Buck’s Pestiferous Morning
A beaming ray of sun shined through the windowpane. The warmth upon his muzzle awakened Buck in a state of merry bliss. Stretching his arms and legs, he plopped out of bed and meandered over to the coffeemaker resting on the table. Carried on the burbling sound of the percolating water, the spicy oak aroma of his freshly ground coffee wafted through the house.
He took a deep and steady breath as he sat himself down in his chair. Eyes closed, he sank into the quiet of the moment.
As the first sip of his morning coffee passed his lips, the sound of pounding startled him. His hands jerked and his sizzling coffee spilled over onto his lap. Bottom lip clenched between his teeth, he heaved and shook in pain.
“Who in their right mind would dare be pounding away at this early hour of the morning?”
He rose from his chair and trudged his way over to the window, coffee trail dripping as he went.
“That dang, Alvin! He’s been real quiet until now. What’s all this hullabaloo about?”
Through the window, Buck saw Alvin, his neighbor, hammering fence posts into the ground right out front of his door. Disgruntled, he mumbled to himself as he made his way over to his wardrobe.
Buck stripped out of his pajamas and flung them over his rusted clothing rack. It wobbled under the weight of his coffee-soaked pajamas but, to Buck’s surprise, held firm.
After slipping into the only remaining clean article of clothing he had, a sports jacket, he plodded his way over to the door. A powerful gust of wind blew in as he opened the door to step outside. He heard a clattering sound from behind him and when he glanced over his shoulder, scowl plastered across his face, his eye twitched. The rusted clothing wrack had crumbled under the force of the draft and his coffee-drenched clothes laid scattered across the floor.
“That’s done it! I moved out here to the middle of nowhere for some darn peace and quiet. I will not live in ruckus!”
“Oh, Buck,” chimed Stella, another neighbor, as she passed by his door, “Sure is a beautiful morning, don’t you think?”
Buck peered out at Stella from under his tensed, lowered brow, “Beautiful. Yeah. Sure is a chimney of a morning.”
“Buck, are you making sense, or am I just crazy? I swear I just heard you say ‘a chimney of a morning’.”
“Two things can be true at the same time.” Buck flashed a malicious grin. “The morning started off like a fresh new chimney. Clean, quiet, a little bit of warmth flowing through. But then the morning, like a chimney, got stuffed up and now the chimney sweep is jabbing all the soot and grime down my chimney and it’s choking up my morning with the ruckus and hullabaloo!”
Stella’s eyes glazed over as she stood looking at Buck, her head cocked to the side. “Yup, you’re not making any sense today, Buck. Have you had your morning coffee yet? Or perhaps you’re overdue for your usual morning island jog?”
“It’s the whacking and the pounding, Stella! Alvin’s terrorizing the quiet of the morning!” Buck roared. Stella winced at the hoarseness of his voice.
“He’s only acting on Tom Nook’s behalf. They’re only trying to spruce up the island a little.”
“For what?” Buck glared at Stella. Eyes bloodshot, his face rattled with fury.
Stella cocked her head to the side, “To entice K.K. Slider to come and perform, of course. A more appealing island, including this new island entrance Alvin’s working on, will only bring Sèrenûme more notoriety. Notoriety which will put us on the map – K.K. Slider’s touring map!”
Buck’s head twitched.
“I see. Let me offer Alvin a bit of help with cultivating the right kind of island appeal I want for this gentrifying wasteland.” A sinister smile stretched across Buck’s muzzle as he turned and scurried back inside.
“Oh, dear. Poor old belligerent Buck. He never was much the same after his accident.”
Stella’s Fretful Request
I didn’t mean to hurt him.
Stella wandered past Alvin as he continued his work constructing the new island entrance.
Colton looks older than he is. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just what he looks like. Old.
She fumbled with the new kid’s smock she had purchased earlier from the beachfront Able Sister’s store. As she approached Colton’s house, she placed the smock behind her back and crept forward on the tips of her hooves.
