Dale coughed hard and dry into the suede leather gloves his sister gave him a few Christmases back when they still believed in that sort of thing. He remembered the year because he gave her a candle she said she treasured. Imagine that, a cinnamon smelling candle worthy of that.
He thought about the last of the food, when he ate it thinking he would find his way out within an hour or two. If he had only known, he would have savored, and saved some for the days after. That felt like a month ago now, not that precision in estimation mattered much at this point.
He was never much good at maps, at following directions. Should have been more disciplined, more attentive to details. He knew he was paying the price now. It was a heavy, thick price.
As he laid down in the crumbling leaves, staring up at the tree fingered sky, he thought about his mother, and the sister. The sister of the cinnamon candle. They were always good to him. In his last, he thought about them.
I wonder if I just fall asleep, he thought, I wonder if I will feel anything. I wonder if the night coming upon me will sink into me slowly, so much as I won’t even notice. Or will it be a jolt…
He closed his eyes and thought about them. His mother and sister.
And the sleep came.