? Ah, yes. They heard Matthias laughing. Yes, laughing. For a moment there, they thought he’d snapped his noodle (like Buck!). But, slowly, they turned around to look at him, they saw not a saber tooth, but, rather, a very small Short Faced Skunk. “How ya doing there, Montgom’ry?” asked Matthias as the skunk crawled across the weasel. “V-very g- good, thank y-you.Now if you d-don’t m-m-mind, I need
t-to be on my way,” said the skunk. And with that, he waddled away, (waddle waddle. Till the very next day Bum Bum Bum Bum Bum ba dum). “I have no idea what just happened,” said Sid. ”Oh, that was just some old shopkeeper we met once. He never did like me too much. But boy was it fun to tease him,” said Matthias. “I don’t remember him,” said Dorothy. Matthias shrugged, “So?” “SO, let’s get back to singing!” said Crash.
“Any ideas as of what to sing now?” asked Eddie. “There was a guy named Joe from Kokomo,” began Sid. “Playin’ that piano rag!” sang Dorothy. “He banged the keys with with his head and his knees while playin’ that piano rag!” (That’s an actual song)

Chapter 9 : Moving …..Again

Ellie awoke to the sound of soft singing. Stretching, she got up and made her way towards the sound. It took about five minutes to see who was singing, but it was worth it. On a large, flat rock sat a small figure, presumably the one singing. The figure was facing away from Ellie, and, judging by the view, the mammoth couldn’t blame her. It was breathtaking. Ellie couldn’t believe they were so high up. In the distance, beyond the ashes, beyond it all, the ocean sparkled a crisp, clean cerulean. ”…I loved you the first time I saw you…
And i will always, always, be with you, dear
Yes I do believe in love at first sight
Because I fell in love
With you, darling
I loved you the first time I saw you
Don’t you ever
Don’t ever
Forget that
For I loved you the first time I saw you
and nothing has changed ever since.”
Ellie smiled. “Hey Tabitha,” she said softly. The figure jumped, startled, and nearly fell off the rock. “Whoa, I didn’t mean to startle you!” Tabitha, now realizing the unexpected visitor was no harm to her, glared at Ellie. “Haven’t you ever heard of privacy? Honestly, I can’t imagine what your kid’s going to do when they’re a teenager.” “Well, sheesh, I just wanted o know where you were!” said Ellie, mildly insulted. Tabitha jumped off the rock and headed back toward the camp. “Get that other guy awake. What’s his name? Mayo? Anyway, we’re leaving now. Might as well make use of the day while it sticks around.” Ellie looked at the girl, irritated. “It’s Manny, young lady, and you might want to work on your respect for older people.” Tabitha spun around to face Ellie. “Listen, I respect you, alright. It just so happens that my patience is running on low because a certain fat mammoth keeps bugging me and questioning my every move,” her gaze softened and she looked Ellie in the eye, “but I like you. You’re not like other mammoths. You don’t judge people smaller than you just because their species has a bad rap.” Ellie looked at her as she shook her mate awake. When Manny was up, they began their “incredible journey”.
“Well, folks, it’s a beautiful day, today! The sun is shining, we’ve got a forest to our right, a forest to our left, a forest behind us, and….More forest ahead of us!” said Tabitha as she impersonated a tour guide. “Kid, stop walking backwards,” said Manny. “Me? Stop walking backwards? Why, I will have you know that I am the BEST backwards walker their ever was. In fact I may walk for another hour backwards, now that you’ve encouraged me!”
“Rise and shine!” said Buck as Peaches finally woke up. Every one else was awake and ready to go. Peaches yawned, “Are we almost there yet?” “We haven’t even started walking, yet, Peaches,” said Diego. She groaned. “Can’t we at least have breakfast?” she whined. She was handed an apple. “Eat up, kiddo,” said Melody.

