A Forest Cat, Chapter four: Confrontations, part 3
Shane woke with a start in the middle of the night, only one hour after falling asleep. The hairs on the back of his neck stood out and there were goose bumps all over his body. He looked at the sleeping figure of the girl, tightly curled up in a blanket and sat up. He rubbed his tired eyes and looked around the small clearing where they camped. The forest seemed unnaturally quiet, as if it held her breath anxiously. Little night animals seemed even more skittish than usual and the night birds did not break the silence with their songs.
Uneasily, Shane got to his feet and checked his weapons. He could not rid himself of the feeling he was being watched but his golden eyes could not detect anything among the trees, nor could he pinpoint the direction of the disturbing presence. Suddenly worried, he woke Gaell and sent, There is something in the forest that we need to avoid. We must go now.
Gaell, sleepy and confused opened her mouth to question but Shane put a finger against his lips to urge her to silence.
No more words, no more sounds. Hurry.
The thoughts were devoid of emotion but they conveyed the sense of urgency perfectly and within minutes they had packed their few belongings and disappeared silently into the forest.
Danash sat up and stifled a groan. The ache of his muscles had finally penetrated through the ignoring shield he had set on his senses. He had tried to ignore the pain messages his body was sending him but when he moved abruptly, he was temporarily diverted by its screams for attention. Working to get the blood flowing and the stiffness to lessen, his mind tried to concentrate on the real reason for his sudden action: his prey was moving.
It pleased him to think of them as prey, even if he needed the girl alive and was still intrigued by the identity of her protector. This was his hunt and his prey was moving. He had spent enough time to recover and would not allow this hated human shell to distract him any more from his increasing desire to be rid of it.
He willed the body back into action and although he initially stumbled frequently because his body protested against being forced to perform so soon, pure control of the mind finally brought back a certain rhythm of movement and the stiffness disappeared as his focus increased. Gliding among the trees, Danash no longer needed to find the trail in order to follow Shane and the girl. With his mind locked on them, he made better progress than they and began to close the distance rapidly.