Lea awoke with a scream. A brown, fuzzy creature was sitting on her stomach, its head cocked, watching her.
She realized it was a sloth. Lea blushed, embarrassed by her outburst, though probably no one had heard. The sloth just stared at her.
She sat up, and wondering if the sloth would run off because of the sudden movement. It didn’t. It just slid down her stomach and onto her lap, continuing to stare at her.
“Where did you come from?” Lea asked. She couldn’t remember sloths living in North America, or approaching humans, and she already knew a lot about them. Plus, didn’t sloths stay in trees all the time? Lea reached her arm out hesitantly and began to pet the sloth. The brown fur was soft between her fingers, almost like a blanket.
Lea pet the sloth for several minutes. She scratched his chin, and smoothed his fur. The sloth closed his eyes in bliss.
“Alright, I have to get up now,” Lea finally said, trying to scoot the sloth off her lap. It refused, trying to cling to her leg as she stood up. Lea stiffly bent over and picked up her cape she had used as a blanket that chilly night.
Leaves and dirt flew through the air and settled on the dew-covered ground as she shook the cape out.
Then throwing the cape onto her messenger bag, Lea gingerly took hold of the sloth and pulled it off her leg.
The sloth was holding on for dear life, but it was easy for Lea to ease him off.
“Okay little guy, go find your momma!” Lea said, setting him on the ground and turning away. She wondered if she should start a fire, but after quick deduction, it was deemed unnecessary. It was summer, after all, and more heat was not needed. So she pulled another granola bar out of her messenger bag, and sat down to eat her “breakfast.”
When she saw something move out of the corner of her eye, Lea saw the sloth was watching her again. He was still sitting on the ground in the spot she’d left him, staring.
“Go find your momma!” Lea repeated, “It’s time for you to eat!”
The sloth didn’t listen. Instead it slowly walked over to her and tried to sit in her lap.
Lea sighed, and then gave in. She tucked the sloth under her arm, which is what it seemed to want. He closed his eyes again.
Lea looked through her bag and finished a bottle of water and her granola bar. It wasn’t much, but she wasn’t going to take any chances running out of food. She ate slowly, looking around her at the tall trees and plants. At last, it was time to start her journey again. She began to pack the belongings scattered on the forest floor back into her messenger bag. She tucked her lightsaber into her belt though and stood up, ready to leave. The sloth, now laying on the hard ground, looked up at her drowsily.
Lea didn’t want to leave the sloth there to die, but she didn’t have any other choice. He would be a hinderance to her journey, and people weren’t supposed to take animals out of their habitats. Then again, Lea had never known of a sloth’s habitat to be in the United States. But nevertheless, she turned her back to the baby sloth and fought against her instinct to go and rescue it.
Lea pulled out her compass and turned it. The needle didn’t seem to know where north was. It spun around and around, refusing to make up its mind.
Suddenly, the compass jerked in Lea’s hand and pointed to her right. I guess that’s where I’ll go, Lea thought, I don’t have anywhere else.
She knew what it was even before she turning around. The baby sloth was crawling after her as fast as he could, which wasn’t very fast. Lea laughed. “Alright, alright,” she assured him, walking back to him and picking him up. “If you like me that badly, you can come along.”
The sloth seemed to smile.
“Why don’t you ride in my hood?” Lea suggested. She held the sloth up and over her head and rested him in the hood of her cape, thankful that he was so small and barely weighed 8 pounds.
The sloth snuggled down in the folds of the fabric and wrapped its arms around Lea’s neck.
“Ready?” Lea asked, and the sloth nodded. “Let’s go.”
Stay tuned for Part 14! :)
Something really fun will be revealed soon. Like in Part 16. Comment an XD face if you read this.