There is Life
- I stumble past the trees, my scrapped knees hitting bush and shrubbery alike. I tumble, and I fall, but I keep getting back up, running through the darkness. I couldn't stop, nor did I want to. I had to get away. Get away from him. Him and his broken bottle. Red everywhere. Run, she told me. Momma told me to run. So much red.
- My legs burned. Felt like they were on fire. My shoes come off. I keep running.
- My Hello Kitty backpack is snagged away by the gripping hands of a branch. I scream. It was dad. No dad, please. Please no. I pull away. I don't look. I keep running.
- It's hurting. My feet are hurting so bad. I feel cold.
- Momma. Please help me. Momma. Please.
- I trip.
- My face hits the mud. My bangs clinging to the grime. It stings. I can't see. I try to get up. I slip. I feel so dirty. I can't stop crying anymore.
- Momma. Please...
- I'm alone...
- Morning came. I woke up early, like momma taught me to. My dress is covered in dried mud. I had torn it from my face much earlier. It was too itchy to keep on.
- I don't even bother looking at anything but my feet anymore. I just keep watching them move. Step by step. My feet were bare. I had long since removed my soaking wet socks. They were too squishy for me. I remember having such comfy clothes. Momma made them so fluffy and warm, smelling like flowers. We'd snuggle together in winter, watching...
- I stop trying to remember. I didn't want to cry anymore.
- I pull my attention from my feet. I looked around me. For the first time, I could truly appreciate where I was. It was so warm, so sunny and green. I could hear the birds chirping, see the huge trees tower over me.
- I used to go hiking with momma and dad, when we were happy. We used to go see the animals. Take pictures of them. My favorite were the deer, but I liked the rabbits too. And the birds. I liked all of them.
- I wish Momma was here. She would like seeing this.
- That night, my stomach hurt. All of me hurt.
- I never walked so far in my whole life. Not during the walkathon at school. I couldn't keep doing it. I was hungry. It hurt.
- I clutched my stomach and curled into a little ball by a large oak tree. I could tell it was an oak tree because of the leaves. They had a distinct shape to them. My teacher taught me that.
- It was getting cold again. Crickets were chirping. I kept trying to shut my eyes. Trying to sleep. But as I open my eyes to the moon, I see them. Fireflies. They were glimmering so brightly, and so close to me. I got up, I never seen so many before. They lit up the forest like stars.
- I cup one in my hands. It didn't try to run. No struggling. It sat in my palm so calmly. It trusted me.
- I smiled, for the first time in a while, and I look up to the night sky, filled with so many fireflies. It felt good to be with friends.
- I don't know when I went to sleep. But I woke up with a bit of a scare. A fawn (That's what my teacher called baby dear) was staring at me when I opened my eyes. Of course I was scared at first, catching myself midscream, but then I realized it was a deer. One of my favorite animals.
- I asked what his name was. He backed away pretty quickly, seeming ready to run. My heart raced. I didn't want to be alone today.
- I told him it was okay, in my most gentle voice. I told him I was his friend. He could trust me.
- I didn't think it would work, but the fawn came back to me. He sniffed me, which tickled, and then brought his head close to mine.I hug him.
- I never heard of deer being so affectionate, but I didn't mind it. I wanted a friend.
- We walked together, the two of us. He showed me berry bushes. We ate them together. They were sweet.
- It felt nice, being with someone. I didn't know where he was leading me, but goodness, he was eager to lead me. I felt like the forest was guiding me with him, trailing a path for me to follow. And with every step I took, the forest seemed to stop being so scary. It felt warm, comforting. I felt at home.
- The fawn was joined by others. A rabbit soon hopped alongside us. Then a squirrel. An owl. A skunk. Porcupines, robins, groundhogs. So many animals came to us like magnets. I felt like I was in a parade, like the ones from thanksgiving. I pulled a pink bang of hair away from my face. So many friends. Where were they taking me?
- My friends brought me to a clearing. A stump was at the center, lluminated by a single beam of light. I found it difficult to walk now, but trotting was no problem. All fours seemed natural now. The animals all surrounded me, being so affectionate to me. But at the same time, they all seemed sad. What was wrong?
- Then I realized it: They were like me, wern't they? They didn't have mommies too, or good daddies, or anyone to take care of them.
- "Don't worry, everyone." I told them in my hushed, quiet voice, so as to not scare them away. "I know it hurts. It hurt me too. But just because they can't be seen, does not mean they are not with you anymore." I smile gently. I bring a yellow hoof down to pat a squirrel's head. "They will always love you, no matter what. They want to see you happy. To see you grow big and strong. I promise you that."
- I remember what my teacher used to tell me. Her face was fuzzy. But I remember her words very well.
- "No matter what darkness comes, or rain falls, when it all clears away, there is always life."
- I miss you so much momma. Thank you.
- I look to the skies. I feel an urge come over me. I leap for the skies.
- And my wings soar.
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