True Friends Stick Closer Than Family

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A heavy mist fell over the field. The sky was clear with intermittent clouds that passed slowly in front and placed a shroud in front of a nearly full moon. Within moments everyone there was feeling as if they were wearing wet wrinkled clothes taken from a drier much too soon. Droplets fell from bangs. Leather bags became instantly heavier than they are when dry. The flicker of the torches carried by the giants grew noticeably smaller but did not go out.

Aimi could no longer see clearly through her glasses. Since her hands were tied she could not wipe the lenses clear either. She tried leaning into one of her shoulders but her shoulder was wet also. Her glasses were no longer speckled with the dampness in the air, they were streaked also.

Roci felt the ropes loosen. Always wanting to be in control rather than be controlled, Roci instinctively jerked one hand to set it free. Instead of freedom, the straps pulled more taught and she feared nearly cutting off the circulation completely. She let out an audible sigh of exasperation.

The giants carrying Sybil let out a groan. Suddenly too heavy for them, they had to lay Sybil on the ground. The dampness of the ground instantly seeped into Sybil's clothes making him heavier still.

"We ... are ... going ... to ... need ... more ... help ... to ... carry ... this ... tub ... of ... lard."

The words cut into Sybil. He was helpless to do or even think anything in response. His situation was too dire for him to just wish he hadn't eaten so many Snicker bars today ... or any day.

Mousi hung limply. Her tears no longer visible, she appeared to be one big teardrop. Her braids unraveled and frayed from her head to the tie at the tips. One of the ties came undone. She showed no interest in how silly she looked.

Sycamore stood tall. The wet weighed on him. The waving of his arms slowed from the weight gain on the sleeves of his sweatshirt. Still he continued.

The beavers leaned back on their tails and looked around as if thinking, "What's the big deal?"

The badgers repeatedly shook themselves the way dogs do after they have been given a bath.

The butterflies stopped flying, their wings too heavy to flap.

The beetles did laps in the puddles that formed.

Bligh's long raggy hair looked like dirty yarn.

Senti let the dampness pour off her naturally and otherwise appeared unfazed.

Mounty and Ceasar stopped playing. Everyone knew what Ceasar and Mounty decided to do next would determine the outcome of this final encounter.

Who would take whose side? Would Mounty join Ceasar and the giants or would Ceasar join Mounty and the kids?

All movement stopped. Everyone present forgot to breathe.

Mounty looked up and Ceasar looked down. Nose to nose it was unmistakable that they were both plotting their next move.

Mounty took the first step. He moved towards Sycamore. Ceasar didn't budge. Mounty took another tentative step, then another. Ceasar didn't respond again. In a few big steps in the opposite direction of Sycamore, Mounty had come alongside Ceasar. Both were facing Sycamore and his team of animals.

In one big step Ceasar turned nearly 45 degrees in the direction of the giants who stood in a makeshift line behind him. Mounty followed, though it took him more steps to stay next to his old friend. Two more steps and both Ceasar and Mounty were now facing ... and ... walking towards the giants.

Ceasar and Mounty lined up next to Gore.

The outcome became all too clear. When the giants attacked the result was predictable. Everyone knew who the victors would be.

The girls knew.

The boys knew.

The giants knew.

The animals knew.

Everyone knew ... except ... except ... Senti.

Senti, tinier than any one foot of any one of the smallest giants stepped towards her opponents.

The giants stared back in bewilderment.

Senti didn't look to the right or the left. She took another step closer, ready to fight. Too often we decide we are beaten before we even put up a fight. Not Senti.

Bligh shook his mangy body free of all the dampness that had weighed down his spirit and his body and slowly but intentionally stepped forward to join Senti.

The badgers followed suit. As did the beavers. The beetles stopped doing laps and lined up. The squadron of butterflies rose up and joined Sycamore as he also stepped forward to join his friends to do their best against the giants, come what may. Senti led and the others followed.

Aimi, Roci, Sybil and Mousi each made eye contact with the animals that had been there for them when they needed them. Sycamore lined up with his new friends.

No one can say for sure, but going through their minds perhaps was the theme from the current, their first week of camp.

"True Friends Stick Closer than Family." Proverbs 18:24

When parents are not there for their children, children will fill the void in their hearts left by their parents, for whatever reason, with friends ... sometimes good and too often bad. In this instance, the Bunch realized they despite their predicament, the situation they had fallen into, they were there with their friends, all kinds of friends, the best of friends. The kind of friends who gave unconditionally. Who continued to give. Who would give their all if required. The Bunch had come into camp hoping to make new lifetime friends. They just didn't realize those new friends might come with more than two legs, or wings and could dig tunnels, build dams or just listen and maybe simply offer a well-timed hug.

The giants charged.

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