Chapter 2: The Strange Gypsy

She stroked his cheek for a while and he kept his eyes closed. Then, unwillingly, he softly grabbed her hand.

"So...answer me this time. Who are you? What's your name? What are you doing in a forest?"

She stared at him and tilted her head. He stared into her eyes and realised something.

"Hey um...open your mouth...please." She nodded and opened her mouth. He stared in horror. There was no tongue. Judging by what he could see, she must have been born without one.

"Um. Sorry bout that. I'm Enitan." She tilted her head then nodded again. Then she grabbed his hand and tugged on it.

"You want me to follow you?" He asked like an idiot. The girl smiled and nodded and tugged his hand again.

"Okay." Smiling she took off with Enitan, running her routine. After all, the sun would be appearing soon.

She stopped once again in front of sunny and stroked its trunk, then tugged on Enitan's hand and brought it forward.

"You want me...to stroke it?" He asked confused. Damn this was some girl. But he did that and felt weird. For some reason it felt...nice.

She smiled and tugged his hand again, then let go of it and jumped.

"What the..." she looked down at him, expecting him to follow. "Sorry but me and climbing don't really mix." She frowned a little, and then held out her hand. Cautiously he took it and was pulled up. With her help, Enitan climbed the tree and soon was staring at bridge, she was already halfway there. She looked back at him and smiled, then shook her head. He glared as he thought of Barake's mother doing the exact same thing, then taking a really deep breath, stepped onto bridge. Keeping his eyes closed, he took another step and another until he was at the middle. He peeked an eye open and below him was a rapid waterfall. He panicked and fell over.

"AHHHHHHHH! HELP ME!" She ran as soon as she saw him fall and grabbed him. He looked up at her and she smiled at him. Then she pulled him up. His eyes glared at bridge, ashamed at having a strange girl helping him. A soft hand lifted up his chin and a beautiful face smiled at him. She tugged on his hand and she led him to the end of bridge.

"Hey, thanks." She smiled and nodded and tugged his hand and began to run. Enitan following close behind.

Enitan watched as her face lit up and he looked up to see an eagle flying above them.

'This girl really has a lot of friends.' he thought bitterly.

They stopped by the edge of a cliff and the girl tugged on his hand and sat down.

"Oh." He followed pursuit. "Um, hey?"

She turned to look at him.

"Have you always lived in this forest?"

She smiled happily and nodded.

Suddenly rays broke out and Enitan's face snapped to see the sun make his entrance. He watched the dance of the sun's greeting, amazed. Did she see this beautiful site everyday? Out of the corner of his eye, he stared at the girl in awe. She was staring at the sunrise as if seeing it for the first time. They sat like that for a while; again I do not know the measure, watching the dance.

Then the eagle, as always, pecked her cheek and flew away and she got up. Looking at her, Enitan also stood. She smiled, grabbed his hand and tugged on it.

"Now where do you want me to go with you?" He asked, secretly not minding a bit. He sort of liked being with this girl. She smiled, as if knowing and walked on. Still holding his hand.

In the city

"WHERE THE HELL IS MY SON?" Iron yelled, his voice being heard throughout the mansion. Masterman, the butler walked towards him with the letter Enitan left on a tray.

"Your son left this for you Sir."

Iron snatched the letter, "Thank you Masterman, you are dismissed."

Iron read the letter... then reread... then reread it again.

"THAT DAMN BOY!"

"What the hell are you yelling about?" Dracul, Iron's right hand man.

"That damn excuse for a son of mine ran off to the forest."

"Well, you said he could. Relax Iron, if anything happens to the boy, all the more reason to cut down the forest."

Iron chuckled darkly, "You're right my friend. What would I do without you?"

In the forest

"Wow." whispered Enitan as she showed another beautiful sight. Ursula, the bear, had just given birth to five new cubs. Enitan was amazed. Contrary to what he had read, the bears weren't all that violent. One of the cubs, Beowulf, reminded him of Winnie the Pooh.

