May 29, 2021 by Patrick Starks
Deep in the forest there are many animals, many creepy crawling insects, but none of them were nearly as courage’s as the cricket and the frog, and before you turn your mind to judge just here me out for a moment.
You see, in the forest there was a special place that all creatures went. It was called the “Pond of Sacrifice.” It was not the most greeting name for someone to feel convinced to go to but trust me when I say it was something truly remarkable. The pond was the purist and the cleanest form of water in the entire forest for no one swam in it and no one drank out of it. In fact, none of the creatures knew why they were forbidden to do such, but it was what was carved into the tree of life, which was not too far from the pond of sacrifice, ironically.
On the tree it was carved that every year in the middle of the Spring each creature was to sacrifice something that was dear to their heart. Some sacrificed their children, some even sacrificed themselves for they could not bear to see their children go. Although, it was much easier for the predators of the forest. While the predators had made their presence well known, all creatures would spread out in fear, as the big black cat Skal and his wife the ferocious Tia made their way over to the pond with the bodies of loved ones that were not of their own. Nothing but the cries of mothers and fathers would be heard after that.
“Ah! Shut it! You all know what we must do,” roared Skal.
“I’m sorry but it is our babies or yours, and I intend to keep mine,” roared Tia, with a wicked cold stare.
All the animals of the forest continued to cry in the background, but none of the insects had understood any of it for their lives were pretty much a sacrifice every day. Then again, here was one insect that had thought their life to be destined differently. A life with no chaos, biasness, no judgement, no corruption, no bullying, no greed, or abuse. Just a life they could live and not be bothered.
“Your monsters!” the little insect shouted.
From his massive jaws, Skal dropped the dead spider monkey on the ground. It had fallen like a stuffed toy, and all that was heard was their mothers faded cries in the background.
“Who said that!” shouted Skal.
“I did!” shouted the little insect again.
“This must be some kind of joke. If you are going to call a Panther out, then its best you show yourself. It is disrespectful to make a challenge without showing yourself,” said Skal, taking a strong stance within the sand.
“I’m right here!” shouted the little insect again, and this time with more authority.
“I believe it is that little cricket by your paw, and how many times have I told you to clean your paws. You know, it is no wonder the children do not, you set a bad example. Ugh… why are all my boys so filthy,” said Tia, licking the blood off her paws.
Skal then looked down by his paw and would immediately burst out into laughter.
“You’ve got to be kidding me. A cricket? Why one of my little pups would handle you fine,” chucked Skal, as he began walking away.
“He’s not alone! You… You smelly cat. Why should we fear you? We all know Tia’s the one that does all the hunting anyways,” said another voice.
Skal then stopped his graceful walk back to his family. It was as if the whole entire area had gotten hot for some reason. Tia shook her head.
“Oh, now you guys have definitely done it. If I were all of you, I would run right now,” she said.
“Who said that! How dare you! You are all just peasants! A waist to this forest! A waist to this life! You dare insult my power, my throne as king of the forest! How dare you!” roared Skal, and he would roar all until he’d found the one who dared insult him.
Everyone had scattered, yet only one remained—a frog.
“You’ve got be kidding me… What is this, the courageous day of misfits?” sighed Skal.
Both the cricket and the frog then stood together as a force, not knowing what to do next, yet if anything the plan would be to have no more sacrifices from Skal’s family, and it would only be then the ferocious Tia would make her stance in the conversation.
“What exactly do you two think you will accomplish here? You know, I am starting to feel that you would prefer it be our children to be sacrificed,” said Tia, angrily.
The cricket then looked at the frog unsure of what they were doing was the smartest play. It would already be a challenge fending off Skal, but with his wife Tia involved it would be an absolute nightmare. A nightmare that would end faster than Freddy Krueger’s.
Skal stood back and grinned for he knew that his wife would now be joining the hunt, which he was not all that great at no matter how much he denied it, but for the Frog and the crocket this would not be good. Tia only said one word, and the frog and the cricket would do just that.
“Run,” she whispered, aggressively, with gritting teeth.
