Sample Chapters

INSANE DUANE

Chapter One When It Rains It Pours

…God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

I Corinthians 1:27

“Nay, nay, my darlings,” Mamma sighed, gently cooing to her children lying at her feet, “we cannot be careless.” Mamma hovered, “Nay, nay, my lovelies.  Evil hunts us, our smell makes its stomach rumble.”  Her lovelies did not hear her warnings, “Nay, nay,” she sang sadly.

Mamma’s darlings numbered three, warm and snuggled inside their own small places.  As their bodies grew, space became tight; and the time was coming they would have to break free of their speckled covering.   The eggshell would hold them for another day, maybe two.  It was hard for her to tell.

“Messy,” Mamma shifted sticks and grass.  She was not a good nest builder, beakon birds never are.  Mamma, slightly larger than a hummingbird with the shape and coloring of a peacock, was pre-wired to build her babies’ home in the grass of a rolling meadow.  “Shouldn’t have built this nest on top of a hill, tsk tsk,” said the voice of regret, but the view was spectacular and offered plenty of warning if evils drew near.

Mamma was a guard dog and that became a problem for Slink with his empty stomach.   “My tongue smells eggs,” he spied a triple treat as his forked receptor darted up and down.  From her nest, Mamma spotted him and aimed with the precision of a marksman’s arrow.

“Skedaddle Mr. Rattle,” she chirped as loud as her tiny lungs would allow.   She flew circles around him and poked at the top of his scaly head.  Slink coiled up to assess the tiny brute.

“Ahhhhh, a beakon bird,” he stretched his spotted neck toward her.  “Tasty little thing.”

Mamma drifted backward out of reach, “You’re too ugly to catch me,” she taunted.  Slink’s tongue focused on the beakon bird, making him forget the smell of eggs.

“Come closer beakon,” crooned Slink’s spellbinding hiss, “a little closer.”   An eagle’s floating shadow interrupted Slink’s alluring performance.  “You’ll have to be my dinner another day, beakon bird,” Slink grudged as he turned toward the protection of the nearby woods.

Mamma let out a victorious “humpf” as she watched him slither away while the eagle stalked him with its gliding silhouette.  “Nay, nay, not today,” Mamma chimed.

Like a captain scanning the horizon, she observed other animals from the height of her hill as she waited for her babies to break free. Movement in the dirt at the hill’s foot grabbed her attention.  A mound began to take shape while a mole, blinded by the sun, made clumsy headway out of its underground passage.  He staggered using his stretched out gawky claws trying to find his way as Mamma swooped closer to get a better look.

With blinking eye slits, Fuzz declared, “I can barely see.”

Momma landed on a rock directly in front of the animal, “Do you eat birds?” she asked, tilting her head.

Fuzz squinted, trying to focus on the tiny bird, “I’m a grubber.”

“Oh, you’re a grubber lubber?” laughed Mamma.

Fuzz was enjoying his new friend and he didn’t want to be impolite, but he began looking for relief from the heat of the sun, “It’s getting a little warm.”

“You might like the shade of that hazelnut bush,” Mamma directed the opposite way of Slink and the eagle before she sprang off the rock and took flight.

“Hello my darlings,” Mamma returned to the nest.  She rolled each egg not seeing any signs of cracking then settled comfortably sheltering her babies with the warmth of her body.  “Busy morning,” she explained to her enveloped darlings as she took a deep, restful breath.  She allowed her thoughts to wonder when her iridescent feathers began to stand up on the back of her neck.  Her tiny head jerked to the left and right, her eyes scrutinizing as she noticed it was too quiet.  Squirrels weren’t chasing, chipmunks weren’t eating, mice weren’t nibbling, and the rabbits were missing.

