STORIES FROM THE HUNT

“When a lion wakes up, it prays just one prayer. Lord, show me the animal I’ll eat today. Then leave us alone.”

High-pitched bird calls echo around the forest bouncing off tree trunks and leaves dripping water. Sunlight cuts little paths through the canopy of leaves, tracing a delicate pattern of light and darkness on the leaf strewn floor.

Twigs and dried leaves crumple and crackle as tiny life-forms continue their busy schedule of eat or be eaten. Which in all fairness isn’t much different from what we larger life-forms do. We just happen to be better at that eating part.

A deer steps out nimbly from behind a tree. Wary, she looks to the left. Then to the right. She raises her nose to the air to sniff daintly, and satisfied, takes a few steps to her objective. A small, crystal clear brook. Gently, ears active for the slightest warning, she lowers her head to drink. This is how it is to be prey. 

A wary life. Always watching, always looking, always ready to run. A moment’s hesitation would be the difference between deer and venison. 

Not to far away, hidden in the undergrowth, lies one of the biggest predators known to nature. His muscles taut, he readies himself for his moment. He knows the perfect time to strike, it is that moment after the deer has had that first sip of water, where the thirst almost drives her mad and she hurries to take even larger gulps.

At that moment, hopefully, she would be temporarily distracted. At that moment, she would be easy. But not a moment before.

Here it is, a slow, careful sip, and… Now!

Ogunjimi releases the arrow he is aiming at the deer, and the breath he didn’t even know he was holding.

The arrow flies true and sinks into her head like a knife into butter. She falls to the ground. Quickly he leaves his place of concealment and goes to fetch his prize. She’s a good, big one. More than enough meat for the next few days. And perhaps he could sell some body parts for extra cash. Chuckling softly, he drapes the corpse round his shoulder.

Hanging from his belly are two dead squirrels, not too far away, attached by means of a rope to a low hanging branch of a tree, is a fat, juicy, bush pig.

All in all, not a bad day. As he gets to the place where he tied the pig, his hunting dogs come running to greet him with yelps and barks of joy. He pats all three on their heads and tells them what a good job they have done today. Then he adds the boar to his burden and slowly, they make their way through the forest, heading for home, rest, and a warm meal to end the day with.

The sky is brightened by a flash of lightning and thunder rumbles in response, the forest going quiet. Dark clouds block out the sun and it becomes impossible to advance further. Rain drops, fat and heavy, begin to fall, splashing lazily against his hunting gear, the meat, the dogs. With the light from a torch, Ogunjimi finds a place to hide to keep away from the rain till it subsides. He drops the carcasses a short distance from where he and his dogs huddle together to keep warm…

To be continued…

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