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the beast

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The Beast


The old wicker rocking chair swayed slowly back and forth in the cool Autumn breeze as the soft voice of Bobby Vinton crooned through the small radio. Luis ducked out of the doorway and looked at the still, glass lake. The morning was starting to become as busy as New York City. Birds started to sing their sweet morning song, the chipmunks and squirrels fought over the declining supply of nuts, and far off in the distance the first soulful howls of the coyotes could be heard. Luis reached behind the chair where he kept one of his two Winchester .22 rifles. He usually set traps for his prey sense he was a trapper for a living, but today was different. Today he was hunting the dangerous way.

Luis loved to hunt, but it was not often that he had en excuse to. Luis detested hunting just for the sport, it left so much waste, and Luis hated nothing more than waste. Many trappers wasted what they killed after they got the pelt, but not Luis, he sold the meat as well. Today was the day. The day to stop the waste, to stop the waste of lives, the waste of bullets, and the waste of time. Today he was going to kill the beast that caused all of this waste.

Luis stepped of the front porch and shuffled through the fallen leaves when an accented voice behind him said “Too many men have already died trying to do this same task”. “Ricardo… such a pleasure to see you here.” Luis said. “Luis stop being foolish. You can not go after that monster on your own. Let me help you.” Ricardo pleaded. “You! Help me? You would just as soon have a hand in my death!” accused Luis. “Fine. Do not listen to me, do not let me help you, do not be the wiser man. It is not my problem.” and with that Ricardo left. Foreigners Luis thought you can’t trust ’em far as you can through ’em.

The wind whispered through the trees as Luis’s boots crunched on the colorful leaves. He had been tracking his prey for almost four hours and could feel that he was closing in. in his peripheral vision he saw a flash of red and brown. As fast as lightening he had his sights trained on his target. He saw the animals twitching tail and large black eyes. Disappointed he let the squirrel scamper off into the forest.

It was almost dark when Luis got back to the house. He was relived that he had not seen the beast, but he was also angry that he had wasted so much time. A wasted day and muddy boots was all that he had to show for all of his hard work. He shuffled into the kitchen and lost himself in his thoughts. What would he have done if he had seen the beast? Could he have finished all of this once and for all and what if he could not? It would have killed him. Stop it , Luis told himself you are letting this animal get into your mind. Still paranoid he went to bed. The warm flannel sheets engulfed him as if in an effort to keep away the inevitable nightmares. As he drifted off into a light, fitful sleep the dreams came. They were not pleasant dreams but ones of fear.

Standing alone in the middle of the woods Luis started to feel the stares of the trees as he warily hefted his gun to his shoulder. Luis could not determine what was wrong, but he could feel a malevolent presence drawing close. It appeared, the beast of all the peoples nightmares, the beast was in front of him. Its eyes shone a deep crimson, its fur black as night, and as it bared its razor sharp white teeth Luis could see his reflection and the fear in his own eyes. The beast stood fifteen feet tall, easily the largest bear Luis had ever had the displeasure of seeing. The beast raised its huge paw and struck Luis across the chest sending him sprawling into a huge cypress tree. He shot at it with his rifle but the bullets seemed to pass straight through it. The beast raised its paw to deliver the final blow, Luis knew it would kill him.

Cold sweat dripped off of Luis as if someone had doused him with water. A strange noise hit Luis’s ears, it was the sound of a heavy foot fall. Luis grabbed the second rifle he kept by his bed and headed towards the backdoor. He peeked out the window and saw only the blackness of the night. The noise came again this time right outside his door. Luis flipped on the lights hoping that it would scare away what ever was at his door, but what ever it was only got more agitated. Hesitantly Luis opened the door only to find himself staring into the black night. He stepped out and looked around his empty yard.

Just as he started to head back inside he was crushed by a massive form. He rolled out from under and found himself faced with the creature of his nightmares. The eyes, the pitch black fur, the razor white teeth, and the reflection he saw in them where all exactly the same. Luis lunged for the gun that had rolled out of his hand when he had been clobbered by the bear. Hastily he raised it and fired, but the bullets missed round after round until no more where left. Finally anger mixed in with the fear when Luis realized that he had just wasted all of his bullets. Not only was he now going to die, but he was going to die due to careless waste, the very thing that he hated the most.

The beast swiped at him and sent him sprawling into an oak tree. Luis lay there as the beast struck again and again. Luis prayed that it would be over soon as the pain pierced him like a thousand needles. Black spots played across his vision as the bear raised his paw to deliver the final blow and held it there like a bully taunting a child. As if to say I win and you can not do anything about it. Suddenly a loud shot rang out of the thicket of trees behind the bear. As the spots started to completely cover his vision the last thing Luis saw was a dark figure emerge from the trees… and the beast fall.

Disgruntled Luis awoke in a strange white room, in a strange white bed, to the sound of a beeping heart monitor, and an unexpected face staring at him intently. Ricardo was staring at Luis as if he where a two headed giraffe. “What are you staring at?” Luis asked. “You, my friend, are a very lucky man. You lived through the attack of the beast.” Ricardo replied. In that moment Luis put two and two together and realized that he had been wrong. He turned to Ricardo and in his weak state said as powerfully and heartfelt as possible a simple “Thank you.”





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