She heard the sound of evil, a dark snarl vibrating from the throat of wickedness.  Sight of the fox’s sharp teeth lunging from behind caused her reflex to take flight.  “Snap, snap,” clicked the fox’s teeth as he lunged and grabbed one of Mamma’s beautiful tail feathers.  Flapping her small wings in a frantic struggle, she became like a high-speed tetherball making lunatic circular motions around the fox’s nose.  She twisted and twirled until the feather was released from her body and freed her like a slingshot. Mamma gathered her wits midair, “You think you can catch me?” she provoked leading him away from the nest.

The taste of the feather and smell of Mamma’s fear made a string of drool drop from the fox’s jaw connecting like a leash to the grass, “You think I can’t?” Obsessed the fox as his focus centered on Mamma, making him miss the easy snack lying inches from his feet.  He chased her into the woods and, in the commotion, neither the fox or Mamma noticed the darkening sky as they played their dangerous game of cat and mouse.

The chicks felt her absence but were blissfully unaware in their warm cocoons.  They could see flashes through their eggshell filters as distant lightning streaked the sky and felt the vibration of thunder that carried its warning. The first raindrops were few and gentle, carrying with it the smell of rain, masquerading as harmless visitors.  The wind, with its merciless mission, blew the storm clouds closer until they hovered over the meadow where the nest lay.

Gentle plinking soon turned to pelting stabs as water beads became heavier and fell faster.  Armies of drops created wet sheets in the sky, and the wind blew them at its discretion.   A puddle formed in the nest, causing the loose grass to come apart.  As one egg shifted toward the edge, there was a flash of light followed by a cracking sound and tremendous boom, causing the ground to rattle like an aftershock from an earth quake.  The unaware baby was shaken out of the comfort of the nest when another clap of thunder gave the egg momentum to wobble down the hill.  Like a well-aimed putt, the tiny egg fell inside the hole and dropped down into the tunnel recently vacated by Fuzz.

Gravity pulled the egg deeper until it stopped at a large open area resembling a low-ceilinged sports arena.  In the center was what appeared as a dinner bell perched on a pole which could be heard throughout the twisting and turning tunnels below to be used if there ever was an emergency.  “Ding, ding, ding, ding,” it sounded, not stopping until all the moles of Naysay were accounted for.

Dozens of shuffling feet gathered as curious eyes watched the egg sway back and forth, finally becoming still.

“What is it?” said one voice.

“Oy, that can’t be good,” said another.

“Get rid of it,” someone added.

But all they did was stare.

Rolling damaged the fragile eggshell, and movement could be seen coming from inside.  Curiosity and suspicion fell across the spectators as they watched the shell fall away, one small piece at a time.

“It’s a bomb!” yelled a young voice.

“Don’t be dumb,” said another.

Inside, some strange thing pushed hard, pecking against the wall.  He was little, and he worked hard.  Once freed, those watching had a good look at him.

“That thang is ugly as a monkey’s butt.”

“Lookie der, what’s with them big eyes?”

“I can’t bear to look at it,” said one.  “Its mouth is atrocious,” raising her mole nose in the air.

It tilted its head back and opened its beak as slight chirping sounds escaped and the body weaved as a teeter-totter.  The moles living in the tunnels had never seen a baby bird.  Each took a turn examining the baby from top to bottom, some mustering the courage to poke at it.

“What do we do with it?” the conversation continued.

“Just leave it.”

“It’ll die.”

“Remember the frog?”

“Aint right.  Stunk up the place. I still get a whiff on damp days.”

“What do we call it?”

“The frog’s name was Duane. We’ll call it Duane.  Maybe it’ll be a reminder to feed it.”

The oldest mole groaned with a protesting sigh, “I’ll take it with me for now.  I’ll feed it till it can feed itself.”  With that, the cantankerous mole grabbed the baby by both skinny legs and hauled him off leaving marks in the dirt like a dragged duffle bag.

