Chapter 3. THE STRATEGIC LION

THE STRATEGIC LION

Sean jumped upright in his bed to the sound of a lion's roar that seemed as though it was right next to him. It felt as if he had just closed his eyes only a moment ago. It was still very dark outside. Then he saw Ashley getting dressed among the dancing shadows attached to the lamp's flickering light.

"Did you hear that?"

"Sure did, honey. Your personalized wake up call."

"Funny."

"Time to get up! It's 3:45, and we need to get going if we want to catch Zachariah before he leaves at 4:00."

As they ran toward the mess tent the smell of wood smoke was drifting through the camp. A kettle was already heating water for morning coffee.

Ashley bent down to warm her hands over the fire and stared at the old enamel pot that was coated black from a thousand campfires. Its wooden handle had the tooth marks of some nighttime visitor that had long ago tried to steal it, only to find its contents too hot to handle.

"Ash, did you get any sleep last night? I just laid there looking at the stars through the mesh and listening to all those wild sounds. I must have drifted off because that roar really woke me this morning," Sean said.

Just then Aly stepped out of the mess tent.

"Mr. and Mrs. Spencer, what are you doing up so early? You only need to be here at six for breakfast."

"We're hoping to catch a ride with Zachariah," replied Sean.

"Zach? You can't do that. Raymond is your ...

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