Sunlight filtered through the trees as five small shapes made their way through the forest. No body talked. Not even the usually talkative Sid. Not Dorothy, who was usually so lighthearted. They all had one thing on heir minds: getting to see their family again. “So…”began Sid, wanting to break the awkward silence, “Are you guys…Oh, psh, I don’t know…related to any one related to Buck?” Matthias studied the sloth for a moment. “Yes. Yes I am,” he said at last. Another silence. “So, uh…What happened to him? “asked Crash. “Well he–Wait, how do you even know who he is?” asked Matthias. “We met him once,” said Eddie. “Yeah, he was AWESOME!” said Crash. “Awesome? Ha. More like grief stricken the last time I saw him,” said Matthias. “Buck? Insane, yes. Super-freakishly-flexible spined? Yes again. But grief stricken? Now, I can imagine sad, but you make it sound so DRAMATIC, like somebody DIED.” said Sid. The weasel had seemed so jolly when he’d last seen him. Of course, insane, but all the same, happy. “Aye, somebody did die,” everyone looked kind of shocked (except Dorothy) Of course, things change over the course of six years….” he trailed off. Things had changed in the six years from when Matthias’s niece was born and when it happened. He’d never seen his little brother so beat up, so helpless….He was roused from his thoughts by someone tapping him on the shoulder. “Which way now?” asked Crash. Matthias shrugged. “I guess–” “HEY LOOK IT’S MANNY!” shouted Sid, running ahead to the two mammoths. “MANNY! MANNY! ELLIE! ELLIE!” screamed Crash and Eddie. Matthias and Dorothy didn’t rush, but continued forward. Dorothy grabbed onto her brother’s arm. “Matthias,” she whispered. “What?” “Look,” she pointed to a teenager behind them, standing to the side as the friends embraced. “No way,” he whispered, “she’s…dead.”
Tabitha caught sight of the two staring at her, and she immediately recognized them.
“UNCLE MATTHIAS!” she screamed, running to his arms. She jumped into his embrace, happy to finally have found at least part of her family. “Tabitha, mate, where’ve you been all these years? We searched for over a year, with no avail, and then….” Tabitha looked at her two relatives, her eyes shining bright with hope. “Where’s Mom and Dad?” she asked. They had to have escaped. They just had to. Their grins vanished, along with her hopes. “Ah….” Matthias scratched his neck. “You see…” Dorothy trailed off, her eyes getting watery. None of them noticed the herd staring at them. “Well….your Mom….well, I….She kind of…Well…You see, mate.. er..sometimes………..” She trailed off. “She’s dead isn’t she?” asked Tabitha. She’d expected the worse deep down. Her aunt bit her lip and nodded. “Dad?” whispered Tabitha. “He’s probably alive….We just haven’t seen him in a while, is all…………six years to be exact…..” said Matthias. ”Who’s her dad? We might know him, I mean, We’ve seen a lot of people in our time,” said Ellie. “Buckminster Festus,” muttered Tabitha automatically. ”Does he look anything like him?” asked Sid, pointing to Matthias. Matthias nodded, a little ticked off at being compared to his younger brother. The herd gasped. “No way. Buck? A mate? Kid? But he’s…” Manny started to laugh, “he’s insane!” Tabitha cocked her head and sadly said, ” Aren’t we all crazy? Especially YOU.” Sid shook his head, “But he’s……..really crazy. Not like, psycho-path-Oh-I’m-gonna-eat-you-or-kill-someone-for-no-reason, kind of crazy, but….like, “I once married a pineapple” kind of crazy.” Matthias grinned. “Now where have I heard that before?” he laughed. “I don’t know, where?” asked his niece. “He and Melody used ta joke around all the time that the other would never get married, and once she said the closest he’d ever get to a date was a citrus fruit. In turn, he said she’d be lucky if a rock ever took interest in her,” he laughed. ”That explains so much,” muttered Manny. “You’re Buck’s daughter?” asked Crash excitedly. “Dude, you must be AWESOME!” ”I know I am,” she said jokingly, her spirits rising just a bit. Manny shook his head. But if Buck had had a daughter (thereby implying he had a mate), then why had he been all alone down in Dino Land? Whats-more, why had Tabitha said that the only Buck she’d known died a long time ago? He had yet to find out.

