I'm not entirely sure where I'm going, but hey, anything to get away from home.

I start with a simple walk through the trees.  The inspiration for my drawings grows, and I feel ideas taking root inside me like soft seeds, ready to be blown away by the slightest winds of distraction.  I turn around to go home, and my stomach drops.

Everything looks the same.  The trees, the rocks, the branches and bushes.  I don't know where to go.  I didn't take a path because I didn't think I'd go this far off.  But I did go this far off.  I don't even see the lights of my house fighting the dark.

The dark.  Crap. Crap crap crap!  It's not that I'm afraid of the dark.  It's just that, once the dark takes over, so does the cold.  And once you're captured by the cold darkness, it's game over until the light returns.

I can still see my feet, and basic shapes.  So I just start walking again.

The cold seems to laugh at me as it throws the bitter wind at any part of me not bundled up.  After a while, my legs are numb and my nose and fingertips sting.  As if to make things worse, it begins to rain.  It's light, but once it hits anything it freezes.   And that includes my ears.

I try to keep my hair around my ears to keep them warm and trudge on.  Eventually, I stumble upon a road.  I don't recognize it.  There aren't even any streetlights because this crappy town is too small and poor to afford any.  So it's still dark.

I guess the freezing night takes a hold of me, because suddenly I'm shuddering.  I fall to my knees and huddle up.  Between shudders, it feels like my body has been grabbed by invisible hands, feeling and pushing and stretching parts of me.  Then it feels like a cold paintbrush is sweeping its way across my skin.  I pass it off as some symptom of being frozen.  But it stops quickly, and I realize I'm lying on the pavement.

I stand up, still shivering a bit.  The rain stops, but the road is slick.  I follow it, hoping to find my way home.

At that moment, the road lights up.  For a second, I think the moon has come out,  but then the light centers on me.  I turn around to see a car, brakes screaming, coming at me.  I'm too scared to run or scream, so I just close my eyes, praying for the car to go away.

But I'm hit, and thrown face-down into the ditch.  Something pins me down, and it's warm.  I hear the something crash nearby. Someone screams in pain.

I try to stand up, but whatever is on me pushes back down.  A deep, masculine voice growls in my ear, "Stay low.  Hold still.  Are you hurt?"

It presses against me, and I'm overcome by delightful warmth, "I'm good," I say.

I hear a breath of relief.  "Thank goodness.  I was afraid I had hurt you for a moment.  You didn't scream or anything, and I thought I had snapped your neck or knocked the breath out of you."

"Who are you?"

"My name is Griffin."

An odd name.  "I'm Feline.  Why'd you save me?"

He chuckles, and I can tell the sound comes from low in his chest, "It's my job."

"Can I please get up?"

"No, not here.  Hold still."  I feel him grab me by the back of my neck and pull.  I'm dragged across the ground, back into the bushes.  Then he lays a large hand (Or at least, I think it's a hand) on me, "I want you to stay still and quiet." Then he leans over me.

And I realize that he is not a man, but a massive lion.

The End

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