MANGO HILL Part 2

 

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Hibiscus Bunny, the Ohana Cats and Halau Mouse loved the house and family on Mango Hill.

They thought of it as their house, and their family, which made it all the more shocking when they noticed a Centipede creep into the house.


They chased him out, but several more crept in under the studio door. Hibiscus Bunny was nearly bitten as she dozed on a rug, and the Ohana Cats had a knock-down drag-out fight with a couple of old Pedes who were carrying out leftovers.





“Something is going on,” Halau Mouse said. “I intend to find out what.”


Hibiscus Bunny shivered. “How?”


“Tonight I’m going over to the lychee trees,” Halau Mouse said. There was a stunned silence. “This is our family. If the Centipedes are up to something, it’s up to us to stop them!” And she started to wrap herself with dark, dead leaves and smear her paws and ears with dirt.



























“Why are you doing that?” the Ohana Cats said.


“Camouflage.” It was something Halau Mouse knew well, having also shredded a military book long ago at the Professor’s house. She wrote the word on the Burrow School blackboard. “This way they can’ see me.”


She took a deep breath, kissed her family, and vanished into the night.

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The lychee trees looked forbidding and dangerous. The sounds of hissing and clicking grew louder. Halau Mouse crept closer and peered around a bush just as a Centipede roar filled the night.


It was a council of war! Thousands of Centipedes were gathered around the Centipede King. Their hard shells reflected the moonlight. Buggy eyes gleamed with anger, and their mandibles dripped with poison as they listened.














































“We take the house at midnight!,” The Centipede King shouted. “It has has food, a soft rug - everything we need. We just have to get rid of the humans and those pesky animals!”  The army of Pedes cheered.


The Centipede King lowered his voice. “This is the Plan. We go in under the studio door. Half of us go to the adults. Half to the children. Everyone take a big bite! I want them covered with bites! And then -- the house is ours!”


Halau Mouse listened in horror as Centipede cheers filled the night. She looked up at the moon. Soon it would be midnight; she had no time to lose!

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By the time she returned to the Burrow, Halau Mouse had a plan. She drew a diagram in the dirt. “They’ll come in under the studio door,” she said. “So here’s what we’ll do. Whatever happens, don’t let them up the stairs. We must not allow them to reach the family!”



























“I’m scared,” Hibiscus Bunny said.

The Ohana Cats crowded together. “We’re all scared.”

“We have to do what we have to do,” Halau Mouse said. “Scared, or not. So let’s go!”

And they ran toward the house.

The

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Inside, the artist’s family slept peacefully, unaware of the Centipede’s evil plans.


“Battle stations,” Halau Mouse said. She moved everyone into position. “Open the jars!”


When every jar of paint was open, she surveyed the studio. “We’re ready,” she said. “Let them come!”

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The clock struck midnight.

Brown shapes slithered under the door.

Hidden behind paint jars, the animals looked at Halau Mouse. She shook her head: No. Wait.

Soon the floor was covered with millions of Centipedes marching toward the stairs.

Halau Mouse waved a jumbo brush. “NOW!”

Hibiscus Bunny tipped over the yellow paint. “Take that!” she shouted.

“How about this color? The Ohana Cats said, tipping over the pink paint. “Or purple?”







































“More paint!” Halau Mouse waved the brush again.”Give ‘em all the colors!”


They poured out every jar of green, red and blue over the Centipedes. The paint was thick and sticky, and the Centipedes could barely move, much less reach the stairs.


“Ha!” said Halau Mouse, dumping over a gallon of white gesso that mixed with the colors on the floor.


“Retreat!” yelled one of the insects, scrambling through the hardening sea of paint toward the door.










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But the Centipede King, covered in dusty rose paint, struggled on to the stairs.

“Stop!” Halau Mouse shouted.

The Centipede King turned. Poison dripped from his mandibles. “You can’t save them now,” he said. He slithered up the stairs and toward the bedrooms. “They’re mine.”



























Halau Mouse leaped across the sea of paint and raced up the stairs. She reached the bedroom just as the Centipede King was reaching for a soft, chubby toe that stuck out from under a blanket.



