By this time, a certain saber toothed tiger, mammoth, and two weasels were well on their way to the Ocean/Beach/whatever. But, however beautiful the morning was, they couldn’t help but feel uneasy, as if they were being stalked. Stalked…by STALKERS. But Peaches was oblivious to this, and instead, did what every kid does. “I’m bored. Can we do something?” she whined. “What do want us to do?” asked Diego. “We can sing traveling music, like for road trips…..We can walk on our heads…..We can pogo stick…..We can do SOMETHING!” “We are doing something! We’re walking!” said Diego. “Can’t we at least sing road trip songs? We can play a game where everyone has a turn of singing their favorite road trip song!” she was getting very impatient. Diego looked at Buck and Melody for help. Buck shrugged and Melody just said, “Sounds fun.” He sighed. “Fine. But I call last. And you’re first.” “YAY!!!!!!!!” she exclaimed hyperly. “Does anyone know this song? I’m….INRIGHT OUTRIGHT UPRIGHT DOWNRIGHT HAPPY ALL THE TIME! I’M INRIGHT OUTRIGHT UPRIGHT DOWNRIGHT HAPPY ALL THE TIME! IT’S GOOD TO KNOW! I’VE MADE A LOT OF FRIENDS I’M INRIGHT OUTRIGHT UPRIGHT DOWNRIGHT HAPPY ALL THE TIME!” Buck rubbed his ear and Melody joined in. At long last, she was done. “Okay so who’s next?” she asked. Everyone looked at Buck. His ears drooped. “Ah…..” “C’mon, Buck. I’m sure you’ve got some songs in there somewhere,” said Diego, tapping on his friend’s head. “Uh…yeah. But uh…..Okay!” This out to be good,thought Diego. ”There are fifty-thousand kinds of different animals. And a fifty thousand more that used to be. There’s a half a million plants and a hundred million ants and a lot of fish down underneath the sea. There’s gotta be a couple million spiders. A hundred fifty million butterflies and bees. And a bunch of different mammals like those mammoths* and those camels and approxematley fifty million trees. But there is only on of you that makes you special. You stand out among the other things, it’s true! Yes the universe is large and whoever is in charge made lots of things but only one of you…”

“Manny, PLEASE?: Please, pleasey weasey with a cherry on top?” pleaded Sid. “JUST ONE RIDE!” “No,” repeated the mammoth for the hundred-zillionth time. “Dude, just give him a ride so he’ll shut up!” said Crash. ”No. He can walk.” Sid turned to Ellie, panting. “PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE?” Ellie sighed and plopped the sloth on her back with her trunk. “See? At least ELLIE’S nice.” “So…” began Eddie. “We could……….” Crash trailed off, thinking of something to do. “Hey,” said Tabitha glumly,” why did the snail go in the street?” “I don’t know, why?” asked Manny in a bored tone. “Because he wanted to see the S-car go. Get it? Escargot, S-car…..” “Yeah, we get it,” said Ellie. Another silence. “So, uh…Does anyone know why the chicken crossed the road?” asked Manny. He was greeted by groans. “Or the duck,” he added. ”I’ve got one,” said Ellie. “What’s greater than God, more evil than the devil, the poor have it, and the rich need it, and if you eat it, you’ll die?” They though for a moment before Sid answered, “Nothing. Nothing is greater than God, nothing is more evil than the devil, the poor have nothing, the rich need nothing, and if you eat nothing you’ll die.” Manny rolled his eyes, “That’s not it, Sid.” “Actually, Manny, yes, it is.” Sid grinned broadly, “I got it from that old lady who lives in the tree-house.” ”yeah,” said Tabitha,” well I’ve got one. What always runs, but never walks. Often murmurs, but never talks. Has a bed, but never sleeps, has a mouth, but never eats?” Nobody knew. “A river, duh,” she said. “Oh….” ”All about, but cannot be seen,” began Matthias,” Can be captured, cannot be held. No throat but can be heard. What is it? Dorothy, don’t answer this.” Dorothy sulked. ”The wind,” said Tabitha promptly. ”OOH, ooh, I’ve got one!” said Crash. “When set loose
I fly away,
Never so cursed
As when I go astray. What am I?” When no one answered, he shouted, “A FART!” ”Oh my gosh,” muttered Manny. And the day progressed like this, with Tabitha dragging her sad self along.

A twig snapped. Diego tensed, ready to protect his niece. Buck looked around uneasily, and then…it happened. Out of the bushes sprang a saber tooth that looked familiar. It pounced on Peaches, who screamed. Diego , in turn, sprang on the enemy and was able to get him/her facing Diego and away from the little mammoth. “We meet again Diego,” growled the saber. “Zeke?” Diego stared dumbfounded at the member of his former pack. Another saber appeared. When he made a move towards Peaches (and Melody, who had placed herself in front of the child), Buck pounced and bit him. “Ow!” the saber growled and tried get the weasel off his neck, but the weasel held on. “What do you want, Zeke?” asked Diego as he was reared up against a wall. ”Hmm…What do I want? Well, for Christmas I want a squirt gun, a lollipop, candy, food, candy, oh, and a curling iron, and perhaps a do–” “Not what you want for Christmas, you idiot, why are you here?” snarled Diego. “Why are we here? Why, isn’t it clear? Revenge, and food. Oh, and we thought we’d stop in and check on our little weasel friend,” he said. The other saber finally was able to shake Buck off, and the weasel went flying into a tree.He groaned. “You remember us?” growled the other one to Buck, lifting Buck’s face with his paw none too gently. Buck said nothing, but spit in the tiger’s face. Zeke wiped off the spit angrily and swiped at the weasel, but, as you should expect, Buck was too quick.
“Zeke, Oscar, Lenny, just leave us alone,” commanded Diego. “Why should we?” retorted Lenny. “Because–” Diego was cut off by the sound of a stampede.

