My footsteps on the tarmac sounded loud and strange after so long in the soft, wet woods. One foot in front of the other... I walked like a girl rather than loping like a wild animal after Coyote, as I had only recently done, before finding Coyote's skull, which was still held fast against my ear. A girl again. But with a wild thing inside me, and the remains of a wild thing pressed to my face.
My eyes had been in utter blackness for so long that neighborhood lights made my heart race, my pupils contract, my breath quicken. Step, step, and the world became familiar, human, sad in a way. Up a paved hill and I looked into
my own home.
Warm and orange inside. Familiar. Empty, still and silent. I lowered the hand holding Coyote's skull and let the whispers fall to my side. I walked through my unlocked front door, felt tile under my feet, trudged up stairs. Picked at leftovers in my refrigerator, my hunger a nauseous ache. And I chewed until the sun rose and shone through the eastern windows. One hand still curled around Coyote's skull.
God, I had missed home while I was lost in the forest, although I had not thought about home. Suddenly in that golden morning light I felt a calmness wash over me that I hadn't felt in days. Truly I don't know how long I was wandering through the woods. How long had it been since I had eaten? How long since I lay down on a bed or looked through glass?
The sun poured bright and brighter through the windows. And I felt all strength leaving my limbs. I shuffled to the bedroom with Coyote, laid his head on my pillow and got into bed with him, stumbling into a soft and light sleep lulled by whispersongs and warmed by daylight pushing through my eyelids as a red glow. Redvision slipping away as I dipped into sleepy pools, and back up again in redglow for a moment, hearing sh-sh-sh softsounds. Were these whispers coming from Coyote's skull? Or my skull? Or my eyelids filled with sun? Sunsounds, sheet rustle, dreamwhistle, air moving whhhhh across my face. Sleep. Sleep now. Sleep.
The wild thing curled in a tight ball inside me. Nose and tail touching. Waiting.