"Mom? Dad? Why can't you find me?" whimpered the little girl. She was lost, to simply put it. Lost. Like all the other little kids who must wander off at some point in time, so had she. She had just wandered off a little more hastily than the other little kids, however.
Frightened, cold, and hungry, she sat in the bushes to weep. The moon shone down through the thick roof of trees, but for the most part, it was very dark. It was unnaturally quiet, not even the crickets were chirping or the owl rustling. Not a pair of eyes shone in the dark. All was silent and vacant. It was all too quiet.
Suddenly a gunshot rang throughout the forest, causing the little girl to jump to her feet and run again. Racing past the sharp bushes and thick-vine trees, it was all a black blur. She tripped, falling headfirst into a small clearing. The clearing was so small, she could only take two or three steps before she would be back among the green and black mass.
But the moon shone down and there was light. Better to be here than to be in the dark. Away from the dark and the guns.
She lifted her shining brown eyes from the forest floor, stained with tears, sweat, and mud. She huddled in the moonlight, shaking somewhat terribly. The forest grew quiet again. This had been going on for hours, gunshot and then running, gunshot and then running. Every time the horrid noise came from a different direction, closer and closer.
Closing her eyes to sob over the new scrapes and feelings of abandonment, she noticed a small figure at her feet. Wiping aside dirty tears she cleared her vision.
A small fox pup lay at her feet.
"Are you okay?" asked the little girl, reaching towards the pathetic animal.
It laid quietly, its small chest rising and falling straggly and slowly. It did not open its eyes or cower away from the little girl's fingers. It did not move at all—aside from its small heart beating and its little chest rising.
"Your fur is so soft and fluffy..." murmured the girl.
"Where is your mommy?" she asked of the fox pup.
After a moment of silence, the girl spoke again, "Its okay, my mommy isn't here either. But that's okay, they will come and find us."
She continued to stroke the fox's fur, tears falling from her delicate face.
"But my mommy is going away. I don't understand why either." She reached up to dry her face. "But I know she will find me and daddy won't get so mad anymore."
The little girl reached down and put her small fingers around the pup and carefully lifted it into her arms.
"I love you," she said, holding the bundle of fur against her chest. She felt it stop moving. Its chest stopped rising and its heart stopped beating.
Placing the fox on the ground again, she began to sob once more. "Why am I so alone?" she whimpered to the trees. "Why must everything go away? I wish that I wouldn't have to cry no more. Maybe if I were a rock or something I wouldn't have to cry."
She covered her face and cried harder. All of a sudden, she felt a small weight pressing on her hands. She peered through her fingers to see the small fox pup with its paws on her face. It leaned its small head close and began to lick her face. Tickling her, she began to giggle. It licked her tears away and stared at her with its intense green eyes. The little fox pranced around the girl and she began to feel her eyelids drop.
Before her world fell into the darkness of sleep, she heard a voice return back to her. A strong, but gentle voice saying, "...I love you too."