Muck awoke in the middle of the night to nature’s call. It surprised her to notice the vacancy of Roe’s pallet. A horrid thought passed through her mind for a moment of one of the master’s punishments, but quickly realized that Roe had not angered Judas in some months.
An eerie quiet enveloped the hut except for some cricket chirping near the wall across from her. Her cot creaked as she shifted her weight to look around better and the noise startled her.
“Roe?” Muck whispered out quietly. “Roe, where are you?”
She held her breath awaiting an answer that did not come.
Tiptoeing as quiet as she could, Muck went to the hut doorway and peeked out. Everything seemed quiet. She saw no sign of Roe.
The sideways grin of the moon cast a silvery light upon everything beneath it and threw eerie shadows. Even being a furry and having excellent vision in the dark, Muck hated to be outside at night.
Then a slight hiss noise startled her. Looking up in the direction of the noise, Muck could just make out the shape of Roe’s body on top of the hut. Roe waved quietly to her, put her finger to her mouth to ensure silence, and then pointed out into the garden.
Muck squinted in the darkness, and then opened her eyes wide as they fully adjusted to the moonlight. At the rear of the garden, she could just make out the shape of something moving back and forth. She could not make out any details, but could definitely see movement from something or someone.
“Who is…?” Muck started to ask quietly, but Roe cut her off by making another hiss noise.
Muck turned back to the garden just in time to see the shape disappear at the base of the fence line. A moment later, Roe landed next to her.
“I think you scared it away.” Roe said in a matter-of-fact tone.
“Good!” Muck replied. “We don’t need some creature stealing all of master’s food.”
“I’m going to see if I can find where it went!” Roe said as she worked her way into the garden.
Muck heard an excited tone in Roe’s statement that left her feeling uneasy. Roe always sought to understand things, a natural part of being young, but also a dangerous part, especially under Judas’s care.
“I think we should just tell the master in the morning and let him deal with it.” Muck said, but at the same time she followed Roe into the garden.
“Look!” Roe pointed excitedly at the ground near the fence.
Muck looked where she indicated and did not seem impressed. “It’s a string bean, what is so special about that?”
“The beans grow at the other end of the fence. “ Roe explained, “Cucumbers grow here, not beans.”
Muck pondered this simple revelation while Roe rooted around the base of the fence in an attempt to find the invader’s escape route.
“Here, what is this?” Roe found what seemed like a board half buried in the dirt at the base of the fence. While it looked normal, the ground felt different enough to her there to investigate.
“I think we should just go back to bed!” Muck said in a shaky tone. Thoughts of something jumping out to get her ran through her head. Those thoughts then fell to thoughts of her master and the punishment that awaited her once he found out about this.
Muck looked back at the manor house expecting to see Judas coming after them at any moment. When the elder furry turned back to see Roe, she had climbed halfway into the hole revealed by the board.
“Roe?” Muck’s unsteady voice mirrored her knees.
“I think it caved in the other side of the tunnel.” Roe poked her head up out of the hole. “I won’t be able to follow it.”
“Let’s go to bed?” Muck’s voice came out barely over a whisper, though it felt to her as if her voice carried and everyone could hear her. In her fear, she had even forgotten why she had gotten up in the first place.
“Yeah, might as well.” If Roe detected the fear in Muck’s voice, she did not reveal it. Her own voice quivered with excitement. “I think I need some kind of trap to catch it.”