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A Burning Ember In The Night Sky
Fire. That single word was the first thing my senses informed me of. As I bounded off my bed looking for an escape my room was slowly being submerged in the sweltering heat of the forest wildfire as crucial minutes ticked by. As I peered out my tree house window located in the heart of the forest I contemplated my next move. I leaped off the windows edge and landed gracefully on the ground in a crouching position with wisps of my long raven wing black hair falling in my face. I looked up surveying my surroundings with my forest green eyes tinted with hidden gold or so Daniel says. My tan skin blending in with the evergreen and my blood red lips and high cheekbones telling the story of my native heritage I had became one with nature.
“MAYA!” a voice shouted the sound piercing through the veil of dark blistering smoke. Coughs soon followed the desperate shout and I knew it was none other than Daniel searching frantically for me wondering if I was still alive. “I’m over here follow my voice” I shouted in reply and soon I heard thundering footsteps coming in my direction as Daniel ran toward me eager to find me. I saw him in the distance a dark silhouette against the burning embers in the velvet night sky. As I ran to him meeting him the rest of the way crashing into his open arms. I breathed all of him in and he did the same as we both reassured ourselves the other was alive and here with them. “I thought I lost you” he murmured still holding me close. “Don’t be ridiculous” I told him “You could never lose me I will always be in here” I said softly reaching to put my hand over his chest right where his heart was beating healthy and strong.
I looked up then to see him staring at me with his sky blue eyes and in them I could see all sorts of emotions happening all at once. I saw relief that he had found me and that I was still alive. I saw worry embedded deep into his thoughts and subconscious mind as he tried to figure a way to get me to safety from this forest fire but, most of all I saw love as he gazed down at me. Taking me in and all the times we’ve had together. I knew than that I couldn’t lose Daniel and that was also when I pulled away grabbing his hand leading him away from the tree house that held so many memories from our childhoods till now. It was at that moment however, the tree house was consumed in the flames as it combusted its remains raining down from sky like tiny ember stars cascading down from the velvet night sky.
I had already broken into a run when I saw the flames begin to lick the tree house choosing its next target. With Daniel keeping up with me right at my heels I shouldn’t have expected any less from him. 5’10 and me coming close with 5’8 Daniel was a great runner with long tan muscular legs as were mine. Growing up in the forest together each day was an adventure scouring up trees and races through the evergreen kept us fit and ready for anything. As the wind seemed to blow the faster we went his light brown hair blowing away from his face I knew he knew where I was leading him. Even if he didn’t he trusted me to know where I was going and that was all the motivation I needed to pump my legs faster toward a safe haven for now. The river.
The river seemed the best place to go so we can plot our next move. There standing tall by the river were sky scrapping trees that give an aerial view of the forest when climbed to the top. Which was exactly what we did as soon as we got there. Both of us racing to the top enjoying this brief moment of happiness and competition laughing and giggling. Both of us secretly wondering how long it would last when we finally reached the top. What we saw however made the laughing come to a sudden halt as forest was being engulfed in flames.
A gasp of shock escaped my lips before I could stop it. As I’m sure I heard Daniel’s breath suck in as well. The whole west side of the forest was black and gone. It was completely burned down to ashes with such a major contrast to the East side of the forest. The East side was fertile and green and still completely unharmed and unaware of what was yet to come.
With years of practice I skillfully slid down the tree and landed with gentle thump. My feet easily touched the ground in a matter of minutes or seconds with Daniel landing shortly after beside me. We looked at each other “ We need to start heading East it’s the only place to go you see how quiet it is out here” we both stopped and listened and just as I suspected there was nothing, but silence as if the forest had gone mute. “It’s because all the animals and wildlife had fled they know where it’s safe and it’s about time we’ve joined them.” Daniel didn’t say a word at first just nodded in agreement but, then he replied “ That’s a good idea and since we’re heading East toward the Lavender hills might as well travel to the top to our back up tree house it’s the only place for us to go now and there we’ll be safe maybe by then the fire would be over.” “Sounds like a plan if thats what we’re gonna do than what are we waiting for?” I whistled an ear splitting whistle that could be heard from miles around and Daniel did the same both two slightly different tunes calling for the same thing. We glanced at each other when we heard swift footfalls coming toward us and heard two long low howls in response when two large wolves bounded from the forest underbrush to confront us head on.
