A teenager is blinded by wildfire smoke and falls in love with a wild animal.

 

Lost and Found

If I felt alone before, I was really alone now. Curled up in a ball on the lake shore of Eulatzella Lake, I wept for myself.

I wanted to get so close to that fire; see the flames and feel the heat. I wanted to feel alive as I felt so numb for so long. It was stupid of me just to tear through the bush towards that fire. I got too close. The smoke enveloped me and I became blind. I stumbled into the water; it saved me from being consumed.

I called out for help. No answer. Firefighters were not in this area. I was a 16 year old runaway and no one was looking for me.

Then he happened. Three days later, cold, hungry and blind with just the lake water to drink, I felt something drop on my feet. I froze; I couldn’t see what it was. I reached out and felt what appeared to be a slimy fish. Food! I eagerly tore into it.

But who placed it there?

I could hear quiet panting. I reached out and felt around; my fingers came across fur. A dog! I wasn’t alone anymore.  He allowed me to pet him for a long time and I felt his muscles underneath his long course coat. He was surprisingly soft. I murmured softly to him, trying to comfort him too as I figured he was abandon or lost, like I was.  Somehow, I just knew he was a ‘he’.

That evening, he curled up next to me. The warmth was glorious. The fire that spread through this particular spot left nothing but ash and crumbled bark.

With him there, the night didn’t seem so black. The last few nights were so terribly black with my blindness.

It awoke me with a fright; the haunting sound of a wolfs howl away in the distance. My dog shifted and got up. He took a few steps away from me. Then came the long mournful howl from him.

He was a Wolf.

I was shocked. I was completely vulnerable and he didn’t make me into a meal.

I was now nervous knowing what he was, but when he sauntered back to me, his presence actually calmed me.

He nuzzled into me and we slept. I dreamt of us all night; we were hunting, running, frolicking. I was a she-wolf and he was my mate; two misfits connected.

The next morning, I could actually see light and shapes. My vision was coming back!

I looked over at him and I could see his eyes looking back at me. The most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. Everywhere else was still blurred, but his eyes pierced into mine.

I knew then I loved him. He was mine. I wasn’t going to be alone anymore. He would care for me like no one ever had. I felt alive with him, wild and free. We would be our own pack and roam the charred land.

Together.

Contest submission from awhile back. In 500 words or less write a story on: A teenager is blinded by wildfire smoke and falls in love with a wild animal
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