New Story Contest: A New Beginning - Tyler R. - 08/06/21

Contest: Winners

New Story Contest: A New Beginning

Submitted by: Tyler R., age 10, Grand Junction, CO

Another Chance

The cage door opened. As I gazed into the forest, the memories came rushing back. Fire. Everywhere. Amber spirals licking at my fur, scorching my pelt. No escape. Hands. Then, darkness. I shrank farther back into the cage. Fear gripped me like the flames that had once engulfed my home, so many nights ago. How could I go back?

“It’s OK, girl, it’s OK. You’re back home.” The man’s wispy voice entangled me in the uncontrollable urge to follow, and with his coaxing, I set a paw outside the cage. The feeling of earth against my fur soothed me. It felt like home. I climbed out. Behind me, the man got back into his car and drove away.

As I gazed around, I wondered in awe at how different it looked. Where there had been charred ashes, there were newly sprouted saplings, soon to grown into the giants that towered overhead. In the place of burnt, withered bark, there sprung new growth on every tree. Birdsong swelled in the undergrowth, creating a chorus of chirps that echoed around the grove. The other creatures had begun to rebuild what had been lost. I noticed a kangaroo rat scurry into the greenery, a blade of grass clutched in its tiny paw, as it vanished behind the budding flowers. The scents of last night’s coyote still lingered. A wisp of danger, long gone, but not to be forgotten, even when all seems well.

Thinking of this, I brandished my claws and started up the nearest tree. I reached the top and stared ahead. Past the endless winding stream that cut into the rocky outback, where the fire was but a memory to be forgotten, a scratch that already had faded. Into the creamy orange sky, glazed with yellow streaks that painted their reflection on the passing clouds. The forest had been wounded, but wounds heal, and it would recover, just as I had. As I gazed out into the darkening azure sky, I knew the forest had another chance at life, and so did I.

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