Sophia was a wanderer. She loved wandering through the barn at her parents’ home to spend time with the barnyard animals, strolling through the garden in the backyard to smell the honeysuckle and walking into the forest when she felt like being truly alone. This was one of those sunny springtime days when she decided to head into the forest. After rising early in the morning and eating a breakfast of oatmeal and toast with blueberry jam, she pulled on her periwinkle hoodie and a pair of jeans and started out.
Since the forest was only a short way from home, it only took Sophia a few minutes to reach the pathway leading between the trees. Once there, she was pleasantly surprised by birdsong coming from somewhere above her head and a streak of bright sunshine in her eyes. She also spotted a couple of showshoe hares near a large rock and a red fox jogging past. Walking slowly to enjoy every moment, she decided to pick bloodroot, bearberry and flowering currant, which she put in the basket she was carrying. After a couple of hours, she took a break under a tree to eat lunch. Lunch consisted of a vegan tuna salad sandwich, olive oil potato chips and an almond milkshake made with fresh bananas and strawberries.
When she finished her meal, she decided to continue on her trek through the woods. But before she could start walking, she looked up from tying her bootlaces straight into the eyes of a gray wolf. Sophia’s first instinct was to run as fast as she could all the way back home, but fear paralyzed her to the spot. She desperately hoped the wolf would just go away but it surprised her further by opening its mouth to speak. It said darkly,”Hello there. I was wondering if you could tell me where you think you’re going?” Sophia opened and closed her mouth simply because no words would come out. No animals had ever in her life spoken to her with a voice strikingly similar to that of a human. After a few seconds of terror, she breathed out,”Who are you, sir, and why are you questioning me about my whereabouts?” “Why I’m Grayfoot, the oldest wolf in these parts, and I’m also the fiercest forest creature you’ll ever set eyes upon. If you could tell me where you happen to be going, I might be kind enough to leave you alone. Otherwise, I’m afraid you won’t want to find out what happens to those who wander into my forest.” Although Sophia was utterly disgusted by his lack of civility, she tried to talk past gritted teeth,”I’m only taking what I thought was a pleasant walk. Furthermore, I was under the assumption this forest belonged to all creatures, whether human or not. After all, you didn’t create it, and you’ll be long gone before it dies off.” Grayfoot growled quietly and barked a reply,”You would be wise to escape before it’s too late. But since you’re so brave, I think I’ll allow you the privilege of staying, for a short while. Grayfoot trotted a few yards away and glanced back for a split second. He began heading upwards into the trees then further into the thick underbrush.
Feeling a bit intimidated by the appearance of a wolf in her usual hiking ground, Sophia proceeded with caution for the rest of the day. By late afternoon, she was making the long trek back home. On the way, she saw a red-tailed hawk up in the trees, a porcupine making its way into the underbrush from a distance away and a raccoon climbing upwards towards the hollow in a tall tree with a thick trunk. When evening began to arrive, Sophia was glad to be out of any forest that had mysterious talking wolves living in it. She ran inside the house and let the door shut behind her. Then she made her way swiftly but quietly upstairs to her bedroom. The room was decorated in the similar style of a fairytale forest. She hung highly imaginative drawings, paintings, puppets and other creations she made with her own two hands on the walls. Greenery and flowers she’d picked from the forest adorned the room. Books of fiction such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Hobbit and other classics filled bookshelves to the brim. Her bedroom might have been small, but she more than made up for it with a healthy dose of character.
Sophia grabbed a book off the shelf and hopped underneath the pink bedspread of her fluffy bed. A few minutes of reading Snow-White and Rose-Red passed, then she drifted off into a deep sleep. She dreamed of a clearing in the dense forest, a pack of gray wolves and one wolf that talked back.