So, I thought, this grassy plain is my home now.
It went without saying that I needed to secure food, water and shelter. I had to do something, anything — as long as it wasn’t curling up into a ball and waiting to die. Of utmost importance was finding a body of water, then finding something to eat. I also considered the options I had for shelter, which included a cave or the shade of a large tree.
With those goals in mind, I picked a direction which seemed promising and started walking.
I came across a creek almost immediately. The rippling water was clear enough for me to see all the way to the bottom. I cried out in joy without realising it, for I had drunk muddy water every day throughout the war and I was grateful just to see clear water. My heart filled with the hope that there were animals living along near the river, which would satisfy my need for food.
After quenching my thirst with river water, I scanned the surroundings hoping to find an edible creature. Unfortunately, there were none to be seen. I briefly considered heading off to look for more wildlife, but decided that finding shelter took priority.
I walked on, looking for both a place to stay and a source of food. I walked some more, and then some more, using trampled grass to mark my paths. Hours trickled by before I finally realised the gravity of the situation.
My fiefdom contained nothing but grass.
No matter how much I walked, all I saw was an endless expanse of grassland in every direction. Grass, grass and more grass. I had accepted the possibility of not finding a relatively comfortable shelter such as a cave, but to think that I couldn’t even find a tree…
If I had a tree, I could have at least put together a makeshift shelter, even if it couldn’t be called a home. As the sun began to set, I decided to head back to the river. I drank my fill of water, plopped myself down on the grass and watched blades of grass dance in the gentle wind as I rested my tired body.
At least I have grass, I thought. Can’t I make something out of it? I tried chopping some of it up for food, but immediately dismissed the idea after realising how unappetising it was. In addition, the knee-length blades of grass were too soft to serve any practical purpose.
So much grass, and it was all useless. I sighed loudly.
Darkness slowly crept into the surroundings as the sun dipped below the horizon. Now that I couldn’t even see a few feet in front of me, I knew that I was rooted here for the time being and laid myself onto the grass. I’ll call it a day and try again tomorrow, I thought.
Even though I don’t know if anything will come out of it.
If those efforts proved to be futile, then I had to start thinking about how to get out of here. Many people might be mad at me for doing so, but it was still better than dying like a wretch. That’s right — if the second day is as fruitless as the first, I’ll follow the tracks left by the carriage and find a nearby village where I can be of service to others. Thinking about how I could continue fulfilling my parents’ wishes made me feel better.
My eyelids soon grew heavy, and I drifted off into a peaceful sleep enveloped by the smell of grass.
I was awoken by someone’s voice.
Whoever it belonged to was repeating the same line over and over into my ear. Could this person be trying to talk to me?
‘Wake up’, ‘who are you’, blah, blah, blah… I simply found it white noise at first. As I muttered to myself about how noisy this mysterious person was, it clicked that I was being asked to wake up. My eyes were still closed, but I could tell from the heat of the sun on my cheeks that it was already morning. Is that why I should be waking up?
I was still sleepy, though, and didn’t feel like doing so. I rolled over, showing my back to the source of the voice, and tried to fall asleep again. Lying there thinking about what dreams I would have this time, I slowly drifted back into a light sleep.
As soon as I had entered Dreamland again, I suddenly felt a kick in the back and leapt up from both the impact and the noise. I shook off the throes of sleep, opened my eyes and looked around ready to confront my assailant. My vision cleared up quickly, allowing me to see who had kicked me.
This person’s appearance, though, was so unexpected that I was temporarily at a loss for words.
Her face was painted red in a way that resembled flames, and she was wrapped in a cloth featuring a highly unusual design. In fact, the way she was dressed revealed much of her brown skin. The feature that stood out to me most, though… it was the bright blue horn growing from her forehead.
To think that a person with a horn existed. Utterly bewildered, I remained frozen in place.