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#177: Safe

#177: Safe
Odd Spot - The Age - 16/08/2022

He stoked the fire, enraging it to life. This was his favourite time of the day, and the best part about camping. The early morning, just before the first hint of dawn, when nothing else was awake. The night creatures, as best Peter could tell, were already tucked away, leaving just him and Tiggy.

Grace had finally fallen asleep after fretting about every sound. Just when he’d fallen back asleep, her fingers would claw into his arm, sending spikes of pain. He’d listen, amazed that the wind ruffling the leaves in the gum trees overhead was frightening for her. Hadn’t she grown up in a small town? She hated camping, was her reply. She said it in such a way that he both knew not to pursue the line of questioning but to also accept the gift she was giving him by coming out with him. It meant she trusted him.

He promised he’d keep her safe, which was enough. She nestled into him and fell asleep.

Thankfully, he could crawl out of the tent without waking her. Tiggy had showed he needed to pee. They had a shorthand, whereby he’d just burrow his wet nose into Peter’s neck.

Peter was about to put on the billy when a multitude of sounds erupted from the edge of the bush. High pitch screams, growls, tussling, leaves rustling, twigs snapping, yelp of pain, all occurred in one instance.

Peter’s head snapped away from the action to the sobs of Grace, left alone in the tent when the world seemed to end.