It's been one year. One lonely year by myself, with more to come. The herd is still with me. Sid is still the same; Manny is the same, Ellie and her adventurous opossum brothers are the same. Still happily joyful- oh, and that Granny is still around too. I suppose Manny was right- the spiteful ones do live the longest.
I'm sitting by myself, alone, on this beautiful cliff edge. It's the same one where I confronted 'Mother Nature' in my previous adventure. It looks different now that it is spring. Soft patches of grass have grown across the hard earthly cliff. I sit on it, feeling its softness. Flowers have bloomed everywhere. If only she was here with me.
I push my head into the soft ground, my head between my paws. One year- it seems like twenty, though.
One year I've struggled without her.
One year I've actually survived.
One year…since she died.
I miss her. I miss her so badly, her lovely scent, her soft touch as she nuzzled me gently, and her loving purrs she would make as we slept by each other.
But she's gone now.
Yes- I hope you all know who it is. I daren't say her name; I know I can't without feeling the flashbacks. But to all you who didn't know her, her name was Shira. And she was the most amazing feline I have ever met, and will ever meet.
I loved her. I fell in love with her in my adventure of the continental divide. It was another extraordinary adventure with my pals, and we welcomed two new members into the herd.
But it's one less now.
Everybody felt my pain when she left us. Manny and Ellie mourned with me, Sid wouldn't remark and make jokes for a long, painful time, Crash and Eddie didn't go off adventuring for weeks, Granny's purple eyelids were squinted and strained with sadness for months, for she didn't have her best friend around anymore to pick on for fun, and even Peaches' and her friends were sad.
But I was more than sad. I was pained, hurt, depressed, and most of all, sick.
I couldn't hunt, and I had to live on the herd's vegetations. I barely moved- my muscles weakened, and I was constantly feeling dizzy.
And for the whole time, I was so sick about Shira's unexpected, fateful departure.
It all occurred in that one twilight evening. We were having a walk through the woods, just her and I. The stars were twinkling, and it was perfect. I wanted to take her to a new place I had found- a beautiful waterfall. It was a surprise.
'Close your eyes,' I had told her, and she did, her grey eyelids closed, her lashes resting on her white furry face.
And then, it happened.
Growling- growling from every corner.
Shira's eyes snapped open. 'What's this?'
'I don't know, Shira. It wasn't supposed to be like this…' I had responded, fear in my voice.
Then, they came. Wolves, approaching from every corner. A pack of them, so vicious.
'We have to fight them,' Shira said.
'There's too many!'
She ignored me, as she usually did. 'Alright, you take the right side, I'll take the left. We'll meet at Cliff Point.'
'Okay,' I agreed. 'You take care, Shira.'
She gave me a worried look. 'I'll try.'
She took the left side, and I waited for her to leave. I wouldn't run to Cliff Point without her. Once she had disappeared from my sight, I started for the right. Slashing at the wolves with paws, I sprinted to Cliff Point.
I panted hard.
'That was close,' I gasped, drawing my breaths sharply.
'Shira?' I asked, and looked around. She wasn't here.
'SHIRA!' I yelled.
Panic rose in me. I took off, sprinting to the path that she would've taken. And then, I saw her. She was lying on the ground, with wolves attacking her. Instantly, I ran and scared the daylights out all the wolves, occasionally slapping them to get away. They did, eventually, and I went to cater for Shira.
'Diego,' she whispered, with her voice barely audible.
'What happened? Are you hurt?' I demanded, panic rising in me.
'They were waiting for me in the trees,' she replied in a raspy tone. 'Diego…'
'Yes? Are you hurt?' I asked urgently.
'Diego…they've killed me.'
My eyes widened.
'No, no…Shira! You can't leave me! Show me the wound, I'll help you!'
Shira couldn't move though. I realized her leg was swollen purple, and there was blood oozing out from her other leg. Scratches were all over her, and a bite mark was stained on her throat.
'Please…' I whispered to her. Tears were stinging my eyes. Tears of weakness, sadness, anger, hatred, every emotion.
Shira was shaking now. Trembling with agonizing pain.
'Don't leave me! Just…don't! I love you!' I whimpered, letting the tears freely fall.
She reached a paw to me. I took it, holding on to it.
Shira lifted her white head above the grassy ground, and we faced each other, nose-to-nose, eyes locked with each other. Her sapphire eyes were brimmed with tears, and I took in everything- it would be last time I'd see her eyes.
'I love you, Diego.'
Her whispered words fluttered in the moonlit breeze. And suddenly, her eyelids fluttered to a close.
'No!' I exclaimed. 'No, Shira! Don't!'
Her head dropped down to a rest on the grassy floor, and her paw flopped down, motionless.
And so her body was lifeless. Gone…forever and eternally.
Now my body was shaking. Tears were flowing uncontrollably. I rested my head over her cold neck, and wept there for the whole night.
The next night the herd found me. Manny advised Ellie and Peaches to leave, for they did not want to see her terrible wounds. Ellie was staring at the body, her eyes widened with horror. Peaches, I was surprised, was not looking at the body.
In fact, her eyes were locked with mine, as she'd never seen me in such a distraught position before. I was shaking so hard I could barely stand, and my eyes were still drenched with tears. Peaches stared on, until Ellie dragged her teenage daughter away.
Sid was with Granny, Crash and Eddie back at the herd's resting place.
He caught sight of us all entering in, and his face brightened. He didn't realize our expressions.
'Hey ya, Diego! Where have you been? You didn't come back last night!' Sid exclaimed.
But before Manny could stop him, Sid bursted out 'Where's Shira?', and it was too much for me. I lifted my head to reveal my condition, and Sid saw my tearful green eyes, my burning hot feverish face, my shaking body, and my grief.
He was confused for a moment, but as he saw a white body lying on Manny's tusks he was stunned.
Sid placed a clawed paw over his mouth, staring at me.
They have never seen me like this.
So, yes, it has been a year. I still grieve; I still remember everything of that harmful night. And I still remember it was my entire fault. For taking her out. It was I that was responsible. Everything could've been avoided. She could be here with me today, watching this spring weather.
But she's not.
The herd has tried to support me, but lately, I have become hard-faced, emotionless, and solitary. I know they want to help, but nothing can help me anymore.
Not even Granny's humorous days where she walked into our base in a bikini, accusing us to be 'peeping toms' for staring wide-eyed at her outfit.
I can't laugh.
I can't smile.
I can't move.
I can't live anymore.
I don't want to.
I miss her.