Kelsay sighed and laid back in the grass. The flowers in the trellis overhead were both beautiful and fragrant. The garden felt more like his first home than the house he shared with his human parents. In the shelter of the trellis, he could remove the restrictive clothing he had never gotten used to wearing. The grass felt good against his naked body.

He closed his eyes and listened to the sounds of the garden all around him. Birds twittered and flitted in the trees. Small animals scurried around, not paying him any attention. Only outside did he truly feel like himself.

School was the worst place for him. Not only did he have to wear a scratchy uniform all day long but he had to sit still on a hard wooden chair at a small desk. He had to listen to the teachers as they spoke about matters that hadn’t seemed so important in the forest.

When he got home, he would take off as much as his human parents allowed. He would curl up in the hammock his human father had arranged in his bedroom and listen to his human mother sing or tell stories. Of all the humans he’d met, only his parents seemed to understand how much he missed the forest. The teachers told him how much better things were now. His father’s friends told him how lucky he’d been to escape. Only his human parents listened and nodded when he said he missed his mother.

“Kelsay, it’s time to get ready for school,” his human mother called.

“Yes, ma’am,” he called back. He stood and dressed. When he was ready, he plucked a single flower and raced to the door. “What sort of flower is this?” he asked the woman.

“That’s a morning glory. They make a nice roof, don’t they?” she asked.

“Yes,” Kelsay said softly. “Thank you… Mama.” She smiled broadly as he leaned in and kissed her. She may not be the mother he was raised by but she was raising him now and he knew she loved him, just as his real mother had. He ran off to get his school bags. Maybe the human world wasn’t so bad.

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