"Flash! Get off your lazy butt and go help your sister!" That was my mother, who all but screamed for the third time in the past two minutes. Her demands echoed through the long but narrow hallway, as I let out a throaty groan and rolled over on my everything but comfortable bed. My eyes slowly peeled opened, the sun's rays practically burning my eyes to a crisp. My slothfulness on a lazy sleep-in Sunday was being interrupted... again.
Hi. My name's Flash, and my life is all about work work work. My family and I live in a very small village, with a population of an estimated thirty, and the typical villager around here wakes up at the crack of dawn. Everyone in this village has a job, and for the most part, its all farm work. Even the children get assigned to tasks at a young age, but when you're living in a small town with plenty of chores to do, it's only expected.
I live in a family of four, and it can get pretty hectic. First off, there's my mum, Edelyn Sprayer, an eastern chipmunk who's very large for her size--in both height and width--and enjoys baking and cooking for a living. She's a pretty stereotypical mother, but she's a great cook, giving her the assignment of being the town baker. Not a single animal in the village dislikes her food; that should tell you how great she is. She's especially well-known for her Frito Pies.
Then, there's my father, Mark Sprayer, who's a striped skunk just a little taller than my mom. He's very small, compared to the average skunk you see nowadays. He's a coal-miner and lumberjack for the town, and without him, this village would crumble. He provides everyone with plentiful of lumber, which most villagers use for firewood and fixing their shelter, and if he gets his paws on any, coal, which is MUCH easier for igniting a fire. And coincidentally, he happens to be very chummy with the mayor in the village.
Then last but not least, there's my baby sister Diana Itsy Sprayer, but everyone around here knows her as Dash. She and I carry both the skunk and chipmunk traits our parents carry; therefore, making us Skunkmunks. We have more than 9/10ths of skunk in our blood, so the only genetic trait we carry from our mum is our small size. Dash works for her own maid service she's created, going from hut to hut and cleaning their rooms for them. She also helps out mum when she cooks and serves the town a few meals. The shocking part is Dash is only six years old, and she still manages to keep her maturity sane as she does the work.
While my mom cooks, my father chops, and my sister cleans, I handle the crops, which vary from wild onion, wild berries, wheat, nuts, oak leaves, acorns, lavender, and other wild vegetation. It's actually not a simple task; I have to water multiple times a day at certain times of the day; I have to fertilize and scrap the no good production and carefully watch for pests. If we lose any profit, the village's blood will be on my hands; these food ingredients are what the town lives on.
Yep. Life sure is swell.
"Flash Jacob Sprayer, if you're not out of bed within five minutes, I'll have your father come in there!" I instinctively rolled my eyes at her attempt of an intimidating threat, as I pulled myself up against the headboard and wiped the sleep from my eyes. "Alright, alright, I'll be out there in a minute," I called out in reply, annoyance hinted in my tone.
"You'd better be! Your father wouldn't be happy to hear you've slept in this late."
I let a yawn escape my lips, emphasizing the loud sigh at the end. I was tired, and waking up to work was the last thing I wanted to do right now.
It was like this everyday of every week; Dash and I would cover the outside chores, while my mum cooked all day and my pap chopped lumber all day.
I ripped off the useless stained clothes, or in other words 'pajamas,' that I was wearing and threw on a simple white t-shirt with overalls on top. I slipped on my old, dusty boots and trotted out the door, snatching my red bandana along the way. I treaded down the hallway and into the kitchen, where my mum was found, standing over the stove while shoveling a few eggs onto a plate. Pap was already seated at the diner table, with a half-empty plate in front of him as he was forking down a sausage or two. An empty plate with scraps of bacon and toast crumbs was set on the opposite side of the table, which I'm assuming was Dash's plate. I quickly wrapped my bandana around my head to form a simple 'cap' and took a seat besides my pap, as Mum laid a perfectly organized breakfast in front of me. As if on cue, my stomach rumbled and my mouth salivated. "Good morning, sweetie," Mum cooed, kissing my cheek and giving me an awkward side-hug before trailing back to the stove.
"Morning, mum," I dipped my head in reply, already digging into my food after silently saying grace.
"Flash, y'need to work on this bad schedule of yers. It ain't healthy fer ye to sleep so late an' wake up so early," Pap's stated, his heavy country-accent lecturing the obvious. I fought back an annoyed groan, and just nodded to get it over with. "Yes, sir."
Pap nodded his head, which I took as a sign we're done, and lifted himself from the chair before picking up his trustworthy axe. He quickly trailed out the door, shouting out, "I'll be back later!" and waving a good-bye before he closing the door and going his way.
Mum waved him off impatiently, continuing to fix another serving of breakfast for herself. I quickly finished the plate of my own and my glass of milk. "Where is Dash?" I questioned Mum, as she seated herself at the table and neatly picking at her food.
"She's right by the Curry's hut, and boy, is she messy," she chuckled, pointing her fork in the direction of our neighbors' house. I frowned, mentally facepalming myself. Well, this'll be fun. I nodded a thanks to Mum before treading out the door moments later.
