The vultures circled. At first, it was one. Then three, then five, circling like the ravenous scavengers they were. They waited. Waited for the Hunter to emerge. Then they’d feed. It was only scraps, but to them, it was more than nothing. I waited for the Hunter as well. Body painted with mud, I waited amongst the dense undergrowth. Not moving, barely breathing. Nothing knew I waited. Even the insects found little interest in me. All I had to do was wait.
Patience was a virtue of mine. I could lay in wait for days. The longest was a week, before I passed out from no nutrients. Then I developed a tactic. Leave my mouth open. Bugs provided protein; dew provided water. Simple and efficient. As I tried to be. But was the plan of attack good enough? I had gone over it time after time. Made sure it was drilled into my brain. I couldn’t help second-guessing it. The fate of the village rested solely upon my shoulders. I was the only warrior brave enough to face the threat to our lives. The Hunter had been preying upon my people for over two hundred years. Normally, offerings sufficed, but this year, it refused to be pleased. It even devoured our leader’s daughter. Demanded more. But what could we give it? So it’s begun a rampage. Now the Hunter must become the Hunted. My skills with a spear had become legendary. Still, would it be enough?
Acid rain started falling. My clear skin turned a pale green. A lower concentration of acid. Not that it made any difference. It only aided my camoflauge. The vultures stopped. Odd, considering water never bothered them. My ears tuned. Even their elongated shape couldn’t pick up anything other than drops splatting against foliage and the sharp hiss they made upon reaching the ground. I heard it. A leaf moved. No…it had finally drained pooling water. Was that air movement? No. My imagination. I was getting antsy. The Hunter should’ve stirred by now. Perhaps the rain delayed it? I couldn’t recall actually seeing it attack in the rain. My arm muscle twitched with anticipation. No. I took as deep a breath as I dared. I needed to remain calm, remain patient.
Two thick drops landed on my back. Thicker than acid rain. I remained still. Fought the urge to look over my shoulder. Another drop. Except this one burned. My flesh seemed to catch on fire. The spear was in my hand, and I whirled around. Everything in me stopped. The Hunter somehow snuck up on me.
Eight souless eyes bore into me. Red fur contrasted the light green foliage. Jaws the size of my armspan revealed rows of needle-shaped teeth. Thick saliva streamed between. I had not known fear like this before. I couldn’t move. I was face to face with the Hunter. The one I hunted. It became clear why it had lived so long, why it achieved deity status. And it was patient. The Hunter waited for the opportune moment to strike. I had to strike first. We both moved at the same time, a blur of two warriors clashing together. A sickening crunch of bones and a creature’s pained roar echoed through the rain.
The vultures circled.