18. Recognised and Respected
Posted on July 27, 2011
The man took his time approaching the pile of carcasses. He was clearly making an effort to approach unobserved and if it hadn’t been for her motion tracking device she would not have been aware of his presence. He possessed some skill as a hunter, that much she was sure of. His skills were no match for her advanced technology, but she recognised and respected the qualities.
When he was within fifty yards of the scene he stopped, absorbing the devastation that lay before him. Antigua scrutinised his expression, trying to read his reaction. His eyes widened in surprise and she felt a small flush of pride that her handy work had elicited such a strong reaction. He waited a few moments, presumably to see if anything dangerous was still prowling about. Antigua checked the current position of the other three players on the scene. They were advancing steadily and would probably reach him within a minute or two. She was tempted to call out a warning to the man but something caused her to hold her tongue. She was interested to see how he dealt with the situation.
Satisfied that it was safe to continue his approach the man drew his sword and began creeping forward into the gruesome tableau. Every now and then he would use his sword to prod and poke at a particular piece of remains. The look of concern on his face spoke volumes and Antigua was now convinced of his purpose and his relationship to the man she had saved.
The man stooped suddenly, examining something on the ground. Using his sword he gingerly raised it up. It was a rough leather bag. He quickly took it up, opening it and tumbling the contents on to the ground before him. She surmised that it must have belonged to his brother because he began searching amongst the corpses with renewed vigour. She chastised herself for not having spotted it herself. The contents may have proved invaluable.
Sweden was distraught, he cast about, shoving gore splattered body parts around, looking for something, anything that remained of his brother. Eventually, finding nothing, his sense of panic began to abate and he allowed himself to relax. It appeared his brother was not part of the assorted dead animals.
He sat down. Fatigue was finally making its presence felt and he desperately needed to rest. He took a long deep breath and leant back, putting his arms out behind him for support. His left hand came to rest upon a blood soaked limb. He recoiled from the cold slickness of it and turned to push it away in disgust. With a sinking feeling he realised it was a human leg, more than that, the foot bore a leather boot that he recognised as belonging to his brother. He had cured the leather himself, cutting and stitching it for his brother. He had presented the finished pair to him on his eighteenth birthday.
Suddenly, there was a deep rumbling chorus of growls behind him. He turned in surprise and stared into the terrifying maw of an enormous caver not ten feet from him.
“Oh shit.” He thought.