My eyes scanned the peacefully calm village as the citizens strolled by with ease as they continued their daily chores, from delivering mail to selling useful tools at their shop. I beamed. As much work as there was, everything was simply perfect, and for that short moment, I forgot what I was even supposed to be doing. That is, until I was snapped back into reality thanks to-
"Flash!" Dash cried with delight, her voice full of eager excitement. My head snapped in the direction of the voice and there she was, just like Mum had said. My jaw nearly hit the floor as I saw she was coated in mud from head-to-toe, and unfortunately, this was not the first time. A big smile was planted on her face as she stubbled towards me with arms outstretched and her short legs running as fast as they possibly could. "Flashie, Flashie, Flashie!" she chanted in delight.
She tried engulfing me in a large hug, but not before I could stop her from covering me in filth as well. I pushed her chest back with just a single finger as I examined her up and down. "Dash, what did you- why did you- wha-?" was all I could manage to stammer, throwing my hands up in disbelief and frustration. Dash just stood there, grinning from ear to ear. "Why did I what, Flashie?" she asked with mock confusion, tilting her head to the side with an innocent look plastered on her face.
My scowl fell into a frown. "C'mon, let's get y'cleaned up," I sighed in defeat, grabbing her tiny paw and leading her in the backyard. Not only do I manage the crops, but my sister too. It's almost as if my parents are too busy with work to even bother doing their part as a parent. Anytime she needs something, my parents call me to do it because their far too caught up in their jobs to deal with it themselves. Not that Dash is a chore or anything.
I snickered and flicked my tail in the direction of a small puddle of water as I untangled the hose from the well. "Go on, stand there and stay still." Knowing what she was up against, Dash giggled and nodded rapidly, obeying her orders and standing still in the puddle of water. She closed her eyes tightly with her arms stiff at her sides, a smirk painted on her face. I hesitantly pointed the hose at her, grinning. "Ready?"
"Ready!" she saluted.
And that's when I blasted her with the hose, watching in amusement as she burst into fits of giggles while twirling and dancing in the plummeting water. Streams of waterlogged mud was now trailing off of her frail, small body, making her look as clean as a whistle- whatever that means. I chuckled at her childish squeals. Moments like this is what brought me even closer to Dash and made our intimate brother-sister relationship even stronger.
I directed the hose nozzle at her head, earning me even more screams of delight as she brought her paws up to block the water from hitting her. "I don't think so!" she snapped playfully, approaching me and snatching the hose from me and soaking me down just the same. I shrieked as soon as the cold water hit my fur, seeping into my skin and making me shiver all over. But that didn't stop her, as she was continuing to pelt me like a water sprinkler from head-to-toe, and just like that, I was drenched. I scowled with mock anger, my eyes boring into her innocent gaze.
I dragged my stare at my feet and realized the once small puddle of water we were standing in was now transformed into a waterlogged lake. My false glare faded into a devilish smirk as I took my chance and ducked, dragging my paws through the water and splashing Dash over and over again. She squealed, screaming "stop, stop" over and over again before imitated me and splashing me, too. After a few long minutes of water wars, we both rose our paws in surrender, chuckling and laughing together at our immature stupidity as we both failed to win the battle. We plopped down on our butts, sitting in the now lukewarm murky water as our chests heaved in and out of exhaustion. Well that was fun... that is until-
"Flash! Diana! What on earth have you two been doing?!"
-Mum spotted our mischievous antics. Our faces went from beaming smiles to guilty frowns, all in a split second as soon as she stormed out of the backdoor with arms crossed and a frying pan in hand. A look of utter disappointment was smeared all over her face, while her eyes were shooting daggers into ours. If looks could kill. I gulped the large lump that had formed in my throat and stood to my feet. Making Mum mad was the last thing I wanted to do.
"I'm sorry, Mum," I started off apologetically, pulling Dash up on her feet and wringing out her mud-stained shirt. "It started with me rinsing her off with the hose, then we just got carried away. I'm sorry," I explained, repeating my apology once more. Her exasperated glare fell into a soft frown, exhausting a sigh.
"Go. Get cleaned up and dry off, and whatever you two do, stay out of trouble. It may be a Sunday to you kids, but work for your father and I continues. We have a busy morning today just like any other day, and the last thing we need is more added-on stress. We can't put up with this nonsense right now," she explained, pinching the bridge of her nose with her free hand. "Tell you what. You two finish your morning chores, and you can have the rest of the day off."
Dash and I exchanged excited looks, but before we could shout and holler with joy, she held a paw up. "But! If--and only if!--you promise to stay out of trouble and leave your father and I be. If I found out you've been digging yourselves in a ditch, don't be expecting to have next Sunday off too." We both nodded rapidly, eagerly wanting to go see the other village kids- at least, that's what I wanted to do. Mum beamed and ruffled our hair. "Sounds like a fair deal. Love you, be good." She kissed the top of our soaking wet heads before hastily returning into the kitchen.
I glanced at Dash from the corner of my eye and I was pleased to see her devious smile saying it all. Staying out of trouble? That's too far-fetched to believe; and even Mum knows it.