I’m a Wanderer

With a tug of her shoe laces she was ready to go. Today was a day for an adventure. She glanced over at her window, one or two rain drops sliding down the cold glass. The rain had finally let up. A soft fog traveled past her window, lingering in the air like the scent of flowers in Spring. What could possibly await her?

The small orange cat looked up at her disapprovingly. It’s still cold. It’s still rainy. How dare you leave me? He seemed to say. She smiled and reached a hand out, petting his head softly and putting both hands on her knees.

“Aw, buddy. I’ll be back.” She stood to her full height and picked a worn backpack up from the floor. It was filled with little things. A granola bar, some rope, a pocket knife, a few bottles of water, and a blanket. She had to be prepared. She grabbed a large scarf and wrapped it around her neck a few times, making sure she was bundled. She turned the door handle and immediately braced as the cool air swept in. She stepped onto the damp wood of her porch and closed the door behind her. The sounds around her were refreshing. The sound of a small brook bubbling in the distance and the quiet pitter and patter of rain drops onto the fallen leaves. She took a breath and clutched the straps of her backpack, taking the first few steps onto the damp ground. Some of the freshly fallen leaves crunched under her brown leather boots. Where would these boots take her today?

She turned to look back at the small cabin. Home. A smile worked it’s way onto her lips and she turned back to the woods. There would be another day to stay at home. The sound of leaves and branches crunching under her boots filled her ears. It was just her and the woods. Then something caught her eye. A sparkle. Something like a flash of light. She looked and saw an orb of light hanging in the air, floating up and down gently. Her mouth dropped and almost as soon as she saw it…it was gone. It sped off down a trail, ducking behind some trees. What on earth was that? She was intrigued. She turned off her normal path and ducked under some branches. The small light peeked out from behind a tree and saw she was following, continuing down the path. She swallowed hard, unsure of what she was following. She had to know. The light bounced and raced through the trees until it disappeared down a slope in the forest floor. She quickly picked up the pace, huffing a breath as she reached the top and looked down. Where had it gone?

At the bottom of the slope was a narrow river. It was flowing strong after the fresh rain. The sound was relaxing. She sighed and carefully trotted down, nearly slipping on the wet leaves and grass. She stopped at the small river, sitting on a large rock and trying to catch her breath. Where had that light gone? Could it really be so fleeting and fast and then…gone? She looked around, hearing nothing but the sound of the water and the light chirp of birds in the distance. She glanced up through the trees, seeing a cloudy sky looking down at her. Still not much sign of the sun but at least it was trying. She took her backpack off of her shoulders and pulled out a water bottle, twisting the top off and taking a long sip. She lowered it from her lips with a gasp and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. She had to find it. She twisted the cap back on with a nod and shut her backpack.

Just then, and just for a moment, she saw it again. That little ball of light flash behind a tree. Was it hiding this whole time? She stood and ran towards the river, scanning the rock pattern to try and get across. She jumped onto a rock and it wobbled beneath her weight. She gasped and caught herself, jumping to the next rock swiftly until she was across. She huffed a breath and looked over her shoulder, thankful she hadn’t fallen in. She would’ve froze. She turned back to the woods, determined to follow the light. She hurried after it, racing and twisting and turning as it flew. A downed branch caught her foot and she fell. She braced as her body slammed into the cold and wet ground. Pain surged through her legs and arms. A shiver racked her spine as the wet grass and leaves soaked her leggings and sweater. She lifted herself up, seeing the small light hovering up and down a ways ahead of her. It looked as if it were waiting for her to get up and then it was gone again, continuing on it’s path. With a groan she picked herself up and called out after it.

“Wait!” But it was too late. It was gone. She picked herself up and limped slightly as pain stabbed her right ankle. Had she sprained it? How far was she from home? She looked over her shoulder instinctively, not even recognizing where she was anymore. Then she heard it. The slow and gradual grow of heavy rain. Oh no. Then she was soaked. Her brown locks falling flat against her head. Goosebumps covered her skin and she immediately sought cover. She limped her way over to a tree that looked like the biggest tree she’d ever seen. A large hole was in the bottom, practically inviting her in for shelter from the rain. She pulled herself under and dropped to sitting, immediately relieved of the pressure from standing on her ankle. She winced and rubbed at it, trying to work out any pain. With a sigh she unwrapped the scarf from around her neck and used it as a towel, drying off her hair and watching the now rain turned to downpour. She opened her backpack and pulled out the blanket she had packed, wrapping it around her shoulders and shivering.

Where was the light? Where had it gone? She had so many questions. What was it? Why was it asking her to follow it? Part of her wondered if she’d ever see it again.

 

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