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Rated: E · Fiction · Drama · #1711240
George goes hunting near a state forest, and finds something his mind can't comprehend
George Loses It

         George had gone deer hunting for several years, yet never managed to bag his goal, a ten point buck.  His usual take home was a young button buck, sometimes a doe (but only when using a doe permit).  This year he vowed it would be different.

         His day started out well enough, like most other days he’d gone hunting.  He woke early at 4am and left the Brookdale Lodge in Boulder Creek to head into the hunting grounds near the Big Basin Redwoods State Forest.  Many months were spent combing maps of allowed hunting areas, looking for just the right place.

         Unlike a lot of hunters, George wanted to track his prey; not sit in a stand mounted on a tree and wait for deer to trek past.  His chosen area near the State Park seemed ripe for the picking.  His thought had been that deer in the park would be more used to humans being somewhat near, giving him a better chance to get close to one for a good shot.

         But now he felt uneasy.  He couldn’t say exactly why, but nothing around him seemed right.  Yesterday he walked this same area, and the trees and bushes looked the same as they’d looked then.  His uneasiness continued to grow stronger with each passing minute.  He couldn’t place a finger on what was causing it; only that he felt something strange was going on around him.  His eyes told him there was nothing there, but his ‘gut-feeling’ told him otherwise.  As his feeling of unease grew stronger; he became almost certain he was being watched or followed.  Try as he might, he couldn’t see anyone behind him, nor spy anyone watching him.  The wind blowing gently through the grass did nothing to assuage his growing unease; it was almost as if he could hear soft voices on the air.  Finally he stopped and sat on an outcropping of granite, listening to the wind, and with it, the silence; the total absence of noise from humankind.

         As he sat there, he could almost hear whispering in the wind.

         “Have you seen the human out here today?  He’s carrying a gun, run everyone, run!”

         “I wonder what he’s going to try to kill this time.  It must be something big, that gun sure isn’t small.”

         George wasn’t sure he heard those exact words being whispered, but it sounded like it.  Small, shrill voices that made him think of fairies from a Disney movie.  He listened, straining to hear more, and started to think he was losing his mind, thinking he could hear things out here when he knew he was alone.

         “You’re not alone, we’re here with you.”

         “You know you shouldn’t be here to kill, we want to live too you know.”

         George looked around now, starting to panic.  He knew there was no one else nearby, and had no idea why he was hearing things.

         “You’re not hearing things, we’re talking to you the only way we can.”

         Again the whispers came, this time more insistent, almost pounding in his ears.  George slung his rifle over his shoulder and walked quickly down the hill, his hands held protectively over his ears.  After walking about a mile, he removed his hands and listened for whispering.  Hearing nothing, he took his rifle back in his hands and started towards a clearing he’d found yesterday.  It was here that he’d seen a couple of young deer, and thought he might have a good chance to bag his quarry.

         He saw a movement off to his right and froze.  Listening carefully, he heard the wind once again, but this time, it was just the wind.  He moved slowly so he wouldn’t startle anything nearby, rotating his head so he could fully see what his peripheral vision had seen.  Off in the distance he saw five deer, none of them sported antlers of the type he was anxious to bag, but he knew they would suffice if need be.

         “Do you think he will really kill something out here today?  He’s done it before, so it’s likely he’ll do it again.”

         The voices in his head spoke softly; someone standing next to him would not have heard them.

         “We’re not speaking to you directly; you are hearing us because you are tuned to nature out here.  It is rare for one of your kind to sense nature so well, but whenever you do, we know it, and can speak to you.”

         Once again George tried to tell himself it was all in his head, that he was only hearing noises that people hear when they suffer from tinnitus.

         “Tinnitus?”  It seemed as if the small voice snorted in laughter.  “That’s a word your kind made up for people who are in tune with nature.  Accept it George, you can hear us, can sense our presence.”

         George thought quickly, and feeling he was slowly losing his mind, he said silently, “If you can hear this, what am I thinking right now?”

         “First, you think you’re losing your mind, when in fact, you are in a higher evolved state than your kind normally lives in.”

         “George, what are you doing here today?”

         George turned about quickly when he heard the deep tones of that baritone voice.

         “Hey, careful with that gun there, someone might get hurt if you fall, yourself included.”  Again the deep voice, this time a slight tinge of mirth could be felt in it.

         “Who are you?  Where are you?”

         George looked around wildly, not sure what to think.  The voices had come back stronger than before, and now they knew his name!  What amazed him most of all, was the amount of time it had taken for this to occur.  It seemed as if he’d been hearing the voices for less than an hour.

         “We don’t measure time the way you do; but as you measure time, it has been over two hours since you started hearing us.”

