Story: “See Ya!” – Simon the Sociable Sloth – 11/09/19

“See ya!” called Simon the ever-sociable sloth to his visitors. “I hope you thoroughly enjoyed yourselves. I urge you to come again soon,” and with that, he bowed deeply, for he was so glad that they had attended. Simon wasn’t like most sloths, who were solitary and shy, hiding behind trees and their leaves. No, Simon was an extrovert, and he socialised as much as pleased. However, after the dinner guests had left, he breathed a sigh of relief. It was difficult for him to remain on top of all of the conversations, and be charming, and most of all avoiding appearing meek. Because inside he would be fighting the urge to flee the scene. He was only recently teaching himself how to be sociable, to be as keen for company as he could be.

Sloths were known for sleeping the day away, so it suited Simon to have his social events at dinner time, with his friends with exuberant personalities, the dinners would be perfectly joyous and gay. Because, when he and his guests were all together, they ate, and laughed, and danced, and played after-dinner cards or board games. Everything was very merry, it was as though these types of dinner were planned perfectly, and their itineraries would be well thought out, and always ended in playing Uno, or on occasion, Monopoly. They would be entertained for hours, and sleepily they would leave only when the sunshine would show itself.

But who were Simon’s friends, how did they stay up into the wee hours of the night with him? Surely they couldn’t be other sloths, because somewhat antisocial they were known for being. No, his friends were the owls, the wolves, the animals that hooted or howled at the moon, away from the sun, and how he loved their company, they were unique and loyal, and terribly great fun. It didn’t matter all that much that Willy the Wolf had tried to bite him one time. Simon understood that was part of his instinct, his urges, to seek out delicious meats to eat. In fact, Simon took it as a compliment, that he was considered a delicacy by Wolf, it made him tingle inside with confidence. What a strange thought process Simon had regarding his friend Willy the Wolf.

One dinner, when Olivia the Owl and her family of six were present, along with Willy the Wolf and his new wife Mindy, Simon asked his guests to take their seats, because presently it was time for their tea. Carefully, for with his curved claws it was difficult to serve, Simon precariously balanced the first course – pumpkin soup – before his ravenous friendship herd. But the soup was secretly not to their liking. Willy and Mindy wanted the taste of meat! So too did Olivia and her troupe, they were hoping for servings of dead rats to be seen. After all, Simon knew of their delicacies and preferences, and they were unsure as to why he’d not catered to their specifications as he usually did.

It was as though he could read their minds. In reality, he’d read their disappointed body language.

“I’m trying a differing menu of sorts,” he said with a smile. With a flourish towards the kitchen, he explained, “I’m going to serve vegan for a while.”

“Vegan?” they all collectively gasped. “What about our need for protein, or red blood cells, their iron??” Mindy began bickering with her husband, forcing him to tell her why on earth she had allowed him to drag her here. Olivia and crew now were squawking among themselves, trying to work out how to politely leave this room. There was no politeness in this. Everyone could hear them, including a now despondent Simon. He had tried, really, he had, to make a positive change to his menu, for his community, and for the environment. He was happy enough to now only eat a strictly vegan menu, and he hadn’t known his friends would be so narrow-minded. He stalked over to the door and flung it open.

“See ya!!!” he yelled, and pointed out the exit of the door.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.


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Story: Super Slug – 07/09/19

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.


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Story: A Resplendent Stag At His Own Stag Do – 04/09/19

There was a lucky stag, who was marrying the most wonderful deer in the world, tonight was his stag do, tonight would be when he celebrated at the same time but a different place to the girls. Usually the night would be filled with heavy drinking, antler fighting, wide eyed ogling, but this wasn’t what he wanted for himself, he didn’t want to sin. Besides, this stag wasn’t interested in drinking excessively, waking up feeling horrid, pains a-plenty, what he was interested in was projecting a special sense of beauty. He had always held a fond feeling, a soft spot, for the sublime and the visually appealing, and his stag friends knew that this was how he wished to celebrate, to project an aesthetically pleasing viewing.

Now, in a quiet corner of the forest they approached him, sombre, with a cascading wreath and male veil all of his own, placing the creation from Nature upon his antlers, his face, around his head, his crown. Upon their tippy toes they adorned him, made him shine resplendent from afar, the flowers, the buds, the leaves, brightening this special stag-star. One friend walked slowly with a full-length elaborately decorated mirror, presenting his stag friend with the visual version of who he presently was. With great delight and a widened smile, he threw his head back and grinned, admiring himself from left to right, all for a while did he.

