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"I promise I'll come back," said Charlie. "You need more help than I'm able to give you. I'm going to try and prop you up, so you can eat, all right? I'll go very slowly, and when you tell me to stop, I'll stop."

Cautiously, Charlie lifted Jo's head. The girl whimpered and yelped, but told her to keep going. At last, the girl was at an angle where she could eat. Charlie took the remainder of food she had left from the backpack, and placed into a small pan. Next, she built a fire and heated the meal, hoping that it might help stave off Jo's hypothermia.

"What are you doing out here all by yourself?" asked Charlie, as she stirred the small helping of beans and cornbread.

"My brother took me hiking," explained Jo, "and I got lost. It was just supposed to be a short walk."

"Did your brother get lost, too?" wondered Charlie, hoping there wasn't another wandering hiker out there, waiting to be rescued.

"He never gets lost," sighed Jo, hungrily smelling the food.

"Here you go," said Charlie, handing her the pan with a spoon. "Don't eat fast, and chew slowly. We don't have any painkillers, except aspirin. Do you want some?"

"Definitely," said Jo. "I never knew just ordinary beans could taste so good!"

"Fabas indulcet fames," replied Charlie, remembering a piece of Latin from her old days. "Hunger sweetens the beans."

Charlie had given Jo the last of the food, which hadn't been more than half a cup of pork and beans, and a little piece of left over cornbread. The seventeen year old had been three days in the wild, and now faced the difficult trek back. Charlie looked around the area of the cave they were in, and marveled at its beauty, in spite of their predicament. It was then, that she recalled where she had smelled the acrid odor, before. Charlie bent down and examined the cave floor. The familiar droppings of a certain animal, littered the ground. It was this that had been giving off the pungent smell. With a small ironic laugh, Charlie turned to Jo.

"You wouldn't happened to have noticed anything fly by here, say in the last half hour, would you?" she asked.

"No," answered Jo, puzzled by the question. "Why do you ask?"

Charlie went to the edge of the cave's opening and saw that dusk was fast approaching.

"Okay," said Charlie coming back to the girl, "we need to hunker down. It's getting dark, and the temperature is going to drop."

"What is it?" asked Jo. "What did you see over there?"

"Bat droppings," replied Charlie, quickly gathering the contents of her backpack and putting out the fire.

Then she dropped to the ground beside Jo, and pulled the sleeping bag that was covering the small girl, over her own body as well.

"You mean real live bats?" repeated Jo, in a voice of dread.

"Don't be scared," calmed Charlie, "but any moment now, a colony of bats are going to fly through here, on their way to go hunting."

"How do you know that?" asked Jo, frantically hoping Charlie was wrong.

"Bats are nocturnal animals," explained Charlie, "and they come out at dusk. This cave is their roost."

Just then, the cave sounded with the distant echo of quick, flapping wings.

"I'm scared!" panicked Jo, frantically grabbing Charlie's hand.

"Get down under the sleeping bag," instructed Charlie, pushing the girl's head beneath the cover. "They won't hurt you, but we need to stay out of their way."
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