The Girl Who Speaks Millions of Languages
By Alice Kresberg
This piece is about a girl who can talk to animals and is meant to show how she struggles to find her identity.
Seven years ago, she wandered from the woods and stood curiously in front of my house. Today, she had just turned nine years old.
She’d walked out of the forest wearing just a dirty rag. She wasn’t injured, however. I figured maybe she had wandered from her own home, so I called the police about a missing child. They said no missing child fit her description. Knowing she had wandered from the woods, I decided to look around in the woods a few days after that call. Weirdly, I found no sign of human life. I gave up on trying to find anything out about Arden’s life after that. When I asked what her name was, she didn’t respond. So I decided to call her Arden.
It took her awhile to start speaking. She didn’t know any English. The first year she stayed with us, she was silent most of the time. I had a few stray cats at the time and two of the most energetic dogs, who made a huge racket throughout the night as they fought and chased each other around the house. One night, I found the dogs and cats all curled up, fast asleep, around Arden. Astounded, I took a photo to remember the weird occurrence. I had a younger daughter Lena at the time, but Arden paid no attention to her.
Arden came downstairs with her hair all frizzy. Not far behind her, Avis and Arti, the Saint Bernards followed her.
“Ms. Mira, Avis is hungry and so is Nora,” she announced. Nora was one of my cats who wasn’t the most fit cat in the world. Recently, I’d actually put her on a diet. Avis stared at me with puppy eyes.
“No more. I fed you just an hour ago,” I told Avis. Avis trudged away and collapsed on a couch.
“Arden, come here. I have something for you,” I whispered to her excitedly. She followed me to the backyard where I had left her gift. Her eyes glistened as she ran to the big animal and gave it a huge hug. I’d gotten her a horse knowing the most important things to her were animals.
“You can play with her later, Arden. Come inside and let’s eat,” I said, opening the back door. She followed me back inside the house, and we sat around the small wooden table.
“Happy birthday, sis!” Lena said to Arden, who smiled and thanked her quietly.
After breakfast, Arden dashed upstairs before running back out to her horse.
“I’ll be back later, Ms. Mira!” She called out, halfway out the back door. The door closed with a painful squeak.
There was no time to waste. I had waited for this moment for so long. Walking on foot had never got me anywhere close to it, even when I had Avis and Arti with me. Now, I had the opportunity to search the whole area. What’s your name? I asked the horse. Faye. She responded. Okay, Faye, let’s go fast. I commanded. Faye galloped through the woods. I didn’t know if our meeting spot was gone or not. Flames had taken over the forest when I’d left.
I reached the stream, which was now clogged with leaves and tree branches. The rock was still there. I hopped off of Faye’s back and climbed onto the rock. Wait for me here, Faye. I told the horse. I left the meeting spot and searched for any living creature. A few rabbits rustled in the distance. Excuse me, have you seen any wolves around here? I called out to them. Yes, but they’re caged up. One of them told me. I asked them where they were caged up and quickly returned to Faye.
We arrived at the site where the wolves were. I saw Cody, Nora, Aspen, and Atlas behind the wired fence. They didn’t seem to be in pain, but they all had bandages on them. Cody’s hind leg was wrapped up, and Nora had a huge wrap on her torso. Someone was missing, however. Lexi was nowhere to be seen. Cody, where is Lexi and what are you all doing there? I asked him. His ears twitched, and he turned to look at me slowly. Lexi isn’t with us. We got split up when she was carrying you through the fire. He explained. I stood there in shock. Cody and the rest of the wolves had come to the fence to speak with me. Suddenly, a lady appeared. Go. Cody told me, urgently. I climbed onto Faye’s back and galloped off.
I don’t think I was surprised when I found out that Arden could talk to animals. I simply asked her, and she had said yes. News sure spreads fast, though. Almost everyone in this small area knows about Arden’s ability. Some lady reported seeing Arden talking to wolves she was taking care of. Arden is sixteen now, and slowly, she is becoming known as the girl who can speak millions of languages.
Alice Kresberg is a senior at a high school in Manhattan, NY. She transferred in her sophomore year from a high school in Brooklyn, NY. She enjoys writing, crocheting, sewing, listening to music, baking and sleeping and she loves collecting miniature things. She has two cats, Charlie and Lola, who she enjoys spending time with.