Montgomery the Mouse scampered through the grass as quickly as his little legs could carry him. Open space like this made him nervous, especially on such a bright day, when it would be so easy for a bird of prey to spot him.
Why was it so bright, anyway? The last thing he could remember, he was in the cold early winter weather of Maine with all his friends, but now he was in hot, bright, summer sunlight, all alone. And even the sunlight didn’t seem right – it seemed to be coming from everywhere at once.
He wondered if this was a dream. Surely it was a dream.
“Montgomery! Over here!” It was Jerry. He was higher up on a hillside far away – at least twenty feet, which is a lot when you’re as small as they are. Luckily for Montgomery, mice can run fast when they need to.
As he sprinted he saw a shadow overhead – a large bird of some kind, which was his biggest fear. His heart beat faster than it ever had before, and he kept running. Keep going, he told himself. You can do it. Continue reading “Chapter Twenty-One: The Cave”
The voice Montgomery heard was coming from a dog. But it was the most delicious-looking dog he’d ever seen. It seemed to be made entirely of chocolate. A full-grown Labrador – moving and alive – but chocolate. A Chocolate Lab.
It was a few feet in front of him, and moved in a way Montgomery didn’t understand. It looked like it was solid chocolate – melting a little in the hot sun – but moved its legs and head just like a regular dog.
“I must be dreaming,” Montgomery said, wondering if the dream would allow him to taste chocolate. “I must have knocked myself out running at that tunnel. This can’t be real.”
“Oh, you gonna try that are you?” asked the Chocolate Lab. “That whole ‘this isn’t real’ thing? Don’t think that’s gonna help you, you big lug. I assure you I’m very real.” As if to prove it, the Chocolate Lab stepped forward, opened its mouth, turned its head sideways, and closed its jaws on Montgomery’s right leg. Continue reading “Chapter Twenty: The Chocolate Lab”
Dear reader, magic is all around us. From the soft glow of a summer sunset through the leaves of a silhouetted maple tree to the fluttering of excitement in your chest when you feel truly known and understood by another person, magic is everywhere. Take a moment to look around you now – I’ll wait. Find some magic. It’s there.
The stories you are about to read are tales of magic. Magic not of wizards and wands, but the kind of magic that comes in moments of bravery, or silliness, or laughter. The kind of magic that comes in moments of adventure with true friends. Friends with their own stories and histories, friends that look and act very different from each other. Some large, some small. Some powerful, some not. Some joyful, some lonely. And all living in a world of magic and wonder. And I wonder, dear reader, as you meet the many characters that are to come, I wonder where you will see yourself in these stories? Who will remind you of yourself? I wonder if you were in these stories, what decisions would you make? And I wonder, if you were an adolescent male moose with enormous antlers, what would you do if your antlers got caught between some trees?
I ask this, because deep in the woods of Maine, Montgomery the Moose was stuck. Continue reading “Chapter One: Moose Meets Mouse”
“No, wait, he’s Jerry…”
“And I’m Tommy.”
“No, that doesn’t make sense either. Look, one of us is Jerry, and one of us is Tommy, and you can figure out which one is which later.”
“Umm, okay,” Montgomery the Moose responded quietly, keen not to draw attention to himself. Off in the distance, the orange jackets were still running around, looking confused.
“We’re looking for help. Can you help us?” Tommy asked hopefully.
“Umm, not right now…” Montgomery was wondering how he could stop these two from making so much noise.
“Oh, well, yeah, I know you’re in a bit of a predicament right now,” Jerry added, aware that Montgomery’s focus was somewhere else.
“But maybe we can help you get out of here,” Tommy jumped in.
“And then maybe you can help us. Continue reading “Chapter Fourteen: Escape”
Montgomery the Mouse scampered around the pond, and over some rocks. Something about the rocks didn’t seem right – the noise of his claws on them and the way they felt under his feet was strange. Maybe being under a roof changed how things work, he speculated.
He sniffed around a beaver that was standing still next to a tree trunk it had nibbled through. He’d seen beavers before, but never been able to get so close; they were always too skittish. But this one didn’t run away in panic – in fact, it didn’t seem to even know Montgomery was there.
What’s going on? he thought.
He made his way around the mountainside a little, and when he saw a wolf a few feet in front of him, his heart raced. He sprinted as fast as he could into a nearby pine tree, desperate for cover.
He closed his eyes, hoping that that would stop the wolf from seeing him. But after a few seconds, he opened them again. He looked out and saw that the wolf hadn’t moved at all. And even the pine tree didn’t feel right. Montgomery started to wonder if these weren’t animals playing a game after all. He would only be a small snack for a wolf, but he was sure the wolf would have seen him, and in the mouse community wolves aren’t known for their restraint.
