General Fiction posted April 19, 2018

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A young hunter's experience.

Unexpected Guidance

by Rodubya

He was fourteen. Holding a loaded Winchester Carbine. And trembling with fear.

One hour ago, Paul and his dad parked and waited for dawn's light, near the top of Silver Mountain, prime whitetail deer country.

Paul had hunted with his dad before, but this time, Paul was being trusted on his own.

"Almost legal hunting light," his dad said. "Stay on or near this trail, and you'ill be fine."
Paul nodded, ready to prove himself.

Agreeing to meet back at the truck in two hours, his dad said. "Remember Paul, It's not just the hunt---you can learn a lot about nature by observing its beauty and ways.

Paul enjoyed the untethered freedom. An overnight light snow allowed perfect tracking. He'd crossed small tracks on the trail he took for a tree squirrel, searching for food for its winter larder. Later, a larger track, he figured for Coyote, maybe in hunt for the squirrel. "Nature on the move," he thought.

Then, there it was. A huge deer track on the trail. Bigger than any he'd ever seen---and it was fresh!

The tracks left the trail with Paul in pursuit, eyes down hoping to catch the big deer unaware.
Ten minutes later, Paul stopped, puffing like an exhausted marathoner. "Where are you, Bruno?" He gasped, certain the deer was the biggest buck on Silver Mountain and gave him that fitting moniker.

Looking up, he caught his breath. There he was. One hundred yards away. Staring him in the eye. Before he could react, Bruno disappeared into the deep woods.

Paul took two steps in pursuit then stopped, alarmed. He didn't know where he was. He turned in a circle. Nothing familiar. Where was the trail? Which direction? In a panic he began running, forgetting the hunt. Find the trail. Get back.

Five minutes of panic running, he spotted foot tracks in the snow. Relieved he bent over panting. Then he realized the tracks were his own. He had been running in circles!

Trembling, he remembered his dad's words, should he become lost in the woods. "Stop, relax, think and work it out."

Something moved. He looked up. Standing proudly, not fifty yards distant, was Bruno. The big deer stepped away a few strides, stopped and turned his massive antlers back toward Paul as if to say, "well, are you coming?"

Paul's dad arrived back at the truck to find Paul sitting on the tailgate sipping hot chocolate. Approaching, he waved, then stopped abruptly, eyes down. "Whoa, look at these deer tracks! "They are huge! And they're fresh! Let's get on them!"

"Nah," said Paul. "Probably here this morning. Too dark to see then."

Later, eating lunch, Paul peered into the woods and mumbled, "thanks for saving my life, Bruno."

"What was that?" Asked his dad.

"Oh nothing," realizing he had spoken aloud. "Just appreciating nature and all its lessons."

Lost - Flash Fiction writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a flash fiction story under 500 words about being lost

A fictional account of a similar personal experience.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by Rachel Brundage at

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