Dreamcoyote and I are in the darkest part of the forest. His eyes blaze with backscattered starlight, but that's all I can see. I am relying entirely on my senses of smell, hearing and touch. Which, aside from touch, are far less sensitive than Dreamcoyote's. But he enjoys this imbalance, and dances around me, teasing me with the shock of his cold nose against my bare legs and with the sound of toothnips near my skin.
Coyote truly is a trickster. Whether it is innate or something he has cultivated in order to honor and perpetuate the Coyote Culture is unclear.
We travel through thick vines and wide tree trunks. Ivy and ferns tickle us. I follow the sound of Coyote's forward movement, but he fools me and makes me run into a tree or trip on a stone. Coyote. But I can't really get mad at him, because the moment I make an exasperated sound, he curls his body around my legs and lets me sink my fingers deep into his coat. I kneel down and press my face against his, my hands wound into the dense and warm fur of his throat and scruff. My lips against coyote lips. His wild breath strong but strangely pleasing.
Coyote doesn't stand for this affection for too long. He trots off momentarily, with me tripping along behind him.
Deeper and deeper into these darkest woods we go. Even Coyote's star-twinkle eyes eventually disappear, leaving us in pure black. When we reach this point, everything is gone. And not just visibly, but materially. I need not worry about tripping, because there are not trees, roots, holes, or even ground. There is simply soft nothing. Coyote and I walk touching each other, because otherwise I would become irretrievably lost.
Ahead we hear a soft sound. A gentle moaning hum. We walk toward it, faster and faster, eventually running, and I have to try very hard to keep up with Coyote, because he lopes along with such ease. I shout to him occasionally, "Slow Down!" We are still in a land of nothing, and even our footsteps make nearly no noise. I grab Coyote's tail. He yelps angrily at me, but I tell him that I need a way to hold onto him, and this seems easiest. So we run along, his puffy tail held fast in my fist.
A soft glow of light is peeking through a stand of trees. There are trees again... somewhere ahead. Run, run, run, fur in my fingers, Coyote occasionally whining, I'm breathing so heavily, footfalls beginning to hit earth again. Stump stump go my feet. Coyote's footsteps are much lighter and gentler. Coyote whips us between trees and ferns and dangling vines, and I'm dizzy.
And in a blinding explosion, we burst through the trees into a clearing illuminated by a thick ray of moonlight. In the center of this clearing a sturdy nightbird moans Hmmmm Mmmmm with huge closed eyes. I look over at Coyote. To my horror, the fur and skin and flesh on his head has melted away, leaving just a dried-out skull on his lush, furry body. He sees my look of dismay and hangs his head. Tucks his tail. It was insensitive of me.