A horrible bright light, the same one that had taken his life before, slammed against the ground just a few feet away from him. The leaves on the ground around it instantly erupted in flames – a path of flames that was chasing its way towards his shelter.

“Holy shit!” he yowled, jumping into the air.

“Run!” Cornflower yelled, unhelpfully, but finally showing some degree of awareness of the situation.

Acorn got to his aching feet as fast as he could and immediately fled in the opposite direction. He had to find a real shelter, now!

“Oh Christ, that’s what killed me,” he gasped out as he ran.

“No shit!” Against their better judgment, they both looked back. The fire was coming after them! “You have to get away from that thing before it kills you again!”

Suddenly, there was a deafening CRAAACK sound that shook all of the bones in his body. He nearly tripped. “What was that?!”

“It doesn’t matter! Just go!”

He was still running, and the rain was still pouring. Whenever his paws would hit the ground, they would get completely submerged, and he was developing a new fear that the rain would just keep coming until he was running underwater for his life.

“Why isn’t the rain putting the fire out?” he asked, trying to break himself out of this thought loop.

“How the fuck am I supposed to know better than you?! I’m attached to your brain!”

“You don’t have to be an asshole! I’m just scared!”

They both went quiet. Now all he could hear was his feet slamming against the mud, and that daydream began to overtake him again.

Could he swim? Had he ever swum? He was trying to remember, but the memories were just blank. Not even that they weren’t there, but he couldn’t even remember if they were or weren’t. His brain felt like a leaf that was being actively eaten by caterpillars.

He imagined himself swimming gracefully, easily, like the fish he would watch in the river when he was younger. He imagined how the water would feel against his sides, between his webbed toes as he pushed forward.

Then he imagined himself swimming ungainly, struggling, like a kitten in the same river. He imagined how the water would begin to cover his mouth, his head, suffocating him.