The Hunters

Marion crouched down at the edge of the clearing, listening. At first, all she could hear was the thump of her own heart, the throb of the blood in her veins, and her panting breath. She took several slow deep breaths, her hands pressing down on her thighs.

There was a rustle, sudden in the undergrowth.

She turned as some creature; small, probably the size of a large badger or a young deer, scampered off away from her.

Marion was hungry; she knew that soon, unless she could find some way out of the forest, then she would have to think about hunting for food. There were berries and other fruit on bushes and trees, but nothing like she’d ever seen before. She knew nothing of how to live out in the wild.

Only a day ago she’d been troubled by the paucity of what her fridge had to offer, and was contemplating ordering an online grocery delivery.

She’d forgotten about the food order, though. It was the busy time at work as they prepared for the year-end tax return. As soon as she came home late, she’d showered and then fell asleep naked on her bed.

Then, she didn’t know how much later, she’d woken on the grassy clearing deep in this forest as naked as the moment she’d fallen asleep on her bed. She’d reached up to scratch her head and found her hair still wet. It could be from the dew on the ground, but when she sniffed a strand of her damp black hair, it had smelt of her shampoo.

It had made her cry for a moment, the smell of her familiar shampoo as she sat in the dawn light in the middle of a forest, shivering and trying to wipe that dew from her skin.

There had been voices, rough men’s voices shouting, laughing in the distance. She’d dashed from the clearing and hid behind a tree of some sort. She knew nothing about trees. She was a city girl, she knew nothing of forests or….

They looked like knights, men at arms – something from the medieval period anyway – as they ran through the clearing. Huge snarling dogs on leads led the way, dragging their handlers behind them. One of the dogs had turned his head to glance over towards where Marion hid, but then he’d returned eagerly to the chase.

Moments later, three men on huge horses, dressed in medieval-style clothing too, one wearing chain mail and a surcoat, had rode through the clearing yelling and jeering at each other as they followed the hunters and the dogs.

Marion had held her breath for as long as she could. Then, when she was sure the men had gone, she’d dashed off the other way, half-hoping that she would stumble, fall and tumble out of this nightmare.

But it had not worked.

Now, she was still here, wondering what to do next.


Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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