It's 3:35am in the morning. I am standing in an open doorway, peering into a dark wood, wearing only a pair of thermal long johns. Snow is drifting onto my face from a moonlit sky. My heart is pounding. And I am holding an axe.
Was it a falling tree branch that caused the noise that woke me? Or is there something out there, watching from the shadows? I strain to listen, but can hear nothing except my own breath and the slow whistle of the wind-whipped trees.
I go back inside the hut, wedge a broom under the handle of the lockless door and put the axe by my bed. I lie down. I close my eyes. I add it up again: 62 hours, 35 minutes since I last saw or spoke to another human being.