“Mommy! Where are you?” A young boy ran through the woods, his face contorted with worry. His short brown hair was covered in caught twigs and leaves as he barreled through the trees and bushes. He had small cuts on his arms, none deep enough to draw blood, but still painful enough to make a boy of his age tear up. He had come out to his favorite park with his mother to celebrate his ninth birthday; she had disappeared hours earlier and he got lost trying to find her.
The sky was bright on this day and clouds covered most of it, casting shade on an otherwise hot day. Combined with the shadows of the trees, what little light that shined through bounced off of the young boy's face as he ran on.
“Mommy? Stop playing! Where are you?” His cries were frantic as he looked around. He had lost all sense of direction as he turned in circles and ran at random, finding himself in the same place many times over. He stood, once again in the place he had started. To the east were some bushes with little green berries that he knew he shouldn't eat. They dotted the bush in clusters. A little brown bird landed on one of the branches and began pecking at some of the berries. “No,” the little boy ran over to the bushes waving his arms in a shooing motion at the bird, “Don't eat those; they're bad for you.” The bird flew away, scared and confused.
The little boy plopped down into the dirt and leaves on the ground and started crying. Mud streaked his face in long fingers where he wiped his tears. His eyes grew red and puffy. “Where are you mommy?” His cries came out small and helpless.
In the distance, the sound of frogs croaking could be heard. It was a continuous white noise in the background of the forest around him. It almost drowned out all the other noise as he sat, silent, staring forward in a daze.
In front of him, to the west, were two tall, skinny trees that reached up, almost touching the sky. He watched two squirrels playing tag on the trees—chasing each other up and down the trunks, sending bark flying out in all directions. Any other day, he would have found this sight funny and he would have laughed, but right now he felt worse than ever. He was alone; he had never been alone before, not like this anyway.
“Mommy!” He started crying once more, “Where are you?”