The Hunter freezes when he hears the twig snap.
His eyes scan the area in front of him, but he knows where He is. Turning slowly, he picks up the knife he had been polishing. He doesn’t stand – not yet. For now, he just watches.
His eyes, still getting used to the dark of sundown, take a moment to pinpoint Him.
A slight flash of white in the trees gives him away.
Through the wooded border between forest and small clearing, a figure weaves.
The Hunter stays still, eyes locked on his foe. Despite the disguise of forest and night, he is not hidden anymore. The Hunter knows him too well for that.
Slowly, he steps onto the edge of the woods, finally making himself completely visible.
The Wolf is beautiful – the Hunter can’t deny that. His coat is a mottled blue and white, reflecting the light of the full moon. He has a larger stature than any wolf The Hunter has ever seen, though he walks with a slink, head down, pace slow. His fangs are as sharp as new silver knives, and they drip wet, sometimes with drool, sometimes with something darker. The creature is perfect – except for the scars he’s earned in battle.
The Hunter has them as well.
It’s been so long since he met The Wolf, he’s lost count of the days. But every night, he comes. Sometimes he just watches. Sometimes he attacks. Sometimes he circles the camp as if trying to decide which to do all night.
But he always comes.
The Hunter had instinctively shot the first time he saw him. He was young then, and he knew in the wilderness it was kill or be killed. He had ventured into the deeper parts of the forest that night to escape; he had buried his young bride the day before. Every night he wishes that he had just left, had just abandoned the hunt, had found a different wood, had stayed by her grave one night longer. But that first night under another full moon, The Wolf attacked and The Hunter shot.
He had been tracking something for a while when noticed a quick movement just on the edge of his camp. He just didn’t know how to locate him in time.
The Wolf had moved quicker then. With a piercing howl like the cry of a thousand lost souls trying to find their way home, he lunged. The Hunter had fired his pistol right into his side, but the beast didn’t stop. In fact, The Hunter swears it just made him stronger.
They battled all night. When the gun didn’t work, he had pulled the knife from his side and slashed across The Wolf’s face. His crimson blood fell and stained the grass beneath them. The Wolf, in his anger, gave The Hunter a scar to match.
Since that night, The Hunter hasn’t been able to rid himself of the wretched monster. No matter how many times he found a new camp, The Wolf would be there the next night, right at twilight.
The Wolf doesn’t move tonight. He just stands, yellow eyes, too knowing for any mortal beast, locked onto The Hunter.
Sighing, The Hunter puts another log onto his fire, now a pile of embers. Watching nights are always the longest.
The Hunter doesn’t sleep much anymore. The scars all across his back are a reminder of what happens when he is not on his guard. He can not kill the beast nor can he escape him, so he has no choice but to sit and wait, lest The Wolf decides to strike instead.
The Hunter does not know how long this beast from Hell will stalk him, but he worries it is to be for the rest of his days. His tired eyes keep The Wolf right on the edge of his vision as he puts his coffee pot over the fire, and grabs an old mug.
The Wolf does not move.
The Hunter begins to clean his knife once again as his coffee bubbles and broils. He looks up and meets eyes with his old companion once again.
It is going to be another long night.