With the return of the sun, Otter felt the need to move. It was time for changes. She made a new holt further up the bank, away from possible floods and prepared for her cubs to arrive. On the newly-warm afternoons she would lie on her back and spend long hours cleaning her fur meticulously. Her clever fingers that could prise open shellfish, paid special attention to her tummy.
Once, the big male, who had stayed in the old holt came to find her but she chased him away, chittering and scolding. This was her time.
He bounded off, knowing that he had done his job, keeping her warm and safe during the snow and still, sometimes, there would be a fat eel left for her to eat. Otter sat outside, sunning herself and holding the eel like a stick of rock, chomping on it contendedly.
Hawk sat in a tree and watched.
“Nesting, you is,” she called down. “Egg time soon.” Vixen and farm-cat, both experienced mothers, nodded wisely and offered advice on how best to deal with cubs and kittens. Frog looked perplexed and peered into the water muttering “No spawn, no spawn.”
All her friends gathered around, the birds giving warning calls if the humans approached but Otter was happiest when one night, when the moon was full, her two pups arrived and she curled her body around them. In another two moons she would take them out and they could meet their father who would help to protect and nourish them. His scent drifted into the holt from the outside and Otter squeaked a greeting to him. He would not intrude….but he was out there, standing guard.
Word count 282
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