The Hunt

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic


A Hunter looking for a prize Bull Elk runs into some unexpected consequences.

Submitted: April 05, 2018

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Submitted: April 05, 2018

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The Hunt

By White Lightning

 

The alarm was screaming in his ears. John’s eyes fluttered open as he stared at the red blinking lights on his electronic clock. John groaned as he swung his legs over the side of the bed and rubbed his eyes, he then scratched the stubble on his face as he stood up from his bed and stretched. John reached over to his nightstand and shut off his alarm and switched on the lights in his room. John stared at his mirror above his dresser reciting over and over in his head.

“You got this, this is your day, go out and take your shot.”

John preceded to put his blue jeans, his shirt, and his camouflage jacket; he sat down on the edge of his bed and slid his wool socks on to his feet and slipped his feet into his boots that were sitting below his bed. After John finished lacing up his boots he stood up and reached for his camouflage baseball hat. John opened the door to his bedroom and went into the kitchen. He quietly grabbed his coffee mug and filled his cup with Folgers coffee. As he left the kitchen he saw his wife Beth still asleep on the couch with a book on the ground away from her hand. He looked at her passionately as he leaned over brushing the hair away from her face and planting a soft kiss on her cheek. He stood back up and scribbled a note on a notepad that was sitting on the coffee table.

Hey Babe,

This is the last day of the hunt, it’s 4:15 AM as of now, I am planning on being back at 3:00 PM this afternoon. Coffee is hot and, in the kitchen, I’ll start a fire for you before I leave. Just so you know where I am, I am going to walk the Devils Backbone, it’s a two-hour hike from our cabin, I have my sat phone with me in case anything happens, I will call you at 7:00 AM so you know I made it safely. After that, I will be out of contact until I return. I’ll see you this afternoon after I return. Have a wonderful day. I love you.

Yours Truly,

John

John stood up and put some logs in their fireplace, and started a slow-burning fire to warm up the cabin. After this, he stood up and walked to the garage opening the door quietly as not to wake up his wife. He entered the garage and switched on the light. He set his coffee down on his workbench to his right and grabbed the backpack hanging on a shelf to his left, he swung the backpack over his left shoulder and slid his arms into the straps on the backpack. And fastened the extra straps around his chest and midsection. John then grabbed his leather belt on the workbench and slipped it through the belt loops on his blue jeans. John than fastened his Colt .45 1911 to his belt and walked to his gun safe. He inserted the key and opened the safe he reached in and grabbed his .300 Winchester Magnum from the safe and locked all his firearms back up. John guzzled the rest of his coffee and shut the light off in his garage. He walked back through the living room taking one last look at his beautiful wife still asleep on the couch. With that, he opened the front door and left to the Devils Backbone.

John stepped out of his cabin and fastened an LED headlamp to his forehead, he took a big whiff of the early morning autumn air. He smelled the pine and the dew on the grass. He set off for his mission. It was going to be a long hike but he couldn’t stop thinking about the trophy bull elk he had scouted out a week ago, and he hadn’t seen it since that day. John knew that the elk was somewhere within the Devils Backbone. He set out on his journey and he calculated that he would be there by 6:30 AM so he thought to himself he better start hiking.

John finally made it to the Backbone it was known to the natives as a place of no return, John couldn’t wrap his head around this fact as he had been traveling this place for years ever since he was a kid; but as his father always told him places have names for reasons and we should always respect the mountain. John looked down from where he was standing and could not help but take in the view. It was beautiful he could see smoke rising from his cabin in the distance which meant his wife was up. He would give her a few minutes before he called her so he could set up his spotting scope and his rifle. He sat there his back up against a tree his rifle in hand and his spotting scope just to his right. John reached into his backpack which was to his left and grabbed his satellite phone and a Cliff bar to boost his energy he knew he would need it. He opened the satellite phone and dialed it started ringing, within five seconds his wife picked up the sat phone they had in the cabin an answered.

“Morning beautiful, how are you doing?” John asked

“I’m doing alright babe did you make it up to the backbone alright?”

“I did sweetheart, I just thought I’d give you call, and let you know did you get the note I left for you on the coffee table.”

