The Secret Life of Tumkit by Billy Garrett by Billy Garrett - Read Online

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The Secret Life of Tumkit - Billy Garrett

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Illustrator

PROLOGUE

There exists a never-ending forest on the other side of an old wooden fence. The fence was built many years ago to keep out unwanted visitors who might stray from the woods and into the backyard of the little green house on Willow Lane.

The old fence is rough, splintery and has turned greyish black in the hot sun and long harsh winters. The best part of the fence is the knotholes. Omar, a nine-year old boy who lives in the house, spends much of his spare time peaking through the knotholes trying to catch a glimpse of what moves in the forest.

In the woods, beyond the old fence, the snow at the top of Laurel Mountain glistened under the moonlight. Laurel was the only mountain in the densely wooded forest. Its slopes began to rise two miles from the little green house and continued its majestic climb to peak at ten thousand feet.

Last year the mountain was home to deer, beaver, birds and other wildlife. Now only one lives on the mountain. Borwong, a ruthless and selfish grizzly bear, who wandered down from the far north, had claimed ownership of Laurel and removed all others from his domain.

CHAPTER ONE

At first glance there didn’t seem to be anything unusual about the house at the end of Willow Lane. Dressed in a coat of light green paint, the home appeared happy and content sheltered under the towering maple trees that surrounded it.

Spring had just arrived, but the long cold days of winter still lingered in the chilly air. Within a few short weeks the sun’s warmth will once again bring new life from beneath the soil. Flowerbeds will soon be bursting with radiant colors, while bees and hummingbirds race for their share of the sweet nectar. But for now, the branches of the trees are bare and crystals of white ice cover the sleeping grass.

It’s early morning and the darkness is full of silence, especially under the wood deck behind the little green house and down in the cold burrow where Tumkit, a very unusual and special rabbit, was just born.

The baby shivered frantically until something with a big nose and long whiskers pushed him completely under its warm furry body. The stranger above him was heavy and he could barely move but worse than that he was terrified.

How did I get here and who am I? he wondered.

Wanting answers, he managed to crawl to the outer edge of the furry body to see where he was. When he opened his eyes, he couldn’t see a thing. Not a sliver of light or a tinge of color could be seen in this strange and bewildering place.

His floppy ears dangled over his cheeks and he listened for sounds, but couldn’t hear a thing. Tumkit was hopelessly lost and utterly confused but was relieved when his body began to warm.

Had he known at the time baby rabbits couldn’t see or hear their first week of life things would have been easier. He did have one good thing going for him, his nose worked just fine!

From the instant he was born his nose and upper lip would not stop twitching. In unison, they’d rapidly go up, down, to the right and left as if they had a mind of their own. He couldn’t stop sniffing, nor did he want to. A thousand scents overwhelmed him. Because he was unable to see he had no idea he smelled trees, dust, juniper berries and other scents being carried by the wind and swirling down into his burrow.

There was one scent that was stronger and more powerful than all the others. It was a sweet smell and his entire body trembled as an unbearable hunger overcame him. His stomach ached, his neck stiffened and the nostrils in his nose stretched twice their normal size. All other scents meant nothing to him anymore. He had to find out where this smell was coming from.

His nose led him back under the furry creature and it was there Tumkit discovered he wasn’t alone. He brushed up against five other baby rabbits. They were all in a panic, kicking and shoving and searching for the same thing he was. It didn’t take them long to figure out where the sweet smell was coming from and all the baby