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II. Young Footprints {A Short Story}

The rain slows, then stops. There are trees as far as you can see. You sit down on a log and squeeze the water from your hair. It trickles like a shiver down the back of your neck. Has night fallen? Your aching body and sleepy eyes decide it has. The forest is as bright as ever.  You sleep on the ground with your backpack for a pillow.  When you wake, the air is sticky and warm. Your skin is covered in dust, marked with indentations of the sticks and acorns that you slept on. The forest hasn't aged a moment.  There is nothing for breakfast in your backpack. You search a second time and find only the same dead leaves and tissues that you found the first time, as well as the watch that should have been on your wrist. It says the time is 4:00. You furrow your brow and wait for the second hand to tick, counting to sixty before deciding that it isn't going to. You drop all of the items back into your bag. Your stomach cries for food; your mouth begs for water. You promise you'll

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