Hunter's Fall This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 17, 2011
By , Burnaby, Canada
Today I am a hunter. All secondary noises and visuals fade away into the darkness as all my senses become pinpointed on the prey. Time has slowed to something like a crawl, and from somewhere I can vaguely hear a sluggish ticking of the clock. I keep my head still slightly bent over the practice test sheet, observing her movements out of the corner of my eyes. I hear the slight scrape of the chair as she sits, and I think. How many steps? One, two three? That’s all it’d take to catch her, but I have to wait. A hunter must be patient.

I glance at the clock. The hands tell me it’s only ten minutes into the class. Plenty of time, I note. Usually, I’d be depressed by the thought of sitting another 2 hours and 50 minutes studying SAT vocabs, but on hunting days, I wish time would stop. Just sitting in the same room as her sends rushes of anticipation throughout my veins, and the feeling is electrifying. By the end of today, I know my senses will be exhausted from such concentration on her, but it will be worth it for the hints of weakness I can earn, and stab at.

‘Can I borrow a piece of paper?’ I freeze. This voice is strangely familiar, and alarmingly close. I slowly twist my head to the left, and my adrenaline starts rushing, my instincts get peaked. Her eyes stare into mine, her hair forming a little screen across one side of her face. Damn.

‘Of course. By the way how was…’ the words come out before I even notice them. These are what I refer to as Courtships, periods when I can get information, score some friendly points, chat. This is one of the largest and most important points to a successful kill. There are certain stages a hunter must go through before going in for the last strike, and they are absolute. First is the Recognition. This happens everyday, everywhere, anytime. This is when you lock on to one, or several, preys. The second is First Contact. I’d say the name pretty much explains itself. Next comes our favorite stage, Courtships, which can be very time-consuming at times and quite boring, as all a hunter’s really interested in is the last stage. Just before the actual kill, there is a preliminary stage called the Poke. This is when you hunt around for final convictions. Only after these previous periods are finished do you go in for the Execution.

She returns to her seat. I calculate the actions and words we exchanged and search for an output figure. The tide seems to be turning in favor for me. All stages have been completed, and I come to a decision. It will happen this very day, after class, when we’re outside waiting for our rides. A little nervousness lands on my brain, but I don’t panic. Even for the most experienced of hunters, such emotions are only natural. Composing myself, I go back to circle random answers quickly as the teacher comes down the row of tables collecting completed papers.

After an infinite time of tolling with meaningless numbers and figures, I am freed from the depths of intellectual challenge, and hurry to pack my bag, noting the position of the prey. I follow a few steps behind her, to produce a natural laid-back look. As she reaches the outdoors, I bend over to tie my shoelaces. A slight squeal. I snap my face upwards, to find another hunter hugging her. My prey. Oh snap.

My face is that of one playing poker as I recover from the shock and slide into the seat of my arrived car. As I head home, I go over our interactions, scouring for some clue that I’d missed that had led to such disastrous miscalculations. Then, I catch my self. It’s only a prey, you could always replace one. I’d just have to move on to the next.

A couple of weeks later, I noticed a strange female. She had caught my Recognition, but something was wrong. She didn’t feel like a prey. There was an indescribable emotion, something that I couldn’t figure out with my hunter’s instincts. I wanted to throw aside all the steps of the hunter, to go in straight for the last stage. I panicked. That was the start of my hunter career plummeting the wrong way. Usually, I’d have gone in for First Contact almost immediately, but my legs wouldn’t move and my mouth was glued shut. When it did happen, it was such an unexpected occurrence that I was exposed to vulnerability, in danger of letting that strange emotion disclosed.

Courtship as I said can be very long. And so it was with this one. However, I enjoyed it. This one seemed so innocent, but then suddenly surprised you with unexpected creativity and thoughts that made you laugh. My hunter skills seemed to have disappeared under her presence, and at first I felt foolish, exposed and uncertain. My claws dulled as Courtship progressed and my instincts were toned down. With time, though, I relished even this unbecoming. As long as I was conversing with her, none of it mattered.

Then came a day when the weather was very nice. The sun’s soft tendrils came down from the heavens in bright curls, the sky was picturesque blue with clouds of cotton, and the pleasing smell of summer flowers lingered in the air. I saw her again, on this unnatural day. That foreign feeling clutched my heart as usual, and this time I disregarded the remaining stages and moved in for It. Except, I wasn’t planning to hunt her, I wanted to love her.

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