Claude Bouchard Books

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Ramble On

The Hunter and the Prey

Posted by bigceebee on December 6, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Years ago, in third or fourth grade, I had written a poem of which I was quite proud. With the passing of time, I have since forgotten the actual poem but have always remembered the story it told. What follows is that story.

    It was still dark, as one would expect at this time of morning, when the hunter made his way to his pit blind by the lake’s edge. Reaching his destination, he swung the camouflaged plywood hatch open with a foot, clumped down the wooden steps and set up for the last day of the season while Bounty, his Lab, went about its own arrival routine, prowling amidst the tall grass and reeds.

    After relieving himself in the portable toilet in one corner, the hunter settled into his low folding chair to enjoy his breakfast, two sausage and egg sandwiches on warm biscuits and an order of hash browns he’d picked at that dive of a diner on Route 2. He usually had granola and plain yogurt, doctor’s orders due his cholesterol, but always treated himself to the greasy morning feast on the last day of the season.

    The barest flickers of daylight were making their presence known as he downed the last of his coffee. It wouldn’t be too long now but he still had a bit of time to relax before loading up the shotguns in preparation for the morning’s hunt. The season had been good this year and he was pleased with the spot he’d found. Few other hunters seemed aware of it as he’d only heard some shooting for a bit once during the season and that had been somewhat further north on the long, narrow lake.

    He leaned back, making himself a bit more comfortable, breathing in the clean, crisp morning air. He suddenly started, aware he must have dozed off, no doubt a side effect of the heavier breakfast. Straightening up in his chair, he realized something had woken him but he could not identify what it was. He listened but all was quiet, too quiet, in fact. He hadn’t slept long, barely minutes, which he could tell by the colour of the sky, still shrouded in more darkness than light.

    “Bounty,” he called, feeling a strange uneasiness overcome him, “Here, boy.”

    Nothing but silence… Then a flutter…

    “What was that?” he asked aloud, rising from his chair and climbing out of the blind.

    He made to the second of three steps only to be knocked violently back to the dirt floor of the pit amidst a sudden flurry of beating wings and strident squawking. Instantly, he found himself within a vicious storm as dozens upon dozens attacked him, snapping at his face, clawing his limbs and pounding his torso. More came and crowded into the blind, scattering all it contained as they demanded retribution. Beaten and battered, bruised, cut and scratched, the hunter now also suffocated, unable to breathe beneath the hundreds of pounds of waterfowl which buried him.

    As quickly as it had begun, it was over and flock after flock of ducks took to the lightening sky, some blood spattered but none injured, their mission complete. Minutes later, Bounty returned, aware the danger was gone and whimpering in sadness as he gazed at his master, the hunter, in his makeshift grave, knowing he would hunt no more.

If you liked my short story, you should try my novels:

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Reply hairepotterfan
12:28 PM on December 15, 2011 
Damn, you were warped even in the 4th grade! Loved this!
Reply Ann Swann
11:16 AM on December 24, 2011 
Loved the story, makes me want to buy a book! I'm just starting out on Twitter, etc. and recently made my own blog--my first book is due out any day now from Cool Well Press--but I'm amazed at the number of followers you have. You've given me inspiration. And my hubby plays guitar, too so I sense a kindred spirit...rock on!

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