Three distinct sensations assaulted the young sheep’s psyche in concert. Loss! Hobie felt the devastation of having lost a dear friend. His body was growing colder now by the minute. Not only had he lost the precious gift from his parents, but that loss exposed his bare skin to the late afternoon air. Hobie was hungry. He couldn’t quickly resolve his loss, but there were the grass and herbs along the bank that could quiet his craving. As he grabbed a few juicy sprigs of clover between his teeth and chewed, he realized that his hunger could last until tomorrow, and be satisfied then. He was beginning to chill, and knew that couldn’t last the night.
Thoughts of the rock pen, and his friends and cousins enclosed there flashed in his mind. How their proximity would warm him. Return to the flock first seemed to be the quickest, most rational solution to his problems… at least to cold and hunger. But then his mind felt the stares of his pen-mates when they laid eyes on his white skin. He decided to look for other shelter.
Hobie had arrived at the stream this morning by way of a chain of small, nearly connected clearings that lead from the pen to the creek-side grassy patch. His instincts lead him to follow the return path, at least partway. The way was familiar. When he reached the third clearing, his eyes fixed on a path that lead into the woods. The Sun had dipped below the tops of the trees, and was no longer warming even the exposed rocks. Hobie knew he should get out of the open. He decided to follow the path.
It didn’t take him long to begin to question his choice. The forest was dense, and blocked most of whatever light the sky still had to offer.