Wolves at the Door (part 86)

In the end, Gil made it back to his home base before dark, but not a lot before. He had not needed to sacrifice his catch along the way. But now that he had brought it back, what to do with it? He had originally intended to butcher it after returning, but the trip had taken so long that there may not be enough day left to complete the task. Even if he could, what would he do with the meat? If he just left it around the camp, he might find it all devoured by morning. That would defeat the purpose: he might as well leave the intact carcass lying around to snack upon. If he wanted to save any meat for tomorrow, he would have to hide it.

It was a peculiar feeling, trying to out-think his future self. But if there was one thing he could do better than the beast, it was thinking. He may be slower, weaker, less in tune with the forest. The beast may even have the edge when it came to endurance, but it was no strategist. It would not be able to reach anything he hoisted into the upper branches of a tree, but it would know they were there. It seemed churlish to tease his other half like that, especially considering who had caught the deer in the first place. In the end he compromised: cutting and saving the skin and the largest joints, and leaving the rest within reach. He just hoped that having food easily accessible would not make him too lazy to prowl the forest. The whole purpose of this expedition was, after all, to acquaint himself with the wild beast within. If it turned lap-dog, feeding on scraps, then what was the point?

Once all that was done, he barely had time to hunt around and recover the spear he had dropped last night. Fortunately he had not taken it far. The light was already fading, but that had been the last of the crucial jobs. Finally he could sit down and rest, for a moment at least.

Gil had been on the go for two days and a night. More than anything, he just wanted to lie down and sleep. Ironically, the approaching night may deny him that opportunity. Then again, surely even a beast needed to sleep sometime. Perhaps it was a good thing there was leftover meat close at hand. A quick snack followed by a long nap in the moonlight seemed very appealing. There was still a little time before the moon rose. Maybe he’d just get a head start on that nap while he waited.

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