A supernatural tale. Comment, and like if you enjoyed reading. Thank you.

Yellow, red and orange leaves fall, and the wind picks each one by the hand and dances to the bird's call; left to right, up and down, leaves twirl and finally hit the ground. Black boots squish the leaves, and small shrieks echo tree to tree. He gazes below keeping track of any movement made before him, and he grips the 10/22 compact with both hands while the muzzle faces upward and to the left. Careful steps and small breaths, unfortunately his large backpack jingles, but most won't hear the jingle except me. Wrinkles twist and turn on his forehead: no clues it seems. He rests the muzzle over his right shoulder and continues to crunch the leaves in his path, and steps on a red star flower. The petals scatter and colour the ground; the strong aroma calms my nerves, but he remains scentless: no smell of fear or anxiety. I can't help but watch him.

I'm Amary, a nymph of the forest, gliding from tree to tree, watching his every move. My hair dangles freely and catches the wind's roars and howls. I listen to the wise words of the water as each droplet advises me. I sleep with the leaves and the dirt, who keep me company and tell me stories of passed seasons. The trees and bushes provide me warmth and love as I take shelter with them―Actually, I'm just hiding from my boyfriend, Agroste, the most beautiful and strongest man. All artists look at him for references, all heroes look at him for strength, I look at him for love.

Sweat collects on his forehead and stretches its nimble fingers, bringing each strand of his crimson hair together into tiny curls. He removes his blue cap and wipes the sweat off his forehead with the back of his left wrist. After a deep breath, he exhales a vapour of white smoke and the wind carries it away. I loved running my hands through his silky hair, each long strand passed over my small fingers and never tangled. Sniffing his hair would leave me curious: there was no scent to trap in my memory. He was a mysterious man.

I claw the tree in front of me: my nails are long and I need to cut them. Bark and dirt huddle underneath my nails for shelter. I tap the wood, hearing the hollow tunnels underneath; the small clacking of ants stepping over rotting wood breezes into my ears. Calm and gentle. I feel hopeful that he will find me and love me. The sun stretches its long hair, illuminating my cellphone on the ground. He bends and reaches for it, jingling a bit louder. Putting the cellphone in his pocket, his eyes scatter and looks up. He steadies his breath and listens to the wind's moan, and moves forward.

 On our first date, we watched horror movies. My heart thumped rapidly, my muscles clenched, my hands gripped the arm rests leaving small scratch marks. Occasionally, my armpits sweat and I ran to the washroom, asphyxiating my armpits with tissues. Feeling greasy and smelly wasn't my initial plan; I'm thankful I brought mango deodorant. Horror movies tore my body. I feared things who were stronger than me, who were unknown; however, he loved to watch horror films: the moment the knife, axe or chainsaw went through flesh, a smile would gleam from his rugged face. The scene of the killer stalking unsuspecting prey, the scene of the killer hiding behind trees and bushes, the camera looking through the killers eyes, gazing at the unsuspecting prey, was thrilling for him. He told me, he'd be a better killer; they hid in the wrong place, they left themselves exposed, they held the knife wrong, he always had a critique: he knew more about killing. I felt strange next to him, a different feeling. Love. When I clutched his hand, I knew we were a match. I cowered in his shoulders, but he laughed and called me a child, so I stopped and laughed with him. I felt belittled. There was nothing to be afraid of, it was just a movie: nothing like that would happen.

He rests on a rotting log with green moss growing on the edges. His wide eyes dart left and right, waiting for something to pop out; Agroste what are you thinking about? You aren't afraid of me are you? Placing his backpack down, he pulls out a sandwich and tares off chunks of beef into his mouth.

He taught me how to hunt on our fourth date: hunting is his favourite hobby. I made us lunch; I had a thermos of beef soup for him and a thermos of peanut soup for myself. I was a vegetarian and cooking meat was a new task. He asked me to leave chunks of beef in his soup: he loved wrestling the meat with his teeth. He ate with his mouth open, letting me watch each chunk of meat break apart as he chomped. Meat chunks hid in the corners of his mouth and the crevices between his canine teeth. It was cute, he was almost like a dog chewing on something too big for him to swallow. I sat and watched, rolling my fufu and dipping the ball into the peanut soup sucking up all the juices. As he finished his soup, he slurped the extra contents at the bottom and wiped his mouth on the back of his right wrist. I always left him a napkin, but he never used it, unlike myself. He was messy; we all are at times and I was happy cleaning up. He had no time for the small things, and was much eager to focus on the things he loved. I offered him some blueberries and raspberries; he scooped some and threw them into his mouth and went back hunting, while I sat and sorted everything back into the backpack. The red star flowers gleamed under the sun, and decorated the ground below. I counted fifteen of them, and eight were squished by Agroste, while he ran ignorant of the flowers he crushed.

