Prompt: You are tired… dead tired… so tired your bones ache and you can feel sleep embracing you even as you are standing in front of the fire. The rain and rocky terrain took their tole on you as you stalked your dinner through the forest all day. Suddenly you hear a noise that rouses you.
Before I can reach for the rifle lying in the grass next to where I now sit, I hear a familiar, metallic click behind me.
“Don’t bother,” a woman’s voice says, “you’ll be dead before you reach it.”
The flames of the small fire give the clearing a warm glow. The blood and gristle coated metal plate set on the ground gleams dully. Kindle snaps and pops. Rain spits on the canopies above.
I’m too tired to shift and look at the woman, too tired to bother raising my hands from my lap. Perhaps I’m getting too old? Perhaps it’s time to be put down anyway?
There’s footsteps and the woman comes into view, pointing a hunting rifle, holding it awkwardly with trembling hands. It’s too long for her small body. There’s tears in her eyes, and her lips are firm, tight, and her damp clothes are so black they almost melt into the gloom beyond the fire’s light.
“How’d you find me?” I ask, though I probably already know.
“Followed you,” she nods towards the south, where miles upon miles of evergreens lay, “from the road.”
I wonder how long she had been doing that. Days? Probably.
“I saw your handy work left in the woods,” she sniffs, wipes her nose on her shoulder. “Disgusting.”
I laugh. “It’s something to have someone follow you and point a rifle at you, then insult your work.”
“Work? You call that your work?”
I nod. “What else would you call it? It’s not a hobby, or a job, or a career. Its my work — its in my blood, in my bones.”
Fresh tears spill down her face, she grimaces. The barrel of the rifle lowers. “They’re just—”
“Just what?” I spit, straightening, adjusting my aching shoulders. “They’re meant to be hunted, meant to be killed and stripped and eaten. What makes them so different, so special? They bleed, die all the same.”
She raises the rifle quickly, pointing the barrel directly to my slowly rising, lowering chest. “No, they aren’t, they’re more than that you sick bastard!”
I shake my head, run my tongue over my teeth, remembering the way my last hunt, meal, tasted. I smile.
“If you’re going to do it, just do it,” I say.
She steps forward, burrowing the barrel into my skin, pushing deep against my sternum. Even though she’s not near the heart, it’ll be fatal. She deeply inhales, exhales.
“The last one will be your last you sick-fuck,” she hisses. “I know you killed my son and fucking ate him, just before I came here.”
She pulls the trigger.
Read my previous prompt, “A Kind Possession.”
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