Blackness shrouds the land. I tentatively step into it from the safety of illumination, and the darkness takes me in. Within a few strides it envelops me. The silence of pre-dawn causes my ears to roar.
I try to walk quickly and quietly. Something causes my skin to prickle; some premonition or long slumbering instinct hidden from me by the trappings of modern life in the first world. In my hand is my bow, but it provides little comfort. I feel like the young boy afraid of monsters under my bed, except now there is no strong father to chase them away. I must face these monsters alone.
I can make out the faint trail and follow it carefully, muscles taut and jumpy. The distance I must cover in the dark seems so much longer than when the sun reigns. I am only able to see a few steps in front of me, familiar landmarks hidden. I fight the urge to run – to get to someplace familiar and safe.
Finally I arrive at my tree. I climb into the stand, suspended between stars and the land once ruled by Comanches. I wonder if they watch me; the ones who made the arrowhead I found just yards from where I now sit. I wonder if even those warriors had some small dread of the night that bravery in battle couldn’t vanquish.
A coyote sings nearby,sending involuntary chills down my spine. It is answered by another, and another. I am surrounded, and I grip my bow tighter.
Dawn is slow to rescue me, but once on task, it pushes back the darkness with impunity – and with it my monsters. A faint rustle on the morning air draws my attention…and then my bow.