This is just a little something I was asked to write on commission. It's only five hundred words, but feedback would be nice, and so would an idea for a title. I got the idea from a dream I had a while back. A Gerbilly Tale The female gerbil delicately rearranged the dark hairs at the tuft of her tail with her small black paws. Finally, her tan, dark brown-ticked fur was perfectly groomed. Her spherical eyes shined with contentment, rounded ears twitching slightly. However, where was her mate? It was daylight out, and he still wasn't back. Predators roamed the area, looking for an easy kill. The female stood on her hind legs, one front paw on the side of their burrow for balance, sniffing the air near the exit hole. Sunlight was shining down, illuminating the small space in front of her. The male's musky scent was still fresh. He must have left recently. Without a hint of effort, the female leapt up and out of their underground burrow, leaving safety behind to look for the male. The sunlight was glaringly bright at first, but the female's eyes quickly adjusted, seeing the sandy, pebbly land, sparsely spotted with small plants and hard-shelled insects, just waiting for the next life-bringing rain. The female inhaled again, concentrating on the same scent of her mate, following it. As she skittered expertly across the sand, she saw that he had gone around that monstrous pile of banded rocks, both beautiful and deadly. Those rocks may be quite pleasing to the eye with their subtle displays of red, brown, and orange, but they were so precariously arranged that a single touch could make it fall, tumbling down on an unsuspecting rodent. There he was, on the other side! Her mate, the odd one with a purple-scarred tail from an accident long ago, the one with the white ears! He was oddly balanced on two legs on a high branch of the brown, crackly bush adjacent to the rock mountain, front paws outstretched, reaching towards something…what was it? Oh, yes, there it was! It was a half-crushed cricket (still alive though, the female noted) stupid enough to climb out of its burrow to pointlessly search for some food, who had gotten caught in a small tumbling of stone. Its back legs were useless, leaving it open for predation. The female looked at the comical scene before herâ€”her rather amusing mate on two legs trying to retrieve a paraplegic cricket for a meal, while balancing on a bush branch that looked like it would CRACK! down at any moment. Yes, the female imagined a dramatic situation in which the twig of a branch would make as much noise as her littermate's neck did when she was caught by the sidewinder. Stupid, really, but it was quite flattering that her mate would go through all that trouble just to retrieve her favorite insect for her. She gave an amused squeak, and started climbing up the bush to help. Maybe if she could make the bush lean a little more to one side he could grab it. Who really cared about predators? This bush gave some protection, maybe not from jackals, but it was daytime and a tasty meal was struggling scrumptiously.