The Hunter (March Contest)

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Calm. Silent. Serene.

I looked to the ground, scanning for prey, as the branch I was elegantly perched on swayed in the gentle breeze. I patiently waited for the slightest of movements, searching for any chance to strike any unknowing creatures. I observed that the sun had risen earlier than usual, and, with this sudden realization, I glanced curiously around me. As I had presumed, the branches of the trees in the great forest had started growing back the leaves it lost in autumn. I noted that the air was pleasantly warmer than the harsh cold that came before. On a nearby tree, a pair of grey-furred squirrels climbed up eagerly, obviously having awoken from their winter slumber. Truly spring had arrived once more. And with spring came the merciless hunter.

Knowing that the season was spring filled me with excitement, as spring signalled that I could start hunting with more success due to the fact that the prey became more plentiful. The lack of winter’s snow also made tracking my future kills much easier. Evidently, the merciful sun had thawed the ice and snow. Furthermore, the unforgiving cold of winter contrasted to the much preferred warmth of spring. Despite the arrival of spring, winter’s conquest from the past few weeks was clearly evident. There were still leaves on the ground below me that had descended peacefully during autumn. However, they were now blackened by the frigid weather’s assaults, and had decayed significantly. Merely gazing at the leaves felt like a cruel act, as the leaves that were once a vivid green now waited for the release of their torment. It was as if they were a disgrace, and their annihilation was saving the world from an embarrassment to look at. One might say that my thoughts were harsh, but it was impossible to blame me. The only thing I had my on my mind was the thrill of the hunt.

Slaughter. Carnage. Massacre.

Those were the things I desired. My bloodlust was ever growing, and once more I resumed my vigilant gaze on the ground below me. Unfortunately, the shameful leaves that lay on the land provided useful shelter for my prey to hide from me. No matter. This shield of waste would only delay the inevitable. My dutiful eyes swept the lifeless scene, though I could see no movements. As I continued my survey of the land, I could hear the wind, gently blowing past me. As the breeze brushed against me, I experienced a refreshing feeling. Truly, I thought to myself, this was a peaceful sight to behold. Simply breathing in the cool air relaxed my body and mind. My muscles loosened, and I replaced my tense grasp of the branch I waited on with a much lighter grip. While my body lightened, I begun focusing harder, searching for the slightest of motions, scouring for the faintest of sounds. The scene remained undisturbed, save for a few leaves that were scattered by the wind. As I persisted on, I started changing my thinking. Instead of an ambush on unsuspecting prey, I thought, which occurred to me that it was cowardly in the extreme, I could venture to the forest floor, where I could challenge my prey head on. I decided that that was the best course of action to take. Thus, I readily leapt off the high branch I had awaited on for what felt like days. Gracefully and skillfully, I landed on the ground without harm. The pitiful leaves beneath my feet had evidently been drenched from winter’s onslaught, and, therefore, had lost the satisfying crunch they possessed in autumn. Thus, it was a quiet landing, and I hoped I hadn’t disturbed the area around me, lest I give away my position to my prey. At first I stood there silently, waiting for my surroundings to make a movement or a sound. I cocked my head to the right as I heard a tiny sound, but it was apparent the wind had made a fool of me as a few leaves rustled quietly in the breeze. I waited a bit longer, attempting to sense any nearby motion, movement, and sound. It appeared I was having no luck today.  If my future kill had realized that I was near, they had surely fled the scene, obviously running away from my prowess and strength. I decided that I would need to act patiently, as a frustrated hunter is prone to foolish mistakes. I advanced slowly and silently through the magnificent forest. I began to tire from the search, as the sun tires from being in the sky. The thrill of the hunt came from the excitement of the kill, which one finds incredibly ravishing. The adrenaline from the kill is noticeably absent from the tracking portion of the hunt, which one would find incredibly dreary. The boredom had took its toll, and I started observing the scene around instead of listening for potential kills. I noted the grand moss covered rocks spread out on the forest floor, the cloudless sky above me, and the seemingly endless wave of trees before me. It took me this long to realize how incredibly grand the forest was, as from where I stood to the horizon was a thick sea of trees. This refueled my passion, as I started to wonder just how much prey there could be in such a large area. Reinvigorated, and remembering my sense of purpose, I, once more, regained my focus and started scanning the area around me as I moved on carefully. And that’s when I saw it.

A creature hid under the rotting leaves, attempting to evade capture. I had to admit that it was a commendable effort, but in the end, resistance was futile. I rushed towards where my prey had hidden. Before me lay a large pile of blackened leaves. I started wildly foraging for the poor animal, knowing that we both knew that it was only a matter of when I would find it. I threw leaves away from the pile like a madman, letting the bloodlust overtake me completely. I could not restrain myself any longer. The thrill of the hunt, the adrenaline of the chase, the ecstasy of the kill. It was almost too much to handle. A dozen or so decaying leaves later, I found the creature, doing its best to escape my clutches.

Destroy. Kill. Obliterate.

Savagely, I clawed at my prey without remorse. The creature, which now had its pink flesh exposed to the world, still struggled to get away, attempting to squirm out of my mighty grasp. It was too late. With one quick swipe, I mercifully dealt the killing blow. With the creature now dead, I let out my battle cry, a shriek that could shake every nation on the earth. I felt, no, I was the most powerful creature alive. At that moment, I felt unstoppable. In one bite, I devoured my prey. This mere prey would not sate my hunger. Desiring more, I let out another ferocious roar. It was only fair to alert my other kills that I would soon be hunting them down. Today wasn’t just the start of spring. Today was only the start of the carnage, the start of the slaughter. Today was the start of my feast. I am feared by all, and all cower at my name. I am the hunter.

After the robin finished gingerly eating the worm, it seemingly chirped happily a few times, apparently satisfied with the meal provided. As the little bird started to fly in search of more worms to fuel itself, the robin found itself being pierced by mighty talons. The robin had evidently been caught by a merciless hawk. Truly, the hunter had become the hunted.

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