Tomorrow we would find out if the trap had worked.
I was having the best time enjoying my sugar lerp when I heard a strange, grating voice getting louder and louder. All that I could hear was, “Get moving, Ocellus! Now, or you’ll regret it!” I came out of my dream with a start and tried to figure out where I was and what I was doing. Where was my sugar lerp?!
Ah, my dream came to a shrieking halt as I was dragged out to the trees to start today’s work.
But wait, those weren’t Shrieker’s grating orders, but another Mandi’s. Where was Shrieker?! I glanced around for Chitkin who gave me a look that said, ‘Mellow, Cello!’ I tried to.
The Mandi said we knew how to work and we’d better get going. And, like every morning, we swung and cut the coco pods.
We had a break pretty close to noon, seeing where the sun looked to be. The substitute Mandi said, “I have to check on my other group but I’ll be back very soon, so, enjoy the break.” Gratch! Natch.
As soon as she had left, Chitkin came over to see me with some water and leaned in close so that even her whisper wouldn’t be heard by anyone.
“I think our plan worked!” enthused Chitkin.
“How do you know? Is that why Shrieker isn’t here this morning?” I whispered excitedly.
“Yes, indeedio, Cello! This is what happened. Remember how we cleared a tiny path along to where I stood on your back while I dug the hole into the roof of the tunnel? Well, that was just to lead Piçon along the wrong tunnel.” said Chitkin with a smile.
“But why would she even go in there?” I asked Chitkin.
“Well, you know how I can imitate just about anyone? I came up behind Piçon and, imitating Shrieker’s voice, I said, ‘Don’t, turn around, Piçon. Now tell me what you saw last night and what were Ocellus and Chitkin up to?”
“Piçon, trembling, said that she went into the tunnel and saw where they had gone and found the hole in the tunnel where the moonlight was shining through.’
‘They’re planning an escape!’ I said in Shrieker’s voice. ‘But we’ll catch them at it!’ Gratch!
‘Tonight, you follow Ocellus and Chitkin when they sneak out and I’ll be waiting for them when they try to crawl up through the hole in the tunnel roof.’
‘Don’t let me down, Piçon, and both our lives will be a lot easier!’ “I finished using Shrieker’s voice.”
Chitkin went on, “Next,I hid in the bushes behind Shrieker and whispered, in Piçon’s voice, of course, that it was Piçon and that I saw where Ocellus and Chitkin had gone and found a hole in the tunnel roof. Just as I’d hoped, Shrieker almost cried, ‘We’ll get them tonight! You follow Ocellus and Chitkin when they sneak out and I’ll be waiting for them when they try to crawl up through the hole in the tunnel roof.’
“Then I backed away silently and joined everyone else to continue slaving away.” I could see Shrieker rubbing two feet together and looking like she had heard the best news ever!” Chitkin explained.
“Well, you know what happened when we snuck out last night, Cello. We made a quick left turn into the tunnel that was the real one for an escape and quickly and very quietly covered our trail and filled in the way with some brush.”
“Yes, I know, but then what happened?” I almost screamed.
“Mello, Cello. I’m getting to it.” whispered Chitkin. And she continued, “We couldn’t see anything and just barely heard a big crash. That’s when we dug ourselves out and ran back to our chamber and pretended to go to sleep!”
“There’s more.” said Chitkin. “When I was over getting a new masheddy, I heard two of the Mandis saying that Shrieker had to be taken to a hospital because she had broken a couple of her legs when the tunnel roof caved in.”
“You’re kidding! What happened to Piçon?” I asked Chitkin.
“Well, I don’t know for sure, but I think she got hurt, too, and was taken…somewhere.” Chitkin mumbled.
I cried, “Oh, no!”
“Oh, no! what?!” demanded a rough, shrill voice behind us. It was the Mandi who was now in charge of Chitkin, me and the others in our group.
Chitkin, without missing a beat, chirped up, “Oh, just that we have to get back to work. You know, our break is over.”
“Well get to it then!” snapped the Mandi. Gratch!
“I thought, ‘She does it, too!’” Chitkin and I went back to swinging and cutting and, at the end of the day, exhausted and cut, as usual, we hauled the coco pods all the way over to the Splitters before we got what they liked to call our gourmet dinner. It was more like goomet dinner to us!”
I just knew we’d hear more about the spy and Shrieker.
END CHAPTER #12