Complications of a Mastermind
Chapter 5


It was brown, actually rather pretty for a squirrel, with a long, bushy tail and big round eyes. There was also beside it a black squirrel, very rare in this area, watching intently for what the brown one will do. The brown one suddenly scurries a few yards to a lone tree, not another tree for miles, but it was really a grand tree, hundreds of feet up, huge branches bearing needles of deepest green. The brown begins to scamper up the tall tree.
Somehow, by some unknown compelling force, something gnawing at the black's free will, driving him to follow her up the tree, he scampers up behind her. He seems to have no more say in the matter, as if it were predestined or his own volition was being pupeteered by some unknown and dangerous force. So he scampered up the tree after her, wanting to follow her, but not knowing why. He simply had to.
And up and up she went, the tree seeming to grow as they climbed higher, never having any end in sight as they dodged deftly around protruding branches of green needles like pins ready to receive them. But still farther up she went, and still farther up he followed, no more say now than before in his life or ever again. He could hardly see the ground now, but they were almost to their goal. He could see the light at the end of the tree, a pinecone that shone with such a glorious, perfect light that none could deny its brilliance. Any who laid eyes on it felt drawn to it, to its perfection, like a fish to a baited hook. It shone brightly, fiercely, almost blinding him, but he simply had to reach it.
He could no longer see anything but for the blinding brilliance of the pinecone, but he knew he was almost there, knew he was just seconds away from perfection. But with his life's dreams just within reach, he felt a furry paw on his forehead. It felt oddly comforting, consoling, almost regretting what it must do, for there was no choice for this poor paw either, it had no free will of its own. And then, a push, and he lost his footing.
Up and down and left and right lost meaning as he plummeted sideward towards his certain doom. He no longer knew which way he was going, be it up or down, left or right. But he needed not know which direction, for he knew his destination already. Doom. He was doomed, and he had no say in the matter, he could do nothing about it. His stomach turned, he turned, the world seemed to turn, but there seemed no end in sight.
He had been so close, close to his dreams, close to fulfillment, but he had been too trusting. Trust in her, trust in his dreams. And now all was shattered. Soon his life would be added to the trust and his dreams. His life was about to be shattered.
Realization of this sent something down his back. It seared through every fiber of him, screamed at every frayed nerve. It was sweet, for it was a new thing for him. At the same time, it wouldn't stop, it screamed and screamed until its voice must be sore, and still it screamed at his nerves. He felt it throughout his body, taking over, leaving no room for him to choose. It was new, it was a sweet emotion, he thought as it screamed incessantly at him. Fear.