His habit was to pop out of bed the instant he awoke. Today it felt good to lie there, eyes closed, sun glowing through the window onto the bed.
“Know what I want to do today?”
The room was silent.
She’s still sleeping, he thought. Lazybones.
He rolled over to put his arms around her, knowing she’d open one eye, give him the grumpy face, then snuggle into his chest.
Her side of the bed was empty.
He opened his eyes.
Properly awake now, he threw himself down on her pillow.
His wounded animal cries made no difference. He’d done this every morning since he’d been able to sleep again, and it made no difference.
She was still dead.
As he scrambled through the underbrush the jagged tear in his leg soaked his boot and, worse, left a clear trail for the monster on his trail.
The same question circled his brain over and over: loop back and get behind the creature, or drive like a madman straight away from it?
His inability to decide stemmed from his unfamiliarity with the beast. Was it sentient, reasoning, a strategic foe, or simply a mad animal looking for a meal?
Pushing through the dense jungle since waking before dawn to the stench of the taloned thing behind him, he fought the mental fog brought on by lack of sleep. The animal had dogged his trail for a week, if his count of the days was right.
Precision wasn’t his strong suit.
… more … “Perpetual Prey”