Caleb crouched behind the frog, slowly reaching for it with his hands. The frog leaped. Caleb fell on his face. Pushing onto his knees, Caleb squinted at the frog he called ‘Pickles’. “Ribbit.” The frog seemed to laugh. Pickles leaped again. The four year old took off after him, oblivious to his sister’s voice, calling for him from the house.
“Pickles, come back.” Pickles had escaped from his box when they’d gone out to play. Ribbitting loudly, Pickles leaped again. Caleb giggled. He liked this game. He and Pickles played it a couple of times a week. He’d always caught his friend before, but this time Pickles led him further away from the house. The frog had been frightened by two cats that had come out of the bushes. The mean kitties had tried to eat Pickles. The frog leaped out of the yard and onto the road. Caleb knew he wasn’t supposed to leave, but he’d seen squashed frogs before. He didn’t want that to happen to Pickles.
“Come on Pickles, we’ve gotsta go home.” Pickles leaped again.
“Pickles, the game is over.” The frog leaped.
“If you don’t come back, I’ll leave ya.”
“Ribbit.” Pickles leaped. Caleb decided to use stealth. Circling around a tree he came out in front of Pickles. When Pickles took another leap Caleb pounced, covering the naughty frog with his hands. Scooping him up, he shoved Pickles into his pocket.
Something small and black moved in the grass. Caleb bent down to inspect. A rat with wings! He started to reach out for it when someone grabbed him from behind.
“There you are Caleb!” He wondered why his sister sounded angry. Tears filled her eyes.
“Sarwah,” Caleb said, pointing at the winged rat. Sarah knew everything.
“It’s a bat,” Sarah said. “What’s a bat doing out during the day?”
“It is a vampire bat.”
Caleb started shaking. Hiding his head in Sarah’s shoulder. “Mr. Fang, scary.”
“I’m sorry,” Sarah said, “it’s what he calls you.”
“Well of course,” Mr. Wang said, “What else would you call a bat keeper? I’ve been looking for this one since yesterday. Luckily I heard you calling for your brother or I still would be. I knew something was wrong when he didn’t come home; seems he broke a wing.”
Deciding to be brave, Caleb looked at the bat. “Batty okay?”
“He’ll be fine,” the scary man answered. “I’ll splint his wing. Vampire bats can walk and run on hind legs. He’ll just be home bound for a while.”
“That’s right,” said Mr. Wang. “he lives off blood. But he won’t hurt you. If you like, you can come by and see him tomorrow.”
Caleb’s eyes lit up.
“I’m sure he will want to,” Caleb heard his sister say as she carried him away. “We have to go home now though.
Caleb Struggled in his sister’s arms, twisting his body so he could see the bat.
“You weird,” Sarah said. Caleb giggled.
Word Count: 498
copyright© 2011 Lisa McCourt Hollar