The cricket would then jump on the Frogs back. It was slimy and ridiculously bumpy, but somehow the cricket had managed to hold on.
Obviously, Frogs could not run but they could hop a good distance if need be, and the Frog himself was the best out of all his amphibian brothers and sisters.
Nonetheless, hopping away for dear life Tia and Skal would be right on their tails, aggravated by the reason that it was harder to catch them than they thought. Their claws were sharp enough to cut through anything, but the frog was so unusually slimy that every time they took a swipe at him it was like trying to catch a bar of soap in the shower.
Down below the cricket and the frog was a river that made them both dizzy by the sight.
“Nowhere for you to hop now. Let us just make this quick and painless as possible, eh,” said Tia, with a grinch-like grin.
She had known well and plenty that nothing about the cricket and the frog’s death would be painless, let alone quick, but it was how Tia always toyed with her pray. Hence, that was what made her Ferocious Tia, instead of just Tia.
“Actually, the cricket can go. I hate bugs. It is kind of a funny story, but there was this lion that had me try them a long time ago. Strange one that one was. I still to this day cannot understand how a lion like himself even ran around with a juicy plump warthog like he did. I mean, it was literally a tease to see such and not be able to sink your teeth into it. He was just so plump and juicy you know, and he had this tiny little Meerkat that followed him around everywhere he went, which was even stranger, but the little thing could sing like an angel though. To make a long story short, my stomach growled for hours hanging around them,” said Skal, shaking his head with disappointment.
The cricket and the frog heard not a word of Skal’s short story. They gazed at the river once more, but this time nodded in agreement that they would be jumping. Although, before they did jump, they would leave Skal and Tia something to remember them by, as they both slapped their tiny bums at two of the most dangerous felons in the forest.
Both Skal and Tia roared down to the river, with their echoes carrying away with the birds. The cricket and the frog would vanish within the river, but it would not be the last they would hear from Skal and Tia. In fact, the hunt had only just begun.
Nevertheless, the cricket and the frog had survived and had been washed up onto a land they had never been, but little did they know what they would find next down by the river. It was a man, and a vehicle next to him that looked just as bulky and wide as himself. The man wore a tan button up shirt that showed sweat going all the way down his back to presumably the crack of his butt. The man was so hairy around the arms both the cricket and the frog had thought him to be a bear of some sort, but no bear stood on their hind legs for that long they had told themselves. Although, that was the least of what the cricket and the frog had found unusual about the man. In his hand was a long stick that had a piece of string tied around it, that looked like that of a spider’s.
“What is that strange being? And what is that in his hand?” asked the cricket.
“I wasn’t sure at first, but I am sure now that that is a man, and well, the thing in his hand I still have not quite figured that out yet,” said the frog, certain, yet, unsure of himself.
“A man? What is a man?” asked the cricket.
“Well, let us just say if you think Skal and Tia are bad, then that man over there is literally the definition of evil itself. Trust me, it’s best we stay away from him and never let him see us.”
The cricket looked at the frog again. He was curious, but after what the frog had just told him, he was hesitant to let his curiosity take him any further than what it already had, but still, the cricket did not know how to control his temptations. The world was full of possibilities and adventure, but the thing he did not know, that of which the frog knew was that the world was not always sunshine and rainbows. That if he was too naïve or too gullible, the world chews him up and then spits him out only for the birds to feed off whatever bit of his body or his soul remained.
Together the two watched as the man moved not a muscle, all until there was a tug on the stick he held, and filled with excitement, the man would jump as high as he could. The tied string around the stick had pulled the man to the right and then to the left, and the man would pull as hard as he could, building up such a sweat that now his entire shirt had dampened to another shade of color. Not long after out would come a fish double the size of the frog and quadruple the size of the cricket.
“Please! Please do not hurt me,” begged the fish, all while a hook was pierced into the side of his mouth. By the sight alone the Cricket and the Frog shivered with concern of what the man would do next. The man said not a word but smiled Angelically. He reached for the hook in the fish’s mouth and then ripped it out, leaving nothing but a gash in the side of his face that had made the fish wish that he had taken a different route that day, or that at least he was going to be the next Joker all the humans talked about. Afterall, the man did literally put a permanent smile on his face.
