“Are you hungry?”

A rather simple question and yet for some, the answer lies deeply hidden beneath layers of complexity.

He was very hungry. Though the family kitchen held copious amounts of food, to the little boy it was empty. To the uneducated eye his belief of emptiness was somewhat delusional.

None the less, his hunger persisted. Empty promises lurked menacingly behind boxes and bags of food.

He was just a little boy who lived with a good family. They looked after him as best as they could, but he had a hole somewhere in his belly that never seemed to fill, and these people simply weren’t able to see the hole. Even if they could’ve seen the hole they would have had no idea how to fix it.

He was lonely even when surrounded by people who loved him. He felt there was no one that really understood him or wanted him around.

The gnawing empty feeling persisted. Eventually the simplest way to ease the pain was to fall into a deep sleep.

He woke up after several hours, the pain in his belly having expanded like a sword driving him towards consciousness.

He decided to go exploring in the woods, hoping to find he knew not quite what.

It was early morning when he began his journey. He walked and walked, further and deeper into the forest than he'd ever been before. His hunger seemed to lure him into an oblivious blindness that blocked out the passage of time.

Eventually he realized it was getting dark and that he was very lost.

The birds in the sky had stopped flying and settled in for the night. The owls woke up and started calling one another. 

All the day animals tucked into their night time hiding places. As they settled in, the night animals came quietly out of hiding and began rustling through the bushes.

He huddled against an old fir tree, seeking protection, but the creaking boughs frightened him even more.

Then out of the gathering darkness he heard voices. The voices were the pleasant sounds of a family gathered for dinner.

With the voices, a soft breeze carried delicious smells. And even more enticing, was the soothing sounds of laughter and joking.

The little boy did his best to swallow his fear.

He knew he was lost and unable to find his way home. The friendly sounds eased any sense of caution. Mostly it was hunger that drew him to exploration.

He got up and began to search where the wonderful smells were coming from.

He followed a well worn old path and eventually came to a small house tucked away under massive old trees that had stood guard for hundreds of years.

There in a small clearing was a crickety old house. It looked more like a pile of sticks and stones than the place he had been born in.

Even so, it radiated with light and warmth and through the window he glimpsed a family.

He gasped, rubbed his eyes and looked again. 

These were not humans, they were…BEARS!

He almost stifled a quiet scream, but the family heard and came crashing out of the house. They were angry and growling and sniffing the air to see where he was.

Before he could even think of escaping, they quickly grabbed him and carried him into the house of sticks and stones.

They sternly sat him down in a chair and began interrogating him.

They were actually quite gentle with him but their voices were gruff as they asked questions.

“What is your name boy?”

The boy was too scared to speak.

“Look here child, we’re getting tired of intruders coming to our house, eating our food, breaking our chairs and messing up our beds.”

The boy gulped and whispered, “It wasn’t me.”

The bears looked at one another and nodded. This kid didn’t seem like that little blonde haired brat that had raided their house recently.

She had been quite abnoxious and unapologetic about her invasion of their home. In fact she began screaming at them, threatening to bring her father with a gun to shoot them all.

The bears had looked at one another and in unison, without a word, pounced on her. In short order they took care of the problem.

Something about this little boy touched their hearts. Somehow they understood he meant no harm and simply needed their protection.

They sat him down with some dinner, went and huddled in a corner and began quietly discussing what to do with the boy.

They came to a quick agreement and went back to the table.

They began explaining that though they couldn’t keep him, they knew a place he would be taken in and loved and treated well.

The boy trembled, tried not to cry and quietly went along as the bears took him outside and followed the old path even deeper into the forest.

Eventually the path began to climb higher and higher, the trees becoming smaller and smaller and large rocks took their place.

As they walked, a strange wailing echoed down the hill.

The bears looked a little worried and the boy was terrified.

As they climbed further, the wails became more like grief stricken howls.

They rounded a corner and there in front of a cave lay a sobbing, beautiful silver wolf.

The bears pushed the boy to the front and quickly began to explain their story.

The wolf listened carefully, her eyes sad and brimming with unshed tears.

She looked at the little boy and knew instantly that he belonged to her.

She cut the bears story short, thanked them and motioned for them to leave.

She simply sat in front of the boy, her ears alert, her eyes wide. “Come she whispered, tell me your story”

And thus began the relationship that would last until the end of time. 

The boy grew into a man.

The wolf grew old and frail and their love for one another crossed beyond the scope of understanding.

Their adventures became mythical, their friendship inseparable and in their circle, time stood still.

At last the little boy was no longer lonely and misunderstood. The hole inside his belly began to fill and though never repaired completely it caused him little grief.

At last the wolf was no longer sad and bereft. She sensed she’d found a companion who would see her to the end.

The tales of their journey together began to grow. All the animals in the region envied their lives and longed to know of the things they did. They watched happily as the two friends grew and bonded ever closer.

As time moved on, the man and the old wolf were quite happy to sit around the warmth of an open fire and share their stories.

They would gaze quietly at one another and smile, ever grateful that the bears had introduced them those many years before. 

The End

(With the possibility of more stories about their adventures!)

October 15, 2023 17:27

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

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