He was showing his age and his days of running down hogs and deer were long past. Much like his earliest years, he subsisted almost entirely on frogs, lizards, berries, and insects. Therefore, he looked forward to the full moon when the forest would be illuminated well enough that he could trek to where houses of people reached close to his domain. He knew that at night all would be quiet there and the people would be sleeping. It was then that he could safely travel through the rough growth, secure food, and make it back to his small shelter without being seen.
The day had been rainy, and the evening started off with clouds hiding the moon. He was afraid he’d have to skip the excursion, but well after dark the clouds opened allowing the big round moon to shine. He marveled at how bright the moon appeared. In fact, it was so bright that its light filtered through the trees and cast shadows on the forest floor. He’d have no trouble making his way through the thick vegetation and standing water, if the moon stayed out of the clouds. He retrieved his favorite club and headed out.
For the first leg of the trip, he followed established people or game trails since he could make good time and he wasn’t worried about being seen. His progress slowed though when he neared the people houses and switched to traveling off-trail. Then he had to work his way through standing water, palmettos, thick brush, vines, and cypress knees. He also had to avoid venomous snakes and alligators. But he’d made so many similar treks over the years that he knew to avoid open trails and raised water crossings.
Finally, he emerged from the brush at a waterway that separated the forest from the people houses. Rather than crossing the water on a trail, he stayed low and made his way down the bank, and into the dark water. He washed himself to remove most of his scent and then crawled up the opposite bank. There he stopped and considered the situation. People houses stretched in both directions. Fences, covered with vines and brush extended out to a people trail along the waterway where he rested. All was quiet except for a dog barking off to one side. Dogs were one of his main quarries since they were stupid and often let him get close, but that one was too loud. He headed in the other direction staying low behind the fences.
He could smell dog dung across most of the fences but did not see any dogs so kept going. Then a medium sized dog came to the fence far behind one of the people houses. The dog sniffed around and put its front feet up on the fence by him but did not bark. Therefore, he climbed over and started to raise his club. He was just about to strike the dog when he noticed a small house not far from the large house. He hurried over to the small house with the dog following close behind and was pleased to see chickens through gaps in the walls. The door would not open, so he tried to force it. Finally, he attacked the door with his club hitting it near the latch. After several blows it broke loose but lights came on behind the house. He quickly swung the door open, reached inside, and grabbed a chicken by its neck. Then he headed back towards the fence and waterway. The chicken was pecking at him and was making a racket, so he shook it violently until it quieted.
A person appeared behind the house and began to howl at him. Suddenly there was a loud noise, and he knew he’d been spotted and attacked with a fire spitting weapon. This was not the first time it had happened to him, so he kept running and turned towards the nearest fence. He noticed a burning in his shoulder while crossing the fence, but once across he hunched down and hurried towards the waterway and forest. He knew the bright moon helped people see him so he moved as much as he could through the shadows of trees.
A light came on behind the house and he heard more people howling but he did not slow. Then he heard an angry dog catching up from behind as he approached the fence and waterway. He threw the chicken and club across the fence and then quickly climbed over just as the dog got there. He felt the pain in his shoulder again and saw that blood was matting the thick hair on his chest. He looked down the people trail and saw the person with the spitting weapon coming his way, so he picked up the chicken and club with his good arm, raced across the trail, plunged down the bank, and entered the water as he heard another loud noise over the dog’s barking. He scurried up the other bank and dived through the brush at the edge of the forest with his chicken and club. He heard another loud noise but escaped into the swamp with the fresh meat.