Cottage

The band of young sheep moved down the trail with urgency, having no interest in spending a night in the open with carnivores on the loose.  All eight eyes were scanning the path ahead and the woods to the right;  Brains were focusing.  The creek was still fairly close on the left, so no truly defensible bivouac could lie between it and the trail. 

Molly was first to see a wisp of smoke about a quarter mile ahead, and off to the right.  She alerted the others.  Smoke most likely meant humans, which could in turn mean return to the flock, or captivity, or worse.  They were learning the need for stealth.  They proceeded down the trail quietly, carefully, but not slowly, keeping eyes on the smoke

Reaching a spot on the track adjacent to the thin plume, they saw a well traveled footpath to the right.  Whatever the source of the smoke, it was hidden from the main trail by several bends in the path.  The group turned into the walkway and moved toward the smoke.  They were unsettled by the continued faint presence of the scent.  But, because it was faint, they knew that it had been possibly several days since wolves visited.

As they rounded the last little crook in the path a small cottage came into view.  A thin, and diminishing stream of smoke rose from the chimney.  The house sat in the middle of a lush, green carpeted clearing.  The front door stood open.  An outbuilding stood to the right side of the yard.  A clothesline was at the left with clothes left to dry.  Hobie decided that they should wait for a bit just beyond the edge of the woods and watch the door to see if anyone went in or out.

As the sun drew near the horizon it seemed obvious that no one was at home.  They were, nonetheless wary of too close proximity to the entrance of a human dwelling at this point.  Hobie looked around the grounds, and saw that the door to the outbuilding was unlatched.  He and his friends approached it cautiously, and nudged the door open.  There were all manner of tools inside, but there was still space for a cramped, but sheltered stay for the night.  From this shelter, they could watch the cottage for a few days, and possibly avoid the jaws of wolves. 

They went in.

The End

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