• Thunder sounded from the distance, how far away I didn’t know. I watched as Teddy dozed by the back of the bramble shelter, his tail covering his paws and nose. Rain pattered softly as the storm made its way to us. Soon I caught myself dozing as lighting struck somewhere outside. I was soon awoken by a smell. I had smelled only once before when I had lived near humans. The hunters had lit a fire in my woods and left it unattended. Stupid deer hunters, I had thought, stealing all my deer. In the end much of the forest had been destroyed, and now, the horrible stench wafted from outside.
    My eyes flew open as I felt heat wafting towards my cold fur. Flames had erupted outside the den. I cried out in a panicked voice as the flames lapped at the bramble. Any second now it could burst into flames. Teddy! My gray fur swished out as I turned to see him. His eyes were open but he was still partially asleep. Howling loudly, I tried to find a way out. My heart fluttered wildly as I tore at the bramble. Help me! I tried to shout but only loud coughs came out as smoke filled my lungs. The fire crept slowly towards me, waiting to take me as its own. The bramble broke away at last and I turned to shove the pup out the hole. “Run!” I barked as we dashed through the burning forest. Trees, bushes, and undergrowth were alive with fire. Everything seemed to dance in the orange flames. I saw a patch of fire-free trees and I ran towards them, flames following me all the way. I had been wrong. Flames lapped around each edge of the field. We were surrounded, no place to turn. I picked up Teddy and jumped over a burning log, catching my back leg as I did. “Think Shanu, don’t turn back.” I muttered to myself as I ran, my back leg slowing me down. Smoke blinded me as I ran as fast as I could toward what I thought to be another opening. I dropped him as I saw a cliff looming in front of me and turned tail. Rocks bounced down the cliff as my feet stirred them up.“Teddy, keep running.” I called back as I saw him stumbling through the flames. His thick white fur seemed to reflect the waves of fire as I turned back to try and help him. His foot was stuck in an old rabbit burrow. His eyes full of fear and pain as he struggled to lift it out. A loud cracking sound echoed through the forest as a birch tree was burned out of the ground. I ran as fast as I could. I stumbled blindly as my paws barely touched the hot earth. “MAMA!” His sweet young voice echoed through the flames. “TEDDY, RUN!” he looked at me in shock as he tried to yank out his paw. The tree fell fast. I wouldn’t make it in time, I knew that, but I ran faster, tears dripping down my fur. “MAMA, HELP!” Within a few seconds I stopped, and watched in horror as the tree fell with a sickening thud as it fell, burning, right were my baby had been standing. His last words echoed through the burning forest. “TEDDY!” I called again and again. “Teddy?! Can you hear me? Teddy, answer me!” I stumbled to the tree and saw him. Teddy’s fur was blackened with soot, his paw bent at an odd angle. I cried in horror as I saw his once beautiful brown eyes, glazed over in death.