Peter woke to the sounds of a young child screaming. It was coming from a few hundred metres away, somewhere behind him. The thing was, he'd seen no one else camped here. His had been the only fire.
And another wail came from another direction, a little further away.
He rummaged around for his phone, pulled it beneath the sleeping bag, touched the screen. 3:13. And no signal.
The screams were now talking to each other, confirming they were being tortured in unison.
Peter first thought of local yahoos having some fun by scaring the tourist, but it was a weeknight and most people wouldn't be out at a lake for a night out.
He ran through his mind of all the animals he could think of that might torment him, but none came to mind.
With the torch in hand, he slowly unzipped the tent. With just enough room to stick his head out, he turned on the flashlight and scanned the shoreline.
Small beady eyes reflected in the beam of light, and Peter could make out the distinct markings of a young fox.
Brave now, Peter exits the tent and sweeps the light all around. He counts half-a-dozen pairs of eyes. All watching him. Wanting him.
He thinks of how he might weave this into a story for his family. Of them sitting around the dinner table and the words he'd choose to describe the blood-curdling feeling he first had upon waking and thinking he was about to be murdered. Of the delight in his children's eyes as he told the adventures.
But then he remembered who his family was and how they would barely register his absence.