         Finally George couldn’t take it anymore, and had to sit for a moment and think.  He carefully laid his gun to the side, leaning it against a large rock.  He thought of the voices, what had been said, and the implications of it all.  If all this was true, he was at a higher level of existence than other men; how could he use this to his benefit?

         “Forget those thoughts George; you cannot use this to your benefit in any way.  You will not stay at this level for long; your kind can’t handle it.  Just like you right now, you think you are losing your mind, when in reality, you are living in a higher plane temporarily.”
         There was that deep quiet voice again in his mind, talking as if it knew George intimately.

         “George, living at this level, we know everything; we communicate with each other.  We know some of us have to die so others can live, that’s how nature is.  None of us want to die, but we accept our fate.  It is your kind who hunt for what you call sport. Hah!  Come out here and hunt us with just your hands; use your wits, and see who wins.”

         “This can’t be happening.”  George thought to himself.  “There is no way I’m hearing these voices, there is no higher level of existence.”  George’s thoughts started to sound incoherent, even to himself.  Finally he had an idea, and thought silently, “If you are real, if you are really sensing my thoughts, then show yourself.”  This was it for him, he knew nothing would come of it, and he’d go on with his hunt, his mind finally relaxed and back to being himself.

         He was surprised when a shrill voice answered, “You’ve seen us all day.  We’re the bushes, grass, and trees you’ve walked past all morning.”

         Now he was sure he’d lost his mind.  Plants didn’t live like sentient beings did, couldn’t breathe, and most definitely couldn’t talk!  He dropped his head into his hands, fingers slowly kneading his temples, wishing this would all go away.

         “George, I will allow you to see me, and a couple of my friends, but please try and keep an open mind about things.”

         George looked around slowly, and nodded his head.  He clung to his belief that nothing would happen, that he’d see nothing.  He was still of an opinion that he was slowly losing his mind, and couldn’t stop it from happening.

         “Lindsey, Delilah, come on out, show yourselves to George.  George, look over to your left at the tall redwoods.  Look carefully, for they are shy.”

         George looked to his left, and saw two young deer slowly come out of the wooded area.  They stood there for a moment, looking right at him before slowly disappearing into the woods.
         “Okay.”  Thought George, “So two deer came out of the wooded area, saw me, and went back in to hide.  Of course they wouldn’t stay around once they saw me.  There’s nothing amazing about that whatsoever, I’m surprised they appeared at all, but it had to be coincidence.”

         “And I suppose this would be coincidence too, huh George.”  The deep baritone voice sounded like it was mocking George.  “Look at the same spot again.”

         George slowly lifted his head and looked at the same place the deer had just been.  His blood almost froze in his veins when he saw a large male deer appear.  Counting quickly, he saw it was a twelve point buck!  He started to hyper-ventilate as he grabbed his gun, but stopped deathly still when the deep voice spoke again.

         “Go ahead, shoot me.  But you better aim well, I don’t want to suffer.  And if you only wing me, I will charge you, and gore you.  And if I can’t do it, my friends here will.” George was amazed when about ten to fifteen more bucks appeared, standing as if one, ready to defend the large buck.  His rifle shook in his hands as he took aim, but he couldn’t draw a bead due to the barrel waving around in his unsteady hands.

         “Come on little man, can’t you do it?”  The derision in the voice was quite evident. George stifled a sob as he slowly squeezed the trigger.  The report of the rifle discharging was deafening in the clearing, yet the bullet sailed wide and high into a redwood tree.

         “Damn that hurt!”  The tree twisted in place as if in pain, and George knew he was about to lose it all.

         “Charge!!  Let’s get him guys, make sure he doesn’t leave here in one piece!”  Saying that, the herd of deer started towards George as a group, leaping over fallen logs, jumping gracefully as they picked up speed.  George took one look at the charging animals and shrieked like a child in a haunted house.  He dropped his rifle and ran in the opposite direction, his mind now totally shattered.

         The deer followed George long enough to make sure he was gone, and would not be returning again.

         The two largest bucks remained behind the charging herd.  “Samson, one day you’re going to do that to a human, and he’s not going to wilt, and will end up killing one of us, maybe even you.”

         “That’s true Jebediah, but if that happens, he’ll have earned it, wouldn’t he?”

         George was found later that day, wandering down a stream, blabbering loudly about trees that talked and cursed, and deer that had threatened to tear him limb from limb.  He was taken to the local hospital for psychiatric testing.  The head of the psychiatric department examined him, and declared him insane, and arranged for his transfer to a state psychiatric institution.  The doctor never stopped to think that for the tenth year in a row, someone had been found wandering around, blabbering about the same thing.  And each time, the person was a hunter who had gone out alone near the Big Basin Redwoods State Forest.

Jim Dorrell
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