________________________________________________

            An unknown someone was watching; His eyes never leaving the baby.   He knew the baby’s exhaustion, heard every word of conversation.  He was aware of everyone, but no one was aware of Him.  He was in control of the details.  Nothing happened without His approval.  He encouraged Fuzz to dig his hole at the bottom of the hill.  He was with the fox and Mamma, and He was in the rain so that it would fill the nest only high enough.  He caused the thunder to create just the right vibration, and He is with Mamma now, providing comfort as she worries about her lost egg.  Why that egg?  Why that place?  Only He knows.  One thing was for certain, there was important work to be done, and it began that day.

 

 

Chapter Two Chasing The Dream

But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness

and walks around in the darkness;

he does not know where he is going,

because the darkness has blinded him.

1John 2:11

 

“He’s so weird,” one low voice turned to the other.  The aroma of earthworms hovered in the air as two moles traveled the Naysay tunnels.

“A real freak show,” chuckled the second, the whispers turned in to laugh snorts. The conversation became more difficult to hear as they inched further away.  “Did you see when Gruff tripped him? So funny!”

Tears made a tiny puddle as Duane listened, “I hate being me,” he thought as his stomach began to hurt.

If you were to open a map and study the dark places of the mole tunnels, you would see that Nasay is very close to the neighboring burrows of Harrumph.  Further west is the township of Downbeat.  Tunnels are like twisting roads that aim downward as populations grow.  Families live in small pockets dug into the side of the tunnels called dens that have cramped spaces with few comforts.

Rumors and whispered stories of another place buried deep are often told; a hog heaven for moles with clean, fresh air, loose dirt for digging and fat, juicy grubs.  There is plenty of room to have the den of your dreams and the living is easy.   Moles have a silent race to be the first to arrive; after all, Naysay folks can’t be trusted to share.  They call it Dupe Shaftways and, according to the buzz, it’s wonderland in a tunnel.  Better than Naysay, Harrumph or Downbeat ever was or would be.  As it stands, Dupe Shaftways would be a question mark instead of an X on that map since no one knows exactly where it is.

“C’mon Mrs. Groaner,” Mr. Groaner grabbed her rubbery snout and pulled hard, “let’s get diggin’ before the Grumblers get ahead of us.”

It was difficult for Mrs. Groaner to move quickly, her long claws getting in the way of her short, squatty legs.  “Oy mole, let go of my nose.  With your slow diggin’ we’d need more luck than the Irish to get ahead of the Grumblers.” They continued to argue, making their way out of their den.

In the tunnel below, Mrs. Peeves’s shouting added chaos in their little lair, “Listen, YOU LITTLE BUGGERS, HEY YOU, STOP, hey now, LISTEN TO ME!”  But there was no room to listen with the children crawling over each other.”  Ms. Peeves’s ears turned red as she turned to Mr. Peeves, “Why aint you outs there diggin’, you furry fool? We needs a bigger den.”

Down a bit from the Peeves, Mr. Bother turned to his snooty wife, “Did you see those Peeve brats? They were digging around our den again.”

Mrs. Bother replied as if there was something stinky in the room, “They’re atrocious!  We have to get to Dupe Shaftways before the Peeves,” she continued sticking her nose in the air, “those little monsters.”

Mr. Miff was already working, he had been for hours.  He lived alone and only had himself to complain to, “I’m so mad I could spit hornets!”  He was shaking his head, mumbling loudly and digging at the same time.  “Try tell ME where to dig.” He stopped to admire his work and then began again, “I’ll dig where I want to dig.”

Miss Chinwag was whispering in Mrs. Aloof’s ear, “Did you hear Mrs. Bother and Mrs. Groaner are fighting again?  And have you heard that Duane cried when Gruff tripped him?” Miss Chinwag paused to chuckle.  “What do you think of Mr. Miff digging too close to the Peeves’s tunnel?”  She enjoyed sharing Nasay news and she had a tendency to be very generous. This made her popular as everyone appreciated the gossip’s willingness to dole out.

Miss Chinwag continued to bend Mrs. Aloof’s ear, “I just can’t stand Duane.  When he talks, it makes me gag,” Miss Chinwag made the heaving motion.

Mrs. Aloof giggled and nodded in agreement.

