Disaster has struck!
I hate seeing her like this. She's frantic, huddled up against the back corner of the cave, clinging to the wall as if for dear life. She look at me as if her very life depends on me doing something. Doesn't she know that I would do anything for her? That I would stop at nothing to make her happy? She seems desperate and it makes me feel bad that I couldn't get here sooner. She acts as if she was all alone for who knows how long. I feel her desperation surging through my veins and it makes me want to sail across the cave to her and make it all well again but caution holds me back. I can't help her if I get hurt trying to get to her so it's best to know what I'm up against first. She looks utterly terrified as she looks at me and something near the ground. Is it a snake or something? I narrow my eyes as I search the ground but I don't see anything. Spindly legs tells me there's a tiny spider about a foot or so in front of me but surely that couldn't be it.
She sobs in front of me and it's everything I can do to keep it together. My heart sobs with her and whines build up in my chest, begging for release. She lifts her paw, trying to point at something, her voice cracking with sobs as she tries to say something. Spider? Is that what she said? My brow furrows in puzzlement and again I'm looking at the tiny black thing with spindly legs. Is that what she was pointing at? Is Laila scared of spiders? It doesn't make sense to me. True, I'm scared of a lot of things. I used to avoid the thicket because it's where I met Ghost for the first time, the wolf who wanted to kill me for no other reason than because I was easy to torment. But spiders? Spiders are just insects you can crush with your paw if you want to. I've never felt the need to because I've never felt threatened by them. I stare at Laila, trying to understand.
Finally I lean down, blowing out breath toward the spider. Like most insects, it reacts by scuttling across the den entrance and into the shadows next to the opening. I watch it crawl up the wall and into a tiny hole in the stone wall before I look back at Laila. I take a small step toward her, my voice soft and persuasive. It's okay, Laila. It's gone, I promise. I won't let it hurt you. I won't let anything hurt you. You know that right? You trust me? I take another slow step toward her, trying to coax her to me.