Meeting Te left me with so many questions. On my way home from the park, I realized that Te didn’t tell me anything about himself aside from his name. He had told me plenty about the forest and the park, but nothing at all of himself. Also, Te had told me just enough about the forest to make me want more. How were the forest creatures so different from people? What happened to drive them apart? What else was in that forest? I had to know more. I wanted to know about Damien’s home and why he alone ventured out beyond the park.
For days after meeting Te, I went to the park every day looking for answers. Sometimes I’d spend hours there walking the paths or sitting on one of the benches. I didn’t see Te or Damien or anything unusual for that matter. After about a week, I realized that I had promised to return to the park, but Te never said he’d come see me again. What if he didn’t come? He had told me he’d watch over Damien. I thought that would include status updates while I was at the park, but maybe Te wasn’t going to leave the forest again for me. I thought about giving up on Te. He had promised me nothing. But what about Damien? Where was he? Was he ok? I had to keep coming back to the park. Damien would probably be in the park before he was back on the streets.
I don’t know how many days went by, but I kept going to the park every day, at least for a couple minutes. Damien had largely been a silent companion, but I found that I missed him deeply. His presence had a way of motivating me and keeping me going. Sure, I hadn’t known Damien for long and I had lived most of my life without him, but now that he was gone, I was beside myself. Even when I wasn’t with Damien, I could feel his strength. Just knowing Damien was out there gave me a new life of sorts. I knew he was being cared for in the forest. The forest was his home. But I didn’t like not knowing how he was.
While I was pondering all this, I had been sitting on a bench particularly close to the forest. I was so lost in thought, I didn’t see or hear anything going on around me. I had become a prisoner of my mind, trappend in my own world. The spell was broken, however, by a tiny smack to the face. Instinctively, I looked to the side and saw Te jumping from my shoulder to the bench.
“Ow! Why did you hit me in the face?” I exclaimed.
“I had been tapping you on the shoulder but you didn’t notice. I had to get your attention somehow,” Te retorted.
I started to say something else but Te cut me off. “Look behind you.”
I turned around and saw trees. Was this some kind of trick? I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. The grass was perfectly manicured right up to the tree line, where the forest lay beyond. I looked at Te, but he was just staring into the trees. I followed his gaze, hoping that would help me find what I was looking for. Still, I only saw the tree line behind me. I stared and searched the tree line until my eyes became strained. What was I supposed to see? Then my focus shifted. I could see into the forest a little. As I looked past the tree line, I saw it. Several feet into the forest was a pair of yellow eyes. Damien!