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When I regained consciousness, I found myself not in the crevice, but on a large, soft pillow inside of a house. Both curious and frightened, I gazed across the room that I was in, taking in as many details as possible. The room was perfectly square and had a door and a bed at one wall, and a dresser and a big window at the opposite wall. Next to the bed were a chair and a table that were covered with unorganized papers. In the corner across from the table is where I sat on an enormous white pillow next to the big window. Along the walls were illustrations of foxes and wolves that hung on the walls. My heart sank as I recognized the drawings, and realized that I was in that brown-haired boy’s room. “How did he find me that fast?” I thought. “And why did he bring me in here?

Seeing that there was no one else currently in the room, I turned my attention to my injured leg. To my surprise, my leg had been cleaned and crudely bandaged. Even though the person responsible for this did a mediocre job, I still felt grateful for what they had done. “But why would someone do this for me?

After briefly examining the bandages, I tried to get up on all four paws when I heard a voice outside the room shout, “I’m going to work on my book now, so don’t come in!” Seconds later, I saw the door open slightly and the boy’s head peaked into the room. After glancing at me, the boy slipped into the room and then quickly turned to shut the door behind him. Once the door was closed, the boy turned back around to see that I had already burrowed under the giant white pillow.

“Don’t worry, It’s just me,” said the boy softly as he slowly approached me. When I was within arm’s reach, the boy knelt down in front of the pillow and said, “It’s alright… I’m not going to hurt you…” As the boy started to remove the pillow, I clawed at his arm and darted under the bed and huddled in the corner. Although I knew that the boy’s intentions were good, I had to pretend that I didn’t if I wanted to keep my identity a secret. “Ah!” cried the boy as he retracted to his injured arm. After examining his injury, the boy said, “Oh, it’s just a scratch.”

“It’s alright,” said the boy again as he turned towards me. “It’s just me; I’m not going to hurt you. Trust me.” The boy lay out on the floor and approached me again, so I started growling at him. He stopped moving towards me and said, “How about some food? Maybe that will make you happy.” Without another word, the boy crawled out from under the bed, left the room, and then closed the door behind him.

Minutes later the boy reentered the room with a plate of cooked chicken in his hand. After closing the door, he quietly placed the dish on the floor and then proceeded to nudge it towards me. “Go on,” he said, “Eat it. It’s for you.” After having gone through what I did that morning, I was unable to resist the hospitality of a free, warm meal. Gradually, I inched closer to the plate until I snatched the largest piece of cooked chicken in my mouth and retreated back into the corner. As I gorged myself on the satisfying meal, the boy crouched down and said, “There we go; now we’re getting somewhere.”

Once the boy had crouched down, I suddenly noticed that he was drawing in a black book, and it only took me a brief moment to realize that he was drawing a picture of me. As I examined the book, I recognized that it was the same black volume that the boy carried the night before. Before I realized it, I had stopped eating and was staring at the boy’s book. After a moment, the boy saw this and stopped drawing. “Do you like it?” he asked, turning the book around to show me the drawing.

I ignored the graphite image and pretended to not understand the boy’s question as I continued to feast on the chicken. The boy closed the book, put it on the table, and sighed. “I guess I really am crazy,” said the boy dolefully. “Or just so lonely that I would resort to talking to a fox…”

The boy patiently waited until I had finished eating all of the chicken before he slid the empty plate to the side. Once the plate was out of the way, the boy lay down and slowly crawled towards me until I was within his arm’s reach. Cautiously, the boy extended his hand forward as he whispered, “It’s alright; I’m not going to hurt you.”

When his fingers were only inches from my snout, I raised my paw to claw at the boy’s arm again. As I did this, the boy quickly drew back his hand. “I’m not going to hurt you,” said the boy as he extended his hand again.

This time, when the boy’s hand came closer to my face, I did not retaliate. Instead I closed my eyes and let him brush his fingers through the fur between my ears. As he stroked my soft, golden fur, I suddenly realized how long it had been since I had felt the comforting hand of a friend. Before I knew it, I had begun to purr instinctively, and the boy started to scratch behind my ears. I slowly opened my eyes again to see an expression of great delight on the boy’s face. For what it was, the boy seemed to be enjoying this moment more than me, even though I was the one getting a massage.

At that moment I started to feel indebted to the boy. I felt that I should repay him, but how? What did I have that I could give?

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