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Waiting for Scout

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I sat comfortably on the branch, not meeting the eyes of anyone else around me. We used to be a fun group, joking around, not caring about anything in the world. Up until a few suns ago, that is. Now, we could barely talk to each other, let alone play around.

We all hear Scout before we see him. He's not the quietest climber, but he's the fastest and is able to climb up the highest branch on any tree. That's why he's the one who looks for food. The look-out, if you will. Scout.

We wait for him to come down, our hearts beating so loud that we can barely hear them. Well, at least mine is. I remember the way we used to wait for Scout: it sure wasn't as tense as this. We might be on our backs, catching a quick nap. Or swinging around, showing off some new tricks Then Scout would come barreling down the tree, usually head-first, sometimes just free-falling. He would always end in the same way, though: swinging upside-down by his tail. He had the thickest tail of all of us, something we used to tease him about all the time. But not anymore.

Not since those huge, silver things came and took away everything: our home, our children's playground, our life. Everything we've ever known. Including our food. Now, the only banana trees in the whole valley were simply gone, with nothing but mounds of wood and dust in their place.

Finally we caught a glimpse of Scout. Only, not in his usual position. One foot, then the other were slowly being lowered down to our level.

Shoot, I was nervous. There had to be banana trees nearby. If their wasn't, our whole community would surely starve. Bugs and bark could only keep us alive for so long. At least when Scout was still hidden in the vines I could at least fantasize about food being nearby. I thought about my mom, new baby sister, younger brother. I couldn't let them down. We had to find food! But I knew it was useless. The only banana tree grove within sight was now a barren land. By the way Scout lowered himself down, in super slow motion like that, all but confirmed my thoughts.

He finally landed on the branch, facing away from us. We all waited in complete silence, watching Scout. Why wouldn't he just turn around!

No. I didn't want him to turn around. I didn't want to know whether or not Scout saw banana trees. I wanted to hang on to whatever small amount of hope I had left...

After what seemed like an eternity, Scout turned around, not meeting any of us in the eyes..





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