ONE DAY BEHINDThe snow blinded his vision.
The crosshairs aimed at the subject, hefired, and missed. The deer, or whatever animal it was, ran off into a seaof snow.He said nothing. The old hunter was getting too ancient for thisgame.
He decided to finish up for the day. He had already caught two snowrabbits, a small partridge and some kind of mink. Not bad he thought.”What is that?” Solomon rose from his crouched position to survey hisprey.
A standing animal? Was it a standing bear? Or was it a tree? No,it had walked off, seeing the look on the old’s man face.”The day is not done.” those words sealed his fate. Nothing wouldstop his hunting.”I must be about a day behind him.” he thought aloud.
He strode offinto the sea of the snow.Is there a moment when the line between the hunter and the huntedsnaps taut?That moment when I realize I’ve got him and he realizes he’s dead?YES! First there’s the dance, the slow teasing chase, the furtiveglances, the glimpses of your prey, and his wild frantic glances back. Andthen the tug of war, of spirits, of wills, of endurance.The wire of tension draws tight.
Like and umbilical cord, the hunterhas bonded with his prey, forever, bonded by the life and death chase.The fuse of life burns shorter, bringing the hunter closer, close, andthen the final intimacy of the kill!Does the dumb beast know its fate? Can he guess its fate? Can he sensehis fate shadowing him, silently, stealthily?He pondered his ideas and saw some tracks.HALF A DAY BEHIND”I wonder what his flesh will taste like. Will it be tough? Will itbee…
.. AAAAACK!” Solomon gripped his hand on an icy branch. A snowcapped tree had covered the pit layed before him, a trap by the animalwhich he was following.
He did nothing. He waited, patiently.”…Beast, I will, I will get you.” and he froze.
FIVE DAYS BEHINDHe gripped the ice, slipped, and cursed. He had been stuck in thishole for four, maybe five days now, according to the suns. How long morewill he be in here?He tapped the ice with a small arrow. An idea! Forcing the arrow inthe ice, more and more, until several large footholds stood in front ofhim.”.
..and my anxiety is gone.””Beast, Solomon will get you.
“The blowing snow almost, almost, covered the beast’s tracks. Unlikeany I have ever seen, whispered the old man. His bones ached with thecold, a cold he had seen before. West, west his mind told him. He tuggedeast.
Soon after, he rested and cut up a rabbit, slowly letting the blooddrip into the wind to carry the scent. By now he was about five daysbehind still, after his ordeal of climbing out. The beast was a smart one.”and I am smarter.”An owl howled in the distance.
STILL FIVE DAYS BEHINDMore tracks! This time bending north. He went west. He could cutoff this beast. The digestion of the rabbit was slow, the heart was theslowest.
He rested to look for tracks, and check the suns. A half moon’schange until he could catch up to the beast.” I WILL GET YOU!!!!!!!” Solomon screamed into the wind.
He gibbereduncontrollably, then stopped.FOUR DAYS BEHINDThe beast was a smart one. Double tracks he saw. The first led west,the second went east. The wind went west, blowing the dirty smell of asoon to be dead beast to him. He went east.”Your smell does not throw me off, your tricks do not fool me, I wasonce an animal, and I still am.” Solomon cried in his heart and walked off.
THREE DAYS BEHINDA dumb, deaf beast has done this to me again. The dumb, deaf, slybeast has done this to him again. The hole is colder now, he thought.
Nowthe footholds will not help him. Arrows will not help him. Nothing willhelp him. The dumb deaf beast has done this to him.Maybe the beast will show up he thought, and he drifted off to sleep.He woke up with a sound, and a thud. An armful of snow