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Foxskin

What happens when a kid gets lost in a forest?

By Max AyalaPublished 3 months ago 9 min read
2
Foxskin
Photo by Jeremy Vessey on Unsplash

I was not brave. I didn’t have courage. I couldn’t do anything without directions or orders. I never knew what to do. I took the classes that my parents told me to attend. I made friends, if they can even be called friends, with kids my teachers told me to be friends with. I did my homework when my parents told me to do it. I was in events that teachers told me to participate in.

I didn’t like school. I didn’t like my friends. I didn’t like doing homework or even attending school events. Something always went wrong in those events, at least for me.

My so-called friends always ended up mocking me for something. There was nothing I could do about it, except letting them do their thing until an adult arrived to tell them to stop. The trip to the weekend-long camp in the woods was no different.

My parents told me to attend. “It would be a great opportunity,” they said. There was nothing I could do to avoid it.

“Go play with you friends,” my teacher told me. There was nothing I could say about it.

‘Let’s play by the river,” my friends said. “It will be fun.” There was nothing I could do about it.

Walking along the river’s edge, I lost my balance, and I fell. There was nothing I could do against it. My friends screamed, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. They were probably laughing at me.

I sank into the cold river stream, and it pulled me with it. I could do nothing about it. I never learned how to swim. How would I? I was never told to learn. I lost sight of the sky and trees as the river engulfed and pulled me down. Everything turned black, and there was nothing I could do about it.

When I woke up, I felt warm air in my neck. Something was dragging me into the forest. I felt water on my throat wanting to come out. I coughed, loud and clear. I threw up all the water inside my throat. Whatever was dragging me dropped me in the floor.

I gasped for air, then panted until my breathing became normal. Looking around, I saw tall trees surrounding me. No sign of the river, no sign of the camp. Why did I feel better that way? I was lost, with no return. No one taught me how to return.

I heard growing growls next to me. A wolf stood a few feet away from me. It stared at me, its lower lip trembling with every growl. I stared back as my heartbeat increased.

Is it going to eat me? I don’t want to be eaten. I don’t want to die. Should I move? Should I fight? Should I yell? I need someone to tell me what to do.

Sweat dripped down from my forehead into my nose. My gaze remained on the wolf when a bush on my sides rattled. Something small jumped from the shadows, and it called the attention of the wolf.

I followed the wolf’s gaze into the shadow next to us. A fox stared directly at the wolf. It seemed relaxed, but after a few seconds, I realized the fox had arched its back and positioned its legs into a different direction. I didn’t even realize how or when it changed positions, but it was ready to jump out of this situation.

The volume heartbeat increased each second. It was the only thing I was able to hear as I admired the gaze battle between both animals. It was terrifying, but at the same time hypnotizing.

The fox broke the tension. It jumped to the side, and the wolf jumped into its direction with its jaws wide open. The fox just danced with it for a second, avoiding each thunderous bite the wolf threw at it. The fox managed to jump into the bushes, and the wolf followed it.

After both animals escaped, I stood up and walked in silence in the opposite direction. I didn’t want to look at that wolf again, but I would like to know where he took me from. Finding the river might have been my only opportunity to return to safety.

I only could see an infinite amount of trees and bushes in front of me. The wind made the trees dance, which was relaxing. My steps composed an interesting rhythm combined with my heartbeat. Being lost in the forest didn’t seem bad now. Although I needed to go back, my parents would like me to come back. But I didn’t know how.

I walked for hours, and there was no sign of the camp, or the river. The sun was setting, and the air was getting cold. Surely there were people coming to my rescue, right? Then why didn’t I hear them? Where were they? I needed help. I don’t know what to do.

My stomach growled. I didn’t know how to hunt. Even if I did, I didn’t know how to cook. I kept walking thinking about the river. My body ached increasingly, inch by inch, limb by limb. My arms and eyes felt heavy, and my legs and stomach created a spike of pain with each step.

I tripped with a rock. I turned on my back after a minute and stared at the top of the trees. At least what the silver moonlight allowed me to see. I heard small steps a few feet to my side. I turned, and found the fox standing next to me. It was approached cautiously, then sniffed me.

My stomach growled loud enough to make the fox tilt its head in wonder. The fox leaped into a bush and left. Not even the wild animals are interested in me anymore. I guess that’s better. I crawled until I was sitting next to a tree.

