Pentaquod lay curled up under the overhang of a tuft of grass. His breath fogged up in the cold air every time he exhaled. He was in big trouble, no pixie could remember the last time one of them had survived the night away from the colony. When you are twenty centimetres tall, there are a lot of animals that would look at you as dinner. The little pixie adjusted his position slightly as he lay there. Something was digging into his back. He reached behind him and felt it retract when he touched it. He jumped up in shock, in the cold muddy ground was the tip of a wriggling earthworm. Breathing a huge sigh of relief, Pentaquod sat back down carefully, away from the wriggling worm. He was careful partly because he didn’t want to make a noise and alert any predators of his presence, but also because his right wing was badly torn. It was the reason he was away from the colony in the first place, he had gotten into a fight with a rat earlier when he flew too close to its nest. With his wing injured he couldn’t fly anymore and tried to make it back to the village before darkness fell when he knew the rat would try and track him down. Rats are opportunistic hunters but they would never turn down a pixie meal if it were offered.
Suddenly Pentaquod stiffened, he had heard a rustle in the bush a couple of feet away. Straining to hear the slightest, he held his breath. After the slowest thirty seconds of his life he thought he may have heard a slight scratching sound. His mind instantly remembered the giant bloodthirsty rat that was, no doubt, hunting him. The more he thought about the rat, the more tense he became. He was just about the start running again when the leaves parted and Pentaquod found himself face to face with a sniffling hedgehog on his nightly foraging expedition.
The little hedgehog wasn’t interested in Pentaquod and nudged him aside as he went and sniffed the ground where the earthworm had been minutes before. Pentaquod watched as the hedgehog sniffed and snorted around the tiny hole. The earthworm was long gone but the hedgehog, obviously, wanted to make doubly sure. Once the spiny little fellow was sure his slimy prey had left, he turned his attention elsewhere and marched through the undergrowth leaving Pentaquod alone with his thoughts again.
Pentaquod sat down slowly again, still concerned about attracting unwanted attention. As he sat down he noticed that his joints were stiffening up in the cold night so he rubbed his tiny hands together to try and stay warm. After half and hour of being silent and not hearing anything, Pentaquod started relaxing. His legs continued to stiffen up so he decided to jump up and down to get blood to his muscles but stopped very quickly. The jumping was putting a lot of excruciating tension on his torn wing so he lay down carefully again. He started dozing off into a very uneasy sleep.
Pentaquod’s eyes shot open suddenly as he glanced around, trying to figure out what had woken him. “There is was again!” He thought to himself as something rustled lightly on the other side of the same bush the hedgehog had appeared through. He looked up at the sky hoping that he might see it lightening up with dawn but the stars still shone as brightly as ever in the cold dark night. Pentaquod sat up slowly, not wanting to alert whatever was on the other side of the bush. He hoped with all his might that it was the hedgehog back again. There was a light crunch of frost behind the bush, the little pixie felt that whatever was behind the bush was a lot larger than the hedgehog.
One of the leaves moved to the side as a monstrous one-eyed snarling rat. Pentaquod shot up, he had no idea what to do. He was never supposed to get this close to a rat, he had always been told that but never told what to do if you found yourself too close to a rat. He looked at his surroundings, hoping for anything that might help him defend himself. He saw some tiny stones on he ground flung them at the barbaric beast now approaching him.