Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2019 finalist, Risha Jadhav ! Risha finished 4th grade this past school year. The story she submitted is called “Snowflake Foxtrotter and the Missing Mom” 

In a forest, beneath the shadow of a large rock, you would find a fox’s den. In this den lived a female fox and her baby fox. The baby fox’s name was Snowflake Foxtrotter.

One cold night, Snowflake came home to find his mother gone. Driven by hunger, he attempted to chase a bunny only to lose it in a wild run beside a stream. Snowflake froze as the bunny ran across the stream. ‘Great,’ Snowflake thought as he stomped his paw in frustration. He eyed the foggy water with disgust. He hated getting wet. Snowflake sighed and turned around, retracing his steps. Maybe he’d have better luck next time. Mother was still nowhere to be found.

In the morning, Snowflake yawned and looked around. Something was unusually bright. He padded outside only to be met with a freezing cold. “Eep!” He yelped and jumped forward when he realized it had snowed overnight. Snowflake was afraid of many things, and snow, surprisingly enough, was one of them. He stumbled back into the den and took a look at his surroundings when he remembered his mother was still gone. Snowflake started thinking bad thoughts about what may have happened. ‘Maybe she abandoned me. Is she even alive? Maybe she was hunting and got hurt. Now what?’ Snowflake came to the conclusion that he must find her. But before he did that, he needed to get out of the den.

So, Snowflake collected a couple of stones in a deerskin bag to lay out a path in the snow. He stepped confidently on a stone, but in a matter of minutes, Snowflake ran out of stones. The wind howled and the sky was dark as the first drops of cold water rained down. Soon those drops turned to ice and poor Snowflake was lost and stranded in a hailstorm.
‘Oh no,’ He thought with a frown. With much hesitation, he stepped off the stone, and into the snow. The snow was cold and slippery. Snowflake found himself running to a cluster of bushes that looked warm and cozy. He finally reached a bush that was big enough. He brushed past the leaves and branches and fell asleep.

In the morning, Snowflake woke up and crossed the slushy snow. He walked outside the bushes and heard a loud noise. Snowflake stiffened. He started walking away at a quick pace. The sound got louder. ‘What should I do?’ Snowflake thought, panicking. He ran to a jagged rock, crouched, and held his breath. The humans walked past the rock. They dragged a bunch of red fur. ‘A stray fox!’ Snowflake thought. He slowly crept out, shocked and scared. He had never seen humans before. Snowflake continued walking. ‘What were they doing here?’ he shuddered. ‘With a dead fox, too…is my mom still alive?’

When Snowflake got a good distance away, he sniffed the air. Snowflake smelled something familiar. ‘That might be my mom!’ Excited and hopeful, he decided to follow it and ended up back at the den. Snowflake followed the scent back inside and saw his mother asleep.
Snowflake prodded her side and woke her up. “Where were you? I went looking everywhere!”

Snowflake’s mother laughed. “I should say the same to you. I went on a hunting trip.” From that day onward, Snowflake adored snow.

The End

2 years later
Snowflake followed his mother out of the den. She was very old now. They were going on a quiet, leisurely stroll through the cold wintery forest. A lot had changed. The humans had cut down many trees. There was a road now.

Snowflake heard the roar of the cars racing down the street.

“Stop!” he yelled. He ducked and the wheels whizzed by. But it was too late. A car rushed past, missing him by a hair. Unfortunately, his mother was not so lucky. She was laying down in the middle of the road. Snowflake dragged the older Foxtrotter back to the den.
“Take care of yourself, little one. It is my time to go.” With that, Snowflake’s mother took her last breath.

“No, Mom, you can’t go!” Snowflake cried. It was no use – she was already gone. Snowflake curled up inside the den. His mother was dead, and he was all alone. In the morning, the sun shined brightly, birds were chirping, and the air smelled of crisp pine. Snowflake gazed outside, his eyes cloudy.

1 year later
It was winter again. Snowflake, a year older, was all grown up. His fur coat was sleek and thick, and his eyes sharp. Snowflake could hunt by himself now, and he knew the woods like the back of his paw. He could hunt by himself now, and he knew the woods like the back of his paw. Snowflake watched the snow as it fell from the sky. It always reminded him of his mother. He sighed. ‘I wonder what would have happened if I never got suspicious, or never walked on snow, never saw those hunters. Maybe my mother would still be alive.’ He shook off that thought, realizing that some things happen. Snowflake understood that not everything was in his control. ‘I couldn’t have done anything about it.’ He smiled, remembering his adventures with his mom.

End of Epilogue

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