Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Adventures of Mister Sinister : Tentative Tentacles

Did you know that one of my snails laid several clutches of eggs? And did you know that some of them hatched? I'm not quite able to get an accurate count, but I've counted up to 14 of the little guys and I'm sure I missed some. And just what do all those snails do in the tank all night long? Continue reading and find out.
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The fuchsia coral glowed softly in the tank. Several guppies swam lazily back and forth. But all wasn't as serene as usual. Why? Because 34 of Mister Sinister's 83 offspring inherited many of Mister Sinister's traits. Namely, they inherited his sense of adventure. It was only a few days ago when the little ones hatched. But it didn't take long for these 34 to exhaust the possibilities of the tank. It was only so big. There were only so many corners and plants and creatures to explore. And now, they were ready for adventure.

As the 34 little ones circled the tank restlessly and the other 49 hid contentedly under the coral and leaves and in dark corners, Mister Sinister peered through the glass. He saw no movement. The coast was clear. He slid silently up the side of the glass. 34 adventurous offspring followed at his heel. The remaining 49 stayed behind, watching silently, eyestalks quivering. Mister Sinister cracked open the cover, pushing with his shell and peered around the dimly lit room. The coast was still clear. He slid to the top, holding the cover open and gestured with his tentacles to the little ones. The scurried through the opening and down the side of the tank. When the last of the 34 tiny shells was through, he slipped out from underneath and followed down the side of the tank.

He slid quickly to the front of the queue and led them all down to the floor. He turned his eye stalks to the right, toward the television, then quickly away. No TV tonight. He turned left instead, under the kitchen table and across the kitchen. All the little ones followed. In front of the pantry he paused, considering, then continued. No chips tonight either. He continued into the next room, eye stalks scanning the room.

A snuffle and slight stirring from the far corner caught his attention. He stopped, tentacles quivering, then he continued forward. At the back of the room he slid up the side of a table, pausing to peer behind him. 34 tiny little shells, reflecting the faint light of a night light followed behind. He reached the top of the table and found what appeared to be a tank. A large tank with wire sides. His tentacles explored the surface, then he slid through the wire grate and onto the newspaper within. He turned his eyestalks down and scanned the page. Weather. Local weather from last week. Nothing interesting.

Suddenly, he was pushed from the side. He pulled his tentacles in and flexed his foot, grabbing onto the newspaper to keep from tipping. A flash of the television show he had seen recently flashed through his thoughts. Was he being eaten by a snake? Then he felt a light touch on his shell, a whispery tickle running over it. He popped his eyestalks out from his shell for a look. Above a large furry nose, two bright black eyes regarded him. Long thin whiskers twitched and he giggled, letting go of the newspaper and sliding into the tank a bit further to let the little ones in. All 34 little ones crowded in in front of him in a tight group and 68 tiny eye stalks gazed up in wonder at the animal before them. The creature made a soft squeak and a second one stepped out of the darkness, all fur and whiskers and bright eyes.

As one, all 68 tiny eye stalks snapped into 34 trembling shells. Mister Sinister slid to the front of the pack and reached out a tenative tentacle. The first guinea pig stretched out its nose, whiskers quivering and sniffed. Mister Sinister ran his tentacle along a whisker and the guinea pig squeaked softly. One by one, the little ones sent out eye stalks and tentacles, then slowly approached. Both animals remained still, sqeaking softly. One tiny snail slid up to the front and reached up with a grasping tentacle, curling it around a whisker. Then using its foot for leverage, it swung up onto the whisker, traveled the length of it and slid up and over the large nose and between the bright eyes. It perched on top, waving its tentacles triumphantly. At that, the remaining 33 did the same, swarming gleefully over the guinea pigs as they softly squeaked encouragement. Mister Sinister watched, swaying his tentacles back and forth.

A little one crawled down the furry creature's face and across a nostril. The guinea pig sniffled. She snuffled. She sneezed. Tiny snails flew in all directions. Mister Sinister laughed a silent snail laugh and set off to round up the little ones. It was time to get back. Within minutes, all the little ones were gathered together and Mister Sinister led them silently back to the tank. As they slid from one room to the next, they all turned and waved their tentacles. Fuzzy whiskery noses wiggled in return.

Then Mister Sinister and his little ones slid across the floor to the tank and up the side. Mister Sinister held the door open and they all dropped in and floated to the bottom like grains of sand. As they reached the bottom, 49 little snails slid over and gathered in a group around the 34, eye stalks open wide and shining, ready to hear about the adventures.


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