The Gray Squirrel’s Sky-High Journey!

In the bustling town of Baltimore, Maryland, one small, unsuspecting gray squirrel dashes through the grass near a bustling human settlement. Carrying a large stash of acorns in its mouth and hands, the squirrel sprints to a large trunk of cottonwood it calls home. Ignoring the distraught masses of humans scrambling in their own personal rushes, the squirrel persists to run to prepare for its slumber in its food-gilded tree hollow.

However, one acorn fell out of the squirrel’s overstuffed grasp, rolling away to the human’s land.

Desperate to retrieve the lost acorn, the squirrel drops its other acorns to chase it. However, countless pairs of black crows blocked its path, each shining under the sunlight, each duo marching in its own path. Once one pair of the birds disappear, another takes its place, quickly rendering the lost acorn truant in the vile rock clearing. Without hesitation, however, the squirrel scrambles through the moving mazes of filthy birds. While finally past the horde of men and crows, the squirrel finds another clearing, with the acorn nestled perfectly below a colossal, ball-shaped beast!

The round giant was massive in comparison to the squirrel. Adorned with white stars over its blue-and-red skin, the giant gingerly floated mere meters off the clearing’s dirt floor, contained only by the three ropes that tightly chain the beast to the ground. Men circle around the giant, guarding it with large pairs of blades. However, despite the giant’s size, the squirrel was unfazed. Scrambling to reach the acorn, the squirrel dashes beneath the humans in its search for the lost acorn.

The men, confused and muttering under their breaths, bumble around with their large blades, confused why there is a squirrel running rampant. With one man, seemingly the pilot of the balloon, began yelling at the squirrel, summoning men to chase it. In a frenzy, many of the men ran forth. Backs bent in effort to grab the squirrel, the men chased the squirrel.

“Get that rat out of here!” the lead pilot yelled. “No vermin!”

In their confusion, the men bumped into one another. Crows began to stampede in the clearing in pairs once more, with the squirrel tightly gripping its acorn and dashing onto the giant through one of its restraints, drawing the ire of the squirrel’s captors. The lead pilot, now enraged, waved his fists in the call to exterminate vermin from the vicinity.

“Capture it!” the pilot screeched. “Get it out!”

As confused men ran into one another, their large blades banded together to form a loud chorus of snipping. Without notice, the giant began moving upwards, escaping quickly into the sky.

“You idiots cut it?” the lead pilot screamed. “Chase it down!”

The men below, agitated, threw bits and pieces of nearby materials at the balloon in an effort to bring it down, to no avail. The squirrel hugged its acorn, watching as the balloon began to move forward, slowly moving through the vast body of the ocean. Dashing around the giant, the squirrel finds multiple sealed crates. Chewing through the locks of each one, the squirrel finds each crate packed with supplies and food. Now, there is no need for the acorn! The rogue acorn was now placed in a corner of the cabin as the squirrel dived into its first crate, ravenously cramming an assortment of nuts and berries into its watering mouth. Beyond simple joy, the squirrel’s ecstasy was only to be stopped by a loud, deafening blast below the balloon. Men roared beneath the giant balloon, with some laughing in delight.

“Fire again, boys!” the pilot from earlier commanded. “Get that rat off our craft!”

The squirrel looked down at the open seas, only to see a monstrous, house-sized monster fitted with a large, metal barrel. With the men from earlier lugging large, black spheres into the barrel, the squirrel scurried around in a clueless panic. What was the sound? Where did it come from? A disturbance to its feast, at the very least! In its confused frenzy, the squirrel was met with another blast. Climbing to the tip of the beast, the squirrel sees that some bags on the beast’s outside have been struck, leaking small bits of glistening grains. What were they? More food?

The pilot laughed in delight. “Prepare for another cannonball, pest.”

Curious to discover what the beast had on the outside, the squirrel chewed the ropes to reach them, hoping to loosen the bags. However, the attachments suddenly loosened, crashing down onto the colossal, men-infested monster below. The men cried out in fear as large bags struck them, knocking down the monster’s metal barrel, which was now pointing at the surface of the beast.

“No!” the lead pilot cried. “Somebody raise the cannon!”

The barrel blasted the plank floors of the monster, causing it to slowly sink into the sea. Men, all terrified, jumped off the beast to swim away from the sinking wreckage.

“We lost it?” a man murmured in the water. “The balloon?”

The pilot, also swimming, groaned in disdain. “Yes, you fool! Now it’s getting away! Do something, you idiots!”

The humans attempted to throw pieces of the wreckage at the balloon, all miserably failing as the squirrel’s colorful giant suddenly floated quickly away. Without any bags to pillage, the squirrel returned to its ransacking of the food crates, nestling in one as it adorned itself with the ropes and leftover food. The acorn resting beside it, the squirrel slowly falls into a deep slumber, finally resting.

As time passed, the squirrel awakened, seeing the night sky adorned with bright stars. Once again climbing to the cabin’s rails to see the land below, it finally sees land once more! However, the land was too flat to be home, the buildings too large. Where was this? Humans down below stare at the squirrel, gazing in awe as men hurry over with ropes and hooks. One awestruck man rests on a large sign that read: 


Written by Alex Jiang from Los Altos, CA