The area Teak was currently traveling through was dry and grassy. There were few trees and the ones she did see were small and pale compared to the ones she was used to in the forests she tended to inhabit. It was a bit unnerving to her, but it was also fun and interesting. She liked the new experience, the opportunity to meet new creatures and see new things.
It was while she was walking through the tall grasses that she heard a small yipping noise. It sounded a bit like the foxes she was familiar with, but it wasn’t exactly the same. Curious, she made her way towards the sound. It continued as she got closer, progressing into desperate whines. Her heart ached at the fear and sadness in the calls and she walked faster.
When she finally reached the place in the tall grass where the noise was coming from, she was surprised to find a little creature curled up on the dirt. It looked almost like a puppy, but the ears, snout, and tail were all wrong. The ears were more rounded at the top, almost like a lion’s, and the mouth… Every time it opened its jaw to make a sound, it spread wider than any animal she’d ever seen.
Teak watched in awe for a moment before it noticed her. Its wide little eyes focused in on her with terror. She instantly crouched down to appear smaller and started to make quiet, comforting coos.
It took some time, but the creature gradually calmed down enough for her to get closer. When she did, it slowly got up and wobbled over to her – this was when she noticed the back leg that was at an odd angle –, climbing on her and curling against her warmth. It wasn’t chilly outside by any means, but maybe this animal was used to being even warmer? She took out a large square of ragged cloth and wrapped it around the little one in her lap and it was quick to burrow in.
With a look, Teak was able to determine that this was a male. She had never seen this kind of animal before, but he was definitely cute. His mother must have abandoned him, as his leg appeared to be broken. Filled with sympathy for the little guy, she stood up and cradled the canine-like creature in her arms.
Maybe she could manage to nurse him back to health.
For the time being, Teak had deemed him Kaleth. She felt it fit him for some reason. He was young – probably still considered a baby in his species – and seemed to bounce back from the leg injury rather quickly once he was given the proper care. He jumped around a lot more than he probably should have, but Teak was glad that he was healing.
When the day came that Teak took the final bandages off his leg almost two months later, she gave him a watery smile, a tight hug, and walked off.
That evening, as the sky got darker, she found a small alcove underneath some tree roots to sleep in for the night. Curling up with her ragged makeshift blanket, the same one she’d used for Kaleth, she closed her eyes and began to doze off.
She nearly screamed when she felt a small and warm body wiggle its way in next to her. But when she opened her eyes, they met with dark brown ones that she had grown very familiar with.
A grin came to her lips and she pulled Kaleth closer. He huffed and groaned dramatically, but didn’t pull away. In fact, he snuggled closer and pressed his body against hers.
He was still there when she woke up the next morning, and for every morning after that.