Hunkered Down

The afternoon was sunny and warm.  The dense growth of grass in the yard provided both a comfortable place to lounge, and a readily available snack platter.  Hobie felt more relaxed than he had since his coat disappeared, although he was still on the lookout for unfriendly canines.  The thought of dogs brought visions of the protective sheepdogs back at the sheep farm.  Back among the flock, Hobie had often had a sense that the dogs were obtrusive, overbearing, but now he was beginning to miss them.  They had kept the wolves away.  There was nothing he could do about that now.

He could tell that his friends were also relaxed, enjoying their freedom, and beginning to see their situation as an adventure.  Hobie had seen it as an adventure the first day, but that had changed with the loss of his coat.  The others had seen the same tracks, the bones in the boulder field, had smelled the same scent.  But they hadn't spent a night in the open near the stinking hot spring.  They hadn't seen the glowing eyes glaring from under his coat.  The memory of those eyes brought back the smell of wolf.  At first, he thought the smell was an artifact of memory, but as the wind shifted a little, it grew at first fainter, and then with the next breeze, stronger.

Hobie rose to his feet and motioned to his friends.  They, at that moment also picked up the wolf scent.  Without panic, they moved together, briefly considered the tool shed and then made a quick but orderly retreat to the cabin.  As they topped the front steps, they turned and spotted several wolves as they exited the path into the yard.  Ben pushed the door open, and they hurried inside, closing the door behind them.  Sam nudged a wooden bar that served as a lock, and it fell into place holding the door securely closed.  They huddled  closely together against the door to provide additional security, and also to stay clear of the windows.

Hobie knew this was going to be another long night.

The End

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