Chapter 10: in the first person
It was late afternoon. We were headed in the same basic direction, and not only was I lost in misery at the thought of my mother’s death, I was bored stiff. The rest of them continued wasting time telling stupid jokes, and not one seemed to care that I was miserable.
Dorothy must have noticed (finally), as she wrapped an arm around me sadly. “I miss her,” I whispered, “why’d she have to die? Didn’t she think I’d need her? And how come Daddy never found me? Didn’t he care?” Tears pricked at my eyes but I fought against them. My young aunt clutched me and said softly, “She loved you so much. She would’ve done anything to keep you from harm’s way. She was strong; she tried to live, but…(sigh) She got a deep wound in her side. We couldn’t stop the bleeding. She…You get the point. She always hoped she’d be there for your wedding day, but…Life happens. As for your father, mate, he went through heck trying to find you. Somewhere around a year later, they found a little girl’s body. She looked almost exactly like you, just taller than you. Of course, it had been a year, and we hadn’t found hide nor hair of you, so we had no choice to believe it was you. After that…” Dorothy glared at Crash, who was trying and failing to not look like he was listening to them. Seeing the female’s menacing glare, he quickly retreated to playing with Eddie. “After that, well, Matthias took to keeping all sharp objects away from Buck so he wouldn’t get any ideas. He was so depressed,” she frowned. “Anyway, a few months later we got separated in a blizzard and we haven’t see him since.” I continued to shuffle on. I had a feeling of being watched, and when I turned, sure enough, that fat old mammoth was staring at me like I was a display case or something. I raised an eyebrow and he turned away. I have that effect on some people. I like it.
I realized that the whole group had stopped talking and was walking in silence. Well, except for the floppy one, that is. “And there I was, preparing for death as I neared the lava fall when all of a sudden, ZOOM! This weird looking bird thing is flying while carrying me! And then so I was all like May I have your name—“ “Sid, you were not like that, you were screaming your head off,” interjected Eddie. I smirked. “Yeah, yeah, so then anyway, then you guys were all like, HI SID! And then I wisely pointed out that no one was driving the bird guy, and then BOOSH! We smacked into the ice!” “Boosh?” I asked skeptically. “Yes, Miss, you have a problem with that?” he asked, offended. “No, I just…Never mind.” I waved him off. “So, uh, who, or what other people are in your herd?” my uncle asked. “Oh, a saber toothed tiger—“ “A SABER TOOTHED TIGER?” I screeched, “DANG IT I’M TRAVELING WITH A BUNCH OF LUNATICS!” I turned to run but Dorothy caught me almost effortlessly. She slapped a hand over my mouth. “Sorry about that,” she said. “She doesn’t exactly have a happy history with tigers.” I yanked her hand off my mouth and yelled, “You bet I don’t, you crazy—“ Once again, her salty hand was in front of my mouth. Still, I shouted muffled curses and tried to get free. It was in vain.
“Uh…. Yeah. So a tiger and our daughter, Peaches.” “What is she, a kangaroo?” I spat. Again with the hand and the dragging along. “No, she’s a mammoth.” Carefully, my youngest aunt peeled her hand off my mouth and let go of me. Still stewing, I followed them.

