“Belonging” by Sara Hillestad

There was a creature that lived in the wilderness safe from harm. One day, the creature came upon a strange being that didn’t look a thing like any thing that you would expect to see in the wilderness. It seemed to the creature and by how the being shook that it was terrified and then it fell over. This alarmed the creature greatly and not knowing what to do. He panicked, and threw water on the being, assuming it was a strange fish out of water.

The water splashed, reviving the girl that passed out who was simultaneously gasping and jumped up right.Water dripping on her face, she looks around at her surroundings and saw a bright light behind a tree.

At the same moment in time, the creature ran to the nearest tree to hide because he knew that everyone doesn’t want anything to do with him by his appearance. Especially when he transforms into his other self that everyone in the forest says is unnatural and disgusting. They call it Strange. Even with his horrible experiences that made him terrified of the reaction he would get, he wanted to be sure that the unfamiliar being was alright.

To his surprise, he found the being was able to talk and he was able to understand what it was saying. Unlike before, it was just noise but, then he wasn’t paying much attention. Since, no one comes to these parts of the wilderness all that often. It sounded to be fear of loneliness and reminded him of himself. When he was all alone and nobody came to confront or tell him that he wasn’t alone or an outcast. Overcome by his emotions, he slumped down to the ground and started to cry, until he drifted to sleep.

It was getting dark, and the creature knew that it was dangerous to be out alone at night. So, he got up, leaning on the tree and then quickly became aware that there was something close that was giving off a calming heat. Then something was gently around his waist. He looked down to see similar features but are on a smaller size body with eyes that stared at him.

The first thing that was said was, “Hello. Can I help you?” asked the creature curiously.

It seemed that there was a slight hesitation in reply from the small being but it would soon respond when the creature started to pull away, after a moment of awkward silence.

“My name is May Gardner and I lost my way. I am afraid to be alone. I was so relieved to see someone else. Can you help me find a way home, please?” asked May, who was trembling and holding on a bit more tightly as she spoke.

The creature was again surprised by this, May Gardner, who is asking for his help. He was so taken aback that it reminded him of a time where he was in the same position as May Gardner is now. He was trying to convince his mother to stay with him. It was more like begging her continuously to stay at least until he knew how to take care of himself properly. When the teasing got really bad he turned to his mother for confront. But, in the end she would also leave him because.., One day after gathering up food for supper that night, his mother decided to leave but this time for good. So, her son can embrace adulthood and realizing that this is for the best, to move forward in life. She gathered the things that she needed and before leaving she wrote a note that she left on the table. The note will bring pain for her son but also to encourage him forward. Arriving home, he called to his mother but no reply. He looked for her but found nothing except for a note on the table that reads:


Dear Son,

Sorry, it came to this. But, I had to leave before you got back because you would have stopped me.You have come of age to be on your own. So, don’t expect me to be coming home. Now, that you are old enough, I can tell you there were many things that I wished to have told you. But, time is short and little to be done about it. So, I will tell you this; that pain is not forever, for it will make you stronger given the proper time. Also, you need to make peace with yourself in anyway possible as long as it’s not harmful to yourself or others. Please don’t forget the teachings that I told you to survive. When you feel that you are ready to take the name I give you and the responsibilities that go with it. Then call yourself not Creature but as Jacob.

With all my love,


The creature let out a stream of tears that came down and landed on May’s face. When he was a bit calmer he replied, “It’s dangerous to be out here alone at night. You can come with me to my home for tonight. Then, in the morning I will help you find your way back home, if that’s alright with you.”

May Gardner thought about her situation and decided to trust him by accepting his offer. With that they headed to Creature’s home.

They arrived at the entrance of Creature’s home, a cave at the bottom of the hill. In front of the entrance is a bunch of vines that have leaves on them that serves as the door and camouflage for Creature. When they entered they went down some steps there were fire sticks to light the way.

As they reached the bottom of the steps and there can be seen 2 legless logged stools one on each side of a wooden table. On the left side there’s a stack of firewood to feed the fireplace, which is on the right side. When you look straight ahead, there’s three rooms or at least three vine doors that lead somewhere. The furthest room from the steps is where the creature allows May to use for tonight.The room that May would be in was vacant expect having a bed and a legless logged stool. There was another vine door, May was told that will go to the next room but, only part of it. He showed May where and how to get to the place where she can relieve herself. There was rocks in certain positions in the dirt that led to the sides of the vine door.

Afterwards, he went to prepare supper. May followed him to the kitchen then seated herself on a stool and observed him. He asked her, “ What would you like to eat?”

