It was just another ordinary day in the life of David Emerson, an 8-year-old boy raised in New York City. Son to Henry Emerson, a hot-shot lawyer known for his successful law practice. David was also son to Emerald Emerson, a fashion designer, entrepreneur and local celebrity.
David was left wanting for nothing. He was never hungry. His meals came to him three times a day on a perfect schedule. He had access to a big house with a large yard. In the future, he would never have to worry about how he would pay for his schooling and he always had the toys that he wanted. Yet, despite all of these things, David was unhappy. He was lonely, and neither his financial security nor abundance of fun things to play with left him feeling any better.
So, while his parents were busy, David would sneak out in to the backyard to let his imagination run wild.
One day, David stepped out onto the back patio with the intention of playing outside while his parents were busy with work and he was astonished to find a giant Brachiosaurus towering over the entire length of his backyard. It was helping itself to a rich forage of leaves from one of his family’s maple trees. David nearly belted out in excitement as he ran down the steps of the patio as fast as his feet would carry him. He really wanted to examine this ancient behemoth’s massive stature from below while he speculated as to how it ended up there.
He ran through the bright green grass with the wind brushing against his khaki shorts and white t-shirt. He found himself at the leg of the giant and thought to himself that it was a good thing this dinosaur had found him in the Summer, while it was hot with plenty of leaves about for it to eat. A dinosaur this big must go hungry in a hurry.
“How does something get so big eating leaves?”, he wondered. Maybe there was some truth to his mother’s statement that in order to grow big and strong, he needed to eat his vegetables. He had never wanted to believe it before. He made a mental note to eat all of his broccoli with his next dinner.
As he approached the dinosaur’s leg, he extended his hand and dragged his fingertips across it’s thick, rough hide. He thought that it felt like elephant’s skin which he had touched once at a circus. It brought a smile to his face.
He watched the creature in awe as entire branches disappeared into it’s gullet.
Just as David was admiring the massive Brachiosaurus, he was disturbed by a rustling coming from behind a fence that separated his yard from his neighbor’s. There was a thunderous roar and a hiss, it scared him a little, but the dinosaur seemed unperturbed. The noises became louder and then there were others. Whatever animal was making the noise, there were many of them. David’s eyes shot back towards the patio door and he moved to sprint back inside, but just as he stepped away from the massive dinosaur leg seven huge felines clambered over the wooden fence.
Four of them were lions, and two were mighty males with robust manes. The other three were tigers with their beautiful stripes and sleek but intimidating composure’s. They stormed the yard and just in front of David, a tiger jumped upon a male lion’s back playfully, but aggressively attacking it. David fell on his butt, before he could take another step.
A female lioness approached the boy, and paralyzed with fear, he stayed frozen as the creature sniffed and snorted his hair. He was frightened to death, and his instincts were giving him nothing. Beads of sweat rolled down the side of his head as the two big cats in conflict settled their differences with forgiving licks nearby. His anxieties came to an ease as the lioness nudged him with her furry head and slapped him on the cheek with a rough wet tongue.
The lioness sat on the ground before David and he stood up, hesitantly extending a small hand to caress her soft features. She closed her eyes and leaned in to it, showing a willingness to accept his touch. He traced his fingers along her cheek and down her neck, then along her side and to her back, where his gut told him to climb on top and grab hold. She stood up with him upon her back, and together with the other 6 felines they took off from out the yard. David waved goodbye to his dinosaur friend with his free hand while clinging to a tuft of fur with the other.
The beasts ran down the sidewalk of his street. Some leaped over cars and on top windshields, while others weaved in and out between the trees. He felt a part of their group now, a gang of felines plus one. The wind brushed past his face and ruffled his hair as they moved in rhythmic strides.
At one point, far downtown, where the traffic became intense. The lions and tigers began to fade away down nearby roads and alleys, until there were none left except for David and his lioness. Her pace began to slack, and she arched her tired back to let him off. He took his queue and unmounted. She rolled over and let him rub her belly for a moment before sprinting away, down the street and out of sight. David chased after her for a little while yelling for her to come back before giving up the chase. David was all alone now in the big city.
Luckily for him, he lived not too far away. He was only down a couple streets and across a park from where he stayed. So, he set his sights toward home and began to run off down the road, back in the direction from whence he came. He was careful to avoid the cracks of the sidewalk, unless he were to break his mother’s back.
Along the way, he passed people in the streets. Buskers playing music for money, and the homeless laying about in their tattered clothing. He felt sorry for these people. Why did they have so little while he had so much at home? It didn’t seem fair. There was one woman in particular that looked especially deserving of pity, with her knotted dirty blonde hair, and dark sunken eyes. She was sitting up against a wall, her lap covered by a brown fleece blanket. She rocked back and forth against the brick building behind her.
David approached the woman timidly and asked, “Why are you sleeping out here in the dirt? Don’t you have a home?”
She looked at him through sad eyes and spoke, “I have no home, that’s why I’m here.” She replied with deep humility. “My life was in trouble and I had no family to help me.”
“So, this sidewalk is your bed?”, his face betrayed concern
“Yes this sidewalk and sometimes other sidewalks. People don’t like it when I’m here for too long.”
“…Because I make them feel uncomfortable. They’d rather not see me every day.”
This made David feel sad and he wanted to help the woman somehow. “Are you hungry?”, he questioned.
“Very hungry”, came the sullen reply.
“I’ll bring you food tomorrow!”, he promised. “My Mom always makes more then we can eat anyways. Will you be here?”
“Don’t go anywhere. I’ll be back tomorrow!“, he shouted as he ran off down the street. When he had finally made it home, he snuck back into his yard and no dinosaur remained. He climbed back up the patio stairs where the oak wood planks were stained and went indoors.
Inside he passed his mother on the phone while she was preparing dinner and his father hard at work in his study. No one had even noticed he was missing. He wandered back upstairs to his bedroom and sat down at a little wooden desk that was tucked away in a corner. Then he pulled out some white paper and some crayons. He drew lions, tigers, dinosaurs and a damsel in distress for the collection on his wall. His parents had always thought he had a great imagination, but little did they know that he had lived the stories of each and every picture that he drew.