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It's Too Hecking Hot 2019: Raising Shell

The bright oppressive sun hung high in the east heating the blowing breeze like the torrid waves emanating from burning scorching flames. The loud screeching of the scavenging gulls, and the aromatic salty scent of the tumbling waves welcomed the group as their clawed paws dug into the gritty sand with every step. Each carried a different set of supplies. The ivory wolf, Elska, carried an oversized bag hanging from her shoulder, and a pair of pails in her grip. The food savvy vixen, Aria, in a jumbo pair of sunglasses brought a handwoven wicker basket. In both of the robust smilodon's, Idunn, arms slung hefty parasols, and the petite bunny, Esja, brought a plump tote while a wide floppy hat sat atop her head.

Eyeing the length of the isolated beachy shoreline Elska pointed to a dry spot not far from the water. Without exchanging a word they started setting up their makeshift shelter for the day. Idunn drove the spiral anchor of the parasol into the sand, and gave it a few shakes to ensure it went in deep enough. Esja pulled out a large thick sheet to spread out underneath the parasol, and then laid out another sheet at it's side where Idunn anchored the other parasol giving them a large spacious shade to hide from the sun.

Nestling in the shade Aria set the basket aside before stretching across the sheets. "This is going to be great. What should we do first?"

"Please do not forget, we are here to collect the shells first," Elska said.

Idunn leaned close to the bunny with a mischievous smirk, "Ain't ya nervous being the only carrot cruncher in this here group o' meat munchers?"

"Shouldn't you be the anxious one considering you're the only cat near all of this water,"

"Before any of you run off, I think it wise if we all put on a bit of coat conditioner." Elska pulled​ out a large jar and popped off the lid.

The remaining three exchanged glances with each other before Aria spoke up. "Why would we do that?"

"But of course you shall, lest the seawater dry out your fur." Elska offered them the sweet smelling cream.

"But we shed anyway." Aria waved away the cream.

"But, it will lead to breakage, and you would not want to look patchy." Elska kept offering the cream.

"We're in our summer coats, they're short anyways." Aria continued turning away from the cream.

"Oh hon now don't take this the wrong way, but that's the dumbest thing since tappers on a chook." Idunn too passed on the jar.

Staring at them until she narrowed her eyes Elska pulled her lips back, and flattened her ears letting out a low growl unamused with the comparison.

Idunn reached over, and snatched the frisbee poking out of the bag. Motioning towards Aria, "Let's go." She sprung up, and made a mad dash towards the water.

"Byeee." Aria sang scrambling to get away. She hopped into the water, and tried to catch the frisbee gliding towards her while kicking the water around in large splashes.

Esja put her paw to her mouth, and chuckled taking the wolf up on her offer.

"Thank you." Elska huffed warming the cream between her paws, and then coating herself down starting with her ears.

"Oh, did you happen to bring a brush for the sand with you, for afterwards?"

"But of course,"

"You're always so prepared, perfect for traveling with." Esja dipped the pads of her paw into the jar to use more. "So, what should the two of us do first then?"

The wolf slid her paws across her face giving her skin a light tug. "Mayhap we can collect shells beforehand, we would not have to worry then later,"

"Yeah I suppose that's fair, but the sun is awfully hot at the moment. We could take a swim and cool off first?" Turning around the bunny pointed to her back.

Spreading the cream across Esja's lavender fur Elska nodded. "However if we were to do that as we dried in the sun, steam would collect in our fur,"

"I understand your reasoning-" She switched with the wolf, and coated Elska's coarse fur. "-but since we are in our summer coats they won't really hold water all too well to begin with,"

"True, but our wet paws will track much more sand." Coating her pads once more she started on her lower half.

"Okay, but that's not really a big issue considering we're likely to rinse off the shells no matter what." The bunny even coated the bottom of her paw pads.

"Hmm, I think we are not going anywhere." Elska crossed her arms.

"We really aren't. OH, how about a game of roshambo?"

"Stone, parchment, snippers?"

Throwing her head back Esja laughed, she would not believe that wasn't intentional. "Yes, rock, paper, scissors. The formal name is roshambo,"

"Mmm, leaving it to chance. Alright,"

They balled their fists across from each other, and hit their open palms. Counting down they flung their fists out in front of themselves. Elska's remained balled, and Esja pointed two digits.

"Shells 'twill be." The wolf handed off a pail before standing.

"Alright, but we are going in the water afterwards,"

"'Tis a deal,"

They scoured the shore for intact shells. Sifting through the sand, and wading in the shallows. They found just enough to cover the bottom of the pails.

"Why did Freydis need to the shells?" Esja asked picking up a white and peachy conch shell.

