[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/cbo0CRh.jpg?1]] Hunger was the first thing that approached the creature as consciousness returned. As the sun set, it felt as if the chill in the air was rushing in, filling a hollow body, moldering in its huddle, and brought it back into the current of things. The sounds of the night sharpened. The birds changed, slowly, as they do. And the nighttime creatures started to move.
It was these night creatures that Gem heard, mostly, as she left the bounds of the town and moved into the wilderness. The sounds of the water died behind her the deeper she went, not even a dull roar, until it was only the trees that enveloped her now, looming, indifferent about her. She was big game now, for the predators in these places. There were paths where she started, well worn and clear, and she had the option of staying on them or departing.
The dry dirt underneath long fingers puffed up softly, bringing the scent of the soil into the creature's nose. But beyond it came the scents of the bodies that moved above ground, a fluttering heart of a rabbit, ever watchful, and the hungry beat of an owl's. And so, it slithered out of its place and into the open air. It needed to eat as well, feeling that clawing, howling feeling, and so it ducked its head to enter into the dappled semidarkness.
It was a still, wet night. Not raining. Damp in that the earth had a layer of dew on it already, and it hung in the air and in the nose. It had a breeze on it, that was chilled but not as cold as would be expected. Something balmy, and expectant.
The little lights danced in the corners of the woods, and the feeling of soil changed to that of leaf litter and needles, for the creature as it shifted to stand on creaking bones, cold from the sleep and stillness.
It tipped its head back, opening wide the maw, and on that breeze Gem could hear the high, keening cry of something echoing through the trees. The creatures in these woods quieted, listening to the sound that echoed up the ridged hills that led away from the seaside town.
With that the thing moved like one of the many shadows, and made its way down towards that town where it would seek out things, and feed. Hunger drove its thoughts, currently, little else. Until something came to its attention, large enough to suffice for a meal.
A woman. She wandered alone outside in the night, skin exposed in such a way that made the beast's throat tremble, thinking of what parting that envelope would give to it, of tearing it open.
Gem would note, as she drew to a pause, that the woods had gone quiet around her.