Suddenly

 

Suddenly Joel woke with the slow rhythmic warm blasts. Smoothing at first but, now it sent a sudden shudder fear through him. In the cave’s darkness, so different from the pathway and the trees, there was a presence that felt nearer and more threatening.

His only thought was to move away quickly and try to grab something. What could he grab, and thinking remembered the walking stick and a branch he tripped over and then pulled from the trees.  Keeping very still he posed himself to move.

The darkness closed about him thicker than ever and his heart pounded in his chest. Surely whatever it was could hear this beating and smell the fear.