“What a beauty I have become,” he breathed, so astonished. “Who made this crown for me, my veil, the maker I wish to know them!” Never before had he seen such an intricate crown made for anyone else, let alone him, and he was the King of collecting nature made crowns and other such things. In fact, at home he had stowed in the closet secretly from his future wife the amount of three times twelve, and she would never discover his collection because it was hidden incredibly well. But this crown veil took the cake, it was weaved so specially for him, the flowers and buds so dainty as they’d been plucked, preserved, tamed, and strangely he felt like what a goddess must feel like, a beautiful version of a nature queen. Because this veil was not manly, it appealed to the feminine inside, and this was the part of himself that he liked to be in touch with, it was a gentler part of his insides. He could be a manly stag, making noises to draw attention, fighting with other antlers of strong stag men, but when it came to general life, this stag preferred to be gentle and loving, and not so over protective and wild.

“It was Mrs. Simbalina!” one of his stag friends announced. “She was the one who created this for you, she must have known of your character quite well?”

“Bring her forth to me!” he roared in a manner quite proudly, as he preened and viewed himself again in the mirror, my, it was a glorious scene to behold. He became lost in absorbing the beauty that he usually only felt within, now it was as though Mrs. Simbalina’s creation had drawn out his beautiful inner truth and sense of visual beauty which was now available to be seen. It wasn’t as if he classed himself as unattractive usually, but this crown and veil made him feel quite chuffed, so pleased. Soon, the maker mouse was brought to him.

“Mrs. Simbalina! May I please pay my dues, you have brought the beauty out from within me, look at this wondrous view!” And with a flourish he turned his head this way and that, and groomed the flowing buds of premature roses, until, unfortunately, he accidentally pruned them from their holds, and that was that. Oh, how his heart ached, he threw his head back and produced a guttural wail, what had he done, he had planned to use this veil at the altar, with his lover before him, her eyes captured upon his face, surrounded by this magic veil before her unveiling.

“What have I done?” he cried, tears wept from each inner corner of his eyes.

“Do not fret, Brett,” she said to the stag. “I can make you another instead.” Instantly his eyes dried up as though a puddle would were it placed within a parched desert. He thanked her profusely, and allowed her to leave, of her craft to get on with it. And within two hours she had returned with the most resplendent veil and crown you could ever hope to see, amazing at her life’s work was Mrs. Simbalina, so talented was she.

When Brett and his love’s special day came, they were both wearing their own version of veils, and surprisingly they were made by a craftswoman one and the same. Each one brought out a particular characteristic from the other; the feminine from Brett, brought out the stronger part in his other. As though the veils reflected the way that they were already intertwined in life, they held hands, joined their lives, and their truth was there to be witnessed, held together with love and affection that was wholly meant. And Mrs. Simbalina was secretly taken on by the Stag and his staff as a craftswoman of immense talent and secretive means to alter another’s life course, though her skills would never be openly spoken of, only held within careful silence from east to west, from south to north. Why? It was safer that way, because Mrs. Simbalina had to be carefully guarded due to her ability to exceptionally alter and cause.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.


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Story: Egbert the Excitable Echidna Soars in Leaps and Bounds – 19/08/19

“Weeeee! Look at me!” called Egbert to his friends, one, two and three. He was spinning on his feet, pirouetting as elegantly as could be.

“You go, ‘Bert!” called Lucy.

“Yeah, keep going!” cheered Brody.

“Why do you always have to be so showy?” groaned Danni. Danni was the moodiest of the four, she didn’t want to join in to the cheering antics at all. She didn’t like encouraging her friends, only wanted to be miserable and moan, this was the life of Danni, who didn’t want to know anyone at all. In fact, the only reason she was there in the group was because the others had taken pity on her, her internal anger often lead her to self combust, and they wanted her to learn to be friendlier and trust. But here she was, as always, breathing heavily, sighing strongly, upset that she was not being attended to, and that Egbert was the one being observed in a manner very happily and lightly. What did she expect, being morose, how could others look upon her with joy, and most of all she needed to understand, that to be approachable one needed to be open and willing to share, speak well of others, and perhaps occasionally lend a helping hand.

“Never mind her,” Lucy muttered under her breath, and she continued calling, encouraging her friend Egbert as he performed the movements of his ballet scene’s choreography. He had been working on this for more than two months, every spare second, every spare minute, he was practicing, rehearsing energetically, his excitability calling, he would leap, prance, breathe deeply, gasp, for his ballet dancing took precedence in his world, to gain a place in the National Ballet Academy it was a dream he would work to make truth, to unfurl.

