It Was So Easy


            In the forest full of animals, a tiny ray of sunshine peeked through the trees. It had just rained, and raindrops still covered the leaves and grass. Standing in the light was a tiny bunny, Penelope. She was looking through the large berry bush that she collected berries from in the summer. Through the bush and in the clearing stood bears. The bears were the most dangerous animal in the forest. Penelope was warned to not go near them, yet she felt strangely calm. 

            With the bears was the Things. It was rumored that the Things grant any group of animals their wish, but they are rare to find. From a distance they looked like grey air, floating in the forest. Penelope watched in horror as the bears started to speak. 

            “I wish to have long, sharp claws so when I’m climbing I won’t slip,” the male bear said in a deep, growling voice. He grinned and looked at the other bears. He seemed to be communicating with them through his eyes. The Things raised their arms and started to sing a song that Penelope had never heard.

            “All animals are equal. All animals are right. Together we unite. These wishes are for use, so tell the truth. All animals will be equal.” As soon as the song was over a golden light filled the clearing. It was so bright that Penelope had to look away. When her gaze returned, the bear’s claws were long, sharp, and shined in the sunlight. 

            “Let’s go,” the male bear said. The bears walked away with large grins on their faces. The Things had disappeared, and Penelope was left in shock. 

            After a few moments of sitting she hopped away toward her burrow. 

            “Mama! Papa!” She yelled on her way. “The bears, they have better claws.” 

            “Penelope, I don’t know who told you that but it’s not true.” Mama said. She had a white bushy tail just like Penelope, but her fur was a darker shade.

            “It’s true. I saw it. The Things gave it to them.”

            “Penelope please come and gather carrots. I don’t want you to talk about this in front of your siblings.” Penelope walked to the field with her head down. She was worried that if her own mother didn’t believe her, other animals wouldn’t. Penelope’s feet shuffled on the ground as she walked. Right when she was about to collect the carrots she heard a gut wrenching scream. Mama came hopping frantically with Papa tailing behind. 

            “Penelope, get your siblings and go inside,” Mama said. Her voice was shaky but she was trying to stay calm. 

            Penelope went inside with all seven of her siblings. They huddled together in the corner of the burrow. They were still waiting for Mama and Papa when they heard leaves crunching outside. The footsteps seemed heavy, as if they were carrying huge boulders. There wasn’t a sound in the cave, everyone was holding their breath. Then silence. Still no one took a breath. There wasn’t any sound outside. It was as if the world was paused. Suddenly Mama and Papa walked in. Penelope let out a sigh of relief.

            “Penelope, you were right. The bear’s claws are sharper and longer. It’s not safe to roam outside alone,” Papa said.

            “What are we going to do?” Penelope asked. Papa and Mama stared at each other before shrugging.

            “I don’t know. This is our home so we’re not leaving. But my children, you must stay safe. Don’t go near the bears and if they approach you hide.” Mama said sternly. The littlest of Penelope’s siblings hopped toward Mama and curled up next to her before starting to speak. 

            “I wish I had claws Mama. It would make me so much cooler and powerful, and they’re so easy to get,” he said innocently. Mama didn’t say anything, she just simply watched the little bunny as he drifted off to sleep. The rest of Penelope’s siblings hopped toward Mama and fell asleep. Unlike them Penelope was not tired. She followed Papa outside to collect more carrots. Penelope couldn’t stop thinking about what her brother said. Why would anyone want to have something that hurts others?

            The next day Penelope went searching for her friend, Marlo. Marlo was a squirrel that Penelope played with in the mornings.

            “Marlo!” Penelope yelled into the empty forest. She was about to turn around, thinking Marlo forgot when she heard a twig snap. 

            “Penelope? Is that you?” Marlo asked, stepping out from the bush. 

            “Yes of course it is. What were you doing in the bush?” 

            “The bears came through the forest just a moment ago. They were looking for little animals to eat.” Penelope stared at Marlo, her gears turning, before finally hopping toward him.

            “I have an idea. What if we find the Things and tell them what the bears are doing. They would never be okay with this. The bears broke their promise and are misusing their wish.”

            “I don’t know if that’s a good idea. The bears are still out there, it ‘s dangerous,” Marlo said nervously. Penelope was upset. No one seemed to want to stop the bears.

            “Fine, you go be a coward. I’ll save all the forest creatures by myself.” Penelope walked away deeper into the forest. She didn’t know where she was headed, she just knew she had to stop the bears. 

            Penelope had been wandering the forest for hours searching for the Things when she heard a scream coming from her burrow. Penelope’s ears perked up and she hopped as fast as she could back home. Her heart started racing as she ran. 

            Once she got home she saw the destruction outside her home. There were trees fallen down, their carrots were sprawled everywhere, and there were huge footprints on the ground. The bears had clearly been here. Penelope followed the footprints inside the burrow.

            “Mama? Papa? Are you here?” She asked, her voice shaking. The burrow was empty and destroyed. Their belongings covered the ground. Penelope looked closer and noticed there was blood on the walls, she took a sharp breath in, as realization hit her. Tears slipped down her face. The bears had killed her family. Mama, Papa and all her siblings. She was all alone. Penelope’s whole world had just been crushed because of the bears. The horrible, awful bears. They killed so many animals, and it was so easy. Penelope stepped outside. The world seemed like it was spinning. But she could still make out the grey figures standing in front of her. The Things had finally come. 

            “What’s wrong little bunny?” One of them asked.

            “The bears killed my family. They’ve been killing a bunch of animals. They lied to you. They aren’t using their claws for good, they’re terrorizing the creatures of the forest,” Penelope cried. Without saying a word the Things floated away. Penelope was left confused in the silent forest. She was about to go find Marlo when the Things came back with the bears. 

            “Don’t worry little bunny, we’ll take care of them,” they said. The Things held their hands over the bears claws just as before. Except this time there was a bright purple light. Penelope looked at the bear’s claws and saw they didn’t even have any.

            She didn’t know if she was imagining it but the forest seemed brighter. Like all the hurt and worry had been disappeared.

            “There, now they won’t hurt any other animals again,” the Things said before disappearing into the air. The bears looked at each other, their eyes grew wide at the sight of their claws. All at once the bears started screaming and running in all directions. Penelope watched them in amusement.

            “Penelope!” Marlo called. Penelope turned to look at him. “I heard what happened and I’m so sorry.” Marlo reached over to give Penelope a hug. 

            “Don’t worry. The bears won’t be back anytime soon,” Penelope said. Her eyes were puffy and tears still trickled down her face, but she wore a slight smile. 

            “If you want you can join me and my family. We would love to have you.”

            “I would love to. Thank you Marlo.” Penelope and Marlo headed off to Marlos home. Penelope’s family was now avenged, and the bears never killed another animal again.