“Oh…” She froze, “I should probably wrap it. Yeah, that I ought to do. I hope he likes this more youthful attire. It’ll definitely knock a good five to ten years off how he looks. At least, I think it will.” Stella mumbled to herself as she fiddled with the smock.
Just passed Colton’s house, Nook’s Cranny came into view. Stella’s heart was aflutter and anxiety coursed through her veins. Her legs of jello jiggled with each hesitant step she took.
Timmy and Tommy greeted her with their usual exuberant attitudes.
“Stella! Good morning! Welcome in,” said Tommy.
“Welcome…” Timmy squeaked.
Stella nodded, her face scrunching as an ocean of stress flooded her.
Tommy walked over to Stella. His warm gaze evaporated some of the tension bouncing off her. “How can we help you today?”
Stella forced back a tear as the tenderness of Tommy’s voice soothed her.
“Today…” Timmy echoed faintly behind Tommy.
Through her sniffles, Stella said, “I think I just lost a dear friend of mine and Buck was horribly snappy towards me this morning. I feel that I can simply do nothing right.”
“Everything will be fine, Stella. Let us help you with what we can.” Tommy placed a tender hand on Stella’s shoulder.
Tommy walked Stella over to the supply shelf, Timmy scurrying after them, and pulled out a shimmery roll of pristine white wrapping paper and a bundle of blue ribbon. “I can offer you some good news. First, we just got a shipment of wrapping paper in today, which just so happens to be Colton’s favorite color. Let’s get that smock wrapped up nicely for you.” Tommy passed the wrapping paper and ribbon to Timmy. “A good gift in the right color of wrapping can go far in mending a friend’s wounded pride.”
Stella handed Timmy the smock. Hands a blur, Timmy beamed with glee as he immediately went to work on the present. Stella’s jaw hung low as she watched in amazement of Timmy’s hasty and deliberate movements.
“The second piece of good news which I can offer to you,” Tommy said, yanking Stella’s attention away from Timmy and his flailing arms, “Is the knowledge that rumor on the island has it that Buck has made mention of leaving .”
“What do you mean leaving,” Stella asked.
“After his, er, unfortunate accident, he apparently called his family back in the big city. Renèe seems to believe that when she eavesdropped, or, um, overheard his phone call a few days ago, apparently he agreed to return home for better care and attention.”
“Oh. I see. He must be feeling so stressed and alone if he agreed to move back with his family. He could never stop talking my ear off about how much he loathed life in that ‘junk rattling hullabaloo city’ as he would always say.” Stella shook her head, “It must have been such a difficult decision for him to have made.”
“Well, you didn’t hear any of that from me. But I do think it would be for the best.”
“Yeah. Yeah, I’m sure it is.”
Timmy nudged Stella’s elbow.
Stella gasped. “It’s gorgeous! Immaculate! Timmy, you are a force of miracles!”
Rosy-cheeked, Timmy handed Stella the gift wrapped with masterful skill and then he tapped on the bow and grinned as it bounced.
“Thank you!” Stella exclaimed, “Both of you have been so kind to me. You took my grey day and pained it yellow! I am so grateful.”
“As it always is, it has been our divine pleasure.”
Stella nodded at them both, her expression warm and her eyes hopeful. She turned and made her way, carried by strong and confident strides, out the door.
Alvin was mulling about lugging his ax around. He felled a cedar tree and the crackling of its trunk as it split and collapsed startled Stella. She leaped into the air, the fur across her body stood on edge as the seed of confidence Timmy and Tommy had planted within her shattered.
She gasped for breath as her rattled heart raced inside her chest. Stella took a step forward and stumbled over a branch, nearly dropping her gift for Colton.
Alvin looked over at her and his eyes went wide when he saw how frazzled she was.
“Oh, I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you over there. Gosh, Stella. I’m so, so sorry. I should have been more careful and aware of my surroundings before I started axing. Here, let me help you.” Alvin put his ax away and rushed over to comfort Stella.
“I didn’t mean to frighten you. Honest! What do you need? How can I make this up to you?” Alvin asked.
