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Red finished her chores with ease and haste. She had other plans for the day. Bo. She didn’t know how to find him, but that would be her main objective. The woods didn’t scare her. At this point, she would prefer to live out there. Bo’s dad appeared to have a heart. He didn’t like Red’s Gramma either. Surely they didn’t have silly rules, while living in the woods.

She left without a word to Gramma Yayha. Out the door, and towards her destination. No one paid attention, and that had been her blessing. She could taste sweet triumph. Taste it, smell it, feel it.

The woods did not register fear from Red, not like the last time. She felt a wave of solace. Wolves? what wolves? As she strolled down a dusty pathway she thought of all the stories the villagers would say. Maybe it had been all a cheap ploy from the elders, to keep its residents from leaving. Red convinced herself, that these rumors were in fact myths and tales to scare the villagers. Nothing more.

She kept at a solid pace, as she wandered further into a thicker part of the woods. An eerie silence fell, followed by a symphony of frogs. Red kept going, not paying much attention to her surroundings. She felt as if she didn’t have to. Her Gramma was scarier than these woods.

A branch caught her foot, making her fall face first into a rock. A shock of pain filled her forehead. Blood trickled down, warm and fluid. Red didn’t wipe the blood, nor did she cry. When you cried as often as her, your tear supply eventually ran on empty. Determination in the pit of her heart kept her going. The blow made her head a bit hazy, but that determination had a stronger grasp. It didn’t matter how many times she got hurt, or if she got lost. Red came here to find her friend, and she wouldn’t stop looking until she found him.

She saw the old log cabin where her and Bo found the berries. It was a longshot, but maybe he was here.

“Bo,” she called out. “Bo, its Red. Remember me, the girl from the village. “

Her calls fell unanswered, so she called out his name once again. She could have sworn she heard a growl. She ignored it. must be nothing but her imagination .she called her friends name once more, this time louder.


He called back, making her heart jump out of her throat. She ran towards him. He had clothes on this time. Just thinking back to his little nude body and little male appendage hanging freely made her giggle. Silly, silly boy.

“Glad to see you have clothes on this time,” said Red

Bo had no words, but the shock on his face was loud enough. He reached his fingers out and graced her face. he wiped a glob of blood from her forehead. The shock flashed to anger. Bo bared his teeth, making a low growl in his throat.

“Did she do this to you. Did your Gramma hurt you?”

“What?! Oh no, no no no. This is my fault. I fell on a rock,” she explained with a goofy grin.

the scowl did not leave Bo’s face.

“You should be careful. You shouldn’t be here. Look,” his voice started to rise “You got hurt already. This forest isn’t for you!”

A ball started to form in her throat. Her tear supply not as empty as it seemed. Her bottom lip trembled as her eyes searched into his. They were the color of honey.

“I’m sorry, but you can’t just come out here like this. My dad was right when he said its dangerous out here. Your lucky no one else has spotted you.”

“No one else?” she sniffled

“No one, no thing…”

“What is out here that’s so bad,” she asked.

“I can’t,” he shook his head

“You can’t what?”

“Just be careful ok,” he said “sorry, I get a temper from my parents. I didn’t mean to yell.”

his arms reached out, and he pulled her towards him. They wrapped around her, and cradled her body against his. She looked up at him, her eyes a glistening well of hurt and confusion. He wiped up more blood from her forehead.

“I’m sorry I came. it just gets so lonely in the village. No one care about me, they all hate me,” she whined

Bo squeezed her even tighter. It made Red warm, and if she could she would stay in his hug forever, she would.

“That sucks. I am sorry. I wish I could help.”

“Can’t you? Maybe I can live with you. We can be best friends forever.”

“I can’t”

“Maybe if I talked to your dad.”

“Stop it Red,” his voice started to rise again. “I can’t help, my dad can’t help,” he saw Red flinch so he lowered his voice slightly. “We barely know each other. How could you call me a friend. A best friend? No Red,”

“I like you Bo. You seem like a nice boy. Did we not have fun last time?”

