The lingering light of the day fled from the sky as a rabbit from a wolf as the two of them made their way further into the woods. The unusual circumstances surrounding Lady Wessex’s company on this trip necessitated that the pair leave the main roads and strike out on their own.

“This would be a good time and place to make camp Mr. Grimm.” Lady Wessex noted as she came on a slight clearing in the brush. Grunting, Grimm made his way over to a nearby tree and hunched underneath its shelter, clapping his hands on his arms in an attempt to warm them. Watching, a slight smile crept over Lady Wessex’s face.

“It might be a good idea to start a fire, Mr. Grimm, I don’t think the night would be very kind to you if we did not. In fact, I would be surprised if you saw the morning dressed the way you are.”

“Right, get to it then.” Grimm grumbled, looking more and more like a church gargoyle with every passing moment. Chuckling to herself and shaking her head, Lady Wessex dropped the pack she had been carrying on the ground and began to rummage through it. First from the pack came a small package encased in a bronze and steel case. At the push of a small button on the side of the case, the holding clasps released and a small coal fireplace sprang into existence supported on thin legs. At the twist of a knob on the side of the small fireplace, a spark lit the oil soaked hunk of coal that sat in the center and a fan of buffering metal around the coal began to compound the heat of the small fire into a large area of warmth. As the fire began to warm Lady Wessex, she continued to pull contraptions out of her pack. Another small metal bundle unfurled itself into a tent that was just large enough to fit the lady, the fireplace, and a cot that was the third folded metal contraption to come from the pack. Once her small camp had been set up, the lady pulled a blanket from the bottom of the pack and settled onto the cot, her eyes roaming the woods around the clearing.

The snow-muffled silence of the night was shattered with a cry of intense pain torn from a human throat. Grim started from a slight doze he had fallen into as the heat from the small fire started to chase the chill from his bones. Looking around for any threat that might come out of the darkness, Grimm let his senses wander out into the night. Several moments passed as he kept vigil around the camp. Finally, with a shrug, Grimm fell back against the tree he had been leaning on and let his eyes slide shut again.

“Really? A scream like that and you’re going to go back to sleep? Perhaps I chose the wrong companion?” Lady Wessex sneered. “Or perhaps you’re just too afraid of the dark forest night to go and investigate?”

“A death in the forest is none of my concern Lady. I am not getting paid to make this matter my business, therefore it is of no interest to me.” Grimm replied evenly, his eyes opening slightly to look at his companion. She stood between him and the fire, her gaze locked onto the night in the direction the scream had come from. Her tense muscles and the clenching of her hand showed her fear … or was it excitement?

“If that is the excuse that soothes your soul then so be it. I am going to investigate.” With that remark, she moved to her pack and took off the long package on the side. Slinging it over her shoulder with its own strap, she stood with her back to the fire for a few moments to let her eyes adjust before heading out into the night.

Shaking his head, Grimm slowly got to his feet and stretched. With one last longing look back at the warm fire, he departed in Mrs. Wessex’s footsteps.