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A girl relishes the solitude of her favorite spot under an amazing tree

The path that led to the tree went zigzag, but it wasn’t very long. It had slight curves with small bumps. It was like a stone platform, with barely any cracks.

But what was really a sight was the tree. It was a very tall one, its leaves dark green as ripe cucumbers. The branches curled softly, like breezes tickling waves into the air. Under the tree was a spot to sit, with patches of grass covering the dirt. If you felt the grass, you knew that it was very soft. When gazing up, you would see many birds of different shapes and colors sitting on the high branches. You would feel safe under the tree, like it was protecting you from bad things. You would sit there for a long time, but then it would be time to go. The patches of grass would sit still, hoping you would come again.

I only saw someone else come once. She was a girl, one who sat quietly under the tree by herself. Often, she would fling one of her long legs over a thick branch while the other leg stayed hopelessly on the ground. I tried to say “Hi,” but before I could, the girl went off into the forest behind the gates to the left of the tree. I wanted to follow her but decided not to because if she saw me, she wouldn’t want to be my friend. I sighed.

I came to visit the tree whenever I had time left in my day. Even if I had only a few minutes, I wouldn’t miss a single moment to come to the stony pathway.

I’d come here before breakfast, before school, before anything, or after anything.

But sadly, I had no one to bring with me. I’d ask my mother, but she was always busy knitting with her sharp darning needle or busy dealing with my sister, who was always running around. I’d ask my father, but he was too busy changing into his work clothes. I’d ask my sister . . . actually, I wouldn’t. She would be too loud and energetic to sit under a quiet, peaceful tree, and people would be annoyed. I’d ask my friend Cindy, but she was just like my sister. Talkative and energetic. I wanted someone who would enjoy the tree with me.

So I’d sit down under the tree alone, quietly reading a book, inspecting all the things that were near me—a tiny caterpillar resting on a thin leaf, squirrels hastily climbing up the trunk. Or I’d try to climb up myself.

Day after day, I would sit under the tree with no one to talk to except myself and the birds, who didn’t even answer me.

Now I was walking to the place where the tree was, carrying a book called Atmosphere. It was about a girl who wanted to touch the sky, so she tied 142 balloons to her wrist.

I skipped over to the small stone pathway. Before I placed a single foot on it, I inspected it carefully. It had dirt on it. I kicked it away carefully. Someone had been there.

I went over the path and lifted the leaves of the tree cautiously. Going under the leaves, I noticed something that hadn’t been there before. It was a note that was taped harshly on a branch. The note was crumpled and looked like someone had stepped on it a million times.

The words were too tiny to read from where I was standing, so I went a little closer and carefully took the tape off.

I picked it up delicately, and read the page as my eyes blinked:

Please meet me at this place: Croygami Woods

Please don’t be late! Hunters are attacking the animals