He picked up his M 03 de luxe, and steadied his grip with the muzzle pointing to the left; I stood behind him peeping from his right shoulder. His excitement left him oblivious to the life below his feet, the poor amaryllises squished below a heavy boot. Red petals flew in every direction as the wind scavenged every petal for itself, clinging onto the red beauty for sustenance. But the red petals resisted, flailing until they reached the ground, holding one another. He told me to stand back and watch first; his eyes glued to the floor, checking for any sign of life: a footstep or feces, anything to track his game. What a vigilant man; I wished I could see the world through his eyes, every small detail and every large clue. He shot and a cry echoed in front. A deer lay on the floor, blood streaming from its neck. I stared into its black eyes, and watched the life drain from the animal. I was never a hunter, I loved animals, and I never thought them as game, but he was a skilled hunter. He saw the beauty in every animal and wanted their beauty for himself.

I've been watching him for a while: we're playing a little game of hide and seek. The sky darkens beckoning all to rest. The wind settles to a small murmur, the water drifts, the trees huddle close to the warm soil. The star flowers close their dreary eyes and mourn the dead, but are determined to continue another day; each one comforts the other, and sleeps in peace. He sets up his tent and sleeping bag. I watch until the light starts to fade inside his tent. A loud snore brings me closer to the tent, I unzip the entrance and peer inside. Not moving, almost lifeless and gentle, no scent. I run my hands through his crimson hair and whisper, “I love you.” He's working so hard to find me, I'll make him something to eat for the morning.

On our tenth date, we went to a sports bar. He sat and watched sports, and I stared into his brilliant eyes. The smell of beer and hot sauce wafted from booth, from table and from stool. My nose twitched as the strong scents tickled the fine hairs rooted in my nose. The bar was livelier than I anticipated: spilled glasses and broken plates, cusses and laughter. I preferred a calmer restaurant or my bed, but he maintained his composure within the noisy space. He was vigilant as he captured every detail from the corner of his left eye, his ears perked at every sound. A child laughed at the table across from us: Agroste's gaze lingered on the child. His lips pursed and his brow wrinkled, and his attention went to a screen behind me. He ordered ribs and so did I, but with a small salad. We ripped into the meat eating quickly, trying to beat each other; he won, but I was very close. He slurped all the sauce and grease off of each finger, while I wiped the sauce on the red table cloth: only a small stain. He congratulated me on my ability to keep up with him; I felt honoured and an equal in his eyes. We grasped hands and he smirked; we were beginning our relationship.

Fresh air soothes my mind. I tiptoe through the forest, every step soft almost floating above ground. No squishing leaves, twigs or flowers: no sound. Lurking in the background for game was a difficult task; holding breaths and listening to every sound made all the difference in hunting.

On our seventeenth date, we went hunting again, but I was prepared. We were in our favourite spot with the red star flowers. I held my own BLR Lightweight `81 with both hands, the muzzle facing the right. We watched deer grazing, unaware of our intentions. He shot and missed, scaring off all the deer. We pursued them, saw their tracks, analyzed everything. Agroste didn't run after them, he weakened them and saved his own energy by scaring them. He would wait for the deer to drink and rest before hunting them. Leaves crunched beneath him as he strolled forward, but a bush rustled, something was going to pop out. I took my cap off, sweat collected above my lip and I aimed, waiting for the perfect shot, and finally the creature emerged. I wiped the sweat off with the back of my right wrist. Bang.A brown rabbit lay still on the ground, it didn't make a noise, but Agroste did. He ran over with a huge smile, he was so proud of me: I made a great shot. His long arms grasped my hips, and he danced with me in a circle, our legs kicked and swayed. I was amazed at my hunting abilities. The rabbit's blood seeped onto the red flowers' petals, creating a contrast between shades of red. He had an appreciation for animals, he thought they were beautiful creatures, especially frozen in his home.

