One fine day, when the sun shone my way, I woke feeling completely whole again. Nothing could or would deter me from my exploration of the garden, my winding path, my set stage. Inside this bustling ecosystem were many specimens of flora and fauna, not least my favourite, Mister Wily Old Toad. He loved to croak at me while blinking incredibly slowly; his wrinkles determined his age as very wizened and old. Mister Toad had been living in the garden for many years. He lived off a diet of snails mainly, a family of them which never seemed to be diminish despite his fantastical sense of hunger that was present always. It was not unheard of that he could consume two or three of these creatures a day. The poor snail family always lamented their losses, but there was nothing much they could do or say.
There was, however, one snail, who seemed to always be able to dodge the bullet. This snail had been around for many years, despite the fact that snails were meant to survive for only a short length of time. I would see this creature in the mornings, and after Mister Old Toad had lazily captured some of the snail’s family, I’d see him rest down for the night. Then so on and so forth, I’d spot him, and safe in the evenings, he had avoided any strife. How could this possibly occur, when a snail could not travel very fast nor far? How could he evade the sharp tongue of Mister Old Toad? For years he had survived, and I knew not how. I decided today to take a closer look, and follow this snail around until I could view what was happening, until I understood how he remained alive and whole.
So, this morning, when I had awakened whole myself, the broken pieces of me fixed back into place, I searched out this target snail, I shall call him Snail, myself. He was easy to find because he had certain markings upon his shell that made him appear as if he had a saddened donkey painted on his outside. On second thoughts, I could have called him Donkey, but it was a little late for changing the facts and details.
This snail was very peculiar indeed! As I watched him, it was as though my eyes were malfunctioning with the greatest of ease. From one corner of the garden he would suddenly zoom to another, essentially materialising from one space to another area. I couldn’t understand! Weren’t snails meant to be laboured and slow? Their movements barely aided by excessive slime and impeded by the unnecessary lack of desire for any speedy know-how? I shook my head, rubbed my eyes, and once more, the snail was moving in a laboured manner that was more fitting for his species. This I was now relieved to view. I felt satisfied that this was the behaviour that I was meant to find.
The more I stared, the slower the snail became. It was as if he knew I was watching him carefully, and he had slowed down his measures to a speed that caused me to feel incredibly pained. It was excruciating to watch a creature move so bloody slowly, how could he perform this task purposefully and knowingly? I swore that I had seen him move in a zig-zagging rushing pace, but maybe that was a trick of my eye or a trick of my mind; perhaps I had dreamed it. I almost fell asleep while observing him, there was nothing interesting to view, aside from the trail of sticky slime that he left for me to view.
Then all of a sudden, I heard him. Mister Old Toad had made his appearance. It seemed high time that this toad should now wish to manage Snail, in a manner that only he knew best. With a loud and slow opening of his mouth he flicked out his tongue. It wrapped around Snail’s shell in a most delicious and smacking sound heard by all in the garden, not only some. I half expected some shrieking from the snail, some wailing, some yells, but then out of his shell he did pop! And now revealed was a vibrant slug with a red cape, invisible ink upon it carrying his secret name! “Super Slug”, was etched on the fabric, and how the cape flowed as he flew along the ground and away. Mister Toad didn’t seem astonished, perhaps he had seen Super Slug on many days.
And how the slug flew around and around, alerting his other snail and slug beings and gathering them away from the area of Mister Toad, forming their own safety, an impermanent town. He brought all of them to a safe area, where they could avoid being devoured. Mister Old Toad lazily blinked his eyes. He wasn’t impressed by Super Slug’s flamboyance sense of rescue style. After all, he had seen it again and again. It was only impressive to me, for I had never seen it before. Super Slug, formerly known as Snail’s shell lay discarded on the garden path. I carefully picked it up to save it for him, when he decided to return to his disguise at last.
Suddenly, everything in the garden seemed calmer, it was like it had breathed a sigh of relief, for Mister Toad had not bothered any of them further, and he’d decided to go to sleep. So, I waited and waited for Super Slug, but it seemed he would never return, perhaps the fact that I’d viewed his transformation meant that he had to live elsewhere, for his secret had come undone.
No matter that the other creatures already knew of his alteration, I was different, because I was a human, and with other members of my species, I could talk with them. To reveal his ability, and this would not be good for the snail and slug family, not at all for them. I wanted to reassure him that I would not reveal, I would not talk, but the truth is, I may, out of excitement have slipped, and this was what Super Slug surely wanted to avoid, his identity was to be kept safe: that was of the greatest import.
© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.