Musim ducked behind the ragged leaves of a lambsquarter plant. Humans were never quite quick enough to catch a glimpse of him, but he preferred to play it safe, all the same. Evening shadows crept across the faded light of day, the one that marked the third rise of the moon for Musim and his journey.
The elf had set out on his own days before, not a spick or speck to his name, other than the imagination it took to scrounge for food and a spot to rest his weary head at night. His destination would take weeks, possibly months, especially if done entirely on foot. Maybe he’d luck out and catch a ride in the undercarriage of a bus headed to the desert dust of the west. Only time would tell.
He rubbed clammy hands along tattered pants, his eyes glued to the man not yet quite out of view. Humans were nothing new when it came to obstacles to avoid, more of a nuisance than anything else. But the biggest hindrance of all remained –
“Meow!” The screech came out of nowhere, Musim’s beady eyes wide.
The young elf dove deeper into the foliage, a hunker and a slither the only defense he had against the sharp eyes of the feline race. At age two hundred thirty-nine, Musim was barely out of his teen years. His grandfather of over nine hundred would never have been able to make such a dive and still save his pointed ears.
“Purrrrr…” The cat shuffled by.
Musim exhaled slow and long, a hand on his chest and eyes shut tight. Before another second passed, he stepped from his hiding place, the threat from both the human and the cat now gone. A hop and a skip later, he prepared for a night of travel – the best time to move about for his kind.
Tip-tip, toe-toe. Through the garden and around the house, the main road ahead void of traffic for the moment. Zip! He made his escape, eyes on the prize as he headed toward salvation.
A strange noise stopped the elf short.
Soft and foreign, but definitely animal, Musim took another step toward the road.
Drat. His conscious got the better of him.
With a quiet shift, he moved, not a twig or a leaf out of place. Elves were good like that. Silent as he could, his bare feet took him closer, right beside the thing that made the noise.
Burrowed deep in the dirt with a smattering of leaves around it, lay a baby bunny, new and fresh and helpless. This little thing would be impossibly small for a human, a lump that could nuzzle in the palm of even the youngest child. But not for Musim. For him, this tiny guy filled his arms. A perfect fit for the most unlikely babysitter.
Musim sighed. He shouldn’t have picked it up but had done so anyway. And now the creature snuggled close, as if the elf might be his mama. As if he weren’t alone in this world any longer.
The elf bit his lip. This would never do. To drag a baby bunny across the country would only slow his journey. He lifted his head, his eyes immediately connected with a sight that decided the fate of the creature for him. Poor mama bunny wouldn’t be back for her small one.
She’d never made it across that road.
A heavy breath, a brief hesitation; no way to turn back now. This baby bunny would be his companion. His travel buddy. His other half.
Musim would no longer be alone.
The elf would travel to his new home with the unlikeliest of friends. And somehow, it all made sense.
©Laura L. Zimmerman 2016
(**Bloggers Note** This story is based on a poem written by a dear friend of mine, Susan Miller. Please be sure to stop by her blog to check out her poetry and to be inspired!)