Just as soon as the other tigers scattered, a mad herd of buffalo came into view. “RUN!” I shouted, scampering up the nearest hill. The others followed, but Peaches’s foot caught on something. “HELP!” she screamed. I dashed down after her, Diego at my heels. Frantically I tugged at the root. It wasn’t budging. Diego swiped at it with his claws and Peaches was set free. We pretty much dragged her up the hill after us. Less than a minute later, buffalo were charging at us. There was a small hole in the ground that Diego and Peaches could JUST squeeze into, and I almost made it unharmed. After I shoved the mammoth in, one of the blokes (the buffalo, I mean) ran into me, pushing me back where I was then trampled on by a bunch of smelly hooves, each of which belonged to very heavy mammals. I can’t begin to describe the pain, other than, well, getting stepped on by a herd of buffalo, or dinosaurs or small mammoths. Or perhaps getting run over by a HUGE boulder the size of Rudy’s head. Or maybe being killed. I assume that hurts a lot, as I’ve been in more than one near death experience that involved pain. Not to mention blood. Hmm. I guess this is a bit off topic…
I screamed as my brother was pulled back into the stampede. After what seemed like an hour, the dust cleared, and we all rushed to the pile of mangled fur. Gently, I took his head in my hands, causing him to moan in pain. Well, at least he was alive. I voiced this thought and Diego just nodded, concerned. Peaches started crying and I shushed her whilst carefully placing him on the saber’s back. I heard him hiccup, and I patted his bloody fur. “It’ll be all right, mate,” I whispered in his ear. To Diego, I said, “He needs a doctor. I know a bit on medical stuff, but…” Diego nodded. “Let’s find one. Quick.”

