The young woman set out for her customary morning ride after a cup of French Roast and a few forbidden drags of a cigarette. The grass wet from the previous night’s rainfall, splashed up as her horse raced forward. Tall furs lined both sides of the dirt road, forming a straight path toward the seaside cliff. The woman rode for the enjoyment, the beauty, and the tranquility. The day held the promise of serenity. Rain had a cleansing quality about it, as if to wash way all that which needs washing, she thought.
The woman continued to ride, unaware of the darkness the island’s winds had carried in on a cold westerly breeze.
Just past the heavy foliage, the edge of the cliff beckoned. The perfect vantage point for catching the sunrise.
The woman’s ride was interrupted by a silhouette standing in a clearing in the woods. Intrigued by the rare occurrence, she dismounted and tied the reins around the trunk of a nearby pine. She crouched and tiptoed in an effort to remain unnoticed. The wet grass soaking her sneakers. The squishy noise startled some birds pecking for sustenance on the forest floor, and in turn they startled her. Her heart beat faster with excitement and anticipation. And as she got closer, she was able piece together the fuzzy picture.
Standing just a few feet away from the male figure, she realized it was a hunter. The fifty-something man was abnormally tall and wore the usual hunting gear. A bit disappointed her surveillance didn’t garner anything more interesting, the woman turned to walk away but something felt wrong.
She decided to stalk a little longer. Observing. Spying.
Ready for the hunt, the man stood in plain sight. He was pointing his gun at something, but he was trembling with fear. The woman saw that at the edge of the cliff stood a powerful creature. Majestic, it stared into the horizon. The curves of its beautiful horns seemed to pierce the clouds. She watched them both attentively, the man and the beast.
She was still hiding behind the abundance of multi-colored shrubs undetected when the hunter aimed and shot the steel-like monument off its pedestal. As if in slow motion, the creature’s limp body fell over the edge. Down it went. Crashing against the rocks at the end of a long abyss. This once mysterious and astonishing forest dweller was nothing more than scraps for scavengers and vultures.
Without a single effort to collect his prize, the hunter turned away from the cliff ready to move on. In search of another kingdom to destroy, the woman thought. She was still hidden behind the tall shrubs when she saw the man turn back in the direction of the abyss and looked into the sun. He took a few slow steps to the edge of the cliff where he looked down to what must have been a bloody scene.
Then, with grace and determination, he made one last move. The man turned the riffle on himself and with a long steady right arm, he pulled the trigger to execute his final hunt. And, as if in slow motion, the hunter’s limp body fell over the edge. Down it went. Crashing against the rocks at the end of a long abyss. This once mysterious forest dweller was nothing more than scraps for scavengers and vultures.