She shuddered, and for a moment her stomach twisted with nausea as she replayed those kicks that had sent the cub flying across the clearing. Did she dare move him? What if he had broken bones, broken ribs that punctured his organs? She couldn’t leave him lying there, though. By the time she got home and brought help, predators would have found him.
“Okay, God, You got us this far. You chased those scuzzbuckets away -- that flare shouldn’t have worked at all.” Charli shuddered and glanced over her shoulder. Definitely, that flare shouldn’t have worked, and logic said those poachers would get over their fear any second now and turn around and come back, just to find out what had happened. She had to get out of here. “Keep us safe? Keep him alive until I can get help for him?”
There was more light now. She looked up and blinked in surprise at the thicker streaks of moonlight coming through clouds that shredded into mist as she watched. At least she didn’t have to worry about rain for a while. Charli pulled out her spare tee-shirt, then checked the plant samples. Her tumbling slide down the slope hadn’t damaged anything. At least, not any damage she could see by moonlight. Sighing at her definitely unclear thinking, she dug out her flashlight and put one end in her mouth, so she could shine the light down on the cub while she tried to examine him. No blood in his mouth or ears or nose, so maybe he wasn’t bleeding internally. She was afraid to press too hard, and how could she know what was broken bones and what was where it belonged under that fur? She wrapped the cub in her spare shirt, hoping the swaddling would comfort him and keep him immobile for the long walk home. It was the best she could do.