Hands jittery, Stella handed Alvin the present. “Please, just take this to Colton. Tell him I apologize for he knows what. Then please just let me be for the rest of the day. A nap. A nap is what I need.”
Stella pressed her hand over her heart and then turned and hobbled away.
Colton’s Cumbersome Sorrow
The whimsical notes of a grand, classical performance waltzed with his thoughts. His mind raced with the growing crescendo of tooting trumpets and piping flutes. Fingers like fire, his hands yearned to play the tantalizing sounds of all his favorite symphonic melodies. Though, alas, his hands remained at his sides, unmoving except for the subtle twitch which bewitched him.
Having once enthralled him during his multitude of journeys spanning the globe, his grand white piano now lay in a state of solitude. Wedged in the corner of his melancholic abode, it remained undusted, untouched except for in his movie memories, which ran like reruns of a long distant past he clung ever dearly to.
Eyes glossy, he looked down at his trembling hands.
Have I become old? Too old, perhaps, to play the songs my heart once sung?
Two solid knocks against the door startled him from his thoughts.
“Yes. Yes, do come in.”
His neighbor, Alvin, shuffled in past the door. He looked flustered and, in Colton’s view, mildly suspicious with both his hands hidden behind his back. Alvin scanned the room. His eyes grew wide as he took in the elegance of Colton’s home. Plush furniture beckoned him with their alluring appearance of comfort, yet it was the grand white piano in the far corner of the room which his eyes settled upon.
Colton cocked his head. “Hello, Alvin. To what, may I ask, do I owe this early morning visit?”
Alvin stumbled forward, forcing his eyes away from the piano and back focused on Colton. “Lovely piano. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it.”
“No. No, many can’t say that they have.” Colton’s voice was smooth, sorrowful.
“You still play?”
“Oh, no. Not in quite some time. I worry these hands of mine have outgrown their charismatic youth. They tremble now whenever I think to play.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Alvin shrugged, “For what it’s worth, I’m sure that when you did play, it was probably really great.”
“I was spectacular. I believed that my music would one day change the world,” Colton’s eyes lit up as he looked past Alvin. His mind sifted through memories of hopes he once had.
“Though,” Colton returned from his dip in the pool of his memories, “Now, I do still wonder, what is it that has brought you to me today?”
“Oh. Yeah,” Alvin chuckled, “Um, I ran into Stella earlier. She, uh, she asked me to deliver this to you and to tell you that she’s sorry for something. She said that you’d know what.” Alvin pulled out the present from behind his back and offered it to Colton.
Colton smiled as he took the present. He held it up, admiring the white wrapping and the bouncing blue bow. “It’s beautiful. Stella, you didn’t need to,” he mumbled to himself. “Shall I open it?”
“It’s yours… So, yeah.”
Meticulous in his unwrapping, Colton was intentional about not ripping the wrapping paper. The first thing he saw as he opened the box was a bright yellow duck embroidered into a light blue fabric. Soft to the touch, the kid’s smock fell open as he held it up to the light for a better view.
“It’s a smock?” Alvin asked.
“A kid’s smock. Meant for someone young, still wrapped firmly in the comfort of life’s youth.” Colton beamed as he gazed at the garment of clothing with deep adoration. “She’s apologized and I wholeheartedly accept.”
Alvin stood next to Colton. His lips pulled tight into a thin line as his feet shuffled underneath him. “Glad you like it. It’s… It’s something that’s for sure.”
Though the smock was much too small, Colton pulled it down over his torso. The garment’s seams seemed about ready to burst as they strained to contain his girth. “It’s nearly identical to the one I once wore as a young colt. Impeccable eye she has to be able to recapture my sense of youth in one simple gesture.”
Colton gestured for Alvin to seat himself on the sofa. “Sit. I simply must grace you with the splendor of a genuine Colton performance.”
Alvin sat as Colton hobbled his way, torso clenched near suffocatingly tight within the smock, over to his grand piano. After a moment of squirming, he finally sat himself properly on his piano bench and hovered his hands over the keys. A subtle tremor pulsed through his hands.