A slight problem with Egbert was that a lot of things made him excitable, and this had a tendency to take attention away from his goal, provide many distractions, such as that ladybug he found behind his ear, he would name her Philippa, and provide her a terrarium home, or the colours painted on the wall of the alleyway, he would stop to admire them for an hour on his way from secondary school to his home, or the blades of grass, so tufty and firm, he would play with them, giggling, with his claws pressing them to and fro so firmly – he was easily distracted, and this was a problem to him. He knew how to be focused, and he tried his utmost on being like this with his choreography, his routine so well developed and fantastic, but he had to draaaaag himself away from the distracters, in order to refocus.

It wasn’t his fault, he had been diagnosed with a condition years prior that deemed him as having problems with his attention, deficits from this, a disorder, but his mother wouldn’t provide the pharmaceutical medication as she wanted to heal him holistically. She provided him salves, natural tablets, herbs and all, to rectify the problem, and initially it proved to be useful to him, in every mental zone. His attention soared, his eyes were pin pricked focused, he could dance for hours and it wasn’t a problem.

But then something happened, his mother lost faith in her cause, to provide him natural remedies, she simply gave up, and upped and left the mission, hiding in her bedroom hole. Word flew around the community that she was suffering from depression, but she didn’t want to be seen, looked at, viewed by anyone, not even a doctor, she just wanted to rest and sleep, then wake, repeat, sleep, again. So Egbert was left to his own devices, he treated himself the best that he could, it turned out that his best wasn’t enough, he needed to educate himself of the remedies, and do this soon. Surprisingly, his friend Danni, showed an interest in this topic, it was strange, given that she was morose about basically everything she encountered, and together they set out, procuring all research they could possibly find, dumping the literature in a corner, they sat together, and began to furiously read, through the pages they dived.

“Hey, would you look at this?” uttered Egbert excitedly. “Look at this information, this plant, it’s a dandelion, perhaps it has a place for solving?” Then his eyes flittered to another page, darting left then right, then now to another fact!

“Egbert!” Danni exclaimed. “We need to focus!”

After reading solidly for three and a half hours, Egbert and Danni were far less wired, they had lost the focus they had previous harnessed, and now their eyes were becoming heavily lidded.

“Let me fetch you a drink,” she said slyly, and with a secretive smile, Danni darted out to the kitchen, to view was on offer, what was available. Not seeing the ingredients that she would need, she quickly darted out to the Australian natives in the backyard, gently waving in the breeze. Collecting what she needed, she prepared a herbal tea, and providing it, steaming hot, to Egbert, she carefully observed him. He sipped cautiously, carefully, so as not to spill it upon himself, and tried to ignore the strange taste it had to itself. He could not stay silent, he didn’t know what this was, but whatever it was, it wasn’t making him in any way, shape or form excitable, and he wanted to know, why, because!

“It’s a mixture I made, an antidote, a potion, from the information we’ve saved, and look now! Your eyes are focused again!” With happiness, he felt himself aligned, with everything he needed, he now wanted to dance for hours, to fly! But when he rose, he didn’t even want to try, he just wanted to focus on other things, for a while.

“Hmmm, this is in an interesting problem, an unforseen moment, with no explanation,” Danni said, stroking her chin. “We want you focused, but we want you about your dancing excited still to be!” And with this, she consulted the yellowing pages of one book, parchment paper, as old as could be, no one need know where the pages were from, where they have been taken, now free to be viewed, and to his tea she added a sparkle from her fingers, click, with a smile, and with a final sip, Egbert was excitable and focused, for all the while! Now with this antidote, his condition was controlled, he needed not pharmaceuticals, or the missing natural remedies his mother used to make for him when he was younger, and now that he was old, and wiser, and with Danni’s assistance, she guided him, medicated him, and their friendship became firmer and more consistent.

They saw each other more often than usual, they spent time together in his breaks from dancing in the stairwell at school, they confided in one another, and wouldn’t you believe it? Danni was miserable only with a group of others, but one on one she was confident, friendly and all knowing. She simply had had secret issues with being bullied in primary school, that she didn’t like being around more than one person at all. And now that both their problems, for Egbert and Danni were addressed and out in the open, they had the freedom to pursue their dreams.

Egbert obtained the place he most desperately wanted in the National Ballet Academy, in his audition he danced through the air, flitted so freely. No one could have believed that an echidna would careen so eloquently, and he had everything to prove to the panel members that his skill was there, beamingly, to be seen. Danni buckled down, and began studying incredibly hard, at understanding the principals of using vitamins and herbs, and other natural products, and she realised that she had a great passion for pursuing and researching these things.