Duane was the never-chosen-player-in-a-school-yard-pick kind of kid.  He didn’t share the moles’ anatomy for digging, but, instead, used his made-for-perching feet (with three toes pointed forward and one toe pointed backward) for digging.  His beak served as a backhoe, while his wings swung the dirt aside.  To see him tunnel was like watching a traveling dust storm. This made Duane work twice as hard to achieve half of what the others accomplished.  He was looked upon as ugly, half-witted and lazy.  Since everyone believed this to be true, Duane believed it too.  In a fur world, feathers were unacceptable and caused an imaginary bulls-eye to be strapped to Duane’s back, making him the favorite butt of cruel mole humor.

“Hey, Duane!” he heard while digging.  Duane turned around to see the Peeves pups approach, all six of them.  In the lead was Knucklehead with his pigeon toes and crossed eyes.  Close behind was brother Buster trying to look tough, but the cowlick that stuck straight up at the top of his head appeared as a hand waving “hello.”

“Do you know what the worsest thing in the world you could do?” Knucklehead snarled at Duane.

“Um, kill somebody?” Duane replied innocently.

“No dummy, snitching on a Peeves tribe,” Knucklehead leaned so close Duane could smell his grub breath.

Without knowing, Buster was tying Duane’s legs with a string while being distracted by Knucklehead.

“You wunt tattle on a Peeves tribe, wud you?” Knucklehead pushed nose to nose with Duane.

“Nay, nay,” Duane croaked.

“Why you talk so funny. Aint you gots any senses in your head?” Buster snarled.

“Nay, Na…” Duane started as he received a sharp slap on the back of his head, causing him to step forward and trip.

The six Peeves pups congratulated each other with whoops and laughs as they left Duane face down in the dirt.  The clay grit in Duane’s mouth was flavored with humiliation as he slowly helped himself up and removed the string.  “Why me?” he asked himself for the umpteenth time feeling the knots form in his stomach once again.

Miss Chinwag savored the scene she stumbled upon.  The busybody’s lip curled into a half-smile as she hurried off to broadcast her destructive yak.  She snickered and felt giddy at the thought of divulging Duane’s latest misfortune.

But Duane couldn’t stop himself from being Duane.  There was another very important difference that caused the bulls-eye to grow larger on his back.  Every day when diggers start the important business of tunneling downward and, hopefully, getting close to Dupe Shaftways, Duane ventures in the opposite direction.  He prods upward alone.

“Ma, why can’t I play with Duane,” An Aloof child once asked.

“Shut up!” Mrs. Aloof snapped.  “I don’t want his kind hanging with my litter.  Aint no up-diggers in this family.”

Duane was an up-digger.

“He’s coming,” said a whispered announcement.  And all the moles moved in the opposite direction, never making eye contact or striking up conversation.  It was like Duane had a contagious disease; no one wanted to take the chance of being nice to him.  Who can blame the folks of Naysay, really?  We all know how difficult it is to be nice to those who are different.

There’s more fun to be made when it comes to Duane. The Peeves clan enjoy making jokes about Duane as does the Aloof tribe.  Together, you could hear them in the tunnels chanting:

Crazy, lazy, loony Duane.

We all know he’s quite insane.

________________________________________________

            The Mysterious One was still there and still watching as a tear escaped His eye.  His heart ached for Duane with all the cruel treatment.  After all, the Counselor understood the pain.  Duane didn’t know why he was such a poor digger, but The Wise One did.  He didn’t understand the invisible push to dig upward, but The Encourager did.  The Mysterious One, the Counselor, the Wise One and Encourager were all one, and He loved Duane with all His heart.

 

 

Chapter Three Touching Insanity

Everyone who does evil hates the light,

and will not come into the light for fear

that his deeds will be exposed.

