Hunting the Hunters
July 23, 2012
Jack snatched up the large axe that leaned on the wall near the wood stove, while Hawk checked the rifle. “What are you going to be doing with that?” the rancher asked.
“Whatever I feel like. This creep Ed is most likely a murderer, he probably stole from your sister’s family, and I know for sure he tossed a knife at my face and frankly just the latter would be enough for me to give him a serious clocking.” He drew up to his full height as he threw his leather over his shoulders. “Besides there’s something I haven’t told you.”
Hank tensed. “I’m not sure I can handle more bad news right now.”
“Hopefully, I can take care of my own mess, but on the way out Ed grabbed up my weapon bag.”
“You have a weapon bag?”
“Yeah, no guns or anything like that, but there’s a load of hunting knives and a few other things he now has his hands on.”
“Great,” the older man said and then moved closer to the front door. “We might as well get this over with, and if we move fast, we might be still able to locate his tracks.”
Hawk led the way, but Jack lingered near the door. Four deep marks had been cut into it. The Stalwart scanned the horizon, but the snow made spying anything on the plains nearly impossible. He exhaled a deep breath and then followed Hank through the deep snow.
“Hot damn, I think I found his tracks.” Hawk allowed himself his first smile as the grey mists of his breath added to the building fog that clung to the top of the snow.
“Then let’s get that sucker.” Jack said, as he rested the axe over his right shoulder.
“Yeah, and maybe you can chop us some wood on the way back, Paul Bunion.”
An honest laugh escaped from his lips, but only reminded him of all the laughs he had shared with Hannah and Ethan, before his friend was killed and Hannah had been forced into the grips of darkness. Hank had already started moving again and Jack hurried to catch up.
The snow dragged at them as they trudged through the first mile. Everything became soaked and heavy, making him wish that, for once, he could just be a normal guy eating a big meal in front of the wood stove, watching television, instead of being the out in the middle of a storm everyone in their right mind was hiding from.
Then he froze in mid-stride as a loud growl split the cloaked quiet. “Holy crap,” Hank said. “Ed wasn’t lying about the bear. Look out, Jack, here it comes!”
The colossal beast tore through the snow at them, running all out. Another roar echoed as Jack moved to take the creature it. It looked normal enough other than its size. Jack hadn’t thought grizzlies could get that big. It must have been close to his height even when it was on all fours. Fangs the size of his fingers spread from a jaw that he could fit his head into. The things claws looked longer than Jack’s hands.
“Brace yourself,” Hank said, as he brought up his rifle. “This isn’t going to be pretty.”