These aren’t real, he decided. They’re pretend. Continue reading “Chapter Thirteen: Roger That!”
Overnight, Montgomery and Montgomery slept in the woods behind the chocolate shop. When they woke up, they made their way groggily through the trees to start the long trek home. Montgomery the Mouse was feeling sick from all the chocolate he’d eaten the day before, but as they made their way through thickets of birch, aspen, and maple trees, with the light increasing and illuminating the rich reds, yellows, and oranges of the New England fall, even he started to recover and look forward to whatever the day was to bring.
They walked a couple of miles over the course of the early morning – mostly through forest, but passing a pond, and the occasional office building with mostly-empty parking lots.
They came out of the woods, only to find themselves by a large road.
“Hmmm,” Montgomery the Moose said. “Did we go the wrong way?”
“I don’t know, I wasn’t really paying attention. What is this?” his mouse friend asked.
“Well, it appears to be one of those race tracks for metal boxes…” Continue reading “Chapter Eleven: The Indoor Mountain”
The two friends stood in awe as they looked at the chocolate shop in front of them.
“Am I dreaming?” Montgomery the Moose asked.
“Oh, I hope not,” Montgomery the Mouse replied. “Because then I’m just part of your dream, and that’s really confusing.”
Montgomery the Moose wasn’t really listening, and was too busy looking at chocolate items of all different sizes and descriptions. The windows on the white-paneled building weren’t large, and there was enough light reflecting off the windows in the sunset hours that it was hard to see everything, but he could still make out displays of delicacies that he knew he could spend hours – maybe even days – making his way through.
“Ouch!” he shouted as he felt a bite on his leg. He shook his leg and Montgomery the Mouse came flying off, landing a few feet away.
“What was that?” he asked his mouse friend, who was recovering from his rough landing.
“I was just checking you weren’t dreaming,” Montgomery the Mouse replied. “I guess you’re not.” Continue reading “Chapter Ten: Chocolate Moose”
“I don’t want to do that anymore,” Montgomery the Moose said to his friend after a few hours of silence, as they continued their walk through the woods.
“What do you mean?” Montgomery the Mouse asked.
“I don’t want to just break things all the time.”
“I just wanted to tell them about the machine, and let them know how to get it back,” he continued.
“What could I have done differently?” he asked.
Montgomery the Mouse wasn’t sure if his large friend was asking him directly, or just thinking out loud.
“Well…” he ventured, and waited to see if his friend wanted him to continue.
Continue reading “Chapter Eight: The Unpredictable Horse”
Montgomery and Montgomery loved nothing more than going for long walks. Sometimes they would just spend the day walking aimlessly through the woods, and if it would take too long to walk back home before nighttime, they would just sleep wherever they were.
They particularly liked walking around the edge of the lake they lived on. They never made it all the way around – in fact they weren’t sure how big the lake was – but if they make it to the shore, they could always see how far they’d come; about two-hundred feet from the shore closest to their home was an island with one solitary tree, which they could see from wherever they were.
The island was small, and Montgomery the Mouse liked to joke that if they ever got out there it was just big enough for Montgomery the Moose to run around in circles chasing his tail. The tree itself was surprisingly large considering its small surroundings, although it was tipped at a slight angle. From their home, they could see some of the tree’s roots sticking up on one side. Montgomery the Mouse wondered if his Moose friend had ever been out there, because it definitely looked like the tree had been knocked or pulled up at some point.
Continue reading “Chapter Six: The Big House”
Montgomery the Mouse was hard at work. Building a home always took a lot of effort. Digging a hole in the ground was the part that took the most time, and finding the right materials to go inside was always fun – leaves to keep in the warmth, sticks to use as beams to keep it sturdy, and if he was lucky, some nice soft fur that had rubbed off a bunny or another animal – something he could use to cuddle up to when he wanted to sleep.
But building a home today was harder than usual. The ground kept rumbling and there was a lot of noise. Usually he wouldn’t build a home somewhere so noisy, but this was where Montgomery and Montgomery were settling. It was otherwise perfect – right by the lake, but with woods all around them, and close to a campground where they would be able to find their favorite food on a regular basis.
Just as Montgomery was padding down the rabbit fur to make a nice, cosy bed, he heard a familiar moose-sized “Aagh!” and the entrance to his tunnel caved in, with a big hoof blocking his path to get out.
Continue reading “Chapter Four: The Big Yellow Machine”