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(Jun 9th, 2011)
Finding a Suitable Tree
      by Seppel

   "I'm tiiiiiired, Sam!" Sue whined, "And I'm huuuungry! Let's stop and eat." The pretty squirrel lagged behind her sister. Samantha huffed, rubbing a hand over her face. Being Sue's older sister was tough, especially now that Sue had become a bratty 18 year-old who demanded to be treated like an adult. Sam was a few inches taller than her sister, and they had opposite colors: Sam was grey with red highlights and red hair; Sue was red with grey highlights and black hair. Sam was three years older than her sister, though sometimes she felt even older in contrast to Sue's attitude.

   "We only have enough food for one more meal," Samantha griped. "That's why we need to keep moving until we find a good tree to set up our operations! Now keep up!" Jostling the almost-empty sack over her shoulder, the older girl continued down the narrow path. She could only hope it lead where she had been told it would -- to a new town and a fresh start for the two of them.

   The forest was dense, though, and Samantha was all too aware that they weren't near anything that could help them easily. Though life was hard for the two orphans, Samantha wasn't one to ever admit defeat. Besides, having Sue to care for meant making a few sacrifices.

Sue and Sam's old hideout - click to enlarge!
Art by: Catwolf

   Eventually the two sisters walked side-by-side, making progress through the woods. Sue lowered her head and kicked at a rock along the path. "What was wrong with our old nest?" she asked.

   Samantha kept walking, but growled, "You were." She dropped her sack and wagged a finger in Sue's face, "You thought it was a cute idea to bring those two guys back to our nest while I was out steal--er, borrowing things from their homes! Remember how I told you that I bumped into them on the way back to the nest?"

   Sue nodded, rolling her eyes. "Yeah."

   "And then when I ran back to our nest empty-handed, you whined at me?" Sam lowered her voice and glowered at her little sister.

   Sue nervously crossed her arms over her small chest, nodding again. "Yeah."

   "And then when I thought we were safe and hidden, they knew exactly where to find us?"

   Sue looking at the ground, her lower lip quivering. "Yeah."

   Samantha paused her tirade, brushed a hand through her wavy red hair and sighed. "There, there." She wrapped her arms around Sue's shoulders, giving her younger sister a comforting hug. "We'll find a new place, and it'll be better than that old broken-down neighborhood!"

   Sue sniffled, but perked up a little. "I'm still hungry."

   Samantha turned to pick up her sack and pulled out the last slice of cheese she had stashed away. "Here, think this will hold you? I promise we'll eat a full meal as soon as we find a new home."

   Sue squeaked happily and took the cheese, eating quickly without savoring the flavor, "Mmm, yes! Thank you, Sam!"

   Samantha smiled and nudged Sue's back, "Come on, then. Let's go!"

* * *

   The forest began to clear up not too long after that, and Samantha could see office buildings through the thinning forest. A commercial area would be perfect for finding a suitable tree.

   "I like this one." Sue declared.

   Samantha turned around to see Sue poking a tall, leafless, branchless tree. Sam could see it was absolutely unacceptable for their needs.

   "Really," the older girl said. "You want that one."

   Sue blinked at her sister, "Well, yeah."

   Samantha shook her head, trying to keep her temper in check. "Okay. Why?"

   The younger squirrel shrugged. "I just think it's neat."

   Samantha looked up at the tree, and couldn't help but giggle.

Hardwood Forest
Art by: Mahsroh

   "Sue, there's no way you could handle that tree." Sam turned toward the edge of the forest, waving for her sister to follow. "Come on, I think I see a few good ones up ahead that we can build on." Before Sue could start whining again, Sam reminded her, "You want to eat, right?"

   "Oh, yeah!" Sue exclaimed, running to join the gray squirrel, the oddly shaped tree quickly forgotten.

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