A penetrating chill had invaded the still night air.  In the dark and cold, the night creatures had finally become quiet and still.  Not quite awake, Hobie shuffled in his woods-bed, trying for a little more comfort.  His eyes opened, and in the cold silence, he felt absolute aloneness. In his mind, he saw the pair of eyes under his dream-coat wink at him, and  He kept still, expecting the coat and the being underneath to lunge at him. Minutes passed, and the coat and its eyes faded.  

Chirp... Chirp... A forest bird sang a greeting.  A squirrel leapt onto a branch of the evergreen and splashed his face with a shower of dew.  He got his legs under him and sprang up to see faint light showing through the forest canopy.  In the dim illumination he saw a lizard wiggle across his bed with a small insect between its jaws.

No longer entombed by the night, Hobie began to move carefully about.  Hunger gnawed in his belly,  and thirst stuck in his throat.  He looked at the spring for a second, and quickly decided against slurping the hot, smelly water.  The day hadn't yet fully shown its face, and there was plenty of time to refresh himself and make a plan.  The most reasonable move was to return to yesterday's stream bank where the water was cool, clean and abundant, and he could fill his belly before beginning his search.

He found the path he had followed the day before and, in the pale, but brightening morning light, headed back toward the clearing.

The End

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