"Paints she told me,"

"Ohh that sounds quite interesting." The bunny examined the shell until something poked out from the opening. She shrieked while tossing it back to the ground.

Laughing so hard she howled. The wolf dropped her pail onto the ground doubling over causing Esja to puff out her cheeks. She threw her pail aside, and smacked the water trying to splash her friend.

"And you suppose that is a splash?" A wide grin bore her teeth, and Elska bound into the water. Her wagging tail making mini splashes behind her. She gave her retaliation splash showering the bunny.

Splashing each other until thoroughly soaking one another. Droplets dripped from the dense fur of their cheeks, and they shook the excess water off spraying it in all directions. Wide smiles stayed plastered across their faces.

"Look out." Aria shouted, and pointed to the frisbee zipping towards them.

Stepping aside Esja managed to avoid the frisbee, but the disc caught Elska off guard causing her to fall in the water. She stood back up, u she took swift glances around before dashing through the shallows in frantic disorder circling around and around.

"Oh my, she's going to be so embarrassed when she snaps out of this." Esja stood watching.

"I know​, right?" Aria said snickering through her teeth.

Idunn went to fetch the frisbee before joining the pair of onlookers. She couldn't help, but laugh. "Oh fer sure." Eying the frisbee she tossed it towards the wolf, and much to her elation a blur of white chased after the disc shaking it between snapped jaws.

"Ooooooohhhh," The vixen teased playfully​ shaking her paw.

Giggling Esja shook her head. "Maybe you should try to stop her instead,"

"Fine, fine." The big cat relented, and tried to time the zipping wolf. Adjusting her stance she pounced. Missing she dove into the water face first.

Losing sight of the rushing wolf who escaped Aria let out a bellowing laughter while the bunny took some steps backwards. Something tackled her into the water, and she lost sight of the azure sky in slow motion. She reached out flailing to no avail.

Nodding to herself, so stopping the rampage fell to her. Esja stuck her leg out underneath the water, and as the white blur came rushing in she tripped tumbling into the water with an overwhelming splash. "You're welcome,"

Crawling towards the meeting point of water and sand Elska panted before plopping onto her back, and let the waves wash over her. "I have a feeling that, that I did the thing?"

"Mm hm." Esja nodded.

They all laid besides the wolf, and stared up to the few scattered clouds above them.

"You know what we should do? We should build a sandcastle." Aria stretched out her arms.

"Hmm alright,"

Aria kneeled in front of a mound of sand. She tried to mold the sand to keep its shape, but her constant rework rounded out the sides. The sad attempt at a sandcastle looked like they just dumped sand in a pile several times over. Idunn added a sloppy moat around the sandy mound, and an accidental slip of her arm collapsed a side.


"It's fine, it's fine, that could be the uh the uh the front gatey part. You know that door thing,"

"Ya' mean a drawbridge?"

"Yeah, a drawbridge." The fox tried to work the collapsed side to their advantage.

At their side Elska and Esja worked on their sandcastle. Their sandcastle in the least managed to hold its shape better. They had four tower like piles in the corners, and recognizable walls connecting them together. Elska tried to etch brick patterns into the sand with a claw, but the lines became uneven and bumpy. Esja pinch the top edges every few inches, and smoothed them out.

"Do you think 'tis perhaps missing something?"

"Absolutely, it needs some elegance." Esja sifted through the sand. "Some flair to make it shine." She pulled something from the ground, and began brushing away the extra sand. "A crest of the mighty foreboding sea." She pressed a flat shell into one of the sides of the sandcastle.

Elska laughed at her dramatic tone. Eying the shell she gasped after a few seconds. "Oh no, I had forgotten. We still need to collect shells,"

"Don't worry, but how about a good swim beforehand​.?" Esja smiled with her paws clasped together.

"Mmm, well I suppose that would be alright,"

Dipping her head back into the water over and over she let the trickle roll down the length of her snout. A rumble in her belly caused Aria to stay still in the water. "I'm hungry." She announced with enthusiasm hoping to stir up the hunger in everyone else. She lost track of the time they spent in the water, but she could always count on her stomach. "Let's take a break for lunch,"

"Sure does sound like that'll hit the spot just right," Idunn said.

The other two didn't need any further convincing, and as a group they swam to the shore. They shook off the water that soaked them from ear to tail, and brushed​ off the sand sticking to the bottom of their paws before they nestled underneath the parasols.

The fox placed the rectangular basket in the center opening up the lid. "There's more than enough to go around."

Paws dove into the basket shifting things around. They pulled out several bottles of Tiger Fiz, a stack of sandwiches, chips and pears. Passing around the food among themselves they tried not to scarf everything down at once.

"Aww, no foxitos?" Elska pulled apart a bag of chips.

