Patience, he thought. So much of this was patience - waiting, and thinking and doing things right. So much of all this, so much of all living was patience and thinking.
He did not know how long it took, but later he looked back on this time of crying in the corner of the dark cave and thought of it as when he learned the most important rule of survival, which was that feeling sorry for yourself didn't work. It wasn't just that it was wrong to do, or that it was considered incorrect. It was more than that--it didn't work.
When he sat alone in the darkness and cried and was done, all done with it, nothing had changed. His leg still hurt, it was still dark, he was still alone and the self-pity had accomplished nothing.
He could not play the game without hope; could not play the game without a dream. They had taken it all away from him now, they had turned away from him and there was nothing for him now...He was alone and there was nothing for him.
He had to keep thinking of them because if he forgot them and did not think of them they might forget about him. And he had to keep hoping.
Brian looked back and for a moment felt afraid because the wolf was so... so right. He knew Brian, knew him and owned him and chose not to do anything to him. But the fear moved then, moved away,and Brian knew the wolf for what it was - another part of the woods, another part of all of it.
It was a strange feeling, holding the rifle. It somehow removed him from everything around him. Without the rifle he had to fit in, to be part of it all, to understand it and use it - the woods, all of it. With the rifle, suddenly, he didn't have to know, did not have to be afraid or understand. He didn't have to get close to a foolbird to kill it - didn't have to know how it would stand if he didn't look at it and moved off to the side. The rifle changed him, the minute he picked it up, and he wasn't sure he liked the change much.
Not hope that he would be rescued--that was gone. But hope in his knowledge. Hope in the fact that he could learn and survive and take care of himself. Tough hope, he thought that night. I am full of tough hope.