This is just the second half of the chapter.
Fawn had been gone for three days. She had fasted, drank little water, and was getting feverish, delirious, and weak. Wrapped in a blanket she had taken with her, she sat on the ground, propped against a tree trunk. Black carpenter ants crawled under the blanket, into her clothing, and began biting her. She jumped up, sweeping at them, stripping her clothing off. She stumbled into the icy river, which had not warmed up much as it was still early May, until the only thing above water was her head.
Time seemed to fade away. She had no idea how long she had been in the water, but her fever grew weaker. She became aware that her body needed nourishment and water. The river was a clear stream and she scooped some of the cool liquid in her hands. She choked on the first gulp and reminded herself to slurp instead of gulp.
Still standing the river, her gaze traveled the shoreline. There was no sign of anyone near. Energized by the cold water and her shivering body, she bolted back to where she had dropped her clothing, made sure everything was free of ants, dressed, and went searching for food.
There were places along the river where cattails grew in the shallows. They were about six to eight inches tall she guessed. She picked three of them, peeled the bulbs and ate them. Perhaps she would save the heads and take them back to the Gardner place to be roasted and eaten later, like corn on the cob.
It was not the best thing she had ever eaten but it would do. After the third bite her stomach rebelled at the raw roughage. She gagged and retched.
Defeat and discouragement bowed her back, causing her head and shoulders to stoop as she trudged back to her horse. Her feet dragged and stumbled as she led Midnight Sun away from the river and into the woods. She found a spot that still had a layer of pine needles and leaves from the winter. After checking the area for any kind of ants and seeing none, she removed the blanket from the horse and laid it on the ground.
As she drifted into a troubled sleep her only thought was I’ve been abandoned and I’m all alone.
The angel bent low and gently brushed her brow. “Sleep little one,” he whispered. Fawn heard nothing but the screaming in her head.
“Is it time yet, Lord?” the gleaming white being asked. There was no time for an answer.
A sulfurous black shape drew its machete-like sword. “You will die now,” the shape hissed at Tal.
Tal waited for the command, then shifted his position as he drew his gleaming sword. “On the contrary, fowl spirit; it is you who will die this day.”
The dark shape raised himself up at the same moment Tal struck. The loathsome demon ducked and tumbled through the air, positioning himself for a rebound.
Tal changed his stance and awaited his chance. “What is your name, foul spirit?”
The demon smirked and stuck out its tongue, licking its lips as if in anticipation of a good meal, or a good fight. “Slither” was his answer.
Tal laughed. “Yes, I can see why. Slither toward me if you dare.”
Slither jumped forward,lurching at the same time, arm outstretched, slicing the air with the machete. He missed. Tal did not. With a screech and an ebbing wail, Slither tumble away in a fog of sulfuric vapor.
Tal knew others would come. He stood guard and waited for reinforcements.