The Mournful Howl

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Chapter 10

Unsure if her ankle was broken or not, Jayne could only be grateful that the trap didn't have any teeth so there wasn't any blood to deal with.

Taking the stick she'd used to pry her foot free, she looked for a few more that she could use to brace her foot.

Knowing that shock would set in soon, Jayne pulled her rucksack to her side and dug inside until she found her first aid pack.

Her hands shook so badly that most of the contents fell out onto the ground when as she searched for the elastic wraps to hold the bracing sticks in place.

Feeling darkness encroaching on her, Jayne wrapped the makeshift splint securely to her ankle before ripping open a pack of anti-inflammatory's and swallowing them with a mouth full of water.

Her last coherent thought was to pull out her Mylar blanket and wrap it around herself before she gave in to the pain.

Reaching Jayne's cabin, Gabriel knocked on the door, hoping he could make her smile.

She looked pretty when she smiled.
When no one came to the door, Gabriel used his key and let himself in.
As caretaker, he had the right to enter to perform regular maintenance, and maintaining Jayne's well-being fell into that category as far as he saw it.
Scenting the air, he could tell she wasn't home so he moved to her workstation and set the small box down where she couldn't miss it.
Sad that he would miss seeing her face when she found them, he simply shrugged his shoulders and left, locking the door behind him.
Sighing, he stood on her porch, his nose crinkling at the stale smell of cigarettes. Looking down, he found a rusted tin can that Jayne had filled with dirt to use as an ash tray.
Shaking his head that anyone would smoke, Gabriel knew it was her choice to make, but no matter how low things had gotten, that was one of the few things he'd never let himself imbibe in those.
Knowing he was procrastinating, Gabriel made himself leave Jayne's porch and go back to work on his never ending list of jobs he needed to complete around the different cabins before winter set in.

Snapping back to consciousness, Jayne moaned in pain as the motion jarred her ankle.
Looking around, she saw that night had fallen, her shaking breaths making fog every time she exhaled.
Strapping on her headlamp, Jayne crawled on her belly, collecting as many sticks and pine cones she could from the immediate area, pulling the back to her pack. She then struck out again gathering leaves and debris to make herself a nest to help her conserve heat while she slept.
Moving rocks into a circle to make a fire break Jayne took some of the wood and pine cones she'd gathered and build the base for a small fire. Fumbling in the narrow beam, she searched for her box of waterproof matches and small homemade wax starters.
Striking the first one with numb fingers, she tried not to sob as the flame sputtered and immediately winked out.
Taking a calming breath, she tried again, almost weeping in joy as it caught the waxed lint and the small flame bloomed.
Pulling out her compact sleeping bag, Jayne felt around the ground trying to made sure that she picked up everything she'd dropped during the day shoving it by the handful back into her pack ending with her Mylar blanket.
Wrapping herself in her sleeping bag, unrolled the extra pair of socks she'd packed and pulled them over her painfully cold hands.
Lastly, she fed the fire the last of her meager collection of kindling before zipping her sleeping bag up to her chattering chin.

Waking the next morning to the sound of sniffling and growling, Jayne found herself surrounded by the wolf pack she'd come to study.
Growing up in pack of werewolves, she was well versed in the physical cues of behavior and she could tell the animals were more curious rather than alarmed by her presence.
Moving slowly, unzipped her sleeping bag enough to free her arms and pushed herself into a sitting position.
The wolves ran away in fear rather than attacking.
Sliding out of the bag completely, she pulled her rucksack over and dug through its disorganized contents until she found another small packet of anti-inflammatory's.
Opening her last bottle of water, she drank only enough to get the pills down before shoving her sleeping bag haphazardly into the top of the bag.
Running her shaking hands through her greasy, dirt speckled hair, she adjusted her rubber band to make sure her hair would stay out of her face.
Pulling up her pant leg, she rolled her sock down and gasped at the deep purple bruising the crawled up her ankle.
Though the sun was still below the horizon, Jayne knew she had to force herself to move, but she also knew she wouldn't be able to carry her heavy bag with her if she wanted to be able to move fast enough to make it back to her cabin.
Taking the thirty-foot long rope she had hanging from the bottom of her pack, she knotted one end securely around her pack before pushing herself to stand on her good foot leaning heavily on the trunk of a pine tree.
Resting her back against the rough bark, Jayne looked up at the tree looking for a likely branch that she would be able hold her bag off the ground until she could return for it.
After several tries, she finally managed to get her belongings squared away and began the arduous limping hop home carrying only her water bottle, Bowie knife and rifle strapped to her back.
Thankfully, it wasn't long until she for a long branch that she was able to shape, with the help of her knife, into a crutch that helped ease the strain on her good leg.
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