He did not remember falling asleep on a rock. In fact, he was pretty sure he remembered falling asleep in his own bed under a mountain of blankets. The chill in his arms and legs should have been negated by them. But it wasn’t. He opened his eyes to a grey misty expanse that bore no resemblance to his warm wooden paneling and red wall paper. A howl sounded in the distance and goose bumps rose on his arms. The sky was the deep grey of early morning, and fog was rolling in through the shadows of enormous trees. He stood on a short stone plinth in the middle of crumbling walls and overgrown archways. Some sort of castle ruin long reclaimed by nature.
The silence echoed after the howl and he didn’t move. Tried to scan his surroundings for any clue to the whereabouts of danger, but the cry did not repeat, and the fog did not swirl more, or less, ominously.
He stepped off the plinth and managed not to stumble on the uneven flagstones. Like a hound seeking a scent, he wandered into the mists and shadows, seeking answers and the return of his warm room. The hunter watched him go with a hungry smile and sharpened her knife. There would be time to get acquainted later. But for now, she let her prey learn the ground. She did like a challenge. Maybe he would give her one. The sound of her blade caressing the whetstone sliced the air like owl claws into a mouse. Then again…. Maybe not.