Awaiting Fredrick - By Ian Duncan
Darkness was strong in the dense forest even during the daytime but when night fell on the countryside Fredrick had no hope of finding his way around. The sun was gone and the forest was black with night. No wind could penetrate the forest so every sound Fredrick made seemed magnified one thousand times: leaves crunching, twigs snapping, brushing against a bush. Fredrick tried to be silent as he crept through the woods so the wolves wouldn't hear him but he couldn't see all the twigs that lay on the ground.

He didn't want to walk anymore: he didn't know where he was going and he was very tired. Beside him Fredrick could feel a large tree so he climbed up the tree until he found a crevice where all the large branches seemed to meet. He could fit perfectly inside the crevice so he made the tree his home for the night.

Every night for weeks Fredrick slept in the tree. He knew it was safe up there. For food he had been eating berries, although there weren't enough for him around and he was getting weak and hungry. At night while he lay in his tree Fredrick could sometimes hear something running quickly through the leaves which lay dead on the forest floor. The footsteps were difficult to hear though. It sounded as if there was a group of something running through the trees. Fredrick wondered if they were the wolves or the barbarians. Either way he would never allow himself to be seen by whatever was down there.

The weeks passed and Fredrick grew scared, lonely, hungrier, more tired. He couldn't stand living in the tree anymore so he searched for a new place to live, a place where he could find more food and have things to do to occupy his time. He searched and searched, walking through the woods for all day until he came across a cave near a small waterfall and brook. Fredrick thought this place would be everything he needed. There were berries everywhere and even an apple tree close by, and he could wash in the waterfall and drink there as well.

The cave was dark inside and Fredrick couldn't see a thing. He knew that would help him though because he could hide in there and nobody would be able to see him. He was so excited about his new home that he ran straight into the cave but only to be greeted with ferocious growls and a set of claws auging his chest. The wolves!

Fredrick ran out of the cave and through the trees as fast as he could with two wolves running close behind him. Fredrick ran and ran and ran! He thought he would surely be eaten by the wolves because he could not run very fast in his weakened state, but he kept running. With death close at hand the tears poured down Fredrick's face but he felt charged with energy when he saw flashes of light blinking between the trees. The edge of the forest!

Fredrick burst through the edge of the forest and fell flat on his face in the grass. He tried to get up and run again, to escape, but he was shaking too much to move and he couldn't concentrate on what he was doing because he was so terrified. He stumbled up to his feet quickly and took a step forward only to trip over himself and fall flat on the ground again. He didn't try to get up again, he merely resigned himself to death . . . but the wolves were gone. Fredrick waited, trembling, for the packof wolves to jump through the trees and devour him but they never came . . . they had vanished. Fredrick's heart beat eased down and he could breathe easily again shortly. What happened to them? They just vanished.


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