“I did baby, just be careful up there, it has its name for a reason, I worry about you.”

“I know babe, I’ll be back before you know it alright, I love you.”

“I love you too, but hurry back, I’ll see you this afternoon.”

With that done John hung up the phone and opened his Cliff bar, as he sat there munching on his breakfast and taking in the view, He thought back to what his wife had said, he knew what she meant. For the reason of his father had lost his life due to a hunting accident that had occurred a few years back in the very spot he was hunting right now. The natives thought this place was haunted, but John didn’t buy into that bullshit he knew that what had happened to his father was purely an accident. He had tripped and dropped his gun, consequently leading to the gun misfiring and sending a bullet straight through his father’s skull. John’s grandfather had also hunted on The Devils Backbone, and he disappeared twenty years ago and no one knew where he had gone. As John, thought about this a tear started to well up in his eye and his vision started to blur. His brother had always told him that what had happened shouldn’t have happened but no one could’ve stopped it because no one was there. He and his brother had been down in the valley when the accident occurred. Some things are just meant to happen.

John shook his head clear he couldn’t be doing this while he waited for the bull of a lifetime to show up. It was then that he saw it a movement in the trees about 300 yards away from him. He brought the spotting scope up to his eye and peered through. It was what he had waited for the bull elk he had been tracking a little over a week. It had finally returned. John set the spotting scope down and picked his rifle up, slowly raising it to his shoulder. The bull stopped in a clearing a little farther away than John had hoped but he knew this would be the only chance that he would receive. The bull was eating sniffing around when John flipped the safety off of his rifle making a soft click, but the elk heard it. Raising its head quickly as it peered towards where the sound had come from freezing in its movements. John moved the scope of his rifle a tad above the heart of the beast and fired.

The crack of his rifle disturbed the peaceful silence in the forest, nothing else could be heard besides the thunderous thud of the elk hitting the ground. John looked up from his scope not believing what he had just witnessed he had succeeded in his mission. John couldn’t believe his luck, he had done it, he had killed one of the biggest elks this side of the Mississippi. John was ecstatic as he grabbed his rifle and ran over to where the elk had fallen and stared at the beast as it laid on the ground, at Johns' feet. After the awe had left he quickly started to harvest the beast. After three grueling hours of work it was finished, he took all the meat that was edible that he could, he took the 10x10 rack of the monster elk and fastened it to his pack. As he was getting up to leave he heard wolves in the distance howling and a noise that had never graced his ears.

It was a sound John had never heard before it was a painful, rasping, scream. He had to get out of there, he thought to himself. As he turned around he came face to face with an elderly native man. The man had a sorrowful look in his eyes, his hair was gray and he was wearing the traditional clothes of his forefathers. The old man investigated the eyes of John. And spoke three words.

“You should run.”

John was dumbfounded and continued to stare at the old man. Not knowing what he should do; if he should listen to the old man, or if he should go about his business and ignore what the old man had said. The man was still staring at John and let out a sigh.

“You do not understand, what you have done, by killing that animal you have released a demon, that I have spent years to subdue. By killing that animal and releasing its spirit, you have in turn released a monster that harbors itself in the darkness. For twenty years this demon had been enclosed within this ridge. But by extinguishing the light in that animal. The demon no longer fears anything. Leave this mountain and never return.”

John didn’t believe the old man, he seemed off his rocker but the old man continued.

“Twenty years ago, a man went missing on this mountain, he was hunting just like you. When he got lost he panicked and when it got dark he built a shelter to survive the night. After two weeks, he found another man who was frozen in the ground. This man was so hungry, he lost sight of his morals, and devoured the flesh of another to survive.”

John stared at this man realizing what the old man was telling him.

“after the flesh of the frozen man was devoured this other man, became very ill and went into a deep sleep. It was now, that I could harness this man’s soul and turn it into the protector of this mountain. On the third day of the deep sleep, the man rose again completely transformed from his old self. His body had been taken over by a demonic spirit that hunts this ridge and kills anything breathing for a sport. You are in grave danger, you have become the hunted. Hurry and leave while you have a chance.”

