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Nikko and Herman
By Donna M. McDine

Bang. The cage slammed shut.

Nikko clawed at the cage. How could this be happening? His arms became heavy. It was no use.

Rattle, rattle. The cage shook. Nikko pressed his body against the cage. He shut his eyes tight.

Pat, pat. Nikko opened his eyes with a slight sliver. Herman’s paw reached in and patted Nikko.

“You okay?”

“Do I look okay?

“Listen to me.”

“I’m listening,” Nikko said trying not to show his annoyance at Herman’s bossiness.

“The thing with the long arms will come soon.”

“Uh, huh.”

“You’ll be carried in this cage and placed into a dark trunk.”

“T-the dark?”

“Yes, but you’ll be okay.”

“How? When I’m caged up and in the dark,” Nikko said, loosing his wits. “No food, no water. How can it possibly be okay?”

“Sssh. You’ll rattle around a bit and then sun light will appear.”

“How? When I’m locked in a dark trunk.”

“You’ll see long arms again. Don’t bite. It will set you free in the woods.”

“The woods? I don’t like it there,” Nikko said, shaking.

“I know,” Herman said, rubbing Nikko’s leg. “I’ll be waiting for you.”

“How can you possibly be waiting for me?”

“You should have listened to my warnings.”

Nikko stared blankly at Herman.

“The same thing happened to me. I found my way back to this beautiful garden of fresh eats.”

“You did?” Nikko said shocked.

“Yes. I kept my wits and found my way back.”

Squeak. The familiar sound of the screen door. Long arms walked towards them.

“Remember what I said,” Herman said and scurried away.

Slam. The closing of the trunk startled Herman and he huddled in the corner of the cage in the darkness.

Whirl. The constant sound of the wheels filled Nikko’s ears. He covered his ears with his paws.

They came to a stop. Sunlight filled the trunk as it opened. Long arms reached into the trunk. Grabbed the cage and placed it on the ground. Nikko did not move a muscle, until long arms opened the cage. Nikko darted out quick as lightening. He dove under the nearest bush.

Roar. The trunk on wheels came back to life and rolled away.

“Nikko, over here,” Herman hissed.

Nikko lurked out from the bush. “Herman, you’re here.”

“I told you I’d be here, didn’t I.”


“Come on. I’ll show you the way back,” Herman said, running out from the woods.

The next morning, Nikko found himself grazing in the same exact spot he was captured.

Squeak. The opening of the screen door startled Nikko and Herman. They scuttled away into the safety of their burrow.

This time long arms spoke. “Dang gone it. Those critters are back again.”

Nikko and Herman peaked out of their burrow in a fit of giggles.

“We’re way too smart for long arms,” Herman said. “Come on, let’s drive him crazier.”

Donna M. McDine: I am an award-winning children's author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions. Donna’s stories and features have been published in many print and online publications, and her first book, The Golden Pathway, will be published through Guardian Angel Publishing as well as her second book, The Hockey Agony. McDine’s interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Ms. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, Musing Our Children, and The National Writing for Children Center. Contact Donna.