A House Hippo Adrift In The Manitoban Wilderness
A House Hippo Adrift in the Manitoban Wilderness
The North American House Hippo is a proud species of hippo that is very tiny and lives in your home. This is the found journal of one who found herself outside the warmth of a house and in the Manitoban wilderness.
- For gigglecreek.
Recently, while cleaning up a mess around my beloved cat’s food dish, I came across the strangest item! A tiny pad of paper! It had water damage, like it had been out in the recent snowfall, and was filled with tiny writing. And the illustrations! Miniature and incredibly photo-realistic.
The events chronicled in this small makeshift journal explain a few odd things that have occurred in my home throughout the years, such as tiny footprints in peanut butter sandwiches, why we must never leave our potato chips out overnight, and nests of fluff we find during spring cleaning! We’ve experienced these things for years, well before we moved into this home in 2001 and I had just assumed that was what happened in houses.
I am filled with the giving spirit, dear readers, and in this season of sharing, I can’t think of anything better than this curiosity!
I was, as is customary, swimming in the dog’s water dish with my mother, Hildagrant Crommett the 18th, when suddenly it was brought to our terrified attention that while the dog was out, the household still contained a dangerous foe: the cat! We fled, but I, in my confusion and terror, went not under the couch with mother – but out the door, which was ajar for reasons I did not know.
And this was how I found myself in this cold, unforgiving wilderness. No soft carpets! No warm linoleum! A cold I had not felt since the time I took a swim in a forgotten slushie chilled my bones!
I am the youngest daughter of a proud line of Crommetts. We have been inhabiting this house for generations untold, from the far off misty times of the early 2000s, when my ancestors first came across from the old country in a moving van. I am meant to be the heir to our great legacy, but I have failed the Crommett line with my foolishness, my foolhardiness.
Oh why did I not run with mother!
Happiness is a bowl of water fresh from the sink!
It was like a nightmare. I simply ran, not knowing what would come next.
Foul beast! Why have you ruined my peaceful life!
Day 1: I am still trapped outside. Each time the door opens, a cat swarms up to it! She ignores me in my hiding spot, but there is no safe way to reach the door with her at guard. I expect I would make a tasty morsel for one such as her! A fate that befell my father, who was dismissed by the humans as a ‘truly ugly mole’ when the foul cat left him like so many mice on the bathroom rug!
Oh the indignity!
I have been eating leftover bits of cat food when this strange outdoor cat is not present.
It is different than what they feed the one indoors. I do not like it. I do not like this strange, outside world. I want to be inside, in the warmth, with mother, with the other Crommetts. All cuddled together in our fluffy wallow. But though I may die out here, my story will one day be discovered, or so I pray.
Another fiendish feline. They dog my steps. Cat my steps. Oh, I am too upset for wordplay!
This very journal will contain my thoughts, my epitaph. A chronicle of my ill-fated journey, that I am unlikely to return from, like my long departed father! I pray that it gets to my dear mother, who must be worried sick about me. Oh, how I wish I was with her in our nest of fluff beneath the couch! The good couch, the grey leather one!
This journal, my last mark upon this earth! A true Crommett would not go into the unknown without a record of their passage! Though you may not see it again, know that I am always writing in it.
Day 2: I truly mislike this cat food. There is still no way inside, to the warm safety of my home. I have begun to explore this place when the cat is absent, and discovered that there are strange things here, like stairs, but with large hollows! I wonder what is at the bottom, but I know it to be a one way trip if I journey upon it, as they do not have plush carpet with which to pull myself up once I have gone down.
But it is dangerous to remain here. I believe the outdoor cat has become suspicious of my presence, and my tiny bites in her food.
Mother, how I wish you were here to guide me!
This is a silly design, by silly people.
Day 3: I have discovered that these strange, pseudo-steps lead to food! It was a matter of hopping down, a tremendous task!, but I have managed it as I am a brave scion of Crommett. Now I feast on the cold, but delicious green stuff that is so much like the potted plants we ate back home, in the better days.
It is cold. Colder than even the basement. At night I huddle for warmth beneath whatever shelter I can find. O mother! How I miss you!
As I started, staring down at the abyss. If I absolutely must, then I shall face an uncertain future. And so I went down into the unknown.
A veritable feast awaited me!
Day 4: I have found shelter beneath a large structure, which serves no discernible purpose. It is not visited by the humans, and a fence keeps out the dog. I am safe here.
And keep out!
Day 5: I grow direly thirsty. The water has ceased to be water, it stays cold and fast to the ground, and the winds grow harsher. I believe the magpies call to taunt me. The cawing! The cawing!
I still have no idea what this structure is for. A monument?
Already the memory of peanut butter has begun to fade. Will I never sleep in my warm nest again? Never again eat scraps of food whilst the humans sleep?
Perhaps a monument to the folly of man, who know not the simple pleasures of hiding in their houses and stealing cat food and chips.
Day 6: I feel as if I am adapting to this new, terrible environment. I found that the white upon the ground actually becomes water if I put it in my mouth! It was a hard task to do. I remembered a song from my youth, ‘Don’t Put It In Your Mouth’ – but in my thirst I was forced to experiment.
It is cold, but refreshing, giving me the strength to soldier on.
Perhaps I can carve a new life in this world. Perhaps I was born to be an explorer.
There is much here that I had never dreamt of!
That hit the spot!
Day 8: I am lord of this kingdom. I have never known a freedom such as this.
A long journey, but I made it solely with an urge to know more about this strange world I found myself in.
A door! Stairs that one could nearly climb, but yet they lacked proper carpeting to cling to!
But I had come so far. Could I return to my old ignorance?
Day 10: The temperature has dropped. To hell with it, I’m getting back inside one way or another.
My tiny hippo buttocks were ready to fall off from this damnable cold.
Day 10 and a half: Through much effort, I, Wyndham Crommett the Third, have discovered a path, by knocking over a shovel and climbing it to get up the steps. Now I wait, and watch for my chance.
All around good job, Wyndham!
Day 10 and three quarters: The door is opened to let the dog out! I race inside, praying I am unseen! I write as I run, as my story is too important to [undecipherable scribble]
They suspected nothing.
Day 11: I am reunited with mother and tonight we dine on the good cat food. If we are lucky, there will be chips left unattended in the living room.
I have never been happier.
Thank you to LeaperSonata for her betawork!
Fun trivia: I did all these pictures in a -30 windchill without gloves or a coat and running up stairs and hills. Combined with the angle a lot of the photos were taken (less than an inch off the ground) this is the yuletide fic that nearly killed the author.
Wyndham played by Hipster and Hipstah, baby hippos from the House Hippo habitat in my home
Hildagrant played by Zucchini, one of the adult hippos from the House Hippo habitat
Foul Feline #1 played by Nimbus in his first starring role
Foul Feline #2 played by Rocksteady in a walk-on
Legs played by ???