The opening chapter to my book 'Natural Selection' that I hope to eventually write.
|Day 74 ~ Night
One Step... One step is all it would take to expose me to what my eyes perceive as void. Nothing. Formed while the moon conceals its pale figure behind a mask of cloud. Still, my eyes deceive me in an attempt to conquer my thoughts. I know the orange glow of the firelight reaches no further than the transparent bounds of my somewhat concealed cave. Past those bounds lies no more than a sheer drop into the grassy plains of the valley beneath. But this is necessary for my safety. Every night, I'll turn my back and no longer listen to the deafening silence outside before my thoughts are given freedom and insanity breaches my conscious. The crackle of the fire accompanied by the shuffle of my coarse skin against the stone allows me to escape the silent insanity. Sometimes I'll choose to uncross my slender legs to stretch. Other times I'll pace aimlessly around the cave. Boring, 4 steps and I have to turn. Bored. Most of the time I will feed the flames another stout log from the tree I fell that day before succumbing to my body's plea for slumber. I need a new bed. While my collection of broad leaves stacked on flat wood creates a structure to support my weight, it's not a creation to write home about...I forgot, I can't. However, putting those thoughts aside it's time to sleep. With tomorrow waiting, I fall asleep contemplating what to do the next day. My thoughts are quickly drowned out by the sound of rain droplets tapping on the face of the chalky cliff.
Day 76 ~ Dawn
My left eye opened slowly as the light gradually crept through the gaps in the shrubbery to then illuminate my cave. The amber glow was a welcoming sight for my dreary eyes. I rolled over and fell the 2 feet to the ground. Peering through a parting in the shrubs I took a deep breath, filling my lungs with the fresh morning air. With the morning dew still fresh on the grass, I felt that this day could be promising. Leaving my bed unmoved, I grabbed my oak bow and quiver of oak-stone arrows tipped with crushed wolfsbane before taking my first step out of the cave since the rain the day before. I reached for the firm Ivy vine in order to abseil down to the ground. I lowered myself down 6ft before stopping to survey the plains beneath me for any predators. Fine. A further 3ft was followed by a second survey with my first meal in mind. Spotted. An average sized pig was wondering around no more than 230 meters from the base of the wall. Unwinding the ivy from my waist, I slid down the vine to quickly cover the last 5ft. Silence was key. With the 'others' still sleeping I had to be careful to not startle the prey. Even the smallest squeal would awaken the others, the last thing I needed was another incident. Wolfsbane was key to my plan. Unsheathing my bow, I drew an arrow, careful not to even scratch my skin with the tip. With my knees bent, I approached the target now 20 meters away. I should have been watching my footing. With a cliche twig snap, the pig's head turned sharply in my direction to meet my own gaze. I hate having to kill something while looking into its eyes but it was inevitable. I released the tension of the bow to launch the arrow at the mouth of the swine.A clean hit and followed by no noise.
Wolfsbane : With the crushed wolfsbane tipping the arrows, a clean hit to the mouth will render the target numb and with little motor control remaining. If the target is still alive, violent vomiting followed by death. If not prepared properly then the target isn't the only thing that will die. A silent kill. Or so I hoped. I heard a loud squawk from a nearby chicken that'd witnessed the act. Snatching up my spent arrow, I turned tail and ran. The clucking and squawking continued as I heard voices.24 seconds later, Grabbing for the mossy, concealed indents in the cliff, I scrambled up the cliff face, ducking into the cave entrance as the 'others' emerged from their own territory. Looking at the dead pig, they picked it up and took the lifeless corpse back into their dwelling muttering something about revenge and supper. No breakfast for me but there may be hope for supper.
Day 76 ~ Dusk
With the crimson sun descending into the horizon, I sat down on the stone floor next to a pile of feathers, chicken wing in hand. I took a satisfying bite out of my chicken-wing as the routine silence was greeted with screams of agony and explosive vomiting.Glancing over at my Wolfsbane tipped arrows, resting in the corner, I smiled to myself as the silence shortly returned. Laying back on my new grass and feather pillow I stared at the rounded ceiling, waiting for the fire to grow hungry and die out so I could embrace my dreams once more.