The Fox Meets the HoundMature

He had come across a clearing and from the tree line saw a man chopping wood for a fire. Corinth waited until he confirmed this was Herrick and that his quarry was unaware of his presence and could be killed swiftly. He slinked out from the shadows, silent as though he was one with them, but fate had not been kind to Corinth in the past, and why start now.

He was only a few steps out of the cover of the trees when Herrick turned and saw him. Herrick raised the axe and rushed toward him. He rushes forward and tries to parry Herrick’s first strike by getting close enough that only the axes long wooden handle will hit him, but miscalculates and is rewarded with the gash he now has on his arm, which even now burns as painfully as if it were created just now, and not hours ago.

Corinth steps back as his opponent swings at him once more and manages to escape a fatal strike to the throat by only an inch or so. He smiles, for as the axe passes in front of his face, he sees he has a perfect opening to strike. He drives the knife deep into Herrick’s stomach and leans in close to look into his eyes, and he saw pain, shrouded in fear.

He pulls out the knife and prepares to strike once more, but once again, he is met with unexpected opposition. He saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned and managed to just barely brace himself for the dogs attack. It leapt at him with more power than he had expected, but he managed to clumsily redirect it to his side. It falls to the snow and quickly tries to make a second pass at him, but the snow is thick and a hindrance. A quick stab brings this new threat to an end as quickly as it was realized.

He turns his attention back to Herrick, and finds he has a new enemy once again. Herrick was in a pile of blood in the snow, and beside him stood a man. He must have been in the cabin and seen or heard the struggle. He thinks Herrick must have told him to run, for he  took off into the forest. With Herrick’s wound, he didn’t think he would have the strength to escape, but the man might have a cabin near by. If he were to get a weapon, he could interfere with Corinth’s plans. He worried the man might even kill him, however unlikely that was, so he began his new pursuit.

He expects the man to be slower, but he seems faster than any man Corinth has ever known. Those who flee from death have good reason to surpass their limits. The man knew the terrain well and had gained a surprising lead while Corinth struggled in the snow, but Corinth could leave no loose ends. He ran faster than he knew he could, and slowly gained ground on the man, who began to slow as the chase grew longer, but not fast enough for Corinth’s liking. It took him all of 10 or 15 minutes to finally catch up to the man and take him down with a few strikes to his back.

He considered hiding the mans body, but he had no time, and what better place to hide the dead than among the trees and the ice? He began to walk back to see his old friend off from this world. He reached the clearing and what he saw paralyzed him.

No Herrick. A dead dog in the snow, and a cabin, but no Herrick. He rushed to the cabin and threw the door open. No Herrick. He searched the rest of the house quickly and found no sign of him. He returned to the clearing and ran to the spot where he stabbed Herrick. A small pool of blood has formed, and is smeared as though it was disturbed. He went in the direction of the smear and found blood drops abound, heading in the direction of the woods behind the cabin. He could not help but smile. The hunt was on.

The End

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