“Grrr…ruff.ruff!” was the sound that emerged from the small furball’s mouth.
“Huh? What are you barking at, boy?” asked the boy as he stroked the dog’s head. He was barefoot, wearing a light blue cotton shirt and cream grey shorts.
What was supposed to be a happy day in the woods had now suddenly changed.
“Grr…ruff…ruff…ruff!” the dog barked again, as he looked up at the crimson-purple sky. The boy did as his dog did and, gazed into the mulberry sky. The trees surrounded them.
The dog began to whine pitifully. The young boy comforted his fluffy little companion, who was now starting to whine uncontrollably.
As the boy stared at the still, mysterious sky, he felt as if two eyes watched back with an icy stare.
“We’ve got to get out of here and get back home,” the boy said apprehensively, as he took his gaze away from the sky and picked up his pet.
“It’ll be ok, it’ll be ok,” the boy kept telling himself, as he walked onwards, uncertain of where to go.
His feet were left bare and uncovered, and cuts and bruises slowly appeared as he carried his puppy in his small bare arms, now shivering. The golden hairball in his arms was starting to twitch quickly too as a biting chill came upon them. The boy tilted his head down, watching as his young friend struggled to fall asleep. The boy then felt something warm stroll down one of his cheeks. The same feeling appeared on the other. They were teardrops. Even his usually rosy pink cheeks had now turned a palish-white color.
“I…i-it’s…g…g-going…t…to….b-be alright,” sobbed the young boy, using his arm to wipe away his tears. The puppy, looking at his owner, started to plant soft, gentle licks on his right hand; as if he understood his thoughts. Strangely enough, this motivated the boy to keep on going. Now he was sure he wasn’t going to surrender so easily, for the sake of his friend and his own.
“No, I’m not giving up,” he said. He plucked all his courage and headed on. The dog tried to sleep again but constantly twitched as frosty winds swept across them.
“Caw! Caw!” came a voice. “Caw! Caw!” it came again. Three crows appeared, flying right above them. The boy and his puppy both looked up, and as they did, his puppy jumped out of his arms.
Slash! A crow came diving down and swiped the boy on one his left shoulder, leaving behind a deep gash.
“Yaaaarrrgggghhhhh!” yelled the boy in agony. The other two crows followed the first and came sprawling down, trying to do more damage. But they soon found that they couldn’t. They were too afraid of the courageous little dog that was had started barking. The crows then flew away in a fearful retreat.
“Thanks boy,” he said, as he patted his dog gratefully, with one arm on his injured shoulder. It was still beating with excruciating pain.
His eyes started to quiver slightly with excess water; his pain and shock tears. Stumbling, he struggled to lift his dog up. Yet his fluffy companion knew his master was hurt. Looking back at him reassuringly with his sad puppy eyes, it was as if he were trying to say, “It’s alright, you’re hurt – you don’t have to carry me. You’ve looked after me, so I think it’s time that I started looking after you.”
“Argh. I’m sorry I can’t carry you,” he said, “Thanks buddy.” The boy bent down, rubbing his loyal companion around his ears. The two friends then continued to make their way home, stepping further into the path of trees.
They kept walking and walking, with a trail of uncertainty. With hope in their hearts, they believed that they would soon find their way home. It was all they wanted; to go home.
The boy then took his grasp off his grazed shoulder. His hand reached for his mud-brown head. It was aching.
“Ow…” the boy said, “Headache.”
“Grr…ruff!” barked the dog; as if he was trying to tell his young master that they must keep on.
“Yeah…you’re right.” the boy replied.
He then put his arm on his injured shoulder again, and kept on.
All of a sudden, a bright fluorescent light shone from behind the trees’ foliage. Were they nearly out of the forest? Or was it just an illusion? Illusion or not, the blinding light stung their eyes.
“Yaaahhhhh!” screamed the boy as he pulled his arm over his eyes to block out the bright glare.
The light was getting bigger and bigger as they walked further up towards it – they both wanted to know what it was.
“Wa – What is it?” the young boy said.
Suddenly, the light emitted several sparks and exploded. Now there was nothing left – no light.
But now there was a small butterfly-like creature, fluttering. It was almost like a tiny flying human. It opened its mouth to say something:
“Are you lost?”
“Sort of…yes! Yes we are!” replied the boy, as he cautiously put down his arm that had been fighting off the great light.
“Oh…” said the creature in a strange tone of voice.
“W-what exactly are you? Some sort of fairy?” asked the boy curiously.
“Well, I’m a pixie-fairy – a Flanderox, my name’s Silver. What’s yours?”
“My name is –” the boy started, but became cut off by a terribly high-pitched noise.
His eyes opened abruptly.
“Huh? What?! Where are we?!” the boy said, surprised.
He looked around him. He was lying flat on his back in a beautiful meadow. It was so serene, filled with luscious grass and the most wonderful daisies.
He was also surprised to find that his furry friend was lying comfortably on his stomach.
“Wh-What?!” I thought we were in the forest?!” he said in a shocked voice. But, really, he had nothing to complain about; he and his friend wanted to get home after all.
His dog had appeared to be sleeping before as he had now opened his eyes and stretched.
The boy got up weakly, and checked his shoulder. There was still a deep gash but now it had become encrusted in dried blood. He then looked at his hands, one of which was still blood-stained. He examined his feet. They were still masked with cuts and purple bruises.
Puzzled, the boy and his dog walked back into their cottage.
“Where have you been?” said a worried old man, with snowy white hair.
They both sat down at a small table and soon the grandson told his grandfather about everything that had happened.
“I believe you,” said his grandfather. He then took out a stone figure.
“Zarclaw, in the legends of our people, Silver was the small pixie-fairy that guided future rulers through that Dark Forest,” he said.
“Oh…. so um – am I g-going t-to b-become a-“
“Yesss….” he replied.
“Remember that pixie-fairy necklace I gave you?” The one you’re wearing right now?”
“Yup… but what has that got to do with this?”