"That child is guided by God." Dora's parents always said.
"She must be God's favourite." Her friends would agree.
Everyday, Dora would gather up some items around the house. Rope, ladders, toys. Her parents would be surprised to see their items disappearing, but they knew that perhaps Dora needed them more. After she stuffed whatever she needed and her map into her bag, she walked out of the house.
"We don't need to worry, she is protected by God." They insist.
Everyday, she would meet up with her monkey friend, Boots. They would sometimes find someone in need of help. Some days they would arrive late, while she was already wandering around the woods, but God was always there.
"Do you want to help?" Dora would ask.
And the God would answer yes.
Dora would bring out her blank scroll of yellowed paper she had scrounged from the garbage. She'd show it to God, and they would tell her where to go. When she would need something, God called on her backpack, which Dora had always believed to be magic. She would get the item she needed.
She certainly was God's favourite. She sang and skipped all the way towards wherever God pointed out to her. If there were obstacles, she would ask for help. She received the help she needed. Even when that nuisance Swiper came along, God would help her shout at him, and even if that failed, God would find the things he threw away.
By the end of the day, Dora would come home, tired but happy. She'd say good-night to her parents and head to her room.
"Dora, sweetie, do you want to stay home today?" Dora's mother asked, honey-glazing her words.
Dora chewed her cereal hastily and replied, without missing a beat. "No mama, I want to go outside and explore!"
As she stood up and obediently put her bowl and spoon in the sink, her mother's face twisted, and she sat down in the wooden chair opposite to her daughter.
"B-But…darling…do you know what day it is today?
Dora stopped for a while before she resumed putter her backpack on.
"But I want to spend my birthday exploring with my friends."
"Dora, mi hijo…" her mother begged, tears trickling down her sullen face.
"I want to play outside, mama." she yelled back.
Dora's mother extended her hand out towards her child, but she knew that the will of God played with Dora's heart. She could not betray the God that had watched over Dora ever since her baby years, but her heart broke at the thought of losing her child to one who could not be stopped.
"Why is God taking away our Dora? Our sunshine? Ah, if only he would seek elsewhere to cast his blessings!"
Dora pretended not to hear her mother's ramblings. When she left the house and slammed the door behind her, her mother held her head low, propping it with her arms. She sniffed and blinked away her tears, trying to hide her sadness. If only God hadn't taken her child away from her… Dora's father, listening against the way, stepped beside his grieving wife and pulled her into a comforting embrace, but there was nothing he could do either.
"Dora, Dora!" Boots screeched from a branch above Dora's head.
He landed after tumbling in the air and gave her a big hug, excitedly wishing her a happy birthday. She replied happily and took his hand, walking along the forest path. Both were expecting a sudden light that brought the arrival of their favourite person. Although they never saw him, he would always join them. Perhaps today they had to walk a little bit further.
"D-Dora…! I…I'm so hungry…" Boots complained.
Dora didn't answer, as she was sitting near the mouth of the cave, muttering to herself.
Boots took off the one red boot that was left on his blistered foot and began to gnaw at it, trying to satisfy his hunger…and anxiety. After spending the night in the cave, he really wanted to go home. For some reason, God hadn't met them at all today, and they stumbled around the forest, lost. The Map wouldn't show anything, even after they screamed out his name and ripped him into two by fighting over who held him. Dora was unable to open her magic backpack without the help of God, who could make her open up with just a word.
And now they were in their worse predicament. They had found a cave to spend the night sheltered in, gathering grasses to make sparse bedding for the two of them, but they were cold from the night air and hungry. Their voices were raspy from not having enough water in their throats and whatever sobs came out scratched at them.
"Dor-aaaaaaaa!" Boots rasped.
He pulled himself close to her and sat there, glancing out at the impossible dense forest before them.
"Why won't God come and save us, Dora? Why won't he answer us anymore?" He asked.
She was mumbling something to herself. He couldn't exactly hear her, and he nudged himself closer to her shoulder to overhear what she was saying.
