It was almost sunrise when Rafa left the clearing. As always he was on patrol bright and early, this time earlier than usual. After the event of the previous night, Rafa had been unable to sleep, having disposed of the wolf carcass. He had burned the body and collected a sample of the green slime, which he had then stored secretly under the veranda of the hut. Sofia had not woken and still remained unaware of the strange, unrecognized beast of the forest. It was something Rafa was reluctant to dislodge. It was however and intriguing new dilemma. Were there more of these animals lurking in the forest? Certainly. It was for this very reason that Rafa had set out so promptly. He was on the hunt.

It was a typically warm day in the Amazon. Despite the fact that dawn was barely upon the forest, the temperature was high and sweltering. Discovering a pack of this new, unheard of species was going to be difficult in the heat, not to mention dangerous. Rafa was of course in acclimation with the surroundings, even so the immediate warmth was unusual and caused him a nervous break of sweat. He did not fear the wolves and was not overly convinced he would find one after forty years of experience in his own section of the jungle. He was more alert than usual however, for the first time, it seemed there really was a genuine threat, neighboring his and Sofia's home.

Rafa continued for several hours. Pacing cautiously through the trees, mud and bushes, everything appeared normal. There were no odd bird calls or noticeable damage to the greenery or timber. Rafa knew the surrounding miles of the clearing like the back of his hand and was highly sensitive to any serious change. No nests or dens had been constructed recently and as the time passed, he began to ponder completing his scout and returning home. It was almost noon, and maybe the creature was only active during the night. Rafa would have to wait until then.

As he turned and walked back into the density of the trees Rafa soon realized - he had no idea where he was going. The path he had learned so keenly over the years had vanished in his mind. Further more, his footprints did not last more than a hundred yards before disappearing in the soil. It was as if he had entered a brand new area, unknown to him. The forest had often caught him out in his early days as a boy, but he had never been so lost since. A strange feeling of uneasiness crept up on Rafa, sending a tingle down his spine. He forced himself to calm down, wherever he was, he was more than capable of looking after himself, he just had to retrace.

After setting his supplies on the ground, Rafa squatted and held his forehead, searching for an answer whilst glancing around at the forest. It was then that he heard a familiar noise. Not a welcoming one.

The End

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