Clouds"Are you all right?"
The little girl looked up, tears seeping from her large brown eyes. "Huh?" she mumbled.
"I asked if you're all right," Kakashi said, kneeling down in front of her and tilting his head. "You don't look all right."
She sniffed. "I'm lost."
He studied her. The girl was younger than him, maybe nine or ten years old, with long brown hair and wide, frightened, maple-brown eyes. She was dressed in a red shirt with yellow and violet sleeves and beige pants, but neither was decorated with any village symbols. Still, he didn't let his guard downhe had been a chunin at six, so there was no reason to underestimate her. Even if she did seem genuinely frightened
"Maybe I can help you," he said brightly, grinning. "Where are you going?"
She looked away, biting her lip. "The Lock Village," she whispered.
"The Lock Village?" he repeated, confused. He'd never even heard of the Lock Village, let alone knew its location. "Is that where you're from?"
I RefuseHis face was unrecognizable. Even though I hadn't known him very well, I knew what he looked like. He was tall and terribly thin, with a long, pointed nose and dark eyes that peered out through his spectacles at the world, distrusting us all. He wore nice clothes, expensive and well tailored, an immaculate coat that he was constantly brushing at.
But now he wasn't the same man I remembered. He was dirty and garbed in a loose shirt, a canvas bag tied around his waist. His fingers were curled and there was dark, dried blood caked on his neck. People were stepping forward and tearing off bits of fabric and snipping away pieces of rope; I saw one man reach down and yank out a handful of dark hair. It was a disgusting display.
Boxed in between an old, rickety man and a woman with her toddlers, I gazed mournfully at his stiff, pitiful form. How could people get enjoyment from seeing one of their own so brutally slaughtered?
But he wasn't one of their own. He was different than them.
Inside MeInside me shouts a cheerleader, her pigtails bouncing as she flips high in the air.
Inside me snarls a red-eyed monster, banging against its prison bars and shrieking hateful words.
Inside me runs a herd of mustangs, galloping through the swaying prairie grass.
Inside me stands a fountain constructed of stone bowls in ascending order, but it is dry.
Inside me roams a lion prowling through his own safari.
Inside me lies a lazy dog with a lolling tongue and ears aching to be itched.
Inside me lives a stubborn princess who does not like the frilly dresses she must wear.
Inside me there is an abandoned house, its open shutters yawning wide.
Inside me sit letters, done up in ribbon and sealed with a kiss, just waiting to be sent.
Inside me winds a lonely road marked with footprints and broken wheels.
Inside me rests a mailbox with rusty hinges that hangs open, yearning to be a messenger for someone else.
Lost and FoundI lost my slippers when the dinosaurs in my closet devoured them in one big gulp.
I lost my wisdom when the dentist aimed the jackhammer at my mouth.
I lost the clouds I kept locked in my jewelry box.
I lost my pencil when it got lost in the snarled brown jungle.
I lost my heart to a dragon when it trapped me in his cave and his fiery breath singed my hair.
I lost my tongue when I tried to speak Japanese and it became hopelessly tangled in one big knot.
I lost my laugh when a ghost swooped down and sucked it out with a straw.
I lost my breath when Prince Charming graced me with his presence in his golden chariot built from books.
I lost the sunshine after a flock of guffawing blackbirds danced in the sky.
I lost my index finger when a hungry alligator snapped it off in one bite.
I found my inspiration tucked behind a stack of stale ideas and old books in my brain.
I found the perfect shade of blue to drain from the sky to dye my hair.
I found a dream wound up tightly inside a ball of y