May repiled, “I don’t really have a preference. I can go with about anything.”

The creature wanted to make sure by asking her hesitantly, “You… you really don’t mind what I make you? Even if you may not like what I make?”

May says a matter-of-factly, “That’s right. At home, I’m not usually known for being a picky eater. I am a person that likes what I eat. So, you can relax a bit if that sets your mind at ease. Out of curiosity, what did you have in mind?”

The creature was rendered speechless but, napped out of it and thought back to the first thing that came to mind, “baked potatoes with a variety of toppings to put on.”They agreed that for supper that they would have baked potatoes and some cooked vegetables.

While supper was resting on the wooden table in front of them. May asked, “So, it just dawned on me that I don’t know your name.”

This put the creature thinking back to a time when he wasn’t given a name until his mother left him that day. But, he remembers the note that was left for him nonetheless. He said quietly, “You can call me Creature.”

May responded questionly, “Alright. But, for me it feels a bit rude to call you Creature. Can I give you a nickname that might suit you. If I may?” From his body language he was hesitant but he was curious what the nickname would be. So, she took this as an invitation to continue. “I was thinking for a nickname of calling you Crea, it’s short for Creature. What do you think or do you really want me to call you Creature?”

Creature said coolly, “I don’t mind it. Crea isn’t the worst nickname that I’ve gotten over the years. In fact, I think other than my mother it’s actual the best nickname that I have ever gotten. Well, on that note the food should be cooled down by now. Let’s eat, we have a big day tomorrow.” May agreed and they dug in.

The following day, dawn broke out and Crea transformed and he didn’t realize this until he saw the reaction that May had. What she saw was a hybrid of some sort because there was antlers on his head like a male deer, cat eyes, a bird nose and scales on his arms wearing a shawl. He looked at himself and ran outside hiding behind a nearby tree.

When May came to her senses, she went outside  in search for Crea. Once he was found, she approached hesitantly until she got a better look at him, she could see that he was really gentle and that he must have had a tough childhood. She could see his face was buried inside himself, knees up as the barrier protection from harm. She said quietly, “I’m sorry for my reaction that I had, earlier. That it was wrong of me. I will understand if you change your mind to help me.”

This led to a simultaneous occurrence, where a gentle grip appeared on her wrist and her looking down to see what the grip was. It was Crea gripping her gently. Crea brought his head up and starting progressing to get up saying, “I’m used to people bullying me. I had someone I thought was a friend, who promised to be my friend. But, in the end, he went to back stab me with betrayal and became one of my many bullies, which hurt the worse then all the bullies that I ever experienced. Heh. Well. I guess, I should have seen the signs but I didn’t want to see them. The reason I told you that is because I promised to help you find your way back home. I will fulfill the promise that I made with you. But, we should get some supplies for the journey.”

Once they got what they needed to bring like; some firewood, food, a general map of the area, and a portable shelter. Crea brought along his only treasure in the house, which was the note that his mother left him that contained her last advice that she wanted to leave with him and his name that she one day hopes, he would go by. They headed out straight from Crea’s house, looking for any sign that might look familiar to May. When it was getting dark they made camp, Crea said that he will stand watch.

Through their travels, Crea started to open up to May and talk about his childhood. Once she started telling him about herself, he felt like he could be himself. It came a day when Crea told May about the note that he carries. She told him that the note is empowering to reading but at the same time heartbreaking as well. She asked, “What kind of pain is the note referring to?”

Crea was hesitant but told May, “It was referring to a squirrel… named Roger, who I thought at the time was my friend. But, I was shocked to learn that he was never my friend. I overheard him talking to everyone about me because everyone was curious about the friendship with… someone like me. He told them that he never thought me as his true friend… but someone to use and for the publicity. He had to earn a trust that took many years to form.” Before continuing Crea looked at May and then said with a sigh, “Well. That wasn’t all that he did, he started to show his true colors around me. Like he started calling me names and pushing me around. All the while acting kind when we were near my house. I was growing more reluctant as the days went by. My mother caught on pretty quickly sensing the atmosphere around me. She gave me things to do instead of hanging out with Roger.”

She also told him that her parents might help him if he would like some advice about moving forward and being an adult. Crea accepted this offer willingly and wondered the kind of advice May’s parents would give him. From what May tells him they seem really good parents to have. They remind him of his mother, who looks out for him and makes sure he has what he needs.


The day finally came when May started to recognize the area and Crea started to become hesitant because it was unfamiliar ground. May assured Crea that it will be fine this path leads to her home, which is in a small village. He slowly continued out of the area that is familiar to him. But, before they could progress any further, Crea halted again not because he was timided to press on. It was because of the figure that was in front of them, it was a squirrel that glare at Crea.

