(C) The Sunny Zoo 陽光動物園 2017
Sometimes when the guinea pigs can't sleep, they chat to the nocturnal animals loitering about in the dark, and the three possums living on the maple tree next door are their special friends. The possums' names are Zoe, Zach and Phoebe. They are quite noisy and spend a lot of time either fighting in the canopies, or chucking branches and nuts down (which the guinea pigs welcome as snacks for the following day). Occasionally they lose their footing and knock over Mrs Keeper's beloved succulent plants.
However, the guinea pigs noticed that it's been a while since the possums turned up. It's a bit worrying. Days passed, and finally one of them - Zach - returned! He seemed out of breath, as if he had just run a 10-kilometre marathon, and he kept looking behind him as if someone was on his tail.
The rustling sounds of his return woke up the guinea pigs, and they were so pleased to see him! Spotty asked, "Where have you three been? We haven't seen you in so long!"
Zach settled down on one of the branches closest to the guinea pigs. He talked as he pulled off tender shoots from the branch and popped them into his mouth, "We decided to go exploring, to see if there might be yummier food somewhere else. But we almost couldn't make it back!"
Blacky asked in surprise, "How come?"
Zack replied, "Well, you all know quite a few cats have moved into the area lately. You are lucky that your human employees lock up your hutch doors every evening, so you're pretty safe, but cats can get us up in the trees! Remember that black, stripy, fat cat?"
"Oh yes!" Puffy nodded. "He always likes to poo in our rose garden! Mrs Keeper is really upset about that. She complains that instead of smelling the perfume of the roses, she can only smell the stink of cat poo! Cat owners really shouldn't let their cats out at night, it's bad manners to do the dump in someone else's house."
"That's the one I mean!" said Zach, shivering at the memory. "He almost got me this time! I managed to jump away at the last second, but I had to keep hiding in the tree instead of coming down. He would've got me as soon as I left that tree hollow! Did you know that cats have already killed many of our friends?" The idea of their possum friends being killed by cats scared the guinea pigs into uncontrollable panicked squeaking, and it took a while before they could calm down sufficiently for Zach to continue. "So I hid in that tree hollow for many days, and I got so hungry! When daylight came I was too sleepy to come out, but when I tried to sneak out in the night, I always saw a pair of glowing eyes in the bushes, so I knew he was there waiting for me again! He even hissed at me, and my heart almost stopped!"
Curlsy was already so frightened that she began chewing her straw bedding. Cutie the Alpha asked, "Then what happened? How did you get out?"
Zach replied, "A mother owl in the next tree felt sorry for me, and helped me pass a message to one of my friends living in that suburb. My friend made noises from another tree, and drew the attention of that fat cat. And I ran away!"
Spotty asked anxiously, "What about your friend? Is he all right?"
"Yes, he's fine!" said Zach. "He knew there was a wall near the tree that joined up a couple of backyards. So he sneaked away on the wall and later circled back home. But guess what, something even scarier happened to me later!"
"What??" asked Spotty. By now Curlsy had finished her own bedding and was rapidly gnawing on the straw under Cutie's feet.
Zach went on, "I hadn't had anything to eat for days, so I really wanted to come home! But when I got to that intersection a few houses from here and was about to cross the road, I saw something shiny far away. Well, I was starving you know, so my eyes were a bit dazed. So I thought to myself: well, it's the moon and the stars, of course they are shiny! But then the shiny thing suddenly got really close to me, and my heart almost stopped again!!! It was a speeding truck and barely missed me by an inch!"
The guinea pigs began frantically squeaking again all at once, some trying to console their friend, some telling him to eat more to recover his strength. Zach was very touched, "It's so good to come back and be with you guys again! I used to think it's so boring always eating the shoots and nuts off this maple tree, and that's why I wanted to try somewhere else. But this turns out to be the safest place to be! Those spiky things your human employees installed on the fence are pretty useful for keeping the cats away from you, and they protect us too!"
Cutie the Alpha grinned, "We're really happy to have you back, Zach! It sure felt weird not to hear you and Zoe fighting up in the trees!"
The Sunny Zoo
The animals at the Sunny Zoo enjoy their many freedoms, including having access to the Internet and a blog.
(C) The Sunny Zoo 陽光動物園 2017