“I don’t think I’ve ever seen this part of the woods before,” said the last remaining soldier. It was the one who had spoken of Karen’s voice by the stream, and Wendell felt very glad to have his company. The three of them continued by foot, walking steadily between the trees that grew mutely in the green of forest twilight.
“It would be best to stop here for the night,” Garim said now, looking around. “I don’t think there are any clearings to be found.”
There was no fire this night, and they huddled miserably against trees, trying to find comfort in a piece of moss or some trampled foliage. The soldier took the first watch as the other two struggled to fall asleep.
Something was shaking. It was his shoulder.
“It’s your turn to stand watch,” said a tired voice. Wendell sat up dismally and tried to be alert, watching the nothingness all around him. It was beyond all darkness now, and Wendell felt his ears pricking up at the faintest traces of noises in the woods, many which he could not recognize. Things rustling about far off, and small breezes, little snaps and ghostly whirls of noise... how far away, he could not tell. Something crinkled, then stopped. Two intelligent, wolfish eyes looked at him, unblinking. He sat up and tried not to breathe. The eyes looked back at his, calm and inquisitive. Then they turned away and moved noiselessly into the depths beyond sight.