Slow Down! Red Squirrels! by Cheryl Camm
Pinecone clutched adeptly between his paws, he hesitates, Ears quivering, alert for a predatory fox or a swooping goshawk – Danger lurks unseen within this innocent sylvan landscape
Concealed by the dense tree canopy; a stealthy pine marten Waiting to pounce and crush the fragile bones, strip bare the russet coat. Reaction must be swift, his tail balancing him perfectly in flight
High overhead in the tree’s hollow his vulnerable kittens cower In the patchwork drey of woven twigs, leaves and moss. Instinctive parental behaviour kicks in. He is their survival….
Recognising a sudden chill in the wind, he scrabbles urgently Among the dying leaves, as autumn makes its last stand. ‘Chuck chuk’, he stamps his feet in bold defiance, eyes darting warily.
She says “His breed shows dwindling numbers year on year, disappearing from their British haunts. This is our watch, we cannot ignore the call – Sciurus Vulgaris looks to man for protection; Tomorrow may be too late!” Type a message…
The Elgin Sweeties
The Duke had loved them, originally. They had crossed seas, dodged bullets and traps to dominate this new land. The grey giant “Sweet” Caroline stamped her victory. She scooped the cracked bodies of the fallen to sate her oak-sized appetite, taking surplus as trophies for her many cellars.
Scarlet knew their territory was lost; stripped bark-naked and sapped of strength. The once Common folk were now packed refugees with pouches full of seeds. Her black eyes shone north, towards Elgin pines. She had one last acorn tucked in cheek, a teardrop held inside. A grey shadow followed, tailing them unseen.
Says of this flash fiction:
” A few years ago there was a story in the news about a displaced grey squirrel which inspired this story – locals were divided on saving or killing the squirrel in order to protect the beloved red squirrels. Who were the true “sweeties”? Inspired by the current piece (grey squirrel = Sciurus carolinensis)”