Regardless of what he had wished, while the fish shouted in pain and tried to wiggle from the man’s grasp, the man would then reach down into his pocket and pull out a sharp metal blade that looked like something the famous John Rambo had dropped in the forest years ago.
“This is madness… Who would be so cruel to do such a thing?” said the cricket.
“Well, obviously that man in front of us is just the type of species that can stomach doing such a thing, all the while with a smile on his face. It is just sick, the things we all do to one another in this life, but sadly, it is the survival of the fittest, and well, that fish just was not fit enough to live a long life. However, I do know that we are fit my friends,” said the frog, cheering the cricket up.
Slice by slice the Cricket and the Frog had watched the man gut the fish alive with no remorse. The fish’s gut’s the man through into a little blue bucket, and as for the rest of his body, the man would hang them on a stick from a tree he found, hovering them above a fire that put sparkles in the man’s eyes like stars.
Bite by bite the man had sunken his teeth into the poor fish’s charred flesh no differently than how Skal or the ferocious Tia would. The man’s eyes rolled to the back of his skull with a lust of the desired taste he had been longing for, and then they would roll back forward with a pleasurable joy like a child having candy for the first time. There was no doubt about it, the man had left the cricket and the frog speechless. Afterwards the man would hop into his van and never be seen again. The Frog was not surprised at all by what he had seen the man do, yet he could not deny that witnessing such an act was disturbing. As for the cricket, he was so traumatized that he had not said another word until the next sunrise.
The next morning was beautiful and sunny indeed, however, there would be nothing beautiful about the day ahead of them, as there was still a hunt going on. The cricket and the frog had continued to travel down the river. It was the safest route they knew. It was apparent cats could not swim, or rather did not like to swim. So, the two never came anywhere close to the river, although, that was not necessarily the reason the two had avoided it so. Years ago, Skal and Tia had cub that they loved dearly, and sadly more than the cubs that they have now. The cub looked almost identical to Skal but had his mother’s ferocious stare. The cub was strong and fearless, and about time he had come to his teenage years he would have made his first ten kills. Terrifyingly, those kills would all be in the same night. They named the cub Grim, after the grim reaper himself. Both Skal and Tia were proud parents, but one day all that they loved would be taken from them at the snap of a jump.
On the day that he died, Grim was on great chase, but he had tried to bite off more than he could chew. Neither Skal nor Tia could ever catch the spider monkey who they called Gatsby, but their son Grim was for certain that he could. And so, they had allowed Grim to pursue and capture Gatsby in the promise that he would hold the throne over his brothers and sisters when his father retired or died.
Grim chased after Gatsby the entire day, as if the two had unlimited energy. Grim chased and chased all until they had reached the river. Grim was told to never go by it but eager for his father’s throne he had continued his pursue after Gatsby. He was so close to Gatsby he could already taste his blood but grabbing a vine Gatsby had swung over the river laughing as monkeys did. Yet, Grim was not finished. He had made tons of large jumps before. Some he could have sworn were bigger than the one he was looking at. Grim backed up and lowered his stance to the ground preparing himself, but Gatsby knew well that Grim could not make it.
“Hey kid, stop! You’re going to get yourself killed!” he shouted.
“No, the only killing is going to be you,” shouted Grim back.
Before Gatsby could say another word, Grim sprinted as hard as he could but did not anticipate how wet the ground was around the cliff. He slipped, and as his body slid tried to do his best to stop, but it was too late. Grim hung off a rock witnessing his death from below. Gatsby swung back and through a vine down.
“Here take it! Me and my friends will pull you up,” shouted Gatsby.
“By the likes of monkeys, never!”
As Grim had denied Gatsby’s aid, his grip would loosen sending him down into the river never to be seen again. Not far Skal roared as he had witnessed it all.
“You killed him! You killed my boy!” he cried, and ever since then Skal and his wife Tia have never stopped hunting the spider monkeys. Not until they have what they want-Gatsby. But for now, the cricket and the frog will do.