I awoke to sunlight streaming into the tent. Eric's covers lay in a knot beside me. Nightmares must be back. But Eric himself wasn't there, he must have been buying us breakfast. I went outside and sat on a log to wait for him, just as I had everyday for the past twelve years.

Allow me to explain. I lived in a small two-person tent with my older brother Eric in a

forest in the middle of God knows where. And in that secluded tent, I would be home schooled like any other child, learning math and writing and reading from the various books Eric brought into town. Then dinner, usually chicken Eric roasted on a campfire with some vegetable and a slice of bread. Then we would bathe in the stream, and then play cards and chat until bed.

Looking back, I realize almost everything I did involved Eric. It wasn't hard to see why; considering that that he was my only companion, it was natural that I would spend a lot of time with him. Still, though, I probably would have spent time with him even with other options. There was something about his jet black hair, his big brown eyes, his patient demeanor, his soft, understanding voice. He never so much as yelled at me.

As I sat out there in the sun, I read one of the books Eric had given me. It was one of those stories about a boy and his dog where the dog always dies in the end. I loved these stories; the idea of having a dog had always fascinated me. I so wished that dogs existed in the real world, too; to have a furry friend to keep me company would be amazing. If only.

Behind me, Eric stepped into the clearing. He was carrying granola bars that would probably serve as breakfast. He greeted me. Jokingly, I asked him if he brought me back a dog.

His smile faded away quickly. "Where did you get that idea? He said, trying to sound light, though his nervousness showed through.

"Well it would be so fun to have one!" I said, unaware of the trouble I was causing him. "Like, you know, to have a furry friend and stuff!"

He wasn't even pretending to smile anymore. His eyes lit up with fury. He turned bright red and looked as though he was trying to stop himself from slapping me.

"We will never, ever get a dog!"

"I was just joking!" I tried to shout, but it came out as a squeak. Eric didn't even let me finish my plea before he began yelling again.

"Do you know how much trouble it would cause us? Do you?"

He was screaming now, his face twisted and knotted like the bark of an old tree. I had never heard my brother yell before; in all those years, he had never so much as raised his voice, and especially not like this.

My vision blurred with tears. I turned and started running somewhere, anywhere, just as long as I got away, that's all that mattered. I couldn't even look at him. Yelling at me for a light-hearted joke about an imaginary creature. I had no idea what the big deal was; I didn't want to think about it. I just kept running and running, taking comfort in the beating of my own footsteps, taking pleasure in the ache developing in my side. Vaguely, in the back of my head, I heard a voice yelling for me to come back. I quickly pushed it out of my mind. No way I was coming back.

Eventually, my legs gave out, though I would have kept running all day if I could have, and I collapsed onto a rock. I sat there for a while, wondering where I was. Slowly, my anger began to fade into fear. I had never been this far away from the tent before, and certainly not without Eric. in all honesty, it had never even occurred to me that the world existed beyond those few trees. I had been running for a good hour, and I had no idea which way I had came from. My stomach dropped. I felt a lump form in my throat. The world blurred around me. I was, hopelessly, completely, lost.

Well, what do you guys think? Next chapter is when the action really starts happening. Like this? Review?