She set her sights on becoming a natural doctor, she accomplished her dream of obtaining a place in a naturopathic college, and for the next three years she studied heavily. By the time the three years were up, Danni graduated with honours, presenting her thesis to the honoured animals and natural healers of the outback, and Egbert was known of by all, a household name, an elegant creature in the Natural World Ballet. Their other two friends had fallen by the wayside when Danni and Egbert had decided to knuckle down and become more studious, although still successful in their own right, their friendship group was no longer in sight. Danni and Egbert are married now, three kids with great minds, they live together, a natural healer and a ballet dancer who was more of an excitable flier, and of their lives, none in the outback can compare. All of this began from being a little more excitable than the others, and a female echidna who decided to try, to dare.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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Story example: Wigglebutt the Polar Bear With Questionably Coloured Hair – 01/08/19

Wigglebutt was an exceptionally happy bear. He loved to dig, and chase and run with animals and his fellow bears almost everywhere. Of his ecstatic nature he loved to express, through his wagging little tail and pouffy fluffy butt from left to right, great joy, of life he was always dutifully impressed. His cute little fluffy bear bottom was unique all of its own, no other bear’s bum could compare, no rounded shape or volume of hair, nothing to compare of their own!

One day, a polar bear approached him, with a sneer across his face. “Why are you the wrong colour, what’s that tan along your face?” With shock at the bear’s disdain he ran toward the nearest mirror, Wigglebutt had always thought of his visual differences a great asset to himself, from standing out from the others. His tan and white complexion caused a contrast among the polar bears and wood bears, who comfortably and lovingly lived together in a means and upon a land that with Earth could not compare. And never once had he been told that he was too different, or wrong, or some such, he was always embraced by the animal crowd, he was always deemed more than enough. Now this such and such had to put in his two cents worth, and activating insecurities inside Wigglebutt, it was unfair, and his words were unwanted, his opinion was undesirous, Wigglebutt had had enough!

Wigglebutt returned and pointed a finger into the mean polar bear’s chest.

“Who are you to say I’m different, why, perhaps you could not compare!” And then suddenly a thoughtful smile came across the nasty bear’s face, “Perhaps you are right, dear wrongly coloured animal, touché touché, your words are so nice.” His biting sarcasm hurt an innocent Wigglebutt to the core, he could not stand this verbal abuse and his tone anymore. With a broken sense of pride, he walked away, walked on by, and into his den he hid, uncaring for hiding his emotions now, proceeded to cry.

“My darling, what’s wrong?” his mother asked, rubbing his back. Wigglebutt simply shook his head left and right, with his wracked sobbing, he couldn’t enunciate the facts. She knew something untoward had happened, and when he was able to squeak out the words, “I have the wrong coloured fur!” she understood the moment in his life had come to explain where he truly was from.

With careful wording, she explained first that he was deeply loved, by herself and his father, Professor Earl Grey the Curl. He had a curly tail that was different to her and Wigglebutt, and he was not afraid of his visual difference at all.

“You see how Father is different,” she said gently. “Well, so too are you different from your father and I. You are much loved, and our precious, adored son, but you came from a world where there was too much for you to learn and for you to be unfairly used throughout your life. We rescued you from a meteorite, come from the Planet Earth, where you would have been worked, worked, worked, like a slave bear, into their earth. But someone who loved you, your owner, the letter inside your capsule said, that she was willingly sending you away so you wouldn’t end up overworked to death. You are not born of this world, nor myself, nor your father, but please, understand, we love you all the more stronger. We cherish your being, we cherish your life, each day we are thankful that you came into our lives.”

WIgglebutt stood stunned, barely wanting to understand this, his mother’s words of which she was rapidly and shakily speaking. This was why he was different, why he was not a pristine polar bear white like his parents, but this did not stop him from future life successes. There was nothing wrong with being different, in fact, unique was always in style, he stood out from the others, with his bobbing, cute little bum and tail. And he didn’t allow others’ negativity to ever again get him down, he would succeed at his life so wholly, he was meant to wear life’s crown.

On his eighteenth birthday, his mother and father proudly produced the capsule’s note from his former owner, the first of many sentences:

“Dear Georgie, you are my favourite corgi, with you, I send you away with love, to a better life yonder.” Thereafter followed deep explanation of why his life would be better away from Earth, elsewhere, safer, somewhere he could be filled with wonder. The mystery of his life was now solved: he was a Royal breed of canine, not an oddly coloured polar bear, now proudly certain, to everyone his truth could be told. He was the only known Corgi on this land to behold and wasn’t he so chuffed that he would no longer be a different unknown.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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