A mournful howl pierced the night. It lingered in the air as a call to action. Cameron froze, wide eyes struggling to find the source of the howl. There was nothing. No movement apart from the swaying tree branches, barely visible as dark shadows across the open field.
Another howl rang out and Cameron spun to his left. Wolves? Coyotes? What kind of animals lived around here?
He dropped into a crouch and peered around. It was no use. The moonless night was too dark for his gaze to penetrate. He slowed his breath, tamping down the urge to flee. Think, Cameron. You're out in the open, with at least two animals nearby. Another howl. Maybe three. Or was that the first wolf again?
On the one hand, being in the open would make it easy to see them coming. On the other, they could be watching him right now and he'd never know. This was crazy. He couldn't squat here all night. Already, Cameron's knees were complaining. If he was going to run, better to do it now, before all his joints froze.
The wolves (or coyotes) were howling messages to each other. He didn't even try to count how many there were. It seemed like two, but maybe there were three or four at each spot the howls came from. Hyper-alert now, Cameron slowly rose from his low squat. He stayed low, bent as if looking for something.
A few tentative steps. Going slow seemed the safest way to relocate nearer to the boundary of the field. The howling stopped. Cameron stopped.
Too late, he realized he should have timed his movements with the howling. Time to test his luck. Cameron took off in a sprint toward the path, praying the parking lot and comfort station were nearby.
Behind him, he heard one howl and - was it his imagination? - the sound of many paws breaking through the underbrush below the trees and chasing across the grass. It was the run for his life.
It's FICTION FRIDAY!
Every Almost every Friday I write a new flash fiction piece. If you have a writing prompt you'd like to see turned into a story, just leave it in a comment. Today's story came from a 15 minute fiction sprint during the writing group I attend most Mondays.