I watched Tabitha carefully. Something told me that she hadn’t always been so glum and untrusting. Well, obviously she hadn’t always been so glum. She’d been pretty happy before her relatives gave her the News. I wondered, what had happened to her? What had happened to Buck? To her mother? The sun began to set; a beautiful sight. I wondered if Peaches was watching the sun set, wherever she was. I sure hoped that Diego was with her. “You…guys…can…we…please…make…camp?” panted Sid. It was getting late, and everyone (including me) was feeling pretty tired. “Sure,” I said. Then I thought of something. “Matthias,” I said. He turned to look at me. “Aye?” “Can you say, ‘Whoa, whoa ,whoa, whoa, whoa ,whoa! Whoa! What, you think this is some sort of tropical getaway? You can’t protect your mate, mate. What are you gonna do with those flimsy tusks when you run into the Beast?’” He looked at me like I was insane, “Why…?” “Oh, I don’t know. Just wondering what it would sound like with a proper English accent,” I winked at Ellie. He waved me off, “Ask Dorothy.” “Oh, come on, at least the ‘Whoa’ part!” whined Crash. “But I don’t see why you can’t ask Dorothy or—or why can’t you just IMITATE a British accent? What do you think I am? Some sort of request taker?” I held back a laugh. He just looked so comical, waving his arms like that. He was exactly like his brother. “What? Now I’m funny? “ He was clearly offended and confused. “I don’t get it,” he muttered under his breath, turning to help Sid make a fire without burning down the whole forest. “I’ll do it,” said Tabitha. “I’m bored out of my mind, so why not?” “Go for it, girl,” said Ellie. She cleared her throat and began, gosh she was so good at imitating a British accent. If I hadn’t known better I would’ve believed she WAS British. Well, her father was, so, I guess she must’ve been part British, but you know what I mean. She looked almost exactly like her father, she even made motions similar to his when he’d said the exact same words. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! WHOA! What, you…you think this is some sort of tropical getaway? You can’t protect your mate, mate. What are you gonna do with those flimsy tusks when you run into the Beast?” When she said “flimsy tusks”, she pressed her fingers down on Ellie’s tusk to confirm their flimsiness. Matthias stifled a laugh, while the rest of us just…laughed. She grinned broadly, obviously happy to be amusing. “Now, while we’re here,” she continued on in a mock English accent,” Would you like some tea, sir? Madame? No? Oh, well more for me!” “You haven’t changed a bit, Tabitha,” said Matthias, ruffling her hair. “You mean I’m not any taller?” She looked hurt. “No, ah—You know what I mean.”
It terrified me to see the weasel so helpless and beaten. We came across a town, but there were no doctors, and no one who wanted to help us. Melody bandaged the wounds that she could bandage, and the rest she cleaned with snow. We left the area, leaving behind a mound of red snow. His breathing was shallow, and I feared he wouldn’t make it.
Just as we were about to give up hope, an old, wrinkled female beaver said, “Why yes, I am a Healer. Not one of them witches, I ain’t, but I can heal as good as any doctor. I used to specialize in that sort of thing, you know?” We nodded. “Can you help him?” I asked. “Sure thing, brothah!” And she led us into her dam.
It hurt. Oh, everything hurt. At the time I thought it would’ve been kinder to kill me than to have to go through the agony. My body screamed at me and I paid no attention to my surroundings. All I knew was that I was someplace warm and somewhat soft.
“My darlings, please sit. Lay the patient here,” the beaver pointed to a pile of soft looking fuzz. “My name is Old Maggie. “ “Thank you,” I said. Buck yelped as she ran a cold cloth across his fur. She cleaned the wounds and stitched them up, not all too quickly, but then, how could you quickly on such a beaten up person? She placed a paw on his fore head. “Ah, he has a fever. Young lady, could you pass that cup of herbs by your foot? Yes, that one.” She put a pot of water to boil and fed us all. When the water was hot enough, she made tea with the herbs and spices and, lifting his chin, gently poured it down my brother’s throat. “Will he be okay?” asked Diego. Peaches was quiet, huddled in a corner. Old Maggie shook her head. “Only time will tell. But, he’s a strong one. A fighter, I can tell. I think he’ll be all right.” She turned to me. “Has he suffered similar injuries to this?” She looked into my eyes, and I had a feeling she already knew the answer. Yes, he had. The night Katherine had died. “Aye,” I said quietly. She nodded. “I thought so.”
I was shocked to hear that Buck had a daughter, had had a mate, but nonetheless, I was determined to get to know Tabitha. Buck’s siblings were pretty cool, maybe not ready to hunt a dinosaur any time soon, but they weren’t grumps like Manny, and they weren’t losers like Sid. Dorothy was the lighthearted kind of person who would probably always be a child at heart. That was awesome. Matthias was the kind of guy who you’d want as an uncle. He was playful, a prankster, but he kept his head and was practical and smart. Tabitha was…sad. Quiet, like she could easily withdraw from the world. I assumed the sadness was from hearing about the death of her mother, and the quiet, untrusting-ess from being on the streets all alone, with no one to care for her. However, now and then she’d lighten up, crack a joke or two. I could tell that normally she was a happy, smiling sort of kid. We sat around the campfire, not really saying anything.