Colton took a deep breath.
He watched Alvin sink into the soft, luxurious plushness of his cream colored sofa. Colton could see the anticipation bubbling up in Alvin’s eyes and he grinned with pride as Alvin’s foot tapped against the floor. Colton grew giddy as he felt Alvin’s eyes glued to him.
The smock-squeezed Colton began to play. His fingers glided across the piano keys with a masterful command of creation and sound. Music filled the room and time became still.
Colton’s hand trembled. He flinched as he missed a note, and then he froze.
Though flames continued to dance in the corner fireplace, the music had ended as abruptly as it had begun. Colton’s face became stern. His flared demeanor dampened.
Colton saw Alvin fidget on his cream leather sofa. A squeak slipped out from underneath him which sliced through the thickening tension hastening its swirl about the room. Colton’s heart raced.
“Get out.” Colton said, his voice quiet as it cracked.
Alvin remained sitting. Colton could see the tension in building up in Alvin’s chest.
“Get out!” Colton roared as he leapt to his hooves. His entire body shook as rage poured out of him.
Alvin stood. His eyes shot open wide and then he turned and walked out of the house. Colton stood in the emptiness of his house. Alone.
Felicity’s Fastidious Stress
“Good morning, world! Today is a good day.”
Felicity leapt out of her hammock and pounced across the room towards the table. The citrus scent of lemon started her senses as she took a deep breath. She heated a pot of water and cut a wedge of lemon for her morning London Fog tea with extra cream. While enjoying her warm beverage, her eyes kept drifting over to the package she had spent the better part of the previous night wrapping, which lay by the cypress tree.
“Oh, I do hope Dizzy enjoys his raincoat. When Mabel pointed it out to me yesterday, I just knew I had to get it for him. He’s always a mess playing in the rain,” she giggled to herself, “an exultant mess.”
The morning sun beamed through her window and snatched her attention.
“But first! I mustn’t neglect my morning yoga.”
Felicity hopped off the chair and rolled out her bright pink yoga mat in the center of the room. She plopped down and started on her stretches. Once she felt limber and loose, she propped herself up with her forearms and toes and moved into her yoga poses and mindfulness exercises.
Breath heavy and with a forehead dripping in sweat from her exhausting yoga practice, she rinsed off her body and then slid into the dress Dizzy once told her was his favorite of those she owned. The dress was white with green and pink lines sewn into the fabric. It draped just past her knees and whenever she wore it, she felt airy.
A quick glance at her reflection in the mirror drew her to examine herself.
“Okay, Felicity, let’s think positive,” she closed her eyes and took a deep breath, “I am smart. I am kind. I am beautiful. I love my life just as I love myself.”
She opened her eyes and flashed herself a half smile in the mirror.
“It’s always easier to say than to believe.”
As she looked at her reflection, her eyes homed in on all the minute details that she felt didn’t seem quite right. Her bangs looked uneven from the haircut Tasha had given her a few days ago. Her ears were too tall. Her eyes were too big. Her face was too round. Her tail didn’t have the right shape when she stood, or when she walked, or, well, ever.
She saw herself as a walking contortion of what a girl her age should be. She had everything except for one piece, which she never could quite figure out. All she knew was that she always seemed one percent off. So, she bit her lip and glanced at herself for another moment longer. Her half smile drooped, more resembling a frown.
“I’m good enough. I. Am. Good. Enough.”
Her reflected gaze was a sinkhole. The longer she stood staring at herself, the further she fell into the pit swallowing her from the inside out. Her cheek twitched as she sniffled.
A cloud snuffed out the once dazzling sunbeams, and Felicity stood in the shadow.
She watched her chest rise and fall as she focused on her breath. “I want to do this. I’m going to do this.”
The cloud passed.
She turned away from the mirror and scooped up the package by her cypress plant. At the door, she rustled her bangs to hide the unevenness. Her clammy hand reached for the door and after one last deep breath she opened the door and stepped out into the crisp autumn air.