John 3:20

Rumors and whispered stories were spread about up-diggers.  “You pups,” said Mrs. Peeves at bed time, “me gots  sum ‘um to tell you,” her children gathered round.  “You ne’er, er’er go to The Up.  Cousin Quester wen on Up.  Ne’er e’er saw him a’gin.  Thur’s this light, shines so bright it sees right through yun, like a high-parred x-ray.  It kin even see what yer thinkin’,” Mrs Peeves was nodding her head in agreement with herself.  “Then thurs The King of the Light,” she pointed to each of her pups, “call ‘em The King, they do. He dunt believe in diggin’ e’rr day.” The pups gasped in unison.

Everyone agreed they didn’t like The King and what he stood for. The Up made the moles uneasy; they liked the dark, their routines, and pecking order.

“Ma,” the youngest Aloof pup once asked, “Who’s The King?”

“Shut up!” Mrs. Aloof barked, covering his mouth with one of her long-clawed paws and swatting his behind with her other. “Shhhh, aint nobody poda talk about it.”

Miss Chinwag, hearing the conversation added with a sneer, “Up-diggers are stupid.  Why would you tunnel up when Dupe Shaftways is down?”

In his solitude, Duane would chirp quietly to The King, especially while digging.  “King, I know you’re in The Up,” he twittered sweetly, “and I’d like to meet you if I could.  But there’s something that scares me.  It’s the light.  You might see things I don’t want you to.  They tell me I’m ugly and stupid, and, if you meet me, you might not like me.  Sure would appreciate being given a chance though.”  There was something very comforting about talking to The King and, unexplainably, Duane believed The King could hear him.

Duane’s wings were tiring from digging, when he whooped, “What was that?” His little beakon heart began beating fast and he stepped back to gather his courage.  Reaching out his wing, he touched the ceiling where he felt warmth for the first time.

“Come to me,” the warmth seemed to invite, “I am delightful and cozy.”

“You’re risky,” Duane’s thoughts swayed as he looked around to see if anyone was watching.  “But, if I just touch it.  I could go on my back and use my foot. I can touch it with my toes.”  He pushed his right foot against the ceiling.

“How about a little kick?” his courage whispered.

Bits of dirt and dust fell into his face as he took the advice. Rubbing his eyes to clear his vision, his courage whispered louder, “One more time, but harder!”

He sucked in his breath and, using his back as leverage, took both feet and gave the ceiling the ole heave-ho kick.  To Duane’s surprise, his right foot broke through the ceiling.

“Ugh! It’s so bright!” Duane felt like he was staring directly at the sun as the light slipped past his foot and through the hole, engulfing him like a spotlight.

“If only I had eyes on the tips of my toes,” Duane stretched out his leg trying to touch anything, for a clue of what was on the other side when something brushed against his big toe.

“What should I do now?” He asked his courage.

“I don’t know.  Time for me to leave,” his courage slipped away.

“Aieee!” Duane yelled, and, by impulse, he jerked his foot down discovering it was stuck between the two worlds.  He pulled hard until it broke free, causing more dirt to fall in his face.  He turned right-side up and scrambled, a little amazed and confused, and with a now-sore foot, back to Naysay moving at a limping, slow jog.

“I didn’t think you could get any uglier,” Mr. Groaner commented as Duane approached, “but I guess I was wrong.”  He looked at Duane’s swollen eyes, dirty face, and damaged foot.  “What happened to you?”

Common sense left the same time courage did, for he belted out, “I know what warm feels like and I’ve seen the light!”

There was complete silence as onlookers observed Duane’s dirty face.  Suddenly and loudly all the moles burst into laughter.  They slapped each other on the back and all the Aloof and Peeve children sang:

Crazy, lazy, loony Duane.

We all know he’s quite insane.

Digging up instead of down,

Makes him look like a clown.

            Miss Chinwag’s hate made her spit when she spoke, “Who do you think you are? Huh? Going against our ways!”  She pointed her finger, landing it on Duane’s beak forcing him to take steps backward as she took steps forward.  Anger began boiling in her like a pot of oil on a hot fire, “You think you’re a big shot with this news?  Here’s the real news: what Knucklehead and Buster did, you had coming!”

