www.whyville.net Feb 2, 2014 Weekly Issue

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Cacahuete and Ash

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Cacahuete took her place at the table and tucked into her bowl of photosynthesised energy. Her brothers and sisters sat with her, also absorbing their shares and as far as Cacahuete could tell, it was a normal day, with the normal chatter and normal faces of her fellow peanuts surrounding her. She was not content with this normality; nothing much really happened within the colony - nothing unless you count a random cockerel eating her friends randomly as exciting. Cacahuete ate silently; something had caught her eye.

Ash ran like a chicken around the concrete section of deserted playground. He was on a mission; a mission to find food, or more specifically, the peanut colony. He had been scavenging several times, but only when those self-proclaimed gardeners weren't around. They were a nuisance. The 'gardeners' were forever trying to stroke him and pick him up. He would much rather be left in peace. Since his last meal was a stingy handful of chicken food, he had been forced to take action - that meant looking for another meal. "Sometimes," Ash thought to himself, "I am quite lonely. I should like a little company."

After another five minutes of scavenging, Ash gave up and started to take himself resignedly back to his house. That was until the all too familiar chatter of monkey nuts filled his ears. Dinner is served!

Leaning back, Cacahuete clearly saw what was most definitely a chicken - a small black one. Terror shot though Cacahuete - chickens do not tend to be 'friends' with peanuts. In fact, chickens are much more likely to eat a peanut than talk to one. Cacahuete was about to raise the alarm when a scaly, pointed foot came crashing down on the roof. The cries of her family distressed her, but what made her heart stop was staring right into the big, black eye of the peanut's most feared predator; the rooster.

However, it was not fear which stopped her in her tracks.

It was love at first sight.

Ash paused, mid-step. When you find the person who you know will be the love of your life, you often do this. Time momentarily stops. That is exactly what happened with Cacahuete and Ash. They had never met before, but there was an instant bond which entwined their fates together.

Gazing into the yellowish, textured face, Ash found something within him stir. A queer fluttery feeling in his chest made him ruffle his feathers and without quite meaning to, exclaimed, "Oh, Peanut, glorious Peanut! Tell me your name!" From then onwards, differences were forgotten. Ash helped repair the colony and they lived happily ever after.

But no!

With love, it is never that simple.

* * * * * *

Cacahuete sighed. Her life was far from perfect. When her parents found out that her boyfriend was a chicken, they were shell-shocked. They hadn't understood and in an effort to deter her from seeing him, they told her stories relentlessly of how much pain chickens have caused the peanuts over the years. Cacahuete ignored these tales, even though the truth could not be ignored. Now, they had gone even further; marriage between an old, knarled and decidedly ugly peanut had been arranged. For Cacahuete, this was the last straw; she could not endure anything else. If she had to hear one more minute of her parents belittling her boyfriend then she would . . .

Ash's distinctive call filled her ears, jerking her out of her reverie. She ran to her window. It was Ash, standing on one foot, bathed in silver moonlight. He looked so handsome, standing there.

"I am coming up!"

Cacahuete stood back and allowed him to hop onto the window sill. She found herself engulfed in black feathers. He released her, a solemn expression on his face.

"My sweet, we must be married!" This statement was a new one and although the matter had always been avoided, Cacahuete knew, in her heart, that it needed to be talked about. There was a problem, though; Cacahuete was certain that her family would not allow her to wed Ash - he was a chicken after all, sworn enemy of the peanuts!

Ash paced impatiently back and forth, pondering their options. They could get married in secret or they could ask Cacahuete's family. To Ash, the latter seemed more sensible - her family would likely be so intimidated by him that they'd agree right away! Ash discussed this with Cacahuete and she agreed to take him to meet her friends and family.

When they arrived, they were met with cold, hostile glares. It was evident that they did not approve of their romance. Ash went straight to the point, "It is my intention to marry Cacahuete."

The silence that followed was so unpromising, that Ash made up his mind to give up on pursuing his dream to marry Cacahuete. When an elderly, gnarled peanut spoke up, he was only half listening.

"I am due to marry her! I can see that you love her dearly, so I will renounce my claim; you may marry her, with my blessing, too."

Cacahuete's normally mottled yellow face turned bright pink and Ash ruffled his feathers excitedly. His life was complete. He would want for nothing. Arrangements for the wedding would have to start as soon as possible and he was certain that he would get help with that.

* * * * * *

Cacahuete walked up the aisle, grinning broadly. She was finally going to be married! This was her special day and nothing would spoil it. On each side, members of her family sat and waved, all looking as exited as she felt.

At the end of the aisle, there was Ash, standing tall and grand. Cacahuete felt her heart explode with love for him. She smiled nervously and took her place beside him. The vicar started to run through the vows. Without hesitation, Cacahuete replied "I do." Then it was Ash's turn. They were as good as married already.

Ash stood silently, waiting for his cue. He stared at the sweet face of Cacahuete, who had already agreed. It was up to him now. Three . . . two . . . one . . .

Then something snapped.

Ash let out a bird-like squawk and glared at Cacahuete. Dinner. Then with one swift swoop, he opened his beak and swallowed her whole. Shock buzzed like electricity, stunning the peanuts momentarily speechless. Tangible silence filled the air and Ash flapped his right wing in an effort to break the awkward silence. It was too much; the guilt of what had just happened drove him insane. Ash fled from the room and he was never seen again.


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