The bushes nearby rattled and called my attention. The fox leaped out of the shadows with a small bush on its jaws. It approached me slowly, and set the bush just a few inches next to me.

The fox picked some berries from the bush and chewed on them, then it looked at me for a few seconds. Then it ate some more berries.

My arms ached, but I still managed to reach the bush for some of the berries. The fox didn’t seem to mind sharing with me.

“You really didn’t have to share your food with me, you know?” I said.

The fox stood up after chewing some more. It approached me slowly, and circled next to me. It laid down just a couple of inches next to me.

I couldn’t help but to reach and pet it. “I guess this is the second time you help me today. That wolf would have eaten me if you hadn’t appeared.”

The fox closes its eyes. I guess it would be better to rest.

Rays of sunlight hit me in the eyes. I groaned but I woke up. I looked to my side, but the fox wasn’t there. At least the red fur left behind reassures me that it wasn’t my mind playing tricks with me.

My body didn’t ache, at least not as much as it did yesterday. I needed to find some food before my stomach growled again. Maybe more of the same berried the fox offered me.

I stood and after walking some minutes I found some of the same berries. I picked some of them, and put some more in my pocket. I walked some more and finally found signs of the river. I could hear the stream of water at the distance. I couldn’t help but smile.

I heard the barking of the wolf on the distance. My heartbeat increased in an instant. I ran towards the river stream. Somehow, the wolf’s barks weren’t getting farther. Is it following me? I need to reach the camp. They’ll know what to do.

I ran among the trees, being careful to not make any unnecessary noise. Yet the wolf seemed to be following me.

I finally reached the river. The stream was strong, stronger than when I fell into it. I stared in opposite direction of the current, and my eyes widened. There it was, the camp, standing in the horizon.

I heard the wolf’s bark once more, but this time something followed it. Something yelp. Not something, the fox. The wolf caught the fox. I couldn’t help it. I walk towards the wolf. I picked some rocks and a thick branch on my way.

There it was, the wolf standing with the injured fox on its mouth. The wolf stood on its feet, staring at me.

My heartbeat increased, it was the only thing I could hear. My breathing became heavier as I stared at the blood flowing from the fox’s side.

Still, inch by inch, I changed my position. I was ready to launch a rock into that lowly wolf’s face. The wolf stared at me, but didn’t seem to notice my new position.

The wolf gave a step toward the bushes besides us, but I threw a rock at him. It hit the wolf in the face before it reached the bushes. It growled but dropped the fox. I prepared the branch as if it was a bat.

The wolf shook its head and leaped towards me with its jaws open.

I struck it in the head with the branch. The wolf whined as it fell into the ground. I leaped to be between the wolf and the fox.

When the wolf stood up, I already had the branch ready to go again. It is interesting. No one had taught me how to fight, yet I was ready to fight a wolf.

The wolf on the other hand stared at me before it leaped out of my sight. In just seconds I stopped hearing his movements, so I turned around and kneeled next to the fox.

The fox whined as I checked on its injuries.

“You’re still with us,” I said. “I’ll take care of you, just resist little one.” I took of my shirt and covered the injuries of the fox with it. I carried it and returned to where I heard the river the last time.

I walked toward the camp in the distance. Someone had spotted me from afar. Many adults where rushing towards me. The teachers, some forest guards, even my parents were here. I guess they did notice I was gone.

Everyone approached me, surrounded me. and asked too many questions. I didn’t even understand them.

I approached the forest guards, and showed them the fox. “Please help the fox, it is injured,” I said to them.

Everyone went silent, as if I said something mean. I guess it is the first time I ignore the adults. Somehow, it felt better this way. I stared into the forest guard’s eyes, and he chuckled.

The forest guard patted my head and turned towards my parents. “This little fella is alright,” he said. He carried the fox from my arms and checked some marks on its front legs. “You know, this fox is really popular with the guards. It is usually really slick though, I wonder what happened.”

“If you allow me to help you cure it, I’ll tell you the details.” I said.

“That’s the spirit kid,” the forest guard said. He turned to face my parents. “That way we can also keep an eye on you.”

My parents nodded, and we walked towards the forest guard’s office. I guess this trip wasn’t that bad after all.

AdventureShort Story
2

About the Creator

Max Ayala

Maximiliano Ayala is a writer who specializes in action, adventure, and fantasy. He can be easily distracted by almost any type of card-strategy game you mention.

Follow me on my social media!

https://linktr.ee/dusaeimax

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