“Where are your going, Creature? I thought you said you would never leave the area you know best. But, here you are in an unfamiliar place with a…girl.” The figure said angrily then smiled evilly when he noticed May.

Crea took a deep breath and hesitantly said, “It’s… it’s none of your…  business, Roger.”

Roger laughed at Crea’s reply. While he was laughing, May lended over to Crea’s ear and said encouraging, “Hey, you’re doing great. Try it again but, this time a bit most confidence. So, he knows that you are sure with your answer. And don’t back down. You got this.”

Once May pulled back, Crea straighten up and said again but taking May’s advice, “It’s none of your business, Roger.”

Roger fell quiet and looked at Crea. Then he said mockingly, “Oh. So, that’s how it is. You finally got some backbone on you. Now, that you have a little girl by your side. Am I right?”

This outraged both of them. But, May knew this was their battle. So, she went to a nearby tree to cool down. Crea took action and said, “I don’t need a girl to tell me that we need to end this here and now.”

Roger laughed and said bluntly, “What are we going to settle this with our fists? Wow. You have grown-up.”

Crea corrected him, “No. I will settle this by other means that doesn’t harm me or my opponent.”

Roger laughed again, “Heh. Heh. Your still are soft. You haven’t changed a bit, your still naive, Creature.”

Crea breathe to calm his irritation and said, “What I was going to say is, how I plan to settle this is to embrace what my mother wanted me to do. You see, when I thought we were friends I was really happy, jumping for joy. When I found out that it was a fake friendship, it devastated me to the point where I just wanted to get up in the world. But, you know I kept going because my mother was by my side, worried for me and she brought me out of the darkest. Over time when my mother thought I was ready to be an adult, she left a note for me because she knew it would harder for both of us any other way. The note talked about pain isn’t forever but will give you strength to move forward, when you give it proper time to heal. It also said that  when I search for a peace of mind it shouldn’t harm me or others. The point is that, I am threw cowering and beating myself up for a friendship that was never real in the first place. That I will continue to see things how they truly are and face the unknown. I won’t go back to my home anymore not because I’m running but because I want to learn what I don’t yet know. Not hide in comfort being ignorant of the world outside the area that I’m familiar with.”

Crea felt relieved after saying this to the very person that brought him pain. What Crea said made Roger speechless and bewildered. The only thing that he could come up with when he came slightly out of his bewilderment was, “Wow. That’s… that’s how you feel. I guess…I need to get home before it gets too dark out.”

After Roger left, May came back to Crea hearing what went down. They continued to progress to May’s home. When the village was in the clearing it was sundown and Crea transformed to the form that is similar to May. Crea remembers that May told him that she calls this form a human form because that’s what her species is called. They both agreed that calling it a human form was far better than calling the form “Strange.”


They entered the village and most of the villagers were inside their homes having supper but, there was few villagers outside finishing up. May and Crea continued until they reached a home on the hill, they knocked on the door. When the door opened it was May’s mother who gasped for breath when she saw May and started to shed tears of joy. Pulled her in for a hug and her father came to see what was going on at the door. May and her mother pulled away a bit so, her father would see her daughter that was finally home. May embraced her father who was also shedding tears of joy to see his daughter. May’s parents were about to pull her inside but, May pulled away from them a bit.

May looked at them and said, “Mom. Dad. I’d like to let you meet the person that helped me find my way home. His name is Crea.” May stepped back to be side-by-side Crea so, he would feel a bit less nervous.

Crea cleared his throat and said, “Actually. My name is Jacob Crea. But, you can call me Jacob. It’s nice to meet May’s parents that I have heard so much about.”

May’s parents welcomed Jacob inside for the night as a thank you. While everyone was going inside, May stopped a few feet after coming through the door allowing Jacob to enter. She said smiling, “Jacob. I see that you finally are taking the name that your mother left you in that note you treasure so much. I bet that wherever she is right now, that she’s mighty proud of you. Knowing that you finally are moving forward. What I want to know is why did you say Jacob Crea, instead of just saying Jacob?”

Jacob replied warmly, “It’s a reminder that you helped me to get a backbone. So, I could tell Roger what I wanted to say but I was too much of a coward. Your a good friend that I wished I had met sooner. I carry both names with pride. Thank you, May.”

May corrected him in a jokingly, “Actually I should be the one that says ‘thank you.’ Since you are the one that helped me find my way home. Another thing, you learn from experiences and grow that’s part of life. We can be friends, nothing like Roger did. Let’s move forward.”