Ayal stood there, amongst the trees and bushes across from Theo. He could just barely see him through the slots in the net. Theo continued to struggle, hoping he would tire out the hunters somehow. He hoped that Ayal would somehow distract the hunters, but he disappeared from between the trees in a matter of seconds. I’m never going to get back to Bernie now,Theo thought.
Suddenly, Ayal dashed across the bushes where he had hid, to those behind Theo. Theo was in awe as he saw his shadow appear and disappear within seconds. He suddenly felt the pressure on his head lessen, as he looked back at the hunters and saw the man to his right distracted by Ayal. Theo roared once again, as he jerked left and lowered his head, escaping the net’s clasp.
Theo quickly threw the net aside and attacked the men, while letting out another angry roar. He charged at the hunter which stood in front of him and pressed his claws all across the man’s body, as he screamed in pain and fell to the ground. Theo turned around to finish off the other two hunters, but he felt another shot in his right ankle. The hunter attacked him with what appeared to be a handheld black object.
The bear was determined to escape, there was no way any pain was going to stop him from getting back to Bernadette. He flailed his right arm and twisted his upper body towards the hunter that shot him. The man flew to the tree behind him; his body stopped briefly on impact and then slipped down the trunk of the tree. Theo turned around to get rid of the last of the pesky hunters, but he looked around him and saw no one. He presumed the third hunter understood his chances of defeating Theo were not high, and so he fled. Good riddance, too, Theo thought.
After Theo finally got rid of the hunters, he saw Ayal glance at him a few steps away from him, then the deer rushed back into the darkness of the bushes. Ayal was easy to spot; he had a long bright, white streak from his nose up to between his eyes. It was a bit odd, but interesting to look at. Theo didn’t get a chance to say thank you until a few days later, when he stumbled upon Ayal at the river again while hunting for his fish. It was then that he had learned his name.
“Ayal!”, Theo yelled. “I was just remembering the time you saved my life – the first time we met”, he yelled to him, across the river. “Ah, that was many moons ago, Theo. Why are you thinking about that now?” Ayal responded.
“It must be the river, I guess. I think a lot about that night, you know. I don’t know where I would be if it were not for you.” “So, what are you doing out at the river? Is it not too early for you to catch fish? You surely will not find any at this hour, Theo” Ayal said, concerned that his friend might be confused again. “Oh, I know, I’m out on one of my journeys. Don’t worry, I’ve let Bernadette know. You don’t need to worry about me for a while”. Theo explained.
It was then when Ayal worried the most about Theo. Whenever he uttered the words “you don’t need to worry about me”. It was usually then, that Theo really needed some help. But he never told Bernadette that, he did not wish to worry her. Their friendship was different however, they shared their thoughts and experiences with one another, but only saw each other once in a while. They did not feel they had to meet often in order to keep their connection strong, after all, they were both animals, but from very different families which did not usually need each other.
Theo’s journey continued, as he walked forward, excited as to what he would find on this adventure. It was mid-morning by now, and the sun was becoming stronger and warmer, Theo could once again feel the warmth on his fur. It was warm but not too warm to bother him, it was just right. The sunlight made beautiful, colourful reflections all across the river, almost like a path for Theo to cross. He saw a streak of purple light across the river, and so, he decided to cross it; he had nothing to lose by going there.
It wasn’t often that the bear would cross the river, he usually stuck to what he was comfortable with but once in a while, he needed excitement to guide him, rather than habit.
The river splashed onto the rocks as Theo crossed it, disrupting the river’s current with his big, furry body. The water felt just slightly colder than lukewarm, just enough to make Theo more aware, and to get his heart beating slightly faster, although, he wasn’t sure if that was because of the water, or because of the unfamiliar territory he was about to reach.
As he shortly reached the other side of the river, he dug his claws into the first tree he saw and drew a circle, so that he would recognize where he crossed the river from. He proceeded to place large pebbles around the bottom of the trunk too, to be able to see it from afar. This was Theo’s favorite method of marking his trail, he would do this every time he felt that a somewhat long time has passed, to make sure he never trailed too recklessly.
He had made that mistake before, and it had taken him 10 moons to return back to Bernadette. He never wished to worry her as much again, and he thanked her for helping him find her way home after she too, drew a circle in a few trees around the river to help guide him home.
This new side of the river seemed different than the other. It was more colourful, there seemed to be more bushes with yellow flowers too. The trees had a purple tinge to them all over which he had never noticed before. Some other trees had fruit growing on them, some were blue, some orange, and some were green. Theo was not used to so much colour, but he liked it.
He began to hear the birds chirping louder and louder, as he approached the other side. He saw a large empty circle of space, between some tall trees. The sun was pointing directly there. I wonder what adventure awaits me there, he thought.