(Archived) 9. Wilber’s Adventure – by phoenix

It was a cold cloudy day and Wilber the otter was sitting on his favourite rock which was large and smooth. The route he had taken to get there was an exciting walk from his holt along the way there were holes like canyons, bumps and sometimes fallen down trees. The river bobbed beside him. He was an old otter as he had been nine for almost a year. His chin had gone white with old age. His fur coat was blowing in the wind like a field of grass. His legs were swinging from side to side in a jolly way. The only thing that Wilber did not like about himself was that his legs were as weak as a sponge. They were unstable and often gave way. He was very well to do. He often cleaned himself by diving into the water like an angel and just swimming for a while. He had just been visited by one of his relatives who was almost as old as him. Wilber was only visited occasionally as there were foxes and if you were to meet one you had a likely chance of being eaten alive. Foxes were vast mountains of deadly flame to all otters. He had not come across a fox for a long time when he was young he had seen one but it had luckily not noticed as he sped off like a bullet.

He got up from his smooth rock and decided that he was going to go back to his holt to eat some crayfish as it was his favourite type of shellfish. If he was trying to catch a crayfish it usually noticed that he was coming at them because they have the eyesight of a hawk but if they didn’t  see him he would strike a blow like a valiant knight. Their lobster-like shape made it hard to grab them as they swiped with their pincers. Once Wilber had caught a crayfish he would bite into it and enjoy the banquet. 

A twig cracked like lightning and Wilber was broken out of his trance. He looked around expecting to see something. Then he looked down at his feet and realized it had been him. He kept on walking. There was no other sound apart from the river slapping against the bank like it was trying to break it. The wind rushed against his ear and his body was swept up by it. The wind sometimes stopped and he would keep on walking. He could not run for any long time. 

Once he had reached his holt he went inside and got himself a crayfish from his holt. He decided he would eat it outside because the weather looked decent and he wanted to spend some quality time outside. As he munched on the crayfish he thought about what it would be like to run again. When he was a young  he used to race his brothers and sisters or have wrestling fights. Suddenly he heard a thump like a giant taking a step. He looked up instantly. There standing at the opening to his holt was a fox, its red and white fur blazing fire. It’s shadow seemed to grow as it walked to him. Wilber sat up then started to run. He knew it would not be long until he reached the nearby river but were his legs able to run that far.

Wilber thought that the fox would love to eat him as much as Wilber had wanted to eat his delicious crayfish. His legs were already beginning to ache. He was slowing down. He looked back and could tell that the fox was gaining on him would he be able to reach the river in time. In the distance he could see a grey blue expanse like a distant mountain of water that was slowly getting closer to him. He suddenly tripped over a log. Nooooo Now I’m going to be eaten alive like a housemartin eating a mealworm.

As the foxes jaw widened like a massive pair of scissors about to snap shut on him he got all of the energy he could muster and he shot up like a bullet. He looked forward and saw the river in front of him. He jumped up and dived into it. The fox looked into the dark murky water. 

It had obviously seen him. Its face was angry and hungry. Wilber swam deeper so the fox could not get him. After a while it left and as soon as the fox left he stuck his face out of the water and took three deep breaths. Wilber turned to the otherside of the bank. The fox was standing keeping guard so he could not go back.

He swam across the river poking his head up when he needed to breathe. He swam up for a breath and saw the bank of the river like a wall. Slowly the river bank started to rise up until he was walking on some squelchy mud which covered his webbed feet was like glue. Wilber could only see a green expanse was he ever going to find an end to this misery. 

After a while he entered a forest it’s leaves falling, they were all oranges, reds or browns. This brightened Wilbers mood a lot as he listened to the crunch of the twigs and the leaves under foot like a soothing hug from something fluffy. But this enjoyable feeling was short-lived. After what seemed like ages of walking he looked up and saw that the clouds were grey and the sun was going down. Only a piece of light could be seen like a fun thing in a room of sadness. This expressed his feelings very well. He was gloomy and cold and felt like there was no hope in the world but he thought there was a chance.

He soon found a tree stump which was nobily and had a thick layer of bark on it. He walked over to it and scrambled to get on. After many failed attempts he finally managed to heave himself up like a child trying to reach the highest drawer of biscuits. He took a few long gasps to get his breath back. Once he had got it back he looked around him. From the top of this stump it felt like he was higher than he had ever been in his life. He thought he could see the world. He could see trees and birds and a little speckle of what was his home, a tiny pinprick in the distant mass of green. The top of the stump was covered in dry crumbly leaves and some twigs he tried to cover himself with them to help him be warm but it was cold and uncomfortable.

In the morning a young man was walking through the forest when he heard a sound which was like a squirrel running through the leaves. He loved trying to see squirrels. He sat on a tree stump when he saw Wilber laying on the leafy ground. He jumped up in surprise. The otter looked upset and cold. He wondered why Wilber was in a forest not swimming around in the river. He instantly rang the otter sanctuary. He must have been waiting minutes before the otter sanctuarys van parked outside the  edge of the forest they picked up Wilber and put him inside the van the man walked towards his bike which was lent on the side of the road and started to bike towards the otter sanctuary behind the van so that he could make sure that Wilber got to the sanctuary and was safe.