The salty-sweet intermingling fragrance of saltwater and cedar trees nestled her nostrils. The gentle breeze carried with it the heartfelt songs of the rustling grass and the dancing flowers. Tousled bangs brushed across her forehead as her cheeks turned rosy from the cool kiss of morning.
The beach before her, a picturesque view, called to her. Package secured under her arm, she strolled through the dew snuggled grass and onto the beach. There was a comfort in the vast, blue sea. White foam smothered the sand, yet the water always claimed it again.
Over her shoulder, she saw Dizzy’s house tucked behind the cedar tree. Slow steps drifted through the shifting sand and onto the cushioning blanket of grass which softened each step she took. Floating adrift a thought bubble cloud, her mind unanchored, her cogitation ensnared her.
“He’s not going to like it.”
She passed the cedar tree.
“He’s going to hate it. He’s going to hate it, and he’s going to hate me for thinking that he would like it.”
Outside his window, she looked in. His bright smile set free the butterflies in her chest. Their wings choked her.
“You can do this,” she sucked down air into the pits of her starved lungs. “No. No, Felicity, why are you like this? It’s just a present. He’s a friend. It’s just a present. He’ll love it and if he doesn’t… He won’t. He’ll think the color isn’t right. Did I get the size right? Nothing is right, but nothing is wrong. I did nothing wrong. Why is everything I do wrong?”
The package slipped out from under her arm. It landed in the mud.
Felicity stood outside of Dizzy’s window and glanced down at the package, now caked with mud. Time slowed as her mind imploded with woes. For a moment she forgot to breathe. Then air trickled in. Her hands twitched as she stood still, eyes glued to the muddied package. The trickle of air grew, slowly at first, like glacier runoff under a gentle sun. The air then surged as though all at once the glacier melted into a boiling torrent.
She swooped down and grabbed the package. A quick glance back through the window revealed that Dizzy was looking right at her. His eyes were wide with an inviting warmth and his smile glistening with whimsical excitement.
Felicity turned and bolted.
Drops of mud dripped from the package and splattered across the grass. From the corner of her eye, Felicity saw Alvin shuffling things around amongst a small group of cedar trees. She slowed her steps and regained control of her breathing. Alvin waved at her and she walked over to him.
“Good morning, Alvin.”
“Good morning, Felicity! Looks like you were in a rush. Is everything alright?”
Felicity shuffled her feet beneath her. “Uh, yeah. You know, actually, Alvin,” she cleared her throat, “Would you be willing to help me by taking this package over to Dizzy?” Her hands twitched as she held out the present. “I would deliver it myself, but I’ve just not been feeling well lately.”
“Of course, Felicity. I’d be happy to do anything I can to help.” Alvin grabbed the package. “Is there any other way I can support you? You look a little shaken up.”
Felicity shook her head and feigned a smile. “You’re very kind to offer, Alvin, but I’ll be alright. I just… I think I just need some time to get my head back on straight. Thank you.”
“You are so very welcome. Perhaps a stroll on the western beach might help. I often find that the sound of the wave washing over the large rocks is soothing. Could be a place to check out and do a little tightening,” Alvin spun around like a screw twirling into place.
A smile crept across Felicity’s face, and she laughed. “Yeah, I think I’ll do that.”
She eyed the package and then turned and headed over and crossed the bridge.
“It’ll take a lot more than ocean waves to tighten my screws back into place,” she mumbled to herself as a gentle breeze brushed the scent of pumpkin across her face. “Why am I this way?”
Hello! My name is JoshuaAlvin and I am a storyteller and Animal Crossing fanatic!
I am writing the story of the island villagers of Sérenûme. Contained within these chapters are the intricate details of the day-to-day happening of the island villagers.
We’ve all been curious about what life on our islands is actually like.
Let’s explore the world of Animal Crossing unlike ever before and uncover the hidden realities and truths of this game which is so near and dear to all of our hearts.
Let the journey begin!
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