The change in terrain has spooked me a little; I feel like I have moved beyond my territory and into that of another creatures. I feel
vulnerable without trees I can scale if danger threatens and with
nowhere secure to sleep, I am worried whether I will sleep unharmed in this place.
I walk on, feeling every crack of a twig and rustle of leaves underfoot as much louder than it truly is, for it gives me away to anything that might be listening for the arrival of prey. It is far easier to walk here as there is little dead-fall and less undergrowth to slow
my progress and for the first time in a long while I can feel my legs
reaching their full stretch as I walk. It feels good.
After a few hours I see that the dim green light is getting less and I feel the chill in the air that signals that the sun is long past its
zenith and has sunk almost below the horizon. Night-fall will not be
far behind and I am scared, suddenly, of lying down and trying to
sleep. While the light lasts, I walk on, trying to find somewhere a
little more secure. A crevice in a tree trunk would do, but these
giants are in the prime of life and their towering trunks are intact
and unbroken. A fallen tree would be a welcome sight, but no.
As the last of the light slips away I can fool myself no longer that
night is still far off and I realise too that my limbs are tired and
my head is beginning that animal-like descent into a dull
half-awake, half asleep state where I begin to see shapes in the
darkness. A night bird calls, shrieking like something evil and I
startle and begin to run, my instincts kicking in before my mind can
tell me it’s just a bird.
I run some yards before my mind tells me to stop, and as I stop, raw fear and horror take over and I curl up, like a damaged spider, hard against the bole of the nearest tree and sob bitterly. There is no
comfort to be had except from the shedding of tears, and when the
numbness they bring with them tips me into a deep slumber, still
upright and tense from flight.
I don’t know how long this sleep lasts, but when I wake the night still holds the forest in almost complete darkness except for a few very faint twinkles of starlight that penetrates the canopy as the wind
shakes the leaves and makes gaps in the thick cover. I open my eyes, but can see little or nothing, and I uncoil and stretch my legs out. I sit like that, eyes fighting back sleep.
For something has alerted those hidden senses I never knew I had and I know that unseen in the surrounding forest, something is watching me.