Kick finds the perfect tumbleweed, arms herself with a machete just in case. Lines up her tumbler with her family. Swiping the stem free she leaps in and goes. Letting the wind take her, she runs and runs and runs and leaps and runs. She wants to beat her mother, father, brothers, all!

Swoop, out of sun comes the red-tail, Kick readies her machete. Swipes at it’s toe. Leaps and hit its clanging beak. It slaps her weed low. So she rolls out running to her brother Jack. She leaps! Lands inside his tumbleweed.

Everyone heads for tunnels low. The hawk, bleeding, slices air to stoop on laggers. “Hoo, hoo, everyone, run!” yells Poppa. The tumblers whistle across the gray and dun ground. The chipmunks head for the rock hilled tunnels. Above the predator hides in the sun.

Momma screams, “I see it, out of sun! Go, children, scramble!”

The hawk stoops. It falls. Nut calls, “By me, Jack!” The hawk is there, Nut leaps, Kick grabs, the red-tail grabs, Nut slashes. And the red-tail loses another toe. On the children go, safe. The red-tail lands, “Kirie, kirie!” blood pours from two of its talons.

Poppa jumps to the ground and pushes the rock from the tunnel entrance. Momma jumps beside him, pulls her dual machetes from their sheaths on her back. She crouches, ready to defend. Poppa slaps the tip of his spear into the dirt, he waits. Their tumbleweeds skitter away.

Nut, Kick and Jack run together, leaping and swinging through the stems of their shared tumbler, pulling it through the dirt and flying dust toward their parents and tunnel.

Behind them the hawk, russet, beak bleeding, curves its wings to catch air.

The chipmunk kids run. The hawk gains. It catches at the twigs, whips the tumbler around. Kick keens, “Awhhooo,” and laying on her back among the stems pulls her knife out.

The hawk’s beak descends toward her white belly..

Poppa dives into the tumbleweed, “Yaaaahhhggggg!” he screams. His spear winnows its way down the bird’s throat. Jack slashes two more talons, and Nut gets one on the injured side. The hawk’s wings backpedal, it chokes out the spear and screams into sky, Kick’s machete stuck in its breast.

Nut giggles, “Don’t tell me you lost your machete, again, Kick.”

“Shut up, Nut,” says Kick.

Published by ady80braun

retired k teacher, mom

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