Book of Poems
On her sixteenth birthday, the Fossa came to tell Anuk she was ready for her education beyond the Inn. She had to return to her own home, Roese Island. She had lived her whole life with Julea and Lucca, learning all the tasks needed to run a hostelry and now they told her she must go. And when she asked why, they had exchanged fearful glances before Lucca said: It is your destiny. Then they had shoved a book of poems in her hands, as if that held all the answers to her questions. All it had done was confuse her.
Anuk was frightened and frustrated at the news of having to leave the Inn. This was her home. She argued with her parents that she could easily continue her education at the Inn. “What can I possibly learn out there that I cannot learn here or do not already know,” thought Anuk.
Anuk was angry just at the thought of having to leave the beautiful kitchen where she spent her entire life mastering what she loved the most, the culinary arts. In her anger she pushed the chair back and balanced it on its hide legs and let the chair come crashing down hard and loud onto the floor. Tearful, she bit deep down into a yamagoos biscuit and pushed her chair back away from the table.
Anuk was an avid reader. Even though the book of poems signified her inevitable departure from the Inn, Anuk stayed up the entire night and read every poem. The book of poems was so grievously real and mysterious that Anuk felt deep into her core that each poem had been her Human yesterseasons. She had never written a poem or imagined such poems could be written. She had never even come close to even imagining poems so beautifully written, and yet held such tragic and horrifying imagery, and despite her immediate future she indeed was relieved to know that she was an Assisi Human.
While without a doubt and grateful for her mother and father, the Fossa a most respected mammal Being that look like a cross between a Cat Being, Dog Being, and Mongoose Being, and with an exaggerated reputation for ferocity, she could not help feeling just a trifle curious about her real mother and father and what fulfilling her duty as an Assisi Human meant.
The book of poems made reference to a great Human Being known as Gandhi and what he said about the relationship between Human Beings and Animals Beings: “The greatness of a nation can be judge by the way its animals are treated.” Being an Assisi Human meant responsibility for maintaining harmony between Animal Beings and Human Beings. The feeling frightened and excited her.
“Do not be silly, Anuk!” she said to herself, “thinking of leaving the Inn and the whimsical adventure of returning to Roese Island!” So she pulled her chair back to the table, and finished eating. She sipped on a little cup of tea, made from the silver flenin flowers, before helping Julea with the cooking. By then, the three suns were shining in all the windows, and the kitchen had a sweet aromatic scent of baked cakes drifting throughout the Inn. Anuk began to hum a tune she learned in a dream when she was five years. She was reaching for the basket on top of the shelf in the kitchen to go collect berries in the field, and to forget her silly ideas about what she read in the book of poems, what it meant to be an Assisi Human and especially about leaving the Inn, when in walked Aye, a most bizarre and most unusual Primate Being on the Orb no bigger than a large Rodent Being, and just a tinny bigger than Auk’s hand.
“My dear Anuk,” said Aye, “I am an Aye Aye Being and I have come to complete the promise I made to the woman in the boat the moment she put you in my arms. Are you ready to leave this evening? You have grown into the young woman she said you would be, a lifetime ago it seems! I can see in your eyes you read the book of poems. The woman in the boat told me you would read it on your sixteenth birthday.”
Anuk’s stared down at a thick slate greyish and white fleck fringe at the top of Aye’s head. Aye’s prominent yellowish-orange eyes glared upwards at Anuk’s heart shaped face with quiet introspective features crowned with shoulder length plum colored hair. A long bright pink and gold silk robe draped Anuk’s long slender horse-like body down to just above her ankles and revealed a thin hoof like clog beneath her foot and toes. Anuk was sixteen hands tall, with roseate tinted skin like a sherry blossom flower. The image fulfilled the expected description of an Assisi Human. The color of her rob was also a reflection of the color of the Horse Beings of Roese Island. The Horse Being were not your usual brown, black and white or grey but myriads of shades of the colors of a rainbow. In Anuk’s enchanted voice, the Assisi trademark known to lure learners in being attentive to spoken words, “How could she know?” said Anuk confused. Anuk grasp the basket with her long slender hands with solid blue nails.
“Welcome Aye,” said Julea and Lucca walking into the kitchen in their plantigrade gait.
Anuk dropped the basket onto the ground and ran to her parents. “She asked if I was ready to leave this evening!” She nestled into Julea’s mongoose like slender-body.
“We must travel tonight!” said Aye, “Julea and Lucca, you helped fulfill a promise, and you prepared her well!”
“I don’t understand why I have to go with her! Who will help you with the baking, there’s always so much to do?”
“My darling, we always knew one day you would have to leave us. We do not want you to go anywhere but stay here with us, we loved you as our own from the moment you came into our home. That will never change. But you have your own destiny to fulfill, to be your best self, to achieve your greatest conquest. Part of that is for you to return home, to Roese Island. Aye will take you there and guide you through all your struggles,” Lucca held Anuk tightly in his arms.
“What struggles?” she hid behind her parents.
The Adventures of Anuk is an ecological story of an Assisi Human on a quest to save the world.
The First Leap—Despite her curious appearance as an Assisi Human, Anuk had a normal childhood and was happy living with her adopted parents in a faraway land where three suns pass in the sky overhead. She loved collecting yamagoos berries in the fields and helping her mother run the kitchen at their inn. Then, on her sixteenth birthday, Anuk receives a summons by the messenger Aye who says it is time to return to faraway Roese Island. Though reluctant to leave her home and family, Anuk is assured by her parents that they always knew the time would come when she must leave and fulfill her destiny as an Assisi.
Two oddly unfamiliar-looking non-human beings, EagleOwl and Kinkajou, arrive to escort Aye and Anuk because the journey ahead will be arduous and fraught with danger. They will have to cross a great sea and pass through many partems, as the lands are called there. Some of these are barren regions of devastation and waste. Others are lush paradises that are not quite as they seem, for their spectacular beauty conceals lethal secrets. Anuk realizes that even if she should survive these hazards, she has no idea what awaits her at the end of the journey.
When young Anuk embarks on this enthralling adventure, she discovers the world beyond her parents’ inn is far more fantastic and dangerous than she could have imagined.
“5 Stars” (Readers’ Favorite).
Suzanne Mondoux — A Voice for Animals (http://suzannemondoux.com) is the author of
I Believe Series coloring and activity books (a journey of discovery and gratitude with amazing animal beings);
Tragedy of the Moth (Felicity Moss is a starlet with a tragic past. Desperate to stay out of the judgmental gaze of the limelight, she disappears from public life.); and
How I Became a Dragon (A deeply affecting work of fiction based on real-life experience by conservationist Heatha that charts the course of ivory trafficking from the fierce assault on the elephant to its ultimate destination as a carved piece of ivory).