The night sounds sent shivers coursing up and down Adella's spine, the chirping of unseen insects, the leaves rustling. Was it just the wind or was there something out in the dark, stalking, waiting for her guard to lapse before striking? More distant sounds, a wolf howling made her jerk back to wakefulness. Her fire still burned but the dancing flames were gone now, glowing embers all that remained. She tossed some more precious branches into the ring, her dwindling supply down to pieces that had not yet drieds. The fire hissed as the green wood began to steam and let off billowing clouds of foul smokemaking her cough. The sound echoed in the clearing and she wished again she hadn't made that stupid boast to the other women in her college group. "Of course I don't feel scared at sleeping out of doors - I'm never scared of anything!" she had said, never for one moment thinking that the weather would get so bad so quickly.
They had all been given a project in the writing class - and each had drawn out a title. It had to be a way-out essay, and Adella wanted to make a good impression ... and so here she was, trying to research her title - "Fireside". Stupid bitch! she told herself fiercely, at least you could have been at an indoor fireside! She hugged herself trying to get a semblance of warmth.