There was no trace of their having passed. None of the obvious ones, anyway. No crushed circle of grass; no broken branch to mark the way. The trees bore no aura of attentiveness or alarm.
There was, perhaps, a fraint trace of her perfume, already fading. The scent of rope and leather. A heated wash of air. A sense of haste in the way the grasses and leaves moved, as if they had been rushed past. A bird, ruffled into the air, settled to its nest once more.
She had been hunting the creature for one thousand years, a thousand more. Had pursued it across the oceans, between the stars. She had seen it turn its head to watch her coming towards it across the tundra. She had seen the sorrow in its eyes before it turned away, loped onward through the world.
She woke, each morning, at the sound of its waking song: a soughing that hooked her, as if she were a fish, drawing her on.
It was her haste, of course, that marked the air, but also that of the thing she pursued.
The creature itself, and the dream of its surrender.