A shadow of uncertainty
“Come on, Lyddia!” Adam yelled. “You’re slower than my grandmother!”
Lyddia giggled as she chased Adam into the forest. “What exactly are you showing me again?”
“I told you already! It’s a secret hideout in a super secret place. Last time I was there, I saw like, a thousand different types of animals!”
“Ugh, you and your animals.” Lyddia said, unimpressed.
“They’re beautiful, trust me.”
“Alright fine, but let’s hurry before mom finds out.”
As they hurried themselves farther and farther into the woods, Adam would stop and point at different kinds of frogs, insects, birds, and plants while Lyddia just followed him, half listening and half regretting having gone adventuring with her delusional little brother.
As she walked in thought, she heard a rustling of leaves behind her. Before she turned around, she looked to find Adam, only discovering now that he was almost out of sight. She twirled herself around, but only saw the shadow of a creature running in the opposite direction. It only took her a second to take action, and she followed it.
Lyddia took off running towards the animal, only to be led into rose bushes.
That’s odd, she thought. What are roses doing in the forest?
Despite this peculiarity, she pushed through her pain and managed to only get pricked a few times.
She followed the shadow into the dark part of the forest until she could no longer see the outline of the creature. She stopped running and caught her breath. Lyddia looked around and couldn’t place exactly where she was. All she knew was that she was exhausted from running, and needed to rest. She knew that she was in the most dangerous part of the forest, the part that the whole village talked about, the part that children got swallowed up in.
Lyddia trudged through the woods until she found a small cave. Nothing too special. She thought But it’ll do for a quick nap. She pressed her back up against the wall and started to doze off.
Lyddia dreamt of finding Adam, and she wished so badly that they were together. She was worried sick about him, and needed to be reunited.
When Lyddia woke up, she found herself sitting in the same position as before, and was in a cave, only it was much larger, and covered in beautiful ‘smudges’ of every color. It seems like a Wonderland. The whole cave was closed off, and the only light visible was the glowing smudges that seemingly decorated the cave.
Not seeing Adam, she walked towards the walls in amazement, not believing her eyes. She gently ran her fingers across the wall, and when she looked at them, saw the shadow of a fox slowly fade into her hand, until she couldn’t see it anymore.
She whipped herself around, and found Adam’s sad and tired eyes gazing into hers.
“Adam!” she exclaimed as she ran into his arms.
Lyddia quickly let go of him, and scoured his face for a booboo, but to no avail. “What’s wrong?”
“Don’t get mad.” he croaked. “But when I couldn’t find you, I started to panic and ran off the trail. And when I did, I saw this fox, the most beautiful one I had ever seen. I followed her into this cave and she showed me these glowing smudges-like the ones in here. I touched one, and then the whole cave started to shake. I realized that it was going to collapse and tried to get away, but these rocks fell- and I- the rocks. They-” he blinked back his tears and pointed towards his leg.
Lyddia gasped when she saw it. His whole leg was torn to shreds, and it was caked in a thick layer of dirt. Adam had tried to stop the bleeding as best he could with his pant leg, but despite this, it still looked pretty bad
“Oh, Adam” she breathed. “I could never be mad at you, and I’m so so sorry that I left you. I should never have- I just- how did you get here?”
“ I- I don’t know. I just kind of woke up here, and then I saw you-”
“Okay” she interrupted. “I’m sorry, but we need to think.We need to find an exit.”
“You’re right.” he snivelled.
Lyddia looked around, and to her surprise, noticed that the smudges that seemed indecipherable to her before, were now intricate drawings that mapped out the entire cave.
“What are you looking at?” Adam questioned.
“I- Adam. Can you see those drawings?”
“Drawings? What are you talking about?”
“Nevermind. Just- get on my back.”
“What? No way, I can walk just fine.”
“Adam, no you can’t. You’re strong, and I’m proud of you for how well you patched yourself up, but there is no way you can walk.” she said as she bent down for him to reach her. Lyddia grabbed Adam’s arms as she pulled him onto her back.
Lyddia stopped every so often to catch her breath and look at the walls a little better. The walls seemed to tell her that there were going to be animals-lots of animals towards the exit. This confused her, but she didn’t question the beautiful artwork.
As they got closer to the exit, both Adam and Lyddia heard a noise behind them, but couldn’t turn around very fast. When they turned around fully, they found a fox sitting there.
“Lydd-” Adam began.
“Shhh” she replied
The fox stood up soundlessly and walked towards them. It stopped behind Lyddia, and started to tug at the cloth wrapped around Adam’s leg.
“Adam”she whispered. “Take the cloth off”
Adam slowly reached down towards his leg, startling the fox for a moment, but still continued to remove it.
When the article of clothing fell, the fox started to lick his wound, and the ripped and bloodied flesh seemed to fuse together and heal.
Adam gasped and stared at his leg for what seemed like forever, and only until the fox backed away did Lyddia put him down.
“Thank you.” Adam said
The fox seemed to understand him as she nuzzled Adam’s leg in appreciation. She started to walk away, only to look back at the two children huddled together, and then dashed away.
“That was-” Lyddia started to say
“Amazing” Adam finished.
“Yeah. Now let’s go.”
As soon as Lyddia helped Adam to his feet, they started to dash away towards the exit, just as quiet and graceful as the fox had.
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