The night lingers and lulls most to rest, its pointy fingers extend over everything. The wind wakes with a powerful fiery, grabbing and pulling anything weak. Water thunders for all to listen and fear it. Trees harden and extend their coiling roots for unsuspecting prey. Leaves huddle with the soil to drag and consume all who step on them. The red star flowers settle and hide, huddling their petals together, keeping the night's fingers from prying them open. I find a deer out for a late night snack; its neck sticks out as it searches for food on the ground. Every few minutes it shoots its head up and looks around, keeping track of each sound. Its hind legs back up, something may be near. No:its neck descends and the deer continues to graze. I'm close, I can smell the blood rushing through the deer and with one swift motion I pounce on the deer, and slit its throat; blood flows out, colouring the ground below. I peel off the skin, and take out its bones as I search for quality pieces to serve him.

Ant legs clacking on the ground entertain me. There are blueberries growing, I can almost reach out and grab them, but I'd rather continue eating this deer. The thigh tastes the best: I let each chunk, roll around from cheek to cheek and chew, letting each strand of meat lodge in between my teeth. Back at the campsite, I leave a big chunk of thigh for him to feast upon in the morning, while I eat the rest. Chunks of meat fall down my chin, I wipe off fat and bone on my wrist. I slurp off a small layer of skin off a leg bone. My hands are a mess so I wipe them on the ground below and on the trunks of the trees; let all feast upon this game, suck all the blood from my fingers and chin.

Sunlight scorches the night away; the wind calms, the water slows, the trees and leaves flutter, and the red flowers open for friendly faces. The zipper descends and Agroste pokes his head out, his crimson hair sticking from the right side. His eyes meet the meal I left for him, he immediately scrambles in his tent and leaves with his 10/22 compact in front of him. His brown eyes wander in every direction, attempting to track me, but he won't find me. He follows the droplets of blood, instead of enjoying my treat, and comes across the deer carcass: most of the meat has been torn off. The small clacking of weighted ants follows, their backs carry small pieces of red chewy meat, and colours them a glossy red. Each ants follows the one in front, creating a huge line of red dots. Every step makes a small red imprint on the ground, and each ant who follows strengthens the red's colour. His breathing lingers and quickens; he begins to look in every direction and scurries back to his nest.

On our twenty-sixth date, we went to my family's home for dinner. He was hesitant at first, but I convinced him to come. Meeting parents wasn't his strength;my family wanted to meet him for a while, I talked so highly of him: how strong he was, and handsome. Dinner was normal: he watched us all eat, making sure we were all fine; I made sure meat was on the dinner menu. My parents still had a large quantity of yams, and asked him if he wanted them; he said yes to be polite. He wiped his mouth on the napkin beside the plate and chewed with his mouth close at a steady pace. Trapped and hunted, he didn't enjoy the dinner. He fled to the living room and sat in the comfort of the TV screen. My younger sister was playing in the living room with her toys; she showed him every last toy; however, he sat in the chair with his hand under his chin, staring at the television screen opposite of him. My sister jumped on him for attention, and before I can shew her off he moved out of the way. She sat on the couch alone and he pulled me aside: he was never fond of children, he didn't like them.

He still hasn't found me, unfortunately I'm bored waiting for him. I can hear laughter and shouts in the distance. Children assign one another the role of the hunter and the prey: it's fun to watch kids play. One of the kids desires to be it and chases after the other two. They laugh and scream, but the wind challenges them screaming louder, letting them know its presence lingers. Leaves cluster together, grabbing onto anyone who walks on them, leaving small scratches and scrapes; one kid falls and trips on a leaf: very clumsy, he would of never survived out here. The leaves shriek and wail hoping to trap the child, but the child stands and runs off. A small hand grabs him, laughter ensues and there remains one child, one child whose eyes are wide and curious at the big figure in the bushes, shaking and rustling waiting for him to approach.

A swift grab and the child disappears. Small fingers cling to the soil near the water, but the dirt wraps its fierce fingers, trying to swallow the child whole. Dirt digs into each nail and soon the fingers loosen their grip. Bubbles surface on the water briefly, as the water consumes anything in its path. Droplets pound the soil below scattering brown mush; small fingers lay in the soil.The children call, but no response. I'm wet and look awful; playing with children is no fun, but Agroste needs my attention.

