Author’s Note: A while back, I put up a picture and asked for people’s thoughts based on it as prompts. I got a response, and I wrote based on that prompt.
This is the start of that story. I admit, I got stuck after a while, and I need to get back to it, but it stands as an example of what could happen if I’m given a prompt.
At some point in every girl’s life, she contemplated kissing a frog. Sometimes it was a real frog, a moment when the many fairy tales seemed real and worth believing—if only because happily ever after sounded absolutely perfect—but sometimes it was a less literal interpretation of the word frog. Sometimes the frog was the boy she didn’t really like, sometimes the one that wasn’t handsome enough. The wrong type, the wrong one. Those frogs were ones everyone knows.
Sometimes ya gotta kiss a few frogs before you get your prince, right?
No one ever said anything about kissing a squirrel, though.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“I’m telling you—I’m a prince.”
“You’re a squirrel,” she insisted, though why the squirrel could talk was still a mystery, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to know. Maybe she was drunk. That would explain a few things. The squirrel, mostly. They weren’t supposed to talk, and they weren’t supposed to wear clothes. Maybe she’d had a few too many gummy bears and started some sort of weird dream involving those chipmunks that squeaked and supposedly sang.
Still—this was a squirrel, not a chipmunk, and it claimed to be a prince.
“Here, yes, but normally I’m much taller. With a lot less hair,” he said, frowning at his tail. “And I don’t normally have one of those, either.”
“Sure you don’t.”
He scurried over to her side and all the way up her arm. “It is rather disconcerting to have a tail, I must admit. I don’t know how this happened. That is, not precisely this. They say any new world brings its own sort of challenge, but if I’d known I’d pop in here looking like some kind of rodent, I’d never have tried it.”
She looked at him. “That supposed to explain why you talk like you’re from England?”
“What is England?”
“Never mind. I suppose you’d tell me that there is no England, either, in wherever you’re from. I don’t need to know. I think it is way past time I went home because I know that squirrels do not talk, and I do not normally hallucinate, but if I am, then I think it’s better if I’m home where I can’t and hopefully won’t hurt anyone else,” she said, rising. The squirrel dug his claws into her shoulder, and she grimaced, almost throwing him off. As she reached up to do it, he hissed at her.
“You could have warned me. I thought I was going to topple to the ground, and while you may think nothing of the distance between your shoulder and that point—normally it would be nothing to me, either, as I am a great deal taller than you—and I did the only natural thing—I clung to your shoulder as I might for my life.”
She gave the squirrel a very long look. “I don’t believe you’re even real. Why would I warn you that I was getting up? And I actually did, if you were listening. I said I was going home.”
The squirrel stared at her, and his nose twitched like he was one of those squirrels from a cartoon. Maybe this was her own version of the moment in The Sword in the Stone, and whatever she must have taken was causing her to see what wasn’t there. Of course, he didn’t look animated—unless it was one of those supposedly realistic animals made with computer generated images, but she doubted that. She wished she knew when she’d started drinking—or dreaming—so that she could either wake up or sober up and go back to normal.
“I beg your pardon—I am very real, and furthermore, I am in a very real crisis,” the squirrel said. “I think it most unfair of you to assume that I am somehow jesting with you. Do I look like I am attempting to be humorous?”
She considered that for a moment. “Maybe not on purpose, but you are a talking squirrel, so… Yes, you do.”