The Offering

Trent opened his eyes and was alert instantly. The mission that had been on his mind for days took hold of him as never before. It was time. The hour was right, he just knew it. He got up and stretched and looked about. The light was beginning to fade. The shadows were lengthening and the air was still. The perfect conditions for his mission. He moved quickly outdoors and scanned the woods. Yes. This was the day. He could sense it. He would make the kill. All would be well.

It had been awhile since he had made a decent offering to the tribe. No one made a big deal of it, but his pride was at stake. He must prove himself. He was a mighty hunter, he would show them. One was only as good as one’s last kill. They knew he was loyal, of course. They would never shun him; still it was the right thing to do, to make obeisance. It was ingrained in his nature, and he knew without doubt it was expected of him.

He moved along the path, his every sense on full alert. He hadn’t seen his prey for days, but he knew exactly where to look. He reached the area quickly and looked about for a good vantage point. He found some heavy growth with a clear view of the place he believed the target would appear. He had run it to ground twice, and this was where it had disappeared both times. It had to live near by.

Sitting down to keep watch, he was occasionally distracted by sudden sounds all around him, but he would not take his eye off the patch of ground he was intent on. After awhile he decided to sharpen his weapons and took up position by a nearby tree.

He waited for over an hour but it was no use. There should have been a sighting, but nothing. A breeze was rising, and he was upwind of the site, and that was no good. The prey would be aware of him. He was growing hungry anyway, so he gave up the hunt and headed back home. He would return at dawn. He had much luck at that hour in the past. He would prevail, he knew he would.

He slept fitfully that night, waking when the small mysterious noises that so often come in the dark came to him. His night vision was excellent and he knew nothing could sneak up on him, so he simply drifted off to sleep each time.

Finally he sensed the first light coming through the window. He got up quietly, drank some water and did his morning ablutions. At last it was time to set out once more. He moved smoothly down the path once more, he knew it so well now that he could sense even the smallest change. Everything was as it should be. There had been no activity here.

He couldn’t understand why he hadn’t seen his prey for days. Usually they were plentiful, but now it was as if the were gone. Yet he knew this couldn’t be true. Here and there he had seen evidence that they still lived in these woods. He would find them. He would make the kill and he would prove himself yet again, as he had done so many times before. His pride swelled as he thought of previous conquests.

He reached his hiding place with a renewed sense of determination. This time it would happen. If they had not been out all night then surely they must come out to forage now, at the crack of dawn. He hoped their defences would be down since they had not been hunted for days. It would make his job easier. As he crouched in readiness he caught a blur of movement out of the corner of his eye. He stared intently, and suddenly, there it was! It ran quickly a short ways along the path, stopped and looked about, listening intently.

He didn’t move a muscle. He waited patiently for the right moment. He would only get one chance. He needed to wait until it’s back was to him to make his move. His prey sat still for what seemed like a very long time, then, just as he had hoped it turned directly away from him. Before it could make another move took aim and made his move.

George sat up and stretched. Looking out the window he smiled at the beautiful sunrise that was lighting up the morning sky. A cup of tea was in order, he decided. He would relax with his newspaper and enjoy the quiet before Martha awoke. He put on his slippers and headed for the kitchen. Before he could reach the light switch he felt something soft and squishy under foot.

Oh good God, no, he thought to himself. Please don’t let it be what I think it is. He looked down and before he could stop himself he cursed a blue streak that brought a grumpy enquire from his wife, whom he had roused from her sleep.

“George, what’s going on down there?”

Muttering to himself under his breath he went to get something to clean up the mess with. “It’s Trent. That damned cat has killed another rat. Why the hell does he have to bring them in the house?”

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