Mrs. Chinwag’s hate fed the crowd’s amusement.  They watched with expectation as the show continued.  “Yeah!  You tell ‘em!” the crowd threw her anger a tasty treat in return.

“Give me more,” Miss Chinwag’s crooked smirk said to the crowd.  So they did.

“He don’t belong here!” one mole chanted.

“We hate up-diggers!” another plugged in.

Miss Chinwag turned toward Duane, “We hate up-diggers and you don’t belong,” she repeated with cruel intention.

Duane stood on one leg with dirt on his face wanting to become invisible.   His throat grew tight as he fought back tears and his breakfast threatened to make an appearance.  Common Sense finally arrived and tapped him on his shoulder, screaming in his ear, “GO!”

He ran to his den and huddled in the furthest corner, staying for a week, with no one caring that he was missing.  Loneliness jabbed at him like a persistent headache as he finally concluded, “I’m so tired.  If I try to be more like them, maybe they’ll like me.”  Raising his head, Duane sobbed, “I’m sorry King, it’s just too hard.”  It was decided: no King, no warmth, no light, no up-digging.  Made sense to Duane, but theory and reality don’t always play well together.

It started with Mrs. Groaner sneezing, then Mr. Miff’s cough, “Here comes the dust devil,” Mr. Groaner groaned wiping his watery eyes.  The air was getting thick as Duane’s digging technique announced his arrival.

“Can I help you with your tunnel?” Duane offered Mrs. Groaner.

“Oy, please no!  At-choo!” Mrs. Groaner groaned.

“How about you, Mrs. Peeves?  You’ve got your hands full with your pups.  How about I help you and Mr. Peeves dig for Dupe Shaftways?”

“We dun want yur hep,” Mrs. Peeves shook her head.

“Well, Mr. Miff?” Duane said optimistically, “I’m all yours!”

“That dang blizzard wizard,” complained Mr. Miff, “it was better when he was an up-digger,” Mr. Miff said as if Duane wasn’t standing directly in front of him.

Duane sighed, “I know you see me Mr. Miff.”

Mr. Miff looked at him, “I was hoping that if I ignored you, you’d go away.”

Duane sat back defeated and in the distance he could hear the usual crowd:

Crazy, lazy, loony Duane.

We all know he’s quite insane.

Digging down is such a fuss.

He’ll never be one of us.

________________________________________________

            The Mysterious One, The Fearless, longed to tell Duane to not be afraid of the warmth and light, for they were good.  The Comforter heard when Duane’s spoke to Him  and He was responding, longing to encourage him.  He didn’t want Duane blending in with the crowd for Duane was created to be different from the moles. 


 

 

Chapter Four Can You Smell It?

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man

who fell into the hands of robbers? 

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” 

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:36-37

“Smell that???”  Mr. Peeves stopped dead in his tracks, his little mole-tail darting straight out like a hunting dog pointing to the prize.  Mrs. Peeves, following close behind, bumped into her husband.

“Dang mole,” she thought, “a girl could gets an eye poked out.” Looking at her husband’s guilty tail, she said “Yuuuup, smells like…,” she remembered his short temper, “rooooses.”

He missed her sarcasm as he turned around to be face-to-face.  “I think it’s deeeee esssssss,” he whisper-shouted, pausing between each syllable.

“Deeeee esssss?” Mrs. Peeves gave him her most-convincing blank face.

“Deeeee esssss!” Mr. Peeves inched closer, nose-to-nose as if that would help her understand.  He eyes wide, his face begged for understanding.  He waited for her to connect the dots, “DUPE SHAFTWAYS YOU MORON!” he yelled in frustration.

“You dun gotta talk to me like dat.” She started the argument.

Neither noticed the shadow lingering in the elbow of the tunnel.  The spy did an about-face and hurried to find Mrs. Aloof.          “They found it!” Miss Chinwag knocked over Mrs. Aloof in her excitement.

