Sep. 14, 2017
“Shit,” he muttered to himself, suddenly realizing the predicament he was likely in. He felt around in his fur jacket and found that none of his gear had been stripped from him. His knife was still strapped to his belt, his pockets full of dried meat, matches, and bits of moss. He blinked hard a few times, trying to get his eyes to adjust to the dim light. Stabbing pain shot through his temples and down his jaw with every blink but he continued, the room slowly coming into view.
When he could finally make it out he saw that he was being held in a cave, a short bend up ahead had the blue hue of moonlight shining around it, he was obviously close to the exit. He turned to look behind him and found that the cave drove deeper into the ground at a steep slope, but it faded to pitch black and he couldn’t make out how deep it went. His ears picked up the heavy dragging noises echoing off the stone walls from below and his heart began to race. That creature was here, dragging another poor soul to its doom. Without another thought Nick ran out of the cave, as quietly as he possibly could.
As he burst out of the cave opening into the moonlit woods he began to realize that he had no clue where he was. He hoped that he was close to home but a creature that size and that fast could travel miles to hunt. Wanting to avoid leaving too many footprints he climbed the nearest pine tree, pushing through the branches as snow rained down on him, filling in his tracks slightly. The woods were thick enough here that he hoped he could climb from tree to tree for a while, and he could. It was slow going, and his freezing hands started to tense up on him as he gripped the ice cold branches, shaking snow onto the ground below, but he pressed on. First one tree, then the next, he slowly worked in a semicircle around the cave entrance, hoping to get out of sight of the cave entrance before his captor noticed his absence.
A gentle breeze rolled through the forest, sending painful chills into his knuckles. Nick grabbed his compass from a pocket sewn into the front of his jacket and examined it. The breeze was blowing from the North, unusual for this area. He squinted his eyes and tapped the compass, watching the needle rotate slightly before settling back in place. Frustrated and starting to worry, Nick decided to climb higher up into the tree, it was sturdy enough and taller than the rest by a short bit. He should be able to see quite a distance over the trees. He carefully pulled himself up, one branch at a time, trying his best not to knock too much snow off in case his captor exited the cave to look for him.
Before long he broke through the thick canopy and found himself staring at a gorgeous view of the forest. Smoke in the distance told him that he was likely about fifteen miles from town, his home was on the outskirts but he couldn’t tell which way from here.
“HAROOOOO!” The sickening howl echoed from the mouth of the cave as the creature realized his prey was missing. Nick watched through the branches as a tall, furry beast burst from the mouth of the cave, looking left and right then sniffing the air, hoping to catch his scent. “HAROOOOO!” The beast howled, perhaps in anger, then took off North, away from Nick and his tree at a sprint. Nick could barely make out the shape of the creature as he caught glimpses of it through the canopy below him, but he could tell it was large, affirming what he had seen before the attack. Nick’s heart slowed, pounding in his ears as he watched the creature disappear in the distance.
“I need to get home.”