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The hunter stopped in his tracks. He was about to make a sound.
His ears had been tempered and trained into hearing sounds that yet have been made. His head lowered and he saw his foot resting upon an unbroken twig. He lifted his leg and returned it to the last step. He had become careless in his focus upon the wild boar grazing in the lush, umbral glade. Carelessness was not tolerated by his people.
From a distance this man may have seemed a bit unprepared. He had the build of a hunter, as he was quite muscular in every aspect of his body. Especially when he was crouching or stooped over, spying pray or an enemy, not a muscle would twitch, not an eye would blink or a hair quiver in the faintest breeze. He was a skilled man, to say the very least. Despite all the skill coursing through his veins, he wore no camouflage, no war paint, no headdresses or armor. He wore only a loin clothe and a long sheathe of wood and leather stretched across his back, filled with but one throwing spear as of late.
This might have been all right had he been in a more suitable environment, but his skin was the color of smooth mahogany and his hair jet black. He was in woodlands of green trees and few shrubs. Even in hiding, he stood out like a sore thumb. Why was he not at least cloaked by the embrace of leaves or the mask of body paint?
Because, for his people, disguise was not needed. The pray would be dead before it could even realize it was under attack.
The hunter returned his sights to the boar. It was strange to see the creature alone in an open area like this, but his was not to ask. The creature was really offering itself to him. He had to accept it.
Beneath the sparse cover of the shadows of tall tree canopies, he began to glide over the ground, closer and closer to his unsuspecting pray. Soon he was on the edge of the glade, but the great beast was still fifteen, maybe twenty meters away. No matter. He could kill it. With one spear.
He had been given five spears at the beginning of the day by the chief. To become a true warrior of his tribe, his must kill five boars without reusing the same spear twice before the sun sunk over the horizon in the evening.
Needless to say, his tribe demanded nothing short of perfection.
The day had been good to the hunter. Boars one and two were easy pickings and came one after the other, not minutes apart. Boar three was touch and go, as the boar apparently startled a nest of birds and became a moving target, dampening the hunter’s spirits. However, boar four was stupid and he practically had the thing running around in circles for minutes.
Now boar number five was within his grasp.
He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and placed his hand on the damp cold ground. He began to absorb every movement, every sound, every feeling or thought in the area through the earth. Leaves bristled in the wind. A rodent scurried into it’s hole. The boar kicked up some grass under his feet.
The hunter could feel everything about the boar pulsing through his arm and into his head. He could feel it’s tail swish lazily behind it. He could smell the stench of it’s skin and flesh. He could taste the thick grasses kneading in it’s mouth.
He could feel it’s heartbeat shake the earth.
It was calm.
It did not expect an assault on it right now.
The hunter returned from his meditation. His dry tongue slithered over his arid lips. He unsheathed the great spear from his back with his right hand.
He stood like a javelin thrower; straight, tight and focused.
He paused, took aim.
The glade fell silent, as if devoid of all life except for the boar.
The boar staggered around, the last fleeting echoes of life leaving his body.
The hunter’s aim was perfect; almost uncanny. One shot and the spear went straight through the creature’s head.
It stood for a moment more, then collapsed.
It was one with the earth again.
Life and it’s subsequent noise followed his demise and returned to the glade, as if nothing really happened. The hunter emerged from the shadows. He slowly walked over to the corpse. It never ceased to surprise him how little blood there was after the kill. He smiled and kneeled down to the beast’s head. He whispered a few parting words to the wayfarer, a prayer of thanks perpetuated by his people’s tradition, before he began the long trek back to the village with his kill.