The Fourteenth Day

Day 477

This day was the fourteenth day. Jalko placed a carved basswood dragon on a shelf next to eleven others. Her increasing skill evident in the progression from left to right. The first two days of the hunt everyone patted each others backs and cheered as they climbed to their perches or burrowed into their hiding holes. For a time they called to each other when boredom set in, but [the hunt leader] advised against this noise and suggested they whittle quietly or read if they could. Most scoffed, but at the close of the third day many had shavings in their beards or a chess piece to show their friends.

But hiding was uncomfortable and waiting was dull. At full night when [the hunt leader] called them in from their solitary positions around the meadow and they unstaked their sheep no one waved or joked or even looked another’s direction. They filed silently in line to take the trail back to the village. Sem or Norel would quip about the day just before they seperated again and each went to their home or tent. “How about them clouds?” could be funnier than you’d think the tenth time around.

No call came tonight. Jalko wondered if she slept through it and none noticed her missing from the silent procession to [camp name]. She shifted over to her peek but found only blue-black sky becoming black.

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