The Last Hunt

Chapter 7

I will skip over the thoughts that whirled through my mind that night as I tossed and turned figuring a way out. As dawn broke the darkness, I still had no idea on how to save myself. I just had to trust to luck that, on reflection, had not been too bad so far.

He was already dressed in his hunting clothes and sitting at the table when I walked in.      

“I hope you had a good sleep. Please eat hardy. It will have to hold you for a while.”

I let him talk as I ate. Then a thought came to me. How does he get supplies? He must go to nearby islands. That meant that he had to have a good boat stored somewhere. I kept quiet, savoring my discovery.

“Now, let us move on. It is time.”

As I followed him to the outside door, I glanced into a small room to my right. I felt a thrill as I spied a large gun case against the far wall. Discovery number two, I breathed to myself. His rifle was already leaning against  the wall as we stood on the portico.

I said, “Where is my weapon?”

He placed his hand behind his back and held out my weapon—a large hunting knife!

I took it without a word. He lifted his rifle and pointed it to the sky. He squeezed off a shot that made me feel both alarmed and determined to outwit him.

‘You have one hour. Please do not waste any time in small talk.’

“I walked slowly down the stairs and entered the friendly jungle. Once inside my reserve broke and I took off like a scared doe.

I pushed branches aside and jumped over fallen trees. I was in a panic, and I saw no way out. I reflected that I was completely at the madman’s mercy. There was really nothing that I could do to save myself. I have no idea how long I stumbled and fell as I ran madly through the jungle. My shirt ripped in several places; my slacks also tore off my legs. Once I stopped to listen. I could hear the distant barking of dogs. The realization that Dobermans were on my trail heightened the terror that I felt. Then something weird and wonderful happened.

I had just fallen after I climbed over a deadfall. Bryan’s voice came to me from out of nowhere.

“Summer, stop your panic. You can win but only if you keep your wits about you. Remember the trick the natives showed us in the Congo?”

I stopped running. I calmed myself in a hurry. Of course, I remembered. But I needed time and I did not have enough time. Stop your whining and think, a small voice said. I looked around. I spotted the perfect place. I set my trap at the spot where the trail took a sharp turn to the right. It would be a perfect ambush.

I looked around for some strong sticks. I found one and whittled the end into a sharp point. Next, I cut a strong vine. I tied one end to each of two small trees on either side of the trail. I then pulled it taut and let it go. The spring confirmed my idea as being a sound one. I then cut a smaller vine which I hooked to the bigger one and which I tied to a tree directly on the trail. I cut a hole in the large vine into which I pushed the pointed stick and tied it to the bow. The whole thing was a strong bow with the stick acting as the arrow. I hid and waited.

I heard barking and trashing noises further down the trail. The dogs were coming and coming fast. I hoped that Marko would be with them so that by luck the arrow would reach him. I moved quietly to the bend and looked around. There they were, the two hounds from hell sniffing and growling as they moved quickly up the trail. I retreated to my hiding place and held my knife, ready to strike. Even though I was prepared, the leading dog caught me by surprise as he came bounding around the bend. I slashed at the controlling vine. The bow thrummed as it was released. The arrow found its mark— the dog’s throat as it started its jump for me. It made no sound as it tumbled over and over. I did not stay to see anything else. I took off like the proverbial rabbit up the trail. Behind me I left another dog that stopped and let out the mother of all howls as it viewed its mate skewered on an arrow.

Words floated above the din.

“Round one to you, sharp lady. Now I must go back and enlist the help of two other dogs. I will return shortly!”

I continued moving up the trail. I was still not out of trouble, however. There was a limit to my tricks. Marko would be more careful from mow on. But I was no longer panicky. I wondered if Bryan would come back. I smiled, suddenly. I just knew he would.

I stopped to drink some water from a nearby creek. Then I took a short rest. After that my mind began to function again. What about the boat, I muttered. It must be at the beach. But where is the beach? In what direction is it? I made a decision and turned right. The jungle was thicker here, so I did not make good time. Time pressed in on me. I could feel my pulse beating faster. Vines entangled themselves around my legs, causing me to stumble and fall. My mind turned to mush again. That small voice broke in once more. Summer, trust your training, trust your senses, calm yourself and think, girl, think. I looked around me. My heart sank—again.

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