He kept glancing at the girl beside him. Was this girl for real? Unknowingly he touched her hand, making her look up at him.

"Oh, sorry." He said, immediately withdrawing his hand. She smiled and got up. Saying good bye she then took Enitan's hand again.

"Now where are we going?" He asked in wonder.

Off they went, running at an easy pace.

In the city

"But mama! I wanna see Enitan!" Barake whined as his mother put him to bed.

"You'll see him tomorrow baby." she replied, tucking him in.

"Oh okay. But you promise I'll see him tomorrow?"

"Yes I do! Now go to sleep my little gift. Dream of you being just like Enitan."

The boy's eyes lit up and snuggled into the sheets.

"Is he asleep yet?" Benipe whispered, walking into the room. Libitina sighed and nodded. "He's so desperate to be like Enitan."

"At least the boy allows Barake to do that."

"I know but I'm worried. I hope Enitan is okay in that forest."

"Well, you never know. Maybe what he saw was a friendly hermit."

"For his sake and Barake's, I hope you're right."

Benipe smiled and snuck his arms around her waist. "You worry too much. You know that."

Libitina smiled a little leaned into her husband.

"One of us has too."

In the forest

"Hey um...I gotta go now." Enitan said sadly and she led away from another amazing site. She turned to look at him and nodded.

"Um...HEY, can I come back tomorrow?" She nodded happily.

"I wonder, do you mind if I bring a friend with me?" She tilted her head and then nodded.

"Thanks Taika!" He said, hugging her. She hugged back and then tilted her head.

"Can I call you that? It means 'Magic' and um..." She smiled and nodded and then hugged him again.

He smiled, a first in a long long time, and waved good bye. She happily smiled back and waved back.

He turned away and ran off.

In the city

"ENITAN YOU'RE BACK!" Yelled Barake and ran into the older boy's arms.

"Good to see you alive son." Iron said lazily. "So what did you see?"

Enitan stared his father and put Barake down.

"I thought I saw a young girl, my age, in the forest. I was right."

Mummors of "A girl?" "Can it be?" "No way." "Girls?" were heard in the hall room.

"Really now." Iron said with a raised eyebrow.

Barake jumped up, "What's she like? What's she like?" Obviously curious about Enitan's new friend.

"She was born without a tongue and has lived in the forest all her life. From what I've seen..."

"Is she pretty?" Barake interrupted.

Enitan smiled slightly. "Uh huh. She's got something about her... She's showed me many things in the forest." Then he turned to his father. "You CAN'T tear that forest down. Neither is it to be used as a way to make money."

A pin could be heard. There was dead silence. Enitan had agrued and defied his father before, but never in such a forward way.

However, one person was more interested in Taika.

"What's the girl's name?" Asked Barake, tugging on Enitan's jeans.

"She doesn't really have one, but I call her Taika."

"Taika...Can I see her?"

Libitina's eyes went wide, filled with fear and Benipe tensed. Enitan smiled and looked down at the boy.

"Well I'm going to see her again and I did say I was going to bring a friend..."

By this time, Libitina stood up. "NO! NO WAY! NO HOW! My son is not going into danger!"

Enitan looked at her, sometimes he wondered what it would be like to have a mother who worried about him. But he'd never know.

"I wouldn't have asked her if he could come if I didn't think he'd be safe. I'll take care of him and so will Taika. She saved my neck."

"PLEASE CAN I GO! PLEASE!" Pleaded Barake. Libitina looked torn.

"Hold just a moment Enitan Kamau Iron." Said his father darkly, "Who said you could go back there? I certainly don't remember."

"Father, I already told her and I'm not about to break that. She's too...I dunno, unique to ignore. I want, no, NEED to understand her. There's just something mysterious about her that makes me want to..."

"You're turning soft, boy." Iron snapped. Everyone was dead still. "You can forget about going to see that girl again. She's a bad influence to you." With that he walked out.