Wham! She brought her jumbo brush down on his armored body. Wham! She hit him again. He lashed out at her with his tail, but she jumped aside and smashed at his tail with the brush.


The Centipede King realized he had met his match. “I’ll be back,” he hissed, and slithered down the stairs and out into the night.

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Halau Mouse drew a deep breath. Her paws were shaking as she raced back to the studio.

Every jar of paint was empty. Every centipede was gone.


They had done it! They’d saved the family!
































They were cheering so loudly they didn’t hear the artist come down the stairs.

“Quite a mess,” the artist said.

Halau Mouse whirled around and saw two large feet in mismatched socks. She froze.

















The artist looked at the sea of paint on the floor, and then out the studio door. In the moonlight, she saw thousands of painted Centipedes limping away from the house.


“You saved out lives,” she said. “Thank you.”  She leaned over and looked closely at Halau Mouse, who still had the jumbo brush in her paws. Their eyes met. “Are you the mouse that’s been painting in my house?”


Halau Mouse tried to say something, but all that came out was a little squeak.


“Keep up the good work,” she said. “My house is your house.”


It was all too much for the animals. They leaped down, scrambled over the socks, skidded down the hallway and out the dryer vent toward the safety of the Burrow.

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All the next day they discussed what the artist said.


“I think she MEANT it,” Hibiscus Bunny said, thinking of the soft rug.


The Ohana Cats pictured a steady supply of leftovers and milk. “Would she REALLY share?”


“Yes,” Halau Mouse said. “I think she’s grateful.” She recalled that she had also devoured a book on Constitutional Law and Democratic Process when she was young. “Let’s have a vote.”




















The decision was unanimous. They decided to make one trip back to the house to see if the artist really meant what she said.


The next night they crept through the dryer vent and into the kitchen. There, on the counter, was a plate of fresh carrots, a bowl of milk, and a tray of fine French cheese and Swedish rye crackers.


“That’s what I call gratitude,” Hibuscus Bunny said, taking her carrots into the living room to relax on the rug.


















The Ohana cats stayed on the kitchen counter, slurping up milk.











                                                              17

Halau Mouse carried her tray of crackers and cheese into the studio. The artist had scrubbed the floor. New jars of paint filled the shelves. Not trace remained of the Great Centipede War.

There was a note propped up against the brush pot.


“Go easy on the pink,” the note read. “This one needs peach flowers.”























Halau Mouse sat down on the artist’s chair. She carefully cut off a piece of cheese with a palette knife, placed it on the cracker, and nibbled while she studied the unfinished portrait of one of the Ohana Cats on the easel.


“It does need peach flowers,” she said to herself. And she knew exactly how to mix the right shade.





































As she reached for a brush, she realized she was finally and truly happy.

She had her own family. She had the artist’s family. And she could finally do what she was born to do - paint!

                                             


To return to Mango Hill Pt. 1, click here.


To go on to the Ticklebugs of Mango Hill, click here.


To return HOME, click here.


To go to the FREE Mango Hill art to download and color, click here.


To write to Diana Hansen-Young email: dianahy@aol.com


Children: To Write to Halau Mouse, email: MangoHillHawaii@gmail.com


To read about the real Mango Hill, click here.


Watch for more Mango Hill books coming soon:

         Mango Hill: The Big Parade

         Mango Hill: Land Beneath The Bay

         Mango Hill: Pineapple the Poi Puppy and the Great Cannery Caper

         Mango Hill: Pineapple the Poi Puppy and the Great Museum Adventure

          Mango Hill: The Great Submarine Adventure


And the Mango Hill Videos:

          Mother’s Day on Mango Hill

          Back to School on Mango Hill

          Princess Plumeria and the Great Volcano Adventure

Watch for the rest of the Mango Hill books, coming soon:

        Mango Hill: The Big Parade

        Mango Hill: Land Beneath The Bay

        Mango Hill: Pineapple the Poi Puppy and the Great Cannery Caper       

        Mango Hill: The Great Museum Adventure

        Mango Hill: The Great Submarine Adventure

And the Mango Hill Videos:

        Back to School On Mango Hill

        Mother’s Day On Mango Hill

        Princess Plumeria and the Great Volcano Adventure