The embers from the fire were still glowing sending small sparks of light into the dark night air. Stumbling through the edges of the camp her scrabbling hands found a few lost sticks and bits of rotten log to coax the fire to a brighter glow and then a flickering flame. It was not cold enough for a fire, in fact, the humid air had already slicked her skin with sweat.
She had been hiking by herself for almost a week now. There were no others on the trail, she had left the nearest campground and marched away, refusing to look back to see if anyone noticed that she was gone. She had planned to head out for a day or two and then curl up in her tent and take the bottle of pills she had been saving, but she had not. Each night she lay there holding the bottle to her chest like it was a teddy bear. Each day she packed up and walked as far and as fast as her legs could take her.
Each evening she would set up camp and lay there watching the sun set and the stars come out. She imagined the massive blue-black sky and stars filling up the hollow she felt in her chest, blotting out the pain and frustration, rubbing out the numbness. Sometimes she cried as she walked, slow tears that had no beginning or end. Sometimes she sang as she marched, jingles and every old christmas song she could remember.