Tiger Tiger

50 Yards

Jun Satou was hunting. He was loaded down with ammunition, strapped low with the best version of the most primitive weaponry, and he still felt lacking.

He took his first, subtle step.

40 Yards

His prey stood staring off into the distance. He’d made a point of cloaking himself with a scent he knew would work. Some hunters claimed that remaining downwind would keep the prey docile, but he understood better. Jun knew that masking his natural scent with something far more potent would mean more flexibility in his movement, an ability to catch attention without casting a sense of danger and a great freedom from sudden shifts in wind pattern.

Big doe eyes looked out across the grass. She ate almost unthinkingly, simply existing as an effortless beauty, a miracle that poets dreamed of touching but always corrupted by putting down on paper.

30 Yards

Jun’s movement was brisker now but just as careful. He picked up his feet so they wouldn’t ruffle the grass, and then he heard the noise. He felt it a nanosecond before it hit his ears, but there it was — the far-too-audible crack snap of a twig under his left foot. He didn’t look down. His eyes were fixed, watching as she paused briefly from her meal and went right back to it.

He dared to move in closer.

20 Yards

His heart was beating faster now. Jun knew he wouldn’t make another mistake, but all hunter’s know the magic moment. They also dread it. Fear it like an ancient plague because it’s only in the last seconds, just before a hunter reaches the perfect spot to take his shot that something far beyond his control, an element of fate, a cosmic accident takes the chance away without any real reason or explanation. Maybe the meal had ended, maybe another impulse had come to mind, maybe a fly landed and had to be dealt with.

He held his breath. Nothing.

10 Yards

Nothing would stop him now. His finger twitched. His pupils bulged to draw in every detail. He entered the zone. All that was left was for him to be confident in himself, his aim and the tools of his trade.

1 Yard

The air smelled sweeter, and Jun took a deep, soundless breath. He made what he considered to be a mental, almost spiritual connection as he centered himself. He became as calm as the lake he grew up on.

He drew back his bow string, and lined up the shot.

“That’s a beautiful dress you’re wearing, Rinko.”

Her eyes grew wider in defiance of physics. It took a few seconds, but she smiled. Across the park, a few children tossed a kite up in the air, and Rinko looked down at her noodles.

“Do you want to join me, Jun?”

He smiled.

Direct hit.


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