Seville found himself sitting at the base of a huge oak tree. It looked exactly like the tree at the end of his driveway, only bigger. The tree stood at the edge of a grassy, sunlit field. He squinted in the bright sunlight. Mason appeared by his side and together, they took in the view before them.
"Oh my..." Mason gasped.
"OH MY MOUSES!" Seville yelled.
"Look yonder!" they heard someone cry, immediately before spotting a barrage of arrows heading their way.
For a split second, the two cats watched in horror as the multitude of arrows approached them. Coming to their senses, they ducked in the nick of time. Moments later, a bow-toting squirrel marched up to them both and demanded, "Whence came thou?"
Seville scrunched up his nose. "Thou? Who's thou?"
Mason kicked her brother with a hind paw and hissed, "He means us, Seville. He wants to know from where we came?"
"How do you know that?" Seville hissed back.
Mason kicked him again. "I watch PBS with the peeps."
"ENOUGH USELESS BANTER!" and the squirrel angrily stomped a paw. "Who are you and what is this fiendish magic and wizardry at play?"
Mason was the first to gain her composure and extended a paw. "My name is Mason and this is my brother, Seville. We're cats and we came from..."
"From inside that tree!" and Seville pointed a paw in the direction of the tree behind him. "We came from inside there."
"I knew it!" twittered a second squirrel who had scampered up behind the first. "There is magic at work. Some sort of evil spell and of that, I am sure. One cannot come from inside a tree. It is impossible."
"But we did. Honestly," and Seville turned to point out the hollow in the tree, from where he and Mason had emerged. But where there had been an opening minutes before, there was now nothing but the rough, grey bark of the oak tree.
By now, a dozen or so more squirrels had approached. Mason and Seville backed up against the tree and the squirrels began to chatter amongst themselves, seemingly discussing what to do with the two cats.
Finally, one of the squirrels shooed the others away and approached Seville. "Sir Cat, I do not know who you are, nor how you came to live with the spirits of the oak tree behind you, but perhaps you can help my friends and I."
"Me," interrupted Seville.
The squirrel raised an eyebrow and Mason hissed, "Enough with the grammar policing, Seville. Never annoy a squirrel who knows how to use a bow and arrow."
"But he should have said, my friends and me... Awww... Never mind. MOUSES!" Seville turned back to the squirrel. "Go on."
"Perhaps you can help my friends and me," Seville smiled as the squirrel continued. "Our friend, Robin, has been missing for what seems likes an eternity. He left more than a fortnight ago, in search of acorns, but has yet to return. We are worried he has been captured and imprisoned."
Mason sidled up to Seville and the squirrel. "But why do you think my brother and I might be of assistance?"
"Because you yourselves admit to having been to the land inside the oak tree. You claim to have exited that very tree, using magic and wizardry and.."
"Uh hold on a minute there, you merry little squirrelly fellow, you," Seville interrupted. "My sister and I never admitted anythin' about usin' any kind of magic. At least I don't think we did. Did we, Mason? I know we seem to have travelled through an inter-dimensional vortex of some kind, perhaps even to an alternate universe. Might even have been a tad of time travellin' involved. But that's not magic. That's science!"
The squirrel raised an eyebrow again and Mason helpfully translated, "He means, alchemy."
"How do you know that?" Seville asked his sister.
"I told you. I watch PBS with the peeps. You need to start watchin' it, too."
"But I do..."
"No, you fall asleep while cuddling with the peeps, while I watch PBS with them," Mason scowled.
"Who are these mouses of whom you continually speak?" asked the squirrel.
"Ummm... Not important. Now tell me more 'bout your pal," Seville encouraged the squirrel. "He's a red-breasted bird, you say?"
"No, he's a squirrel."
"But I thought you said he was a robin."
Sighing loudly, the squirrel explained, "His name is Robin, but he is a squirrel, I can assure you. As am I."
"Well I can see that. Why didn't you tell me he was a squirrel too, in the first place?" and Seville sat back on his haunches. He lifted a paw to scratch behind an ear. "So you say your pal went off lookin' for acorns, but he never came home, huh? He ever disappear like that before?"
"He has been captured many a time. Even imprisoned! But we've searched all the dungeons and cells for miles around, and found not a trace of our friend. He is nowhere to be found. But that was to be expected, I'm afraid, for the last we saw of dear Robin, he was climbing up that very tree from which you appeared, and not anywhere near the village where he might run afoul of the Sheriff and his men."
"So you think he's lost up in the tree? MOUSES!" Seville craned his neck and looked way, way up. "Well it is a very big tree. " He caught movement out of the corner of an eye and asked, "Mason, what the mouses are you up to now?"
"Don't be silly. I'm measuring the oak tree. Boys!" and Mason finished up what she was doing. "Just as I thought. This tree, and the oak tree at the end of our driveway, have a size differential of..."
The sound of horses approaching interrupted Mason's explanation and the two cats, along with all the squirrels, looked off toward the noise.
"It's the Sheriff!" cried one of the squirrels.
"Run!" cried another.
"Hide!" yelled a third.
"How are your climbin' skills, sis?" asked Seville, and the two cats dashed up the tree, as high as they could go.
Be sure to return on Sunday for part three of our adventure.