The Hunting Prey

Early with this flash, aren’t I?

Am just letting you know with this post, I’ll be going away for the weekend, and sadly I won’t be having any Internet connection over where we’re staying, so I won’t be able to read the entries for this Friday and comment on them untill Monday. I’m a bit over the limit with this piece, I know and I beg for your forgiveness. Again.  Promise I will fix it asap. It’s 5 am now, I must be up in couple of hours. I’m leaving you with this piece which does not include hi-tech weapons (that’s next week!) :D Enjoy!

 

The Hunting Prey 

South Africa, somewhere near the border with Namibia….

 

There were men chasing him. Rich men with heavy guns.

The dry ground beneath his feet sizzled with the heat of August; the land ahead was an ancient mother with no tears to shed. Deion felt more alone than ever.

Tiny streams of sweat crawled down his spine, and descended from his armpits, and down to his belly making the shirt stick to his skin and itch. The crimson number 2 painted on the back of his cloth had smeared, but he was sure they would know it was him and not some Bushmen.

Rivers of sweat ran down his black forehead. The salty taste touched the corner of his chapped lips and he raised a shaky hand to push away the rolling droplets. Then he began to run again.

The mountainous desert landscape stretched under the vast horizon. Deion slid down a rocky vertical plain and crossed a small flat sandy plain.

That was when he heard the roar of the jeep and the shouts of his hunters.

Deion rushed and crouched behind a chopped piece of volcanic rock that started a trail formation of smaller and bigger rocks of the same material.

He waited.

Six boys, some his age some older were kidnapped and brought to an abandoned village 6 hours ago, given numbers of bright red paint and told to run, run as fast and as far as they can. Then the bearded man with the aviator sunglasses fired his rifle and the boys scattered like frightened rabbits.

Deion believed all the others to be dead.

The powerful machine climbed the rocky hill then slowly descended and stopped. Three men, minus the driver stood up in the back of the vehicle, rifles, snipers in meaty hands pointing at the rocks, the sand, the odd Halfmensboom tree.

“I saw him ran towards here, the little bastard” roared one of the men.

“He’s worth the money I, Mr. Yants and you Mr. Holbrooke spent on this safari. I say the boy has proven to be quite the entertaining catch, wouldn’t you agree Jones?” The driver nodded. The man with the aviator glasses smiled “I propose a bet- whoever shoots the boy first gets to keep a souvenir. Something that will linger, maybe even decorate the fireplace.”

“Isn’t that against the rules? The body should remain whole”

“Mr. Holbrooke I believe “against the rules” does not bode well here. After wall, the rules are made up by men like us. Men who despise rules and obeying to them”

“Then, agreed”

“Agreed”

Deion listened to their conversation, his heart pounding in his chest so loud he feared they might hear him. He searched for an escape path. Back on the higher point he had seen the glimmer of the sun on the surface of the Orange River, but it was impossible to reach it, not with them lurking around, so close, so deadly close.

He prayed they continue the search further.

The squeaky sound of something heavy releasing its weight from the back of the jeep froze his blood.

The metallic tongue bit, as the rifle ate a bullet.

Deion peaked from his hideout. They were with their back to him, at least forty feet away.

An idea hit. Deion grabbed a large rock. He threw the rock in the direction from which he had come, landing it somewhere between the gaps of sharp stones. In the quiet surrounding the clack! of stone- to- stone echoed and the human hunters stretched their necks, their nostrils widening in anticipation and they climbed the slippery ridge.

Seizing the opportunity Deion sprinted, down the path of rocks, maneuvering around them.

“Fuck! He’s getting away!”

The façade fell off and with it a rain of skin penetrating, meat chopping bullets.

None of them hit..

Deion skipped down another rock formation, the ammo flying past him when the sniper entered the game, and fired.

Deion choked. The African landscape tumbled before his eyes, the drums of the tribes filling his ears with their thick, loud rhythm as the sun set thousand times and as the sun raised a thousand more; the scent of something wild entered his being and roared inside his brain, making room for itself in his skin. The African shaman sang before smoldering with herbs fire, and fire was what blazed everywhere around Deion. As he fell in the hands of the All Mother, Kgosi, Masego, Boipelo, Tau, and Unathi fell along with him, the generations of his family with Nosizwe first to give birth of a God, fell with a shattering thunder, a storm that formed above the plains, a happening that marked the people and the land many years ago.

 

“Did you get him?” asked Holbrooke. He was dead excited.

“I’d be damned if I didn’t. This lovely weaponry here should be able to take down an elephant!” The Aviators man laughed.

They got back in the jeep and drove down.

 

“I swear I saw him fall down right here!” cried the shooter

“There’s blood. He couldn’t be far; must ‘of dragged his body somewhere in the rocks.”  said Yants.

 

“Just so you know, I shot him and the first shot counts. I get the souvenir as we agreed”

“We agreed the first to shot him on spot to take home a souvenir. That’s yet to be decided”  growled Holbrooke .

Something shifted before their eyes; a fast shadow, jumping the rocks with ease. Impossible. It was a ghost, too quick to recognize, to shoot at.

“What the…” managed to spit out Aviators Glasses when a low grow came from behind.

Eyes orange as the sunset watched them hungrily. Saliva dripped from the maw, sharp teeth uncovered to greet. The claws dug into the stone, the nostrils huffed out fiery steam. The black marked head narrowed, the tail swooshed up high and pointed like a scorpions tail, trembling as the beast hissed. It was preparing to attack.

A red dot on its wide chest oozed blood as it inhaled.

The men stood in disbelief.

The shape shifting cheetah god had awoken. Deion observed from his eyes, as the god observed from boys eyes; they were one.

Holbrooke’s finger played on the trigger of his rifle, but his mind was blank, unable the command.

All of a sudden it was too late.

The rock crumbled under the massive push the cheetah gave it as it jumped to tear the men.

The ancient mother no longer shed tears; she no longer had ears. Their cries remained a secret, their bodies became dust, but Deion kept a few souvenirs and offered them to his long passed elders and to his forgotten gods.

The shadow of a cheetah merged with that of a young naked boy, with a scar on his chest with no ache, as he went on a journey in the African plains.

 

19 responses to “The Hunting Prey

  1. This is the first story of yours I’ve read in a while and (I hope you won’t find this patronising) I’m really struck by how much your style is developing. Good work! Didn’t see the twist coming either.

    • Not at all Peter, I’m just really glad to see you here again : ) These words coming from you do bring me a smile. Thank you. And of course glad to have caught you off guard with the twist! :D

  2. Some tense work here, Cindy! And it’s quite taut at some point, functioning leanly. I enjoyed it, happy to see you were able to get another in this week. ‘Circles’ nailed my favorite line.

  3. Hi Cindy – I enjoyed this one – particularly the drama of the paragraph when he is hit : “the scent of something wild entered his being and roared inside his brain, making room for itself in his skin. The African shaman sang before smoldering with herbs fire, and fire was what blazed everywhere around Deion.”

  4. You got my attention when you mentioned South Africa :). I can’t understand why anyone would want to hunt anything living. Very tight work here.

    The “Deion choked.” paragraph is brilliant, it really invokes a lot of vivid sights and sounds.

    • Thank you Craig!

      I dare not ask why a human would do such a thing..but neither do the Gods!

      As for the piece itself…I’ve always wanted to center a story in Africa, and this seemed the proper way to do it. And it was different for me.

      So, really glad you enjoyed it !

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