I squatted on the thin branch, gazing down at the huge drop beneath me. I adjusted my view in the direction I was heading, the next tree was a good two metres away. But I had no choice, these wild deer were fast, and alert. It would be near impossible to sneak up on them so I have to climb through the trees and shoot them from above. That was one of the first things my master taught me about hunting. So far I have killed rabbits but this would be my first deer.
I judged the distance, and without thinking I jumped, it felt as if time had slowed down as my body flew through the air. But I saw that I was going to land a bit short of the branch so I reached out and grabbed on. I felt my hands cut as it scraped on the rough surface, but that was not the most important thing on my mind.
As I tried to pull myself up I heard a faint crack, at first I thought I had imagined it. But as I lifted my body up putting all of my weight onto the branch I realised it wasn’t strong enough. There was a loudCRACKas the branch tumbled towards the ground, and so did I.
I reached my arms out, trying to grab something but at the speed I was going I just couldn’t get a grip on anything.
The next loud sound was my foot hitting the floor, I heard it snap just before a shooting pain ran up my leg and all over my body as I collapsed onto the floor. I knew before I tried that I wouldn’t be able to walk, but even so I grabbed hold of the tree and pushing against it, I managed to hoister myself onto my feet, putting all my pressure onto my good leg.
Suddenly, I noticed something on the floor. It was an animal, probably the deer I was hunting but it was hard to tell from this distance. And the body was so mangled and destroyed that there wasn’t much of it left. Something had killed it, not only that but taken a few chunks out of the body. Whoever it was they were clearly not a hunting expert because the parts they had taken were not the parts which had a lot of meat, they had taken the body parts which were mainly bone and muscle.
Pulling out my knife I limped over to the dead animal. On closer inspection it was a deer, but the wounds were strange. They were not a clean cut that would be given from a blade or an arrow. These were bites, wolf bites.
There was a howl behind me, I quickly spun around as fast as my leg would let me. Coming out of the trees, were three huge grey wolves. I knew a lot about protecting myself from a Wolf as my Dad had taught me because Wolf attacks are not uncommon in this part of the country. Normally I could have taken them out. But not only was I travelling lightly, but I could also hardly stand. The split up one going to my left, one to the right, and the biggest one just stood in the middle surveying me. He seemed like the leader, if Wolves have leaders, either way he was by far the biggest and strongest.
The Wolf on the right growled and showed me its sharp teeth, I thought I could see fresh blood on its teeth, probably from the deer.
Suddenly, he pounced, claws outstretched, straight towards me. I raised my knife, hoping that it would make contact.
I heard a cry and it fell at my feet, blood pouring out of the wound. The other Wolf was running towards me, giving me no time to think. But I had a lot of practice throwing knives, even on moving targets. Although the practice dummies I am used to moved so much slower than the Wolf. I took aim, feeling the pressure, knowing he was about to be on me.
I threw my arm towards it and let the knifes handle slip from my grasp, it was a clean throw and went straight into the Wolves eye socket. But now I was unarmed, I had nothing to defend myself with other than my bow which was on my back and I knew I didn’t have time to shoot with that.
But before I could think of what to do the largest Wolf had pushed me onto the floor. The air was knocked out of me and I could feel the Wolfs paws pressing on my stomach as he brought his face closer to mine. It looked down on me for a few seconds, letting me smell its rancid breathe that normally came from eating uncooked meat or flesh. This animal was a killer, this was just like any day for it. I was going to get no sympathy, no mercy.
Something flew through the air passed me, at first I thought it had missed and gone behind me. But then I saw the Wolf, still the same hungry look on its face, except its eyes were closed and it slowly collapsed on the floor. As it died I almost felt sorry for it. I can’t blame it because I was here to do the same thing, kill an animal and eat it. It was how we lived and we cannot be judged for the cruelties we are forced to do. So I showed it mercy, knowing full well it would not have shared the same courtesy, but why would it? It is an animal, a wild animal. My blade sliced through its skull like butter, ending its pain.
A figure walked out of the trees, he had wore a black hooded robe and had a messy grey beard.
“That was close” said my Master, “too close”. I limped over to him, he just looked, not offering any help, any shoulder to lean on.
“Thanks” I muttered, ashamed at messing up the hunt and because I had to be saved. He looked slightly disappointed but other than that his face was stern and emotionless as always.
“Your leg looks bad, I will take a look at it once we get back Home”. I’m not sure I would really call it home, I have lived there with my Master for six days now and it still feels as dark and gloomy as it did when I arrived. But even so it was a roof over my head, which I should feel thankful for.
“How am I going to get home?” I asked, looking down at my injured leg. My Master thought for a moment and then looked at me straight in the eye. I would of thought he was joking, but I know him, I knew that he was being deadly serious.
“I saw you limp over to me, limp home. I will meet you there”. Without waiting for a reaction he just turned around and walked back the way he came. I was shocked, he had just left me here. I stood there gaping at the spot where I had just seen him, unable to believe that even someone as cold and emotionless as him could be that cruel. He knew how much pain I was in, yet he just left me here.
About an hour later I had made it nearly half a mile. It was exhausting and painful work. Mostly because if I limped I was putting all the pressure onto my right leg and my right leg would just try to keep up. So I tried to walk as normally as I could, my leg giving way a lot. I also had to have often rests where I would sit down with my back against a tree and catch my breathe. Fortunately, it was a really nice day, the sun was shining, birds were singing. If it wasn’t for my leg I would say that it was perfect.
After another couple of hours I finally exited the forest. By now the sun had gone away and was replaced with the moon. A full moon.
Once I was out of the forest the House as in sight, it was a simple wooden house that was fairly large and perched on a tall hill. I looked at the hill, hatred in my eyes. Mostly for my Master, for making me walk all this distance in my state. He probably managed the journey in twenty minutes. But I also had hatred towards the person who I didn’t even know, the stupid person who thought it would be a good idea to build a house on the top of such a massive hill.