The Hunter

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We become that which we chase after.

He stalked his prey through the tall grass, dressed in camouflage, moving like the animal he was pursuing. The creature he was chasing was the sole survivor of its pack, the rest having been killed by his hand, gun or knife—once the heel of his boot, because the damn thing wouldn't die, and began to make horrible noises that cut him through to his core, where they lingered, gnawing from within, more and more often stirring inside of him to make the days' promises wither, the chilling nature of those screams slowly surfacing to his attention like goosebumps upon nervous flesh. He would catch this last animal today, and he would kill this animal, today, though after that it was not clear what would become of him: he was too clever to be conquered by anything in turn except Death, and until that final moment came he had let Death know he could play and win at his own game—it wasn't hard, and even the more intelligent prey did not have the discipline he had, which recast the odds in his favour. But this hunter, so adept was he, well knew how quickly we become that which we chase after, and when he caught his reflection in the water of some pond or river, or in the mirror of a hotel lobby, he wasn't surprised to recognize his true idol seeping out from inside of him, unleashed and transforming his features like scars, changing the way he moved like old wounds from battle, this idol taking him in as one of its own, making him into its own image: a spectre of death. He had overtaken and conquered life too often, and had surpassed life too easily, to have it shine as a beacon guiding the movement of the world around him, as far as he understood it: he was perched above it all, his insight having always attained to a lofty height, a hunter attuned to the slightest stirring of the wind as if it were the breath of life tempting him to try to grab hold of it and bend it to his will—which he did.

Eventually, he did not feel the wind, it having faded from his attention as impertinent, and Death redacted its touch, the transformation complete. Now he did not feel anything, nor did he have to, and despite the age of his bones he moved like a machine, calculating, advancing with no wavering stride as he continued to march, no longer the hunter yet still the extinguisher of the light which shone out from the creatures who had the misfortune of crossing his path: there was no need for light on this path he chose, as he understood it all too well; the creature was but an obstacle disrupting the necessity of its perfection. And he needed it to be perfect.

I know where this hunter roams, as I'm sure you do. We both must avoid his haunt, until Death finally takes him—in death we can forget.

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