Week #34- Fiction in a Flash Challenge by Suzanne Burke. Read the entries and join in here.
Don’t Worry, I’ve Got You
The tv hummed in the background as Tammy hunched over her homework. She’d fallen behind while she was sick, and now finals were coming. Her teacher had warned her if she couldn’t catch up, the school would have to hold her back a year.
Tammy couldn’t allow that to happen- she’d promised her mom.
She wiped away the tears blurring her vision and tried to concentrate, but the wildlife show kept pulling her attention. Biologists were following an endangered herd of Borneo elephants in their search for food among dwindling forest land. The growth of palm oil plantations had put the ‘baby-face’ elephants at risk of extinction.
Back before the virus struck and everything changed, Tammy had dreamed of a career in conservation, but, now she’d be lucky to even finish school.
Worn out, she laid her head on her books and fell asleep.
The forest was hot, dense, and humid. Trees towered over their heads, blocking the sun and leaving unnerving shadows in their wake.
The guide led the way with a lethal-looking machete he used to clear a trail through the underbrush and vines.
“Shouldn’t be far now,” he assured them with a slashing white smile.
Giant spider webs sparkled with dewdrops and birds flashed amongst the branches in a rainbow of colors.
Suddenly, the energy around them changed, becoming electrified with the approach of their quarry– elephants.
The guide urged them to crouch with a finger to his lips for silence. A few breathless moments later, the ferns parted and a leathery gray head appeared, giant ears flapping to keep away the bugs.
Tammy’s heart was in her throat. Never could she have imagined the majesty of these magnificent animals. She squeezed her mom’s hand and met her excited gaze. The trip of a lifetime and they’d done it together.
As the elephant meandered past no more than thirty feet away, Tammy gasped. A baby followed close behind, his delicate-looking trunk wrapped tightly around Momma’s tail.
The forest swallowed them in the all-encompassing shadows as if they’d never been. Tammy felt elated and grief-stricken at the same time, as though something precious was lost. Tears dripped down her cheeks knowing their chances of survival were slim.
“Don’t cry honey, mom’s here.” Her safe arms wrapped Tammy in comfort.
“I don’t know what to do,” Tammy sobbed into her mom’s lemon-scented shoulder.
“Study hard, get your degree, and be the difference, my love,” she whispered. “Don’t worry, I’ve got you.”
Tammy woke to static noise from the television, face stiff from the tears she’d shed. But there was a peace in her heart that hadn’t been there before.
“Miss you, Mom,” she murmured, opening her books. Time to make a difference, with a little help from above.