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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sam & Shadow

A semi-mental story can't be left alone!  How about a lost-in-the-woods one? ;)

A prompt and result with the local writers group. We meet 2x/month and began Jan 2008.

2-23-11 prompt:
He/she stared into the darkness not knowing what to expect.

Here's Sam & Shadow
by S.P.

   It was a cool, foggy night. This usually brought a comfort to Sam as he looked into the woods. Not 
now, however. Somehow tonight was different. If he had been sitting on his porch, in his own wooded back acres, it would be fine. Yet out in the woods here, it was different. He was in unfamiliar territory. He checked his supplies and shook his head thinking how he misplaced his GPS earlier.  He had come to rely too much on it instead of his attention to details. Now all he had was his instinct.

  “Which way, girl?” he said, not expecting an answer, as he kneeled to pet his black lab.
A small whine was all he received in return.

  Sitting for a moment, he began to backtrack within his thoughts. Where had they gone? 

  Excitedly, Shadow had pulled him off the trail. She had smelled something.  Sam knew he saw a buck in the distance and fresh rutting on the nearby tree bark, so he let Shadow have fun. He let Shadow take the lead. Something he hadn’t done before.

  At the time, he didn’t pay much heed. He had tapped his side and felt the GPS in its holder on his waist, and they had taken off.  Shadow was in her harmony and Sam was getting a work out as they traversed over the sandy boulders and cracking leaves underfoot.

  Now they stood, as all pines looked the same, towering toward the sky getting darker by each fragment of time.  Sam inhaled deeply. This time, it was not done from the running, but from exasperation of not knowing which direction to turn. He held his breath to listen, and stared into the darkness, not knowing what to expect.

  Another small whine came from below. “Steady girl,” Sam said to Shadow. He reached down. Shadow was sitting, with head and eyes toward him, waiting for direction. Sam reached to pet her, and questioned whom he was encouraging.
  Overhead, he heard a flapping of wings. Looking up, he noticed he was loosing definition of the branches into the night from all but the west. His mind began to trace a pattern of topography.
He knew where the old mill was on the mountain, relating to the east, yet it wasn’t enough of the puzzle pieces he sought.

  “Too bad I wasn’t a better boy scout, Shadow. Maybe I would know the pattern of stars as a map.”

  Shadow barked.

  “You think that’s funny?“

  Shadow barked again.
   “You always did trust me, girl.”
    Sam began to relax. He sat for a moment with his arm over Shadow. Her fur was a welcomed warmth, as he realized he had a slight chill. The night’s temperature would drop and he hadn’t been prepared for this either. He shook his head in frustration, yet contained himself. Breathing in calmly, he rested. He listened. A few small animals were beginning to scurry. Then he heard it. He heard his answer. A faint, yet growing more clear answer was registering.

  “We got it, Shadow,” Sam said as he stood. "The river’s below us. It’s south. And by the look of the two peaks west, I think we’re about forty minutes from the cabin.”

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