Each month I release a new exclusive art print for my Patreon supporters. This month I added a little something extra: an exclusive look at my first short story which accompanies the art.
A peek at the art print is right here, and a preview of the story is below. To read the whole thing, support me on Patreon today.
Meet Rita Raccoon
It was bad enough that Rita Raccoon had to move during the best part of summer. Then, as soon as they arrived in the City, Mother Raccoon started work right away, which left Rita cooped up with her little sister in a tiny apartment that smelled like pickled cabbage and carrot juice. Unpacked boxes crowded every room. The sidewalk was teeming with too many crowds, the streets were packed with too much traffic, and the noises of a zillion animals stacked up on top of each other made it hard to sleep at night.
All Rita needed to do was to catch up on the summer reading. She was scheduled to start next Tuesday in Mrs. Hedgehog’s sixth grade class at Reinhardt Academy, a large brick building with basketball hoops, jungle gyms and swings in the empty asphalt playground. The playground wouldn’t be empty for long, but it might as well be, for all Rita cared. It wasn’t like any of her friends would be there. Shrugging off the thought, she stuck to her syllabus. She sure as sugar rot wasn’t going to be the only critter without her reading completed. But try as she might, she couldn’t focus, because her sister kept interrupting her every three seconds.
“Why can’t we get ice cream?” little Hershey whined, leaning out the windowsill to get a better view of old Mister Walrus’ soft serve shop down the street.
Rita didn’t even look up from her tattered second hand book. “Be careful. If you fall you’ll break your neck.”
“Please, Rita. Mommy said we could go out if we went together. Please, let’s get ice cream!”
Rita pursed her lips in irritation. “Ice cream costs money. Do you have money?”
“I have three monies,” Hershey replied defensively.
“You have forty cents,” Rita corrected her.
“Wow! Forty is a lot!”
“No it’s not, dummy. Forty dollars is a lot. Forty cents isn’t even enough to buy a pack of gum.”
“It’s not nice to say ‘dummy.’” Hershey said. She slumped over onto Rita’s bed and traced a rip in the quilt their mother had been promising to mend since spring. “I miss the yard.”
Rita still didn’t look up from her book, but she pulled her little sister closer and guided her head down to her lap so she could run her paw through Hershey’s fur.
The yard. The cool shade of the woods. The blackberries that grew along the dirt roads. The clear night sky filled with millions of stars. The memory of home hung in the air. …
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