Rusty peered through the green pine needles and stared at the frozen ground below. Hunger gnawed her belly and she hurried back inside to her drey. Her grandfather was sitting against the small window in the trunk. "Something bad's going to happen" he said. "I can feel it in my tail." Rusty sighed- her grandfather said that every morning. Rusty gobbled some seeds down. "It's the greys" her grandfather was shaking.
"What are the greys?" asked Rusty.
"Stop it Reginald" her mother said sharply. "You're scaring Rusty."
"I'm not scared, what are greys?" Rusty repeated.
"Never mind" said her mother and she gave her grandfather a warning glance. She stared into her paw. "Soon these seeds will be gone" she said anxiously.
"I saw a tree. You'll never guess what grew on it- hazelnuts!" Rusty said excitedly.
"Hazelnuts" said her mother dreamily. "I haven't had those for ages."
"I can go and get some, we can fill the food store up. Please!" Rusty begged.
"OK" sighed her mother. "But don't stay out too long."
"No!" exclaimed her grandfather suddenly. "She can't!" Rusty's mother glared at him. Rusty said "Don't you like hazelnuts?"
"Of course he does" her mother said quickly, "He's being silly." So Rusty scurried off. As she approached the tree she heard a rustling. Quickly she dived into a bush and peeped out between the branches. She saw someone there. They looked like her, a big bushy tail and small paws but he was grey unlike her. He didn't look as though he could eat her so she scampered out. "Hello!" The other animal turned around. "I'm Rusty, who.....what, are you?"
"I'm Gregory" said the other disdainfully "I'm a squirrel."
"Sorry" said Rusty bashfully. "I've never seen anyone like you."
"Do you live here? I must be your new neighbour. We've just moved in from down South" said Gregory
Rusty was piling hazelnuts into her arms when Gregory said. "Why don't you bury some? Then come back and get them when the ones on the tree are gone."
"Good idea" said Rusty and she buried some nuts. "Mark the spot so you know where to dig" said Gregory. Rusty stuck a twig in the ground. "Thanks" she said and took afew nuts back home.
"We've got new neighbours." she said when she got back. "They're like us but grey." No-one spoke. "You didn't....talk to them did you?" her grandfather said quietly. Rusty nodded.
"He showed me a great way to store nuts. He told me to bury them!"
"You buried them!" Her mother squealed. "Go back and get them, quickly!" Confused, Rusty hurried back to the tree and found the twig used to mark the spot discarded on the ground. She dug down deep but she couldn’t find anything. There were only old withered ones left on the tree. Rusty was confused. Out of the corner of her eye she thought saw a flash of grey and heard a tiny noise that sounded almost like laughter...