Short Read: A Snail’s Search, Part I


Gaston was resolute: he was leaving the White, going through the Green, and hoping to find the Red. Sophie and Remy did their best to convince him of the dangers lurking in the Green – never mind the terrors of the Red. Gaston never wavered in his conviction that, somehow, some way, his path led to the Red.

Sophie and Remy were comfortable in the White. They had been there for a while now – quiet, like small, unmoving pebbles. Gaston knew that Remy wouldn’t be excited about an adventure – he simply wasn’t the adventurous sort. Remy would be happy in the White, where it could be cool and damp in the shadows of early morning. But it wasn’t safe – Gaston had seen the shiny dark eyes of the robins looking for tiny morsels…like the three of them.

Remy could be contrary, too. His shell, whorling like a whelk’s, was different from Gaston’s or Sophie’s, and he could be sensitive about it. Once, Gaston had joked that Remy looked like he belonged in the Blue, rather than the White, and Remy had been in a sulk for days afterward, barely poking his head out of his shell. Gaston hadn’t joked with him since then.

Remy the grouch

Sophie was more happy-go-lucky than Remy, but she was comfortable where she was. The Green wasn’t far, and delicious edibles thrived there. Why not stay in the White, traveling to the Green when needed, and forget about other mysterious unknown places? Sophie was content.

Sunny Sophie

Gaston finally decided to just go. He didn’t even tell Sophie and Remy when he left, slowly and deliberately climbing the Great Stone Wall, blending in with the variegated colors.

From the top, he looked back, sadly, at his friends in the White – asleep – and knew that he might never see them again. But he could not deny his restless spirit, and he followed the route that seemed to materialize in his mind as he went. How did he know where to go? He didn’t know, himself.

What was the Red that beckoned? Gaston had heard about it from other snails who had come to the White, passing through. Some told tales of hungry birds attacking, giant feet nearly stepping on them, stretches of hot dry land that nearly caused them to shrivel up. But even while the storytellers were regaling their audience with these frightening tales, he felt strangely energized by the idea of encountering creatures and having experiences, even scary ones, that were new. Gaston wanted to know what was out there, even if it meant his life would end in his pursuit of adventure.

To the sounds of Dvořák’s New World Symphony – in his head, of course – Gaston left the stone wall and headed into the Green.

Did you enjoy the first installment of Gaston the Gastropod’s tale? Stay tuned for more.