The Fluffy of War Part 2 (by Nundevwizer)

“Okay. Let’s try again. What does this word mean?” The old man pointed at a word on the page.

“Man… Manoovawing… it mean tu mae da… enemi… move tu a cewtan pwace.”

The old man smiled. “Very good, Scorp. Now tell me why you would want to force the enemy to move somewhere?”

Scorpion thought extra hard with his tiny brain. The past six months have been taxing on his mind, but the knowledge that came with these daily lessons were finally paying off. He could now read most of the book after learning simple words, but the military terminology still confused him. Day by day, however, he learned more as the old man translated these words to him in simpler terms.

“Tu… eida tu move dem into a twap oa put yu self in a betta pwace… whewe… yu hab… an ad… ad…”

The old man almost spoke to help him but stopped himself to see if Scorpion would eventually get it on his own.

“…ad… a-van-tage.”

The old man smiled again and patted Scorpion on the head.

“Good job. You struggled with that one, but you pulled through.”

Scorpion smiled and waged his tail behind him. It was at that moment that the old man noticed the fire had dwindled a little as the flame wasn’t as bright as it was earlier.

“Hold on a minute, bubber. I gotta add more wood to the fire.” He gets up from his chair and over to a pile of wood beams salvaged from other parts of the building and brings one of them over to the fire. Gently lowering the beam into the barrel so he doesn’t catch himself on fire, the flames lick around the beam as it came to a rest at the bottom and the old man goes back to sit down in his chair with Scorpion watching.

Sighing from the effort, the old man leaned back in his chair. Scorpion sat waiting for what he would do next.

“Wha next, mista?” The old man looked down at him with heavy eyelids.

“That’s enough for today. Let’s get some sleep. We’ll get back to it after breakfast, okay?”

Scorpion wasn’t happy they were going to sleep so soon. But he realized that the old man got tired more easily than he did, so he didn’t the end of the lesson bother him. So, he gets up on the old man’s lap and they lazily drift off to sleep. The old man went to sleep right away, but Scorpion took a little longer to drift off to dreamland. Seconds. Minutes. Almost an hour passed by and he was still wide awake.

Huff

Scorpion looked around the room; there were mostly other homeless people asleep on the ground. Either in salvaged tents, raggy sleeping bags, or just under old newspapers. The old man usually just slept by the fire in his chair. With nothing better to do, he tries to coax himself to sleep. First, he closes his eyes and tries breathing slower and fuller to at least pretend to be asleep. in just a few minutes, he finally manages to fall asleep.

Mere moments later, he finds himself in a clean house, on a soft bed. Next to him was a pair of bowls, one was full of kibble, the other was filled with water.

“Whewe am I?” He steps off the bed and begins to explore the room. It all looked familiar, and then he remembered; this was his old saferoom. His daddy’s computer sitting not far further down the wall from him and his bed. He sees his toys in a pile under the window with the blinds open as a warm breeze flowed in.

“Dis nu can be wight. How am I hewe?”

Just then, the door creaked open. In walked his daddy.

“Scorpion! I’m home!” He drops his bookbag by the side of the door.

“Daddeh? Daddeh!” Scorpion runs over to his daddy and he is scooped up into a loving embrace.

“Scowpion miss ou daddeh! Hehe!” Scorpion’s tail was a blur as he waged it from side to side out of pure bliss.

“Oh, I missed you too, buddy!”

Scorpion smiled as his daddy ran his hand across his head. It was as though he never left home. Maybe the last seven months of living on the street were just a dream and now he was back where he belonged.

Everything was going to be ok.

Then he felt himself drop to the floor. Ooof! “Wha da?” Next thing he knew he was sitting in a box out on the street corner.

“Why awe we hewe daddeh?” Daddy didn’t answer right away. “I can’t keep you anymore scorpion… goodbye.”

As he started to walk away, Scorpion called out to him.

“Daddeh! Dun fowgae abow Scowpion! Daddeh!” He didn’t turn back. He just kept walking as the rain started coming down.

“Daddeh… Daddeh!..”

He took a deep breath and called out as loud as he could. “DADDEH!!! HUHUUUUU! DADDEH PWEASE COME BACK! AM SOWWY AM BAD FWUFFY! SCOWPION PWOMISE TU BE GUD! HUHUHUUUUUU! HUUHUUHUUUUU!”

The old man woke up to the sound of a child crying. He looked down and saw Scorpion was crying in his sleep. He must have been having a nightmare. The old man then wrapped his arms around Scorpion and patted his head gently. Scorpion’s crying toned down as he petted him. He still sniffled after a couple of minutes, but the crying stopped.

Then Scorpion forced out one word in his sleep as the old man stroked him.

“Daddeh…”

The old man was stunned. Was he having another nightmare about his previous owner? This happens at least once a week, but in the past month, it’s been happening more often. Maybe it’s time for Scorpion to move on, but with his name being a constant reminder of his past happiness and its sad and sudden end, there is no way that will happen.

The old man tried thinking of a new name to give him, it would be a new start, a new beginning so the nightmares will finally end. For several minutes as Scorpion tossed and turned in his lap, the old man tried thinking of a new name to give him.

“Need to think a somethin’.” But as much as he racked his brain, nothing good came up. Maybe a little bit more time would help. As he looks down and sees tears flowing down Scorpion’s face, he sees the book sitting on the wood board with the title and the name of its author in bold letters: Sun Tzu.

That’s it! The old man decided this would be perfect. Scorpion was not just some waste of space fluffy animal. He was a survivor, a fighter. No matter how hard the odds, he always persisted until he reached his goal. This book taught its readers how to persist and how to adapt to survive and ultimately achieve victory.

As he stared at the book, Scorpion started crying again. “Huhu… huhu…” The old man only smiled as he caressed his head in his arms. “Shhh… It’ll be alright…. my Sun.”

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