“Ebony!” I cried out in joy as the first lean large female wolf ran toward me bunching it’s muscles to leap into my outstretched arms. The second male wolf named Hunter ran into the outstretched arms of Daniel as they rolled on the ground playing as if pups themselves. Daniel and I had found these two wolves when they were pups coincidently. Their mother was hunted down and their father was no where to be found so we adopted them until they were old enough to live in the forest on their own. They never forgot us and they were always here for us whenever we needed them at a whistles notice. Now that we had the our means of transportation we were ready to set off for the Lavender Hills.
Enthralled in our reunion with the wolves we lost track of the fires course. It was when we heard the snap crackle pop of branches burning did we realize the fire was right behind us. “RUN!” I shouted as we sprinted away with the flames right at our heels the fire was in every direction. We looked until finally I saw an opening and shouted “This way guys hurry!” I ran like I never ran before and so did Daniel but, the wolves were just faster so fast that when they glanced back to check that we were behind following we could barely be seen. If they would’ve kept going they would have been safe from the fires flames in minutes but, we on the other hand weren’t so fortunate. What happened next really showed the loyalty in a canine friend as Ebony and Hunter looped back to pick us up. They came up behind us and we leapt unto their backs as they sprinted off into the forest away from the hungry flames that destroyed everything in it’s path.
We bounded up the mountain with the speed of the fire itself. By now we were less than a mile away and out of the fires reach and I could practically see the tree house from here. When all of a sudden out of the thicket leapt a large grizzly bear with fury and rage in his eyes. As Ebony and Hunter skidded to a stop pushing us off their backs as the growled and snarled at the bear. Raising their upper lips to show their long canine teeth in response to the bears challenge. If it was a fight the bear wanted it was a fight the bear was going to get.
They began circling each other both sides looking for an opening to strike for an easy kill. By the look in the bears eyes I had a feeling this was going to be a fight to the death and judging by the wolves snarls I had a feeling they were okay with that. I knew this wasn’t going to end well and I was running out of ideas and so was Daniel. We looked at each other warily wondering who was going to win this fight. At that moment a miracle happened. A gun shot rang through the forest clear as day when the bear collapsed onto the ground its open eyes seeing nothing. I looked to see who made the shot but, there was no one in sight. Whoever shot that bullet didn’t want to be seen and I respected that and so did Daniel apparently since he stopped glancing around for the shooter. We once again climbed onto the wolves backs and sped off homeward bound anxious to get home.
Once we got to the top of Lavender Hills and to the tree house the wolves said their good byes and left. From the top of the mountain you had a clear view of the burning forest and the smoky horizon. I imagined the devastation and my chest seized tears springing into my eyes. My forest. My beautiful forest was being burned to bits and as I let a single tear roll down my cheek I was leaning into Daniel when I felt another tear drop on my forehead. I peered up at him and asked him “Are you crying too?” He looked down at me laughed and replied “Nope I’m not the one thats crying look” and pointed up at the sky. I lifted my face and felt another drop of water and another and another until soon it was pouring rain. I couldn’t believe it! It was raining and the rain was putting out the fire it was another miracle, two in one day! The water extinguished the flames and cleared up the smoky sky. As Daniel and I danced in the rain we knew our forest was going to be okay and that we had nothing to worry about and to just let nature take its course. With the putting out of the fire my adventure came to an end as well. I knew that the forest would heal from this tragedy like it always does and that new life would blossom in the spring. My forest. My beautiful forest was safe.