"Foxitos? Pfft, everyone knows Chip's chips are better." Idunn snatched a pawful from the bag. "Now the real question is why ain't there no dip." She tried to shove them all into her mouth.

Biting into an extra juicy pear Esja kept switching in between the fruit and the peanut butter and jelly sandwich to keep the bread from sticking to the roof of her mouth. "A fruit salad would have been quite refreshing, but the pears are delicious,"

Glaring at her friends, was this how Elska felt about the coat conditioner? The vixen didn't like it. Opting to pop the cap of a bottle of Tiger Fiz. "Thanks a lot guys." She chugged down the fizzy drink.

A smug smirk crossed the wolf who eyed Aria. "Oh, what is it that you mean?"

"Fair enough." The vixen conceded.

"Would y'all quit batting the ball around, or else the gulls'll steal ya' food." Idunn motioned to the tentative gulls surrounding them inching closer letting out the occasional squawk.

"When did they-" Aria glanced around their parasols, the gulls weren't there a moment ago. "-get so close?"

"Should we offer them a bit?" The bunny tore off a piece of her sandwich.

"Mmm I do not think so, 'twould only encourage them." The wolf stuffed​ the rest of her sandwich into her jaws, and tried to chew it down adding in chips between chews.

Rushing through their lunch break the gulls got closer pushing past the boundaries. The group needed to shoo away the embolden birds. Swinging their arms around to protect their food. They growled to try to scare the flock away, but to no avail.

"Alright y'all I've got this." Taking a swig of her drink she shook her shoulders to loosen up. Planting her paws into the sand a rumble rolled in her chest​, and she let out a threatening roar scaring the gulls enough​ scattering them to panicked​ flapping.

Rejoicing in their small victory they turned​ their attention back to their food.

Taking a glance around the pair of pails caught Elska's gaze. She gasped after a few seconds. "Oh no, I had forgotten. We still need to collect shells,"

"Oh don't ya' worry we'll get to it." Idunn reassured her.

"Mmm yes, I suppose you are right." The wolf nodded satisfied.

Lollipop sticks poked out from the corners of each of their mouths. Idunn posed on her side while everyone else piled sand on her from the waist down. Aria tried to mold the general shape, Elska refined the sand, and Esja focused on etching the smaller details.

"Now sculpt me like one o' those there Quetzal girls." Idunn couldn't help, but laugh at her own joke.

"We're turning you into a mermaid." The bunny used a worn down twig to create scales in the sand.

"No, she's gonna be a furmaid." Pushing sand into a mound the fox found a shell poking through the side. With a smile she hid it in her paws. "What does every good furmaid need?"

"Faithful underwater companions?" Elska said.

"A mesh bag to keep belongings from floating away?" Esja said.

"Probably and okay yeah definitely, but I mean more like-" She opened up her paws. "-sea jewelry,"

Eying the shell Elska gasped​ after a few seconds. "Oh no, I had forgotten. We still need to collect shells,"

"Aww don't worry we'll do it when we finish this." Aria pointed to the half sculpted smilodon.

"Mmm yes, I suppose that would be the best idea." Crossing her arms the wolf nodded.

Esja sat splayed on the gound, and drew in the sand with a thin piece of driftwood. Alongside her stood everyone else drawing the background to their underwater picture. Someone dragged driftwood in curved patterns in an attempt to make waves. Another jabbed at the sand to try to simulate the seafloor, and the third tried their hand at drawing a school of fish. Finishing a piece of seaweed the bunny started on some coral.

"Doesn't it feel like we're forgetting​ something?" Esja used small strokes.

"Sorta yeah,"

Elska stood still watching Esja finish the coral, and at its base drew a small clam with a pearl. She gasped after a few seconds. "Oh no, I had forgotten. We still need to collect shells." Grumbling she shook her head. "Alright that is enough, drop everything. If we do not collect the shells now, we will not collect them at all."

"When 'yer right 'yer right,"

Dropping all their pieces of driftwood they left their sand art behind in favor of the pair of pails. Pairing up they scattered across the sandy shoreline to finish their main mission of shell searching. If they didn't​ do it now, it would keep getting pushed back.

The sun hung off center towards the west, and despite how long wandering under it sapped them of their drive the group managed to fill the pails full of shells. They left the assortment of shells on one end of the parasols while they nestled underneath the rest.

Finding it hard to fight against her heavy eyelids in the unforgiving heat Elska yawned. "I am ever so glad we have finally finished our task,"

Receiving an array of grunts of approval before lying still wordless. A combination of the need to escape the sun, their restless day, the lulling churning of the waves, the supple sand, and the good company she found herself unable to hold off any more. They all fell victims to their drowsiness, and the only thing left to exchange were snores.