The Nighttime Excursion | By: Joseph Schlegel | | Category: Short Story - Adventure Bookmark and Share

The Nighttime Excursion

The cold summer air was known for being extremely hateful at this time of night. There were only three creatures who dared to exist on the foggy, damp streets of Gerard Venture Parkway after nightfall: Jasper, Gree, and Heartbottom. Although this trio was not particularly well-known in or around the city, most people tended to avoid them whenever possible. It just so happens that this opportunity for avoidance occurred in the mornings, afternoons, and early evenings; in other words, reasonable hours. During the late hour moments of the night, when Jasper, Gree, and Heartbottom were busy roaming the streets of town, most of the other denizens of the city evaded them by curling up into their beds for a moment of hibernation.
It is no wonder why these three fiends felt disregarded and shunned by their fellow citizens. They suspected that there might be something amiss in their demeanor that caused others to be so frightened of them. It seemed as though, even though not a single soul had ever laid eyes on them, the whole world was against their existence.
Gree was particularly offended on this score, and would often spend the whole night sobbing. Jasper and Heartbottom would do their best to console him, but they were not very good at that. In fact, none of the three were any good at anything. Even roaming the past-midnight streets proved to be a problem for the group. The cold air of the night nipped at the fingertips of their outstretched claws as they clambered their way over the cobblestone walkway. The frostbiting chill of the summer breeze seemed to penetrate to the inner cores of their flesh-filled bellies.
The creatures would sometimes find an empty wicker basket or two on the side of the road - a sign that someone was looking out for them. Someone was helping to alleviate some of the burden of being a hideous creature who has to live with the constant, inconsolable griping of a companion like Gree.
That said, Gree was most definitely the strongest of the three, both in will and in mind (although not in physicality, as Heartbottom was quite large in stature). Although his scales were three times less thick than either of his companions', Gree never complained of the severe chill of the summer breeze.
Tonight was the exception:
As Gree and his pals were strolling down the silent, deserted sidewalk of Gerard Venture Parkway, he spied a resplendent feature at the center of a cobblestone divot. He approached the glistening object with some apprehension, since the previous time he picked up a shiny object, he had learned that shiny objects could sometimes lead to trouble. That time he had almost died, and taken all of humanity with him; this time, he was being understandably cautious. In all the days of his existence, Gree had never taken so many precautions in so mundane a task as this inspection of the reflective source.
Jasper and Heartbottom both stood completely still while Gree picked up the object, and examined it closely. When he realized what it was, his heart immediately sank, and his entire visage altered in a knowing contortion. "It's just a Hershey's Kiss wrapper," he explained, turning to see Jasper and Heartbottom's supporting glare as he threw the crumpled piece of wrapper into the center of the street. After a brief pause, he wondered aloud, "Why is it so damn cold on a summer night?"
There was no response from Gree's comrades - not even a brief shrug. Instead, Jasper, Gree, and Heartbottom casually creeped their way back to their dirty, unkempt sanctuaries underneath the city burial ground. Gree sobbed silently under his breath, while Jasper and Heartbottom pretended not to notice. The cold air bit at the backs of their necks as they slowly made their descent to their underground hovels, only to again resurface later for another nighttime excursion in isolation.

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