“So, uh…. How’d you guys meet Buck?” Asked Matthias. “You wouldn’t believe us if we told you.” “Try us, we’re gullible,” laughed Dorothy.
Chapter 11
Matthias woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of quiet sobbing. He got up and carefully made his way towards it, careful not to step on any body.
As he’d suspected, his niece was crying the night away with her back turned to him. “Hey,” he said softly, as to avoid startling her or waking any body up. “Mate, don’t cry.” He wrapped a gentle arm around her, remembering when his parents had died, leaving him to care for three younger siblings. She looked up at him through her tears and murmured something incomprehensible. “Sshh…It’ll be alright. There, there.” She sobbed into his fur. “H-how d-d-do you—you know?” She gasped through her tears. “Hey, my parents died when I was fourteen; I raised three of my siblings, one of which doesn’t even remember her parents. Don’t you think I’d know something about this situation?” She said nothing, still trembling like a leaf.
“I-I always thought she’d be the one a-a-alive.” He hugged her. “Hey, kid, it could be worse.” “How?” “Well, you could be an orphan,” he looked at her seriously. “And believe me, there is nothing worse than being an orphan with two ten year old siblings who can’t seem to stop fighting long enough to eat a piece of fruit, and a four year old who can’t stop crying.” She made a sound that could pass for a laugh. Seeing this, he continued, “And on top of that, the only person you know is the cranky old lady who’s been on your case since you broke her flower pots when you were ten.” She sniffed. “Kid, you’ve got you’re whole life ahead of you. Mourn your loss, grieve, yes. I’m not saying you should forget it. But move on. You don’t wanna waist your whole life away, do you?” She said nothing. “Now get some shut eye,” he yawned, “It’s late.”
Old Maggie fretted. At first she thought she’d be able to get he weasel on his feet by the end of the week. But he’d quickly developed a fever, and it didn’t want to go down. She assured his friends that he’d be okay, after all, she’d taken care of patients far worse than this—right? Even though one had died…The weasel muttered something in his sleep about someone named Katherine. She re-bandaged his leg and went to bed.
Chapter 12
Morning dawned on everyone all too soon. For Sid, it meant he had to wake up and walk. For Tabitha, it meant that she got around four and a half hours of sleep, and now she was going to be dragged after two mammoths, one sloth, two possums who were obsessed with her dad, and two relatives. And for Diego, it meant that Buck wouldn’t be ready to be on his feet yet, and he was still separated from the herd.
Buck woke up slowly. The darkness faded. His leg and chest screamed at him to stay still, as well as his head and stomach. He shuddered. Oops, bad idea. That made it even worse. “Morning’, sleepy head,” came a familiar voice. The words were meant to sound nonchalant, but they sounded laden with concern. “How d’ya feel?” asked Melody, leaning in to feel his forehead. He groaned, “Terrible.” She gave him a small smile. “We were afraid you wouldn’t make it,” said Diego. “Pfft, me? Not make it through the night?” though, truth be told, he’d thought it would be the end of him when he fell back into the stampede. His sister grabbed him in a bear hug. He grimaced in pain, but hugged back. He struggled to stand, but Melody stopped him. “What, you think you’re just going to get up and walk away like Jesus? Get back down.” Buck sighed, although he was secretly relieved he wouldn’t have to stand any time soon. It made him feel woozy. Old Maggie walked into the dimly lit room, holding a tray of breakfast items, with Peaches at her heels. “Ah, I see our patient is awake just in time for breakfast. “
She handed each of them a bowl of mushy looking soup. Diego eyed it suspiciously, “Ah…You know what, I’m not really—“ “Nonsense. Eat it.” She handed Buck a bowl and he shakily held a spoonful to his mouth, splashing a bit on the bed. Old Maggie adjusted his hold on the spoon and bowl so his grip was sturdier. He smiled weakly.
Diego took her aside in the hallway. “How can we pay you?” She waved him off. “It’s free. On the house, as they say.” Diego sighed. “Thank you so much.” She smiled. “It’s what I do for a living. Aside from being a sandwich artist.” Diego raised an eyebrow. “I get paid for being a sandwich artist, and I don’t get paid for healing.” “Ah.” “So, how is it that two weasels and one little mammoth trust you, of all creatures?” Diego narrowed his eyes a bit. “Well, its sort of a long story.” They sat down in the main room. “I like long stories. I’m part Russian.” And so, oblivious to the other three eavesdropping, Diego began his story (which I trust you know).

