Grasshoppers

Something I started a while back and have yet to return to. Maybe someday.

The wind tousled the long blades of grass that adorned the sloping hill. It was a sunny day, a perfect day to escape from the thick, overhanging trees that grew in the Black Forrest just beyond the clearing. It was one of the first days that truly felt like summer, before the excessive heat and humidity ruined the joys of summer. It was a day for running and spinning cartwheels on the cushiony grass.

It was also a day for stalking the many grasshoppers that were trying to spend the summer day in peace. The grasshoppers simple wanted to climb the stalks of grass and air out their surprisingly long wings. But Zazz and her friends had other plans.

The children would creep up on the bugs, hands ready to spring shut. More often than not the hoppers would sense the coming of the children and take wing, sailing through the air to a far distant blade. The children would laugh and give chase, often prompting the flight of a half-dozen of the insects, which only brought on more laughing and more running.

Zazz was determined to catch one, despite how wary the hoppers were and how quick they were to flee. She knew that if she could move just quietly enough she could get close. Very close. Then it would only take a quick pounce to wrap her hand around the bug, taking care not to wrap to tight. The goal, of course, was to catch the hopper, not to hurt it.

She had her target chosen. It looked to be as big as her little finger, only instead of a dusky blue like Zazz’s skin, the hopper was a brilliant green but with a red stomach. It looked beautiful, in an alien sort of way. She wanted to see it up close. And so she crept forward, as she tried to hold her breath to keep from scaring the hopper into another long flight. She was almost close enough to make her move.

A sudden crash from the forrest behind them caused all the children to jump. Assorted grasshoppers jumped for freedom as the children turned to see Grask, one of the younger warriors, astride his lion frantically summoning them.

“Fool children!” he hissed at them as loudly as he dared. “Don’t you see the humans coming? Get into the forrest!”

The six of the them all turned to see what Grask was so angered by. There, a little more than one hundred paces away were a gaggle of humans. All of them wore that armor that made them look suspiciously like beetles, which also meant they carried their cutting blades as well. Two carried the long spears that were equal to the height of two men. One held a bow that was his equal in height.

“Don’t look!” Grask hissed again. “Run!”

His lion gave an impatient growl at the children’s lack of movement. The growl was just loud enough to catch the attention of the man with the bow. His arm went to his quiver. Only then did the danger become real to the children who turned and bolted towards the safety of the tree line.

Zazz had ventured the farthest out, and so was the child who had the farthest to run. She was also the only one who heard the thrum of the bow as it launched its arrow. She ran, not daring to look back, even as she heard the whisper of the falling arrow.

When it struck the ground two paces in front of her she let out a yelp of surprise and stopped short. Even stabbed into the earth the arrow came up to her waist.

“What are you waiting for?” This time Grask yelled.

Once more, Zazz ran. As she passed the arrow she snatched it out of the ground.

As she darted into the haven the was the shadow of the forrest, she wondered if this was how the grasshoppers felt earlier.

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