Darkness Will Fall Again

It's the dawn of a new day. Sunlight trickles through the tops of trees, littering the ground with various cut out shapes of pale yellow. There is the gentle murmur of the creek and the crackle of leaves and birdsong, but otherwise it is quiet.

DG pushes up from the nettle bed she slept in and slipping shoes on over her socks (but not tying the laces), moves to the creek. She kneels beside it and cups her hands to retrieve water in them. Splashing some of it on her face, she straightens and looks out across the water.

It is beautiful in its own way, even with fall coming in and ripping leaves from the trees. Perhaps that is why it is so picturesque, in fact. The normal colours of the forest have been replaced with gold, red, yellow and brown.

She glances up at the sound of footsteps and the crunching of leaves behind her. "Good morning," she says, smiling.

Cain nods and sits beside her at the water's edge. "How are you doing?"

"Fine," she says. "You? Did you sleep well?"

He leans back, placing his hands in the dirt behind him for support. "Fine," he replies.

"You're not going to tell me there's something dangerous about the water here, are you?" DG eyes him with suspicion until he sighs and shakes his head. She tugs at the ends of her jacket so they cover her hands and keep out what cold air the sun cannot.

"No. I'm not."

"Oh."

"It's perfectly safe," he adds. "Don't worry yourself."

"I wasn't worried," she says quickly. She brushes a strand of hair from her face and stares defiantly at him.

Cain looks back at her for a few seconds and then turns his gaze out across to the other side of the creek. Most of the trees there are bare of their leaves. "We've got a long trek ahead of us," he says.

She doesn't know how she knows it, but she recognizes that he is right. They are running out of daylight and will continue to do so, the longer they linger.

Cupping some more water in her hands, DG drinks it. She scoops up another few handfuls and drinks that too and then she climbs to her feet, brushes the water off on her pants and offers him her hand. When he accepts it and places his larger hand in hers, she helps him up.

"Let's go get the others then," she says.

He nods and without another word, they move back to the camp. The sunlight continues to break through the trees, growing stronger with every passing minute. It might be dawn now, DG thinks to herself, but all too soon, darkness will fall again.

fin.