What they can't see
This is your life. A disgruntled thirty year old existing in the United States of America. You're not like any other man in the town, you're a bit of a recluse. Nature has been your home, and the woods have never betrayed you. It is a nourishing and punishing parent, partner and pillar. Work isn't particularly normal either, but you can't help it. The job is exciting, yet scripted, turns out you're a war re-enactor. The thrill of becoming a soldier in a different time and place energizes, and invigorates you. Those steps and those shots are not your own, because for the brief moment - you have become someone else, a changeling of sorts. The grand illusion of combat overwhelms the soul, and everything immerses you into the surreal sound of shouting men and the explosive cracks of the battlefield. This spectacle provides a brief relief to your simmering disdain for the establishment, and the pawns that would enforce it.
Then one day, you decide that you'd do something about it, that biting rash at the back of your mind. The mind conjures a plan: an ambush, a sound military strategy that requires precision and planning. The prey would be the hounds of the establishment. Almost everything has a pattern or an interval, seasons, the beating of a heart, or the habits of an individual. In this case, you know when the dogs of the government would trod a certain path. As you lay waiting for your marks, you have some doubts as to whether you'd like to stop playing the soldier just once in your life. Suddenly, something appears in the horizon, and your heart starts a tempo of beating, faster....and faster still. Yet your aim is steady and your breathing is reflexively controlled. It's just like those wargames you so enjoy, and a smirk breaks out. It feels like the heaviest and longest trigger pull that a finger should endure, but it follows through. One figure drops in the distance, followed by a whirring crack. His companion is stunned by the kill, your kill. He can't see you, just like everyone else who never really noticed you beyond the facade. You're a self-proclaimed hunter, and now - a criminal in their eyes. The inevitability of your crime descends upon you.
You take another shot, and yet another figure drops down. He never saw what hit him. It was to be afraid of the dark, in the brightness of day. How do hounds serve their master if they are dead? Not very well, which was admittedly a quip fit for the situation. Now, you decide to return to the cradle of humanity, back into the dense greenness of the forest that has so long shielded you from the eyes and words of the establishment. Could a man be free if he was shackled by the needs of urban life? Plainly rhetorical, and so, with that flimsy justification, you flee. You embrace the one thing most would dread, you run into the gaping, dark arms of isolation. What distinguishes you from being a survival hunter, was that you did not retrieve your hunt to feed yourself or family. It was for sport, and in many ways, people hunt other animals for sport all the time. Men are animals too. They'll be coming for you, all of them, and you can almost feel the ground shake as their boots trod towards you. The trembling was from the adrenaline settling into your body and the chills of late afternoon breeze touching your cold, clammy skin. Can men fight nature and win? What if you became a true child of nature?
Would they see you?
You open your eyes. It's been over a month, you think. Living at the edges of civilization is difficult, and what scraps of the modernized world you can glean in your journey to disappear - will have to do. It turns out, unsurprisingly, that they were throwing everything they had at you. This turns your gut a little, because your prey were using what was previously your levied money to purchase all of those tools that might return you to your creator. The big man in the white mansion, for all intents and purposes, released the hounds. They sent four hundred at first, looking like they were more attuned to fighting an offensive war in a foreign sun-baked land. Then when that failed, they sent a thousand men to look for you. They haven't found you, of course, and many people have claimed to have seen you. It's funny how much something will appear to be there if you really wanted it to be there. Does nature play tricks on the mind? Or do people do it themselves? Maybe it's both.
It's hard to break a smile, because your face is cracking from all the mud. The oil from the camouflage paint is smearing the bits of paper and tabloid news that you've found in your adventure. They haven't found you because they don't really know what they are supposed to look for, you've transformed into something alien, and foreign. Nature doesn't distinguish the Earth with borders, and checkpoints. When the first travelers to space looked upon our world, they saw no lines, no countries, nor ideals and prejudices - they just saw the land and oceans as it was intended to be seen. After dancing with that tangent for that moment, a smile finally forms into a grin. In some circles, the commonfolk have christened you, "The Diaper Sniper" and "The Pamper Predator". Being on the move means relieving one's self on the move, and in a hurry. Some clues were meant to be found, and what better way to slow a body-line search formation to a crawl, then to have an unlucky dog of law come across your previous day's digestive embellishments? That's Gold, Jerry. Gold!.
Laughter is a wonderful thing, especially for the hunter that is being hunted. So with a laden diaper, a crusty rifle, and with your face - gaunt with mud and paint, continues to press on deeper into the woods. As you watch the sun slowly set into the horizon, with the playful orange flecks of light bouncing off your camouflaged-oiled skin and attire, thoughts begin to reel. You want so much to channel a certain Eric Robert Rudolph and pray to his likeness, because you know that even the murderous Mexican cartels pray to a Saint, a Saint which supposedly grants safe passage to drug runners crossing into the United States. Theses blood-stained worshipers even build small roadside shrines, and faithful would-be criminals regularly leave alcoholic offerings to the deity to illicit favour. It's madness.
Perhaps the greater madness is derived from the fact that by some wondrous coincidence, you and your newfound Saint share the same first name. That the both of you embarked on the same journey to disappear from the eyes of the establishment. With some nervousness and bitterness, there's an inner understanding that there will come a day when even nature itself won't be a good enough ally. For now at least, it's enough in life to keep the animals on the other side guessing. It's enough in life just to be Eric Matthew Frein.
- Slack Channels: #literature
Hunterbob wrote:Very well written Shaunz. Start of your novel? Is the story your own creation, or does it have a base from something?
Well written Shaun, I really can't wait to see what happens with this guy (both in literature and reality).