"Boootsss…" she whispered, a bit more loudly. "We're friends, right? We'll always be friends…right?"
Her voice was scratchy too, and her desperate tone made Boots sad for a while.
"Of course Dor-aaaaaAAAAAAUUUUUGHHHHHH!"
He started screaming when he looked down. Dora's hand clutched a rock that splattered the bone of his and it was coated in blood. He drew his hand back and cradled it.
"Dora! What are you doing?!" He screamed, reeling back and squirming away from her. She got up on her stubby feet and picked the rock up again.
"You arm, Boots…it looks delicious…You aren't going to keep it all…to yourself are you? Let me have some of it…"
She licked her lips and saliva drooled out from the corner of her mouth. Boots screamed and scrambled to his feet before bolting out of the cave, forgetting all about his one red boot left behind. Dora came lumbering on after him, following the red cherry juice coming from his arm. He wasn't going to share his food with her, and that simply wasn't fair! She cold hear Boots' heavy panting and the cherry juice told her where he was going.
"Boots! Come out, come out wherever you are!" She yelled.
She heard a rustling in the bushes. Of course Boots would hide. He was probably happily gorging on his arm, lapping up all the cherry juice and chomping on the meat. It probably tasted heavenly. She raised her shoe and crashed it onto the leaves, but nothing was there eat. Suddenly, something tackled her from behind and she tumbled along the forest floor. The bloodied rock fell out of her hands, and she pawed her hands around.
It was Boots, but yet it wasn't him. His eyes were blood-shot and glowed red. He screeched loudly like a feral animal and beat the ground with his fists. He roared at Dora before charging again. She scrambled away until she was leaning against the tree, murmuring 'no, no, no' over and over. She had never seen Boots act this way before, and it scared her. He was going to hurt her, and he definitely wasn't sharing anymore.
She didn't want this. At once she recalled all the memories they shared. The Christmas they shared, all the adventures they went on and every step of the way, Boots and Dora were together. Even just yesterday, he was the first one to come up and give her a happy birthday hug. Her eyes started to sting and she burst out in tears, curling up into a ball. She hugged her knees close to her, looking at Boots-gone-mad. Why had it come to this?
"B-Boots…Boots…! I'm…I'm sorry! I shouldn't have…gone after you…I'm sorry! Let's be friends again!"
To her surprise, Boots stopped in tracks with his lumbering body. She continued muttering her apologies, shaking with fear and regret.
"Oh…Dora…! I'm…just so scared…I'm sorry too. I didn't mean to scare you!" He cried.
He calmed down, wrapping his arms and tail around himself. Both Dora and him were a mess of mucus and dirt- as well as blood.
"I'm just so hungry, Dora! I'm so hungry that I don't know what to do! I wanna go home! I wanna eat something! I'm sorry, Dora! I jut want to go home…!"
While he was rubbing at his eyes, something heavy hit in directly in the face and he was flattened on his back. Something heavy sat on his chest, knocking the breath out of him. As he flailed his arms around, scratching his assailant, a heavy purple thing covered his face and his breathing got shallower until it was near impossible. With the last jerks of his body, Dora had snuffed out her best friend.
Dora had been wandering far from the forest now, well into a hilly field. There was no one around anymore and she had been abandoned by even God. She had figured out how to open her backpack and threw out everything that was in it. Tape, rope, ripped pieces of the Map, toys and other things. She stuffed Boot's body into the backpack to take home with her. Mama would know how to fix him.
That is until Swiper came along. Half-deranged and exhausted, Swiper had no difficulty snatching away her backpack and flinging it into the trees. With no God stopping Swiper and no God to help her find her things, she continued on, hoping that her parents or her friends would come and find her.
Dora collapsed against the sand-yellow path, her cheek resting comfortably on the dirt. Saliva escaped her open mouth and her body started convulsing and twitching. Foam started dripping out before she could count uno, dos, tres, quatre…
Perhaps her house was just over the hill, and it was her ignorance and inability to turn her head around that clouded it. She would never know.