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With midnight approaching, time was running out. I couldn't’t let this one get by me. This was not a normal hunt. My life depended on it.
For months an unknown creature raided my village. First it was our crops, and then our livestock. The most haunting of the raids was the murders of my wife and five others. I tried to convince the people of my village that we had to do something, that we couldn't just wait around for another attack. However, tonight, I am a team of one.
I continued to move north through a dense forest, the cold night air nipped at my hands as I clutched my gun. I looked for any signs of the creature.
From my bag, which consisted of spare cloth, a hunting knife, and a container of water, I pulled out a jar of crushed cayenne pepper. I grabbed a handful of the bright red powder, and sprinkled it on the ground around me to mask my scent.
I kept moving and came across a calm river. As I got closer to the bank I immediately knew that I was closing in on my target. Next to the river was the corpse of a full-grown moose, its silky fur stained with fresh blood.
For a moment I just stood there, newborn determination thriving inside me. I studied the ground for any prints, however the only visible footprints were mine. Something was wrong. When I took a closer look at the dead moose I saw that only a single hole went through its neck. Nothing added up. It’s not in the nature of an animal to cover its tracks or make that clean of a kill.
From the brush behind me I heard what sounded like the fall of a footstep. I turned on the spot; I saw nothing that indicated movement from anything or anyone.
Deciding that it must have been my imagination I moved on.
From that point on, I became antagonized by my thoughts. I felt as though someone was watching my every move and following my every step, almost like I was being hunted. I became paranoid, looking back more and more often, and fixating on every sound.
For a moment I didn’t realize it, but as I narrowed my eyes I saw a figure, about fifty feet away, illuminated by the null moonlight. It just stared at me. It didn’t seem startled by my appearance at all. It knew I was coming.
I examined the figure more closely; it held a gun in its right hand. This was no animal.
“Announce yourself,” I yelled.
Instead, the man just stood there.
“I said,” but before I could finish the man pointed his gun at me.
I jumped behind a tree as he fired a shot. I readied my weapon and came out from behind the tree. I couldn't see him. I pointed my gun around trying to catch sight of him.
I could sense him stalking me from beyond the darkness. I focused on one particular spot were I thought he might have been and-
I froze as the barrel of a gun was put up to the side of my head.
“You were so close,” whispered a cold voice, “say hi to your wife for me, will you?