I left Agroste another surprise: surely he'll be proud of me. He smells blood and follows every droplet I left behind; I've grown tired of waiting for him to find me. I don't hear the leaves crunch, I find him hesitant to approach my game. The leaves crunch, and he empties his body of fluids, and continues to look in every direction, hoping to find me. I don't want this game to be too easy for him, but I'll keep giving him clues. Bang. With his gun in front of him, he turns around and runs in the opposite direction. He flees until he trips on a tree's exposed root. The trees howl and laugh at Agroste, as he scurries on the leaves, who scratch and hiss. He continues fleeing and tree branches slap him across his cheeks; he lets out small whimpers, until I no longer have him in my sight. My hands are wet and filthy; I'm tired and sick of this stupid game.

I told him I loved him; he smiled and hugged me, and told me how amazing I was. Unfortunately, one simple word was never returned. I wanted him to see me, to notice me. No amount of hair or clothes would change me; mimicking him failed to benefit me, so I came up with another solution. I came across an online ad, this shop of magic and hope, who promised to make my desires come true. The next day, I drove to a town nearby. A small flower shop invited me inside and I sat across Flora, who asked me what my problem was. Her hair was transforming from brown to grey, some strands were clinging on her scalp hoping to remain the same. I held her hands as she comforted me; they were smooth and wrinkly like a leaf. Flowers decorated her hair and neck. I found the situation strange: I thought this would be unsettling, but I felt calm and relaxed in her presence.

I told her my story and she laughed; the only way for him to fall in love with me was if I became something beautiful in his eyes. She gave me this old golden arrow from an old god; if I sat in a well-lit spot where the sun graced me with wonderful sunlight, and took thirty selfies with the golden arrow, I would turn into the most beautiful thing in Agroste's eyes. I knew that one spot, where he would always take me hunting near the amaryllises. I thanked her and took one last look at her shop. Dozens of flowers surrounded us, white trumpet flowers, long red flowers, white flowers filled the room with amazing scents. One in particular attracted my gaze, a crimson flower; I sniffed with all my strength, but I couldn't trap the smell. She commented, telling me, “the corn cuckle is a tricky weed; its beauty captures all and bares no scent: almost harmless, but there lies a poison in its beauty.”

I texted him to meet me at our hunting spot. I kneel holding the golden arrow in my right hand and my phone in the other; I found the perfect angle, where the phone captured the most light and I took a picture. On my first picture, I noticed the thumbnail was strange: my eyes were darker and feral, but I continued. On my fourth picture, I had brown horns spiraling forward. On my tenth picture, my canines grew, I had an overbite. On my seventeenth picture, I had dark coarse hair all over my face and long silver whiskers. My twenty-sixth picture, revealed a snout and soft hairs all over my face. I continued and on my last picture, I stopped and felt wonderful. I dropped my phone and twirled, excited to see Agroste. I heard branches and leaves crack, and there he stood. His eyes widened, a huge smile appeared: he's never seen anything like me. As I approached him, he dashed away and ran until he disappeared. I had no idea why he ran, until I picked up my phone and looked at myself.

I'm tired and bored from this game, I must end it. I realize what I am, naming myself after a beautiful star flower won't change me, but I've grown tired. Why can't I be a determined red star, who shines within this vicious place. Every attack and howl weakens me, but this flower remains strong and compassionate, a beauty I've taken for granted. The wind shouts, the water shrieks, the leaves cry, the trees laugh and I scream! Silence. The wind retreats, the water settles, the trees shrink and the leaves flee, but the red stars remains with their petals outward for me to take and hold. I choose to gaze at its beauty; if I touched it with my claws, I would rip away its life. My hands are too filthy.

Steps approach me; Agroste stands before me with his 10/22 compact extending its arm to greet me. This tiresome game will end now, I've trapped us both: we will continue to flee forever. A bullet grazes my left shoulder; blood sprinkles down onto the flower. I watch the flowers slurp my sweet syrup in delight. I stomp towards him, his gun steady and I headbutt him to the ground. I smack him with my hooves, his forehead and mouth bleeds. His pushes me off, and I regain my balance as I steady myself in the soil― but I fall as a wound bleeds from my chest. He shoots again and misses me. I lunge for his arm and dig into his shoulder feeling his muscles and tendons rip. He whimpers and cries; I can finally smell him: fear, sadness and shame. He pushes me back, and another shot takes me down, my organs and intestines hang out wrapping around my legs. He flees holding his wound; I almost took his arm with me. I drag myself to the red stars and gaze at them. My blood trickles down, nourishing them, and their colour deepens. I'm determined to keep them safe, the most beautiful must be protected. My eyes sink, the sun reaches for me and covers me in a warm light. I watch the flowers nourish themselves with my sweet red blood.

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