He was up before the sun, before the morning mist settled, and even before the lark sounded the wake up call. The forest was dark, but his eyes soon became accustomed to the lack of light. His presence in a low crouch was concealed by thick foliage, and shrubbery. The only sound that could be heard was the breeze filtering over, under, and through the leaves, causing a slight rustle. The early stages of the morning sun cast endless quantities of shadows which danced a tuneless jig upon the grassy floor.
Bow in hand, with an arrow notched on the string, he took a slow step forward. Every time he exhaled a cloud of steam rose up, and disappeared. He deflected a branch with a flick of his wrist. Trying to keep his breathing in check, every time he exhaled a cloud of steam rose up, and disappeared. It was still cold, and moist, making the air he breathed fresh, with an edge that made it crisp. Glancing at the ground with an expert eye, he saw what he was looking for. Tracks. Broken blades of grass, peeking out from underneath trampled leaves, all fairly fresh. Whatever it was, it was in no rush, nor was it taking precautions in where it stepped. He continued on slowly; stealthily, like a faint whisper.
Snap! He froze. He flicked his eyes to where the sound came from. He waited for what seemed like an eternity, glancing this way, and that, trying to unravel the mystery of the noise. His gaze fell to the path in front of him, and immediately relaxed as he saw in the distance his prey. The buck stood with a tall, subtle arrogance that emanated a peaceful energy. He lowered his majestic head to graze in elegance. He appeared to have no sense of insecurity, nor have any indication that he was being watched.
The hunter smiled and measured his breathing. Slowly he drew the bow and raised the tip of the arrow. Pulling the string to his cheek he closed one eye, and sighted down the shaft. The wood of the bow creaked as the wood bent, increasing the tension. It was this moment that he had been waiting for. The stillness he had while venturing through the dark woods, remained deep within him; his focus unbroken. The goal stood in front of him, blissfully unaware of what his fate had in store. He closed his eyes, maintaining that calm demeanour he constantly strove for. He opened them again, narrowed his eyes, almost to slits. Still measuring his breathing, he sighed and as the last of the air escaped his lungs, he released the bowstring, and the arrow shot from the bow with a blinding speed. Satisfied, he unstrung the bow, and slung it across his back.
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