“This land is going to be yours,” says the bear, in a low voice. The words are deep, little more than the babble of water running over stones, of rain pounding down against a red stone canyon.
And yet, the girl can understand.
She leans forward, looking out over the sprawling landscape below. From up here on the edge of the ravine, everything seems small. A dirt road cuts through the center of the plains, runs up alongside the thick copse of pine trees.
“It’s really pretty,” says the child. She can’t remember how she got out here, but there’s a sense of peace draped over her. “I like it.”
“You are one of many that will have a part of this world,” says the bear. “What you see out there – it’s a grand thing. The last of the wilds, spread out for you to do with what you want.”
“I want it to stay just like this,” says the girl. She curls her chubby fingers in the thick, brown fur of the bear. It’s soft and warm and comforting. “It’s so pretty. The trees, and the sky, and all the animals. I love it!”
The bear gives a soft laugh. “That’s what I was hoping you would say.”
And, when the young girl wakes up just a little bit later, tucked safe and sound in her own bed, those are the words still echoing in her mind. She hugs her big, stuffed brown bear tighter against her chest. “I love bears,” mumbles the girl, with a sleepy yawn.
The stuffed bear stares up at her with large, black, button eyes. It doesn’t say anything, but the bear knows what it would.
Make sure that you keep the world safe. It’s yours now. Yours and every other little child, with wonder in their eyes, with love in their hands.
“I’ll make sure you never get hurt,” says the girl, pressing her face against the stuffed toy. “I’m gonna ask momma how to do that, soon as she gets up.”
For it’s late right then. The stars are only just starting to fade, the sun only just starting to come up. Outside, a bird starts to sing a pretty morning sun. The flowers are blooming. A cat strolls leisurely through the neighborhood.
The girl rolls over onto her side, staring at the world outside her window. She hopes this is what she dreams about every night; she hopes this is what she wakes up to every morning.
Written by Kaitelynn E. Koontz
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