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Rated: E · Short Story · Environment · #1965321
A hunter doses off, only to wake up at dusk with something watching him from the shadows.
Hunting the Hunters

A slow heavy exhale billows into an expanding white cloud in front of the hunter’s face. The hunter exhaustedly leans against his tree. Consecutive long days have eroded away at his resolve and his physical prowess. His eyelids grow heavy in the still air. No animals have made the slightest show of movement or noise in hours. With this boredom the hunter could do nothing but relax in the early afternoon stillness. With another draining breath, the hunter drifts off underneath his tree.

Dreamless bliss overtakes our drowsy hunter. Until a spark of consciousness sparks to life, bringing the hunter along with it. With a small jolt he brings his head upright from its previous slumped position against the tree. Its sunset. With bluish gray light seeping through the forest around him, he quickly glances around, taking in and observing anything he may have missed during his snooze. No signs of deer or similar wildlife, so he hadn’t missed his prize opportunity. Snowflakes dusted his jacket and legs, the chill that has infiltrated his once dense and warm layers of clothing is like that of the cold steel of his unused firearm. He should leave. With the day wasted in sleep, and no sign of animals, he might as well return to warmth and safety. He repositions his gun and begins to stand. A skimmer. A flash. A moment of movement somewhere in the distance. Our hunter’s keen eyes caught something. There it was again. Another glimmer. This time to his right. A silent streak through the slowly darkening light of the woods. Not seeing anything anymore, our hunter departs, eyes wary now. Curiosity keeps him attentive.

As the hunter stalks through the ever darkening woods, the strange figures remain on his mind. When he drops his attentiveness to ponder the source of the movement, he sees another flash of grey. It blurs through the corner of his eye, off into oblivion again. Damn. Not watching closely, he again missed seeing what it was. Then again, a gray/white flash of movement, but to his right this time. How did it cover that much distance? How many were there? Questions plague his mind as he begins to grow uneasy at the unknown shapes. At his mental questioning there came a terrible shriek from the darkness. An inhuman scream that instantly made his blood run cold, colder than the air around him. Merely a second later he heard the same scream twice more, behind him, in front of him, back and to his left. What are theses ghostly creatures? They silently streak in the ever growing darkness. The hunter grips his rifle. Feeling it in his hands gives him at least some sense of security, despite being surrounded by fast and elusive white figures.

The hunter begins to lose his steadiness, his attention corroded by fear. His breath quickens, and he speeds his way back to camp. The stalking predators close on his tail, still in the shadows, but closing in nonetheless. He stumbles through shrubs and over small logs. He trip and stumbles to his knees. He picks himself up and makes a courageous realization.

Why should he be so scared? He is a hunter, a skilled and experienced man of the outdoors. He has frightened off a bear before, and hunted the largest North American elk and moose. He pauses and glances down to his firearm with solemn eyes and the spark of bravery catching in him. He turns to face the shadows. The wolf-like beasts that have been pursuing him have caught up. He sees several lurking in the shadows. His heart pounds and he sweats with fear. But he is unphased. Fear cannot overtake me. I am a hunter, I am hunting you! With that our hunter raises his firearm and fires. The shot thunders through the quiet woods. The flash, a bright glimmer of light and hope in the ever encroaching mass of darkness.

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