He sighed. “I don’t know a lot of kids my age. So, I guess yeah. It was nice, but we can’t do this all the time.”

A hopefulness filled her eyes “So we can be friends?”



“Yeah, I guess. I mean. Yeah, I want to be friends,” Bo said.

Red hugged him even tighter, and her cries and tears dissipated.

“Thank you. Thank you, friend”

Bo didn’t get it. What was it about this girl? She didn’t seem as bad as his mother warned. She may have been a villager, but something seemed different. Bo, even at ten years old could notice a certain distinction here.

“So, what should we do, friend,” asked Red. The tears and sadness were now obsolete.

“I dunno,” said Bo. “You good at climbing trees?”

“Well, never tried it. Not many trees in Drastaire.”

“Its not that hard come,” said Bo while gesturing Red forward.

She followed him in a gleeful rush. Her nose crinkled, and her eyes grew wide. Red watched him as he stopped in front of a large maple tree. her eyes not leaving him, not even for a second.

“This one is easy.” he said. “Its got lower branches that are big and strong.”

Bo’s hand grasped onto a branch and lifted himself up. He reached out for Red, helping her climb.

“See, easy,” he said. “How tall can you climb.”

Bo continued to trek up the tree. He did it with ease, and Red watched contently. She followed him up the tree, mimicking each grasp and climb. The bark felt rough under her hands. Sap clung on to her hands, her knees, her hair. Red had became a sticky mess. She sat on a branch and played with the syrupy residue on her fingertips. They would stick and separate, stick and separate. She found it fascinating.

“Give your fingers a lick,” requested Bo.

Red’s eyebrows knit together, and the corner of her mouth curved upwards. “Are you sure?”

“Just try it, its tasty.”

She thought it weird, but did what Bo said anyways. The sap had a slight sugary taste to it. Red’s tongue lashed out, licking the space around her lips in frantic circles. She savored it, enjoyed it.

“Not bad at all,” she said

Bo smiled back, and shook his head. He began to climb up even further. Red suckled on her fingers once more tail gaiting behind him. Bright rays of sunlight peeked through the tree tops. The two young ones got higher, and higher. Bo often looked back, to make sure his new friend wouldn’t fall. The more he looked back, the more he reconsidered any tinge of worry. Red was a quick learner. They got to the top, and sat beside each other on a branch.

“You can see lots from up here, ” he said. “The whole forest. If the tree were higher, maybe, we could see the whole world.”

Bo spoke the truth. Red stood up, her hand grasping the top of the tree for support. Miles upon miles of trees stretched across the region. Red could see her village. Its walls reached up even higher then herself giving her that sense of impregnable entrapment. She pointed a finger towards the walls.

“You think we could see the whole world on top of those walls?”

“Maybe,” said Bo with a shrug. “You should try it sometime.”

“You could come. You could see the world with me,” said Red

“I would if I could, Red. I would if I could.”

“Why. Why couldn’t you?”

“I can’t tell you. Maybe someday, but not today.”

Red gave Bo a nod. ” OK, I will be waiting for that day.”

The two friends sat on that tree top. They talked about things they liked. They talked about things they didn’t like. Red promised Bo she would bring him one of Frosty’s pastries tomorrow. He wanted to tell her don’t bother, to not come find him. He liked her though, and how she made him smile. He never had a real friend, outside his family members. He knew the dangers at hand, and didn’t want them to find her. He also wanted to see her again though. She had such a hard life for a child, but took it all in stride. He could feel her strength, and wondered to himself if he could help her be even stronger. Then, all worries could wash away.

“Meet me here, at this tree. You think you can find it,” said Bo

“Yes,” Red said. “After my chores, I will come.”

“And be careful,” he cautioned. “Watch out for those branches on the ground,” he mocked while pointing to a bruise on her forehead.

Red stuck out her tongue. “Yeah, yeah.”

He almost spoke up about a more severe danger, but held his tongue. He just had to keep an eye on her. She has been lucky so far, but luck can only go so far. He told himself to watch out for her. To make sure no harm would ever come her way.

One thought on “RED – CHAPTER 5

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