Noah quickly caught up with his father and they both made their way back down the mountain as fast as their tired legs would carry them. The smoke from the fire was beginning to make its way through the trees, causing the light to break through in only well-defined shafts of light. The smoke began to burn the back of Noah's throat as he continued to breathe as he ran.
A dozen theories danced around in Noah's mind as he thought about what was happening back at the cabin. He hoped his mother was awake and safely outside as the flames were growing in intensity.s having and began to cut corners and kept looking into the trees to find a path they might be able to use as a shortcut back to the cabin. Noah knew the creatures would be waiting. Regardless, they both continued to cut corners whenever they could with their feet sinking into the soft earth covered by wet grass.
A dozen theories danced around in Noah's mind as he thought about what was happening back at the cabin. He hoped his mother was awakeand safely outside as the flames were growing in intensity.
They rounded a corner and mud on the path caused Noah to lose his footing. He fell so quickly he did not have time to bring his hands up to break the fall. He hit his head hard on a large rock and everything broke apart in front of him like glass. He did not move for a moment, but when he tried to get up from the wet ground he found his body would not obey him. By sheer will power, he forced his body to move, but only managed to make things worse as he began to slide headfirst down the steep slope and into the trees. Trying to stop his momentum in the wet slick grass he twisted his body around but only saw the path he knew so well disappearing above him.
He continued to tumble and slide down a hundred feet until he slammed into the trunk of one of the ancient black trees. When he hit the tree he heard two things; the sound of a sharp crack like the snapping of a limb off the tree and then the sound of his own voice screaming out in pain. He quickly realized that the snapping sound had come from his shoulder and not from the tree and now his left arm hung uselessly at his side. Noah began to see large insect-sized black spots dancing to and fro in front of his eyes.
He tasted blood in his mouth as he lay in the wet mud at the base of the tree. He yelled for his father but knew he would be too far away now, and too far off the path for anyone to hear him. All the warnings of his childhood came back to haunt him all at once and he knew he had to start moving or he might never be found this far from the trail.