The Chase

It was a sweltering night in the month of August. There was no moon in the sky and the air was thick and hung about like a dark heavy curtain. His heart was racing, nearly bursting out of his chest. The panic and fear swelled within him as he hid under a bush. He could hear the group of men who were pursuing him; some were armed with guns, and others carried torches and had hounds on leashes. He had eluded them for miles, but he could not shake them. He had killed several times before and not been caught. This time he would not get away.

He decided to press forward through the woods and head for the rocky hills beyond the brook. Maybe he could lose them there. Quietly, he crept forward, keeping low in the brush, taking the utmost care not to make any sound. The woods were no more than fifteen yards in front of him now, but the area in between was empty, providing no place to hide. He rested for a brief moment trying to catch his breath.

They were getting closer now; he could hear the hounds yelping as loud as if they were right upon him. His heart was pounding like a cannon in his chest. He summoned the energy to bolt across the bare patch into the woods. Just then, he could hear one of the men yelling, "That’s him! There he goes! Get him!" followed by the sound of a volley of gunshots. The bullets whizzed by his head as he mindlessly kept running for his life. "Let loose the hounds!" one of the men yelled as the others shot another round. This time, he felt a terrible burning in his leg. He had been hit. He was overcome by a sense of confusion and his head started to swim. It was only the adrenalin rushing through him that enabled him to press forward.

The hounds were now following his trail of blood. "He’s heading towards the brook" one of men told the other. With each step he took he grew weaker and his legs grew heavier, until, alas, he could go no farther. He decided that he would make his stand by a couple of large boulders that were by the water.

The hounds were now upon him. They cornered him by the rocks. His pursuers caught up a few moments later. One raised his rifle and squeezed the trigger. His aim was true: the bullet pierced his heart and he fell to the ground in a heap. As he lay with the life slowly draining from him, the last thing he heard over the sound of the yelping dogs was the man who had shot him saying, "Damn coyote, that’ll be the last time he ever steals my chickens."

Dana Oldenburg -- 2004