As the tangerine rays of the Sun made his head glisten, a perspiring Skippy grins in satisfaction, bits of nuts poking out of his mouth.

Like his cousin Joffy had said, the trip to the 'national park' wasn't too difficult. Besides the heart-stopping jump onto the school bus and watching out for low branches that could sweep him off, the ride was quite uneventful for our furry hero.

But a gust of wind makes him stop mid-crunch. His tail springs up, so do his ears. A squirrel never lets his guard down, especially in a place full of beasts that wouldn't really offer him nuts.

The scent he picked was a little new. Hastily, he wolfs down his nuts and scurries to investigate.

The nagging murmur that stuck out to him slowly turned into a melancholic trumpet.

Skippy skips further along the scent trail until he is face-to-face with a young oddity behind some foliage.

He'd never seen this animal before. Skin thick as a tree's bark, it had a snake stuck to where its nose should be. With quivering eyes and a tentative stance, the beast backed up a bit.

"Oh, no no! Don't worry. I come in peace', Skippy motioned with his tail and eyes.

He stretches his arm out, leaving a few nuts on the ground in front of the beast.

Hesitant, the animal let its snake pick it up and drop the food into its mouth. Skippy had never seen such snakes before.

'I-I'm Trumpet.' muttered the little one.

'What are you, though?' asks Skippy.

'An Indian elephant.'

Skippy's tail perks up. A distant memory in his head from his infant days returns to him.

"I know your kind. I've seen an old Trumpet like you, lumbering with a human on its back."

Such was his excitement, Skippy didn't wait for a response, but added,

"How come you have no human on your back?"

Trumpet sulked, 'My father carried a few humans all the time, back in the desert where I am from. He died after many suns and moons of doing it. My mother was sent somewhere and I came here."

Skippy isn't smiling. This is not familiar territory for hm. Captivity was alien to squirrels, who are famously slippery and avoid capture often.

Unsure of how to handle this, Skippy tries saying something.

But a strange lump in his throat stops him.

"H-How do you find this place?"

"I didn't. I was dragged here in chains. I haven't seen my mother in a week. I don't even know how to eat."

Skippy is bemused. It's been minutes since the nuts were put there and Trumpet hasn't moved. Skippy picks up one and moves towards him.

But he retreats into the foliage. The fear in Trumpet's moist-lined eyes tell Skippy something.

And even as Skippy scratches himself in confusion, poor Trumpet trudges off in the face of an uneasy friendship.

Skippy is momentarily crestfallen. This isn't how he wanted to make friends.

"Maybe he's forgotten to survive and just needs some love and help." he wonders, before running off into the forest on a war footing, nuts spilling everywhere.