John didn’t know how to respond to this man and the story he had just told him. It was the strangest thing he had heard and he was starting to believe the old man. This old man continued to look at him and then turned around and started to walk away. John yelled out to the old man.

“What is the name of this demon you keep telling me about.”

The old man turned and looked John straight in the eyes, “its name will never be spoken. Now leave quickly or you will meet the same fate as so many others, for is hunger can never be satisfied.”

With that, the old man disappeared into the trees. John couldn’t wrap his head around what he had just heard. He was flabbergasted it just couldn’t be true, he thought, this can’t be true. He heard that horrible scream again but it sounded closer this time, John looked up at the sky and the sun was starting to set and there was a dark storm rolling in. He looked down at his watch and the time was 4:30 PM. John started running down the mountain towards his cabin just thinking about how mad Beth was going to be, but he kept hearing that awful noise getting closer he didn’t know what he was going to do.

John was running, his heart was beating out of his chest, he didn’t know what was going on, but he knew he was being hunted down by a creature he had never heard of. For all, he knew the old man was pulling his leg, but there was a wrenching feeling in his gut. His mind told him that there was nothing, but his gut told him differently. John slowed his pace as he came to the edge of a cliff. The same one he climbed up, to get to his hunting spot it was three-hundred feet down and then it was a homestretch to safety. John knew he had to take it slow down the pass, but he was in a rush. His heart racing john made the descent down the pass. There was a thunderclap in the sky and rain started to fall drenching John from head to toe, his headlamp wasn’t working. He couldn’t see anything he had to make his way from memory. Through all the thunder, lightning, and rain, John heard the awful screech of a beast that was to close for comfort.

John continued down the pass from his memory he figured he was not far from the bottom, now he picked up his pace to no avail. His foot hit a rock and he tripped, falling the last fifty-feet down the mountain. As he tried to stand up, his right leg collapsed under him he laid there in agonizing pain. Feeling around he realized his leg was broken, he tried to stand up again on his left leg not putting any pressure on his right leg barely putting any weight or pressure on his leg. He started hobbling as fast as he could his right hand was grasping his leg to try to support it and in his left, he held his .45 ready to fire at anything that would try to attack him. John was hobbling trying to get away from whatever that was behind him. He heard the screech again, it was closer this time and he heard something running he had to make a stand.

John turned around and fired a couple rounds into the darkness, then turned back around and saw a light in the distance it was his cabin, he wasn’t far now, he picked up his pace as best he could with his broken leg. He was ten feet from his cabin now, he was going to make it he knew it, but he thought to soon. He felt something grasp his backpack and he was pulled into the darkness and thrown against a tree. His gun fell from his hand and he looked up, above him stood a nine-foot creature, you could see every bone its body, its skin was a nasty color of gray, its fingers looked like icicles with its fingernails as sharp as a blade from a skinning knife, its eyes were deep in its sockets and as white as a bridal dress. This monsters’ teeth were protruding through its mouth and looked like they came from a shark, they were skinny and sharp with their edges serrated like a saw. The monster grabbed John and picked him up like he was a feather, he felt like the monster was staring into his soul, its breath was that of a dead animal that had rotted away. John knew he had no chance, as the beast raised its hand and plunged it into Johns' chest like it was butter. John slumped against the tree the life flowing from his body it was all over.

Beth sat on the couch worried to death about her husband, and where he might be. When she heard a loud thud against the door of the cabin, she slowly stood up and approached the door hesitantly. She didn’t hear anything on the outside, so she slowly opened it up and peered out into the darkness as rain fell around her. She didn’t see anything so she started to close the door when she noticed large antlers laying on the ground. She picked them up and realized they were still fresh. She looked back up into the darkness and yelled,

“John, honey are you out there, baby are you there.”

A tear started to well up in her eye as she feared the worst for her beloved John. Then out of nowhere, she was swept into the darkness by a hand that was cold as ice. As she was swept away the antlers fell from her hands to the ground in front of the cabin.

After this day the only person who wanders the Devils Backbone is the elderly native man. For he is the only one that knows how to avoid the demonic beast that roamed the mountain. No other person has ever approached the Devils backbone after that day, the mountain will always be cursed by this demonic spirit.


© Copyright 2020 White Lightning. All rights reserved.

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