Curiosity Killed the Squirrel

Two small, blonde-haired children peeked around the corner, staring in morbid fascination at a dead squirrel. The creature lay in the grass with its feet up in an almost comically classic pose.

"What do you suppose killed it?" asked the girl.

"Cat, maybe. Or a hawk," said the boy.

"Wouldn't a hawk carry it away?"

"Maybe." The boy stepped out from behind the corner of the building and approached the squirrel.

"What are you doing?" she asked with a squeak of alarm. "Don't touch it!"

"I just want to look," he said, his expression a mixture of curiosity and disgust.

"Why? It's gross!"

"Don't be such a girl," he scoffed.

"I am a girl."

"I know, I just meant--aw, never mind." Turning his attention back to the dead animal, he knelt to take a closer look. "Wow," he said in awe. He picked up a small stick from the grass nearby and poked the animal in the side. "It's dead, all right. Looks like a cat got it."

"Yuck. Stupid cats." The girl wrinkled her nose. "Does it smell?"

"Come over here and find out."


"It's dead, it won't hurt you."

"It could have a disease!"

"I told you, a cat got it. It's fine."

Curiosity winning out over revulsion, the girl tip-toed closer, lifting her lavender gown over her ankles. She kept her friend between her and the squirrel, but was brave enough to get within a few feet. "It looks...weird."

"Of course it's weird. It's dead." The boy tentatively reached out a hand.

"You are not going to touch it!" she shrieked.

"Why not?"

"Eew!" she covered her eyes as her friend poked the carcass with one finger.

"It doesn't feel that different."

She peeked through her fingers. "Yuck!"

"Stop saying 'yuck.' It's just a dead squir--"

Both children jumped as an angry female voice rang out across the courtyard. "Arthas Menethil, what are you doing?"

"N-nothing!" the boy stammered, stepping casually away from the squirrel.

A young woman with long, golden hair stalked toward them, her blue dress flapping in the breeze. "You know better than to touch things like that! And Jaina! Why didn't you stop him?"

"I tried to," she said, pouting slightly.

"Both of you, inside! Now!"

"But Calia--"

"Don't 'but Calia' me, Arthas. Get inside and take a bath, both of you!" She spread out her arms and herded both children toward the castle.

"But what about the squirrel?" the boy asked, looking over his shoulder.

"I'll have someone get rid of it," she said with a shudder.

"You aren't going to tell Mom and Dad, are you?"

"I should! Honestly, a prince playing with dead animals? Ugh!"

"I wasn't playing with it," he objected. "Just...looking."

"You touched it," his friend reminded him.

"Jaina!" He looked betrayed.

"Well, you did." She shrugged.

Calia sighed. "If you both catch some horrible plague from that thing, I'll let you explain it to Father and Admiral Proudmoore, Arthas. In the meantime, I'll have the servants draw up hot baths for you."

"Aww, but Calia, I just took a bath last week!" he whined.

"Consider that the next time you think about touching dead animals," she said with zero sympathy.

Arthas walked off, grumbling, toward his chambers, leaving his sister to escort Jaina back to the guest quarters.

Jaina looked up at Calia and shook her head. "Boys."

The Lordaeron princess smiled. "Boys," she agreed.

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