Intruder at the Outpost
A tale of adventure and mystery that never leaves the backyard.
The sun barely peeked above the trees as our two heroes neared the long unapproachable outpost.
The small team was made up of an upstart rookie on his first exploration assignment and veteran who no longer wanted to count which time this was for him.
Snow and ice long gone, the isolated structure’s doors groaned in protest upon being opened. A pyramid of daylight slowly expanded on the floor as the doors swung out and our explorers set sights upon the previously vacant interior.
But vacant it was not.
Evidence of occupancy was clear at every glance. Discarded shells from a poorly sealed bag of bird feed? Check. Gaping hole in the tractor seat with most of the foam missing from inside? Check. Pile of small black “pellets” next to the shovel? Check.
The outpost was invaded during the winter and there wasn’t a thing that could be done about it.
After a quick inspection of the interior, it was decided that the uninvited creature was long gone. Shaking their heads in disbelief, our adventurers began the yearly ritual of taking out, cleaning up, and putting back all equipment and items. Only the solitary upper shelf passed inspection and was left untouched. The rest of the facility was turned upside down, and upon completion, the pair returned home.
Days later, duty called.
Their return to the outpost was required in order to claim a tool in need. A tool located at the very back of the previously uninspected upper shelf. A few items had to be moved in order to secure it, and when doing so, a faint rustling was heard.
“I think it’s still in here,” exclaimed the veteran.
“What?!” screamed the rookie as he tripped over himself trying to get out of the shed.
Laughing, the elder of the pair began to remove more items, slowly and deliberately, still not absolutely sure there was something hiding on the small shelf. As shells and seeds started to fall to the floor along with the items being removed, the leader started to realize the real possibility that they were not alone.
The intruder suddenly leaped from the shadows in a desperate dash for freedom; a brown streak of fur that startled the veteran and nearly paralyzed the rookie - who at this point was well over 10 feet away from the shed, ready to retreat further if necessary.
“Did you see that?” shouted the man.
“It’s still in there!” shrieked the boy jumping up and down.
Now acting as a scout, the youth belted out locations as the elder shook, banged, and kicked each item being called. But nothing worked and the pair decided that backup had to be brought in. Once an enemy but now an ally, the fabled denizen of the frozen tundra was enlisted to flush out the pesky tenant. Things progressed rapidly and chaotically at this point as rakes were knocked over, buckets were overturned, and nerves were frayed.
Thankfully the chase eventually lead through the doors and to the outside, with the smaller creature scurrying under the shed as the larger animal barreled into the open, looking back and forth in a frenzy. It spotted a small, furry tail disappearing under the structure and took up pursuit.
Unfortunately that pursuit consisted of bolting back into the shed and re-checking all of the spots previously inhabited by the prey. Our little brown friend must have been chuckling on the inside as it scaled the fence and leaped into the trees beyond.
“Why did she do that Daddy?”
“I told you before buddy, some dogs just aren’t that smart.”