Mrs. Aloof picked herself up, “Found what?” she brushed her fur, annoyed.

“Dupe Shaftways!”

Mrs. Aloof’s expression instantly changed, her face at full attention.

“Don’t tell anyone,” Miss Chinwag continued, “I heard the Peeves talking, they’re real close!  I heard Mrs. Peeves tell Mr. Peeves it smells like roses.”

In her mind, Mrs. Aloof was already telling Mr. Aloof.  They had to get there before the Peeves.

Like a falling house of cards, one mole told another, told another, told another. Dirt was flying in every direction, toes were being stepped on, and pushing and shoving were so common no one began to notice.  Down, down, down the tunnels went.

Duane stopped digging for a moment, his neck was sore from looking up then down.  “Sniff, sniff, sniff,” he was getting dizzy. “I can’t smell it!” he worried.  He sat back to rest, when something hit him on his head.  “OUCH!” Duane squeaked, rubbing the fast-growing bump, he looked up, slowly to ease his neck and head.   Time stood still as his brain struggled to understand.  He heard popping-snapping as his eyes studied the tiny crack in the ceiling.  The crack came alive and seemed in a hurry, like it was running a crooked race to an unknown finish line.  By the time Duane realized his danger, it was too late.  The tunnel’s ceiling collapsed on top of him.  Dirt and debris fell, trapping him like cheese in a sandwich.

Knucklehead, curious from the commotion, came to investigate.  “Duane?” he questioned, “dat you?”  All Knucklehead could see were Duane’s eyes and beak.  “Ha, ha, ha,” the pup laughed, “Hey guys!” he shouted to everyone within hearing distance, “You gotsta see this!”

They all gathered around; and as they looked down, they discussed his calamity.

“Oy,” said Mrs. Groaner, “Just let ‘em be.”

“This is atrocious,” Mrs. Bother added while sticking her mole nose in the air, “can’t he see we all have work to do?”

Mr. Groaner said, “He’s not really stuck.”

Mr. Bother said, “He needs to learn to help himself!”

Mr. Miff said, “I’m too busy.  Somebody else can help him.”

Miss Chinwag said, “I’m hungry, let’s get dinner.”

And the Aloof children sang with the Peeve pups:

Crazy, lazy, loony Duane.

We all know he’s quite insane.

Now he’s stuck in that spot.

We should help, but we’d rather not.

           So they all left for their dens and for a bite to eat.  After all, it was getting late, and there was so much more digging to do in the morning.  Everyone agreed they had never been closer to Dupe Shaftways–they could smell it after all.

Duane breathed deep, the sound loud in his ears like that of being underwater.  He could hear dinner conversations in the tunnels, they sounded muffled and far away; which was perfect, because his heart felt muffled and the love he longed for seemed very, very far away.  A tear escaped the corner of his eye, “Why am I here?” he asked no one.

He wasn’t asking why he was stuck in the tunnel, he was asking, “Why am I here at all?”  He was asking, “What did I do to deserve this?” and “Is there hope in this dark place?”  He asked no one, and his answer was in the throbbing silence.

The beating of his heart counted the seconds, then the minutes that Duane lay alone when a sound like that of a warbling flute, came to visit, “Ooooo eeee,” it played beautifully

“Is someone there?” Duane asked in desperation.

The musician answered, “Ooose eeee,” the sound was airy and perfectly tuned.

He tried turning his head, but all he could move were his eyes.  What he saw out of the corner of his eye–oh my, what he saw!

________________________________________________

Greed and selfishness did not please Him.  The All Knower heard the excuses used by the moles many times before, and it struck a nerve every time.  But The Giver of Hope knew they wouldn’t help Duane, and that was why He allowed what He allowed.  What seems desperate is never hopeless, not when The King is near.  Good can come from a bad situation, and change was about to happen.

 

Insane Duane is a 19,966 word chapter book.  If you are interested in reading more, please contact me at bowhammer@gmail.com

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