“Morning, sunshine,” said Dorothy as she rolled Tabitha out of bed. Tabitha groaned and made no move to wake up. Dorothy rolled her eyes and swung the teen over her shoulder as one would a potato sack. Tabitha yelped, but still attempted to stay asleep. The rest of the herd was ready to go, so they left.
Half an hour later, Tabitha was re-thinking her commitment to stay asleep, as the back-and-forth motion Dorothy’s body sent her in was making the weasel nautious. “You ready to wake up?” “Ungh…” Dorothy threw her niece to the ground in order to wake her up. “Ow…” she groaned. “Next time don’t stay up until one in the morning.” “I’m a teenager— that’s what we do.” Dorothy rolled her eyes. “Yes, Dorothy, I think you’d make a wonderful parent. Throwing kids to the ground solves ALL our problems, eh mate?” teased Matthias. “Hey, it works.” Manny looked at her, “You are not ever baby sitting my kid.” “If it was your kid then we wouldn’t have to do anything—they’d probably be too boring! That’s why you married such a playful woman!” Everyone broke down in laughter except Manny. “Don’t you say anything about my kid!” he snapped. “You don’t know anything about her! Idiots! That’s what you all are!” He pointed to the three weasels. “And you! Just a bunch of British mayhem! You probably didn’t even have parents!” Dorothy looked stunned, while Matthias glared at Manny.
“No, sir. We didn’t,” he said, looking the overweight mammoth in the eye, “They died when I was fourteen. And we may be a bunch of British orphans but you know what?” The herd was silent, not daring to say a word. Matthias went on, “ We raised ourselves and we gave ourselves an education as best as we could. If you think you can just go about being some rude mammoth to any body you come across then…Then good day to you!” He marched off.
Then he turned back. “I forgot my keys,” he said, snatching them from Dorothy’s hand. Then he marched off again. ”Matthias!” cried Dorothy, running after her older brother. Tabitha just stood there, unsure of what to do. “Uh…Do I follow them…or stay here….or what?” Ignoring her, Ellie turned to her husband and snapped, “Manny, what do you think you’re doing? They knew how to get to the beach! Plus, we invited Buck into our herd, and they’re his siblings. Buck saved our lives—don’t we owe it to him to at least be hospitable to his family? And not just that, do you have something against weasels? Because so far every weasel we’ve met, you take a disliking to and tick him or her off purposely! Whatsmore, WHY DID YOU HAVE TO CALL THEM THAT? MANNY SOMETIMES YOU ARE THE RUDEST PERSON I HAVE EVER MET!” Manny shrank back from his ranting wife. Tabitha backed away too. Actually, everyone backed away.
Tabitha contemplated Ellie’s words as the two mammoths bickered. Her dad had saved their sorry butts. How? Suddenly, she felt angry. At her dad for saving some strangers, but yet he couldn’t save her mom; angry at the two stupid mammoths just because she felt like being angry; angry at her mom her dying; angry at Sid for smelling so badly. And angry at Silas for letting her go on this stupid, nonsense, wild goose chase for a saber and a baby mammoth. That mammoth was probably long gone by now, probably digesting in some tiger’s stomach.
And then, she exploded. Not literally, of course, but you know what I mean. Unless, of course, you don’t.
“That…. Was unexpected,” said Eddie. “Dude,” agreed Crash, nodding.
And thus began the long day of chasing weasels down.
Stupid mammoth thought Matthias, brushing a tear from his eye. He acts like I wanted to become an orphan; wanted to pretty much give up my entire childhood for the wellbeing of my siblings. Like it was a choice I made. “Matthias!” panted Dorothy, trying to catch up to him and his brisk pace. “Wait…Wait for me, Matt- Matt.” He slowed a bit to allow his younger sibling to catch up. “St—Stop. P—Please…” He came to a slow stop, panting heavily. He started to feel a slight regret at running off like that like a child. Then he remembered his niece. After a few minutes, the duo slowly began working their way through the snowy landscape, back to where they had come. The herd had moved, but not so far that they couldn’t see them. Tabitha wasn’t with them. He realized that the oddball herd was looking for the teen, and (because he had to, after all, she was family) he reluctantly joined.
Like I said before, and thus began the long day of chasing down weasels.
Chapter Thirteen: Superstitions
The number thirteen is supposedly “bad luck”, and since this chapter contains so much bad luck, you might actually start to believe that. Go ahead. I really don’t care.
It was a day and a half later—Buck was on his feet (even if he was still a little wobbly, but that’s why we have siblings. Or if you’re an only child, relatives. Unless you are an only child who is an orphan, but then I guess you would be at an orphanage with other foster kids and whatnot), Tabitha had been found, the three weasels had been convinced to stay in the herd (for a small price: Manny could not talk, he was only allowed to mouth words or be a mime). This pleased Tabitha to high heavens, because Manny looked like an idiot.
Peaches, Diego, and the two weasel twins had been traveling for some time now when it started to rain very hard. Buck sneezed, and Melody stood closer to him. The ground became slippery beneath their feet, like a waterslide. They used this to their advantage.
“WHEEE!” exclaimed Diego as he shot down the slope on a log. Peaches was behind him, laughing and screaming. Buck and Melody, on a smaller, split log were doing something similar. A ball of mud hit Diego’s ear. He turned to see Buck grinning wildly at him. “So that’s how it’s going to be?” Buck threw another one at the saber’s FACE. Before Diego got a chance to throw one back, a large piece of ice from the icy cliffs that were to their left fell with a loud CRASH! This created an avalanche, which sent the foursome running for their lives.
Far off (but not too far off), the rest of the herd looked up, having heard a deep rumbling sound. The mountains, which were pretty much small hills with ginormous glaciers on top, giving the look of mountains, had been scorched and melted by the fire. This caused instability, and so this caused a landslide, and since it was raining, it caused a cross-like, freak weather thing that was somewhere between a very large mudslide and a flash flood. “RUN!” yelled Manny, forgetting to be a mime. Everyone obeyed immediately and without hesitation. Well, Tabitha hesitated because she saw a gold nugget, which she hastily threw into the shoulder bag Silas had given her before fleeing.
Whilst all this was happening, no one realized that:
1. They were at the sea, all right.
2. They were together already, in a way.

To be continued!



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Jesus Himself once said that we must be innocent like little children to enter the kingdom of God.
Nowdays, it’s very hard to find a stranger who will smile at you or wave, even if they don’t know you. It wasn’t always this way, but now our world is so corrupt….

But not eveyone has been darkened by the cruelness of the earth yet.

One example is a little girl i saw while driving to AMPM.

We were both in the backseat of small cars, she in an antique style, and I in just a regular old clunker.

I smiled at her when she saw me, after all, why would I growl at her?
She smiled back and waved at me continuously until the light turned greeen and her car turned.

But I still remember her waving out the rear window as the car sped away.
No stranger has been this nice to me in a long time…

I will never forget her.

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