Monday January 11th, 2010

The exercise:

As I was bouncing around the archive I came across a prompt I used only once that I'd had every intention of using again. So I used it today. Click on the label to see what happened last time around (yes, I'm all the way up to September with the labels now).

I'll provide the first line and then we can all go wherever we please with it. Here it is:

I have been tracking my prey through the wooded hills gathered at the feet of the Rocky Mountains for the past two weeks.


AFC Word Count: 11,116
AFC Word Target: 11,000

I am beginning to have my doubts the story will be done 'well before the end of the month', as I so foolishly predicted.


I have been tracking my prey through the wooded hills gathered at the feet of the Rocky Mountains for the past two weeks. The first few days had produced precious little in the way of concrete signs of his passage and I had been forced to operate more on instinct than evidence. But that had changed on the morning of the fourth day with the discovery of a torn piece of white fabric hanging from the thorn of a blackberry bush like a signal of surrender.

Hunger had made him sloppy and that was not something you could afford to be with me on your trail.

A footprint in the mud two days later had sealed his fate, his destination now obvious to me. I began moving at night to make up the distance between us, to make up for the wasted time at the start of the chase when all of my movements were tentative. I could operate on an hour of sleep each night when I was on the hunt, caffeine pills and adrenaline fuelling my body until the capture was made and rest was once again permitted.

But even now he still manages to elude me. Perhaps I misjudged his strength. Maybe he had more supplies with him than my employer was aware of. No matter, I'm closing in and the end game has begun. Tonight I make camp for the final time and in the morning I will reach his father's cabin. If I get there first the takedown will go smoothly. If he gets there first it will be much messier, but the end result will be the same.

I hope I get there second.


Greg said...

At first I thought you were re-using the same first line prompt (though that would have been unlike you), so it came as a bit of surprise to be reminded of "The streets were full of frog" -- I mean fog of course.

Yours is a great little tale of huntsmanship, again with a little bit of unexpected bloodthirstiness there at the end. I particularly like the 'torn piece of white fabric' detail.


I have been tracking my prey through the wooded hills gathered at the feet of the Rocky Mountains for the past two weeks. My instructor,the redoubtable Owen Roberts, is frankly disgusted with me.
"She's in a wheelchair" he said in a tone of horror when we made camp again last night. "Good grief man, we're in rocky, hilly territory and the wheel-tracks stand out to a blind man! And you still can't catch up to her!"
"She's a lot bolder than us though," I countered, unstrapping my left artificial leg. "Would you, in a wheelchair, have tried to jump the gap between those narrow ledges back there?" The ledges in question were barely a foot and a half wide and the gap had been eight feet. Finding a way round had taken two hours.
"Probably not," he admitted.
"And her wheelchair floats, so she took advantage of that to gain half a day on us downstream."
"She's still only a ten-year-old girl!" Owen sounded slightly defensive, but he did have a point. I unstrapped my other artificial leg and made myself comfortable by our little fire.
"Why are we hunting down a ten year old anyway?" I said. The question had been bugging me ever since we started, but Owen's touchy and I'd not wanted to risk him going off on his own before.
"I promised her mother," he said, hanging his head a little. "I told her that I wouldn't let her get away."

morganna said...

I have been tracking my prey through the wooded hills gathered at the feet of the Rocky Mountains for the past two weeks.

They said it would be here, the guys back at the bar in town. Day by day, I track its leaping prints, mark the scrapes of its antlers on the low-growing trees, but I never quite catch a glimpse of it.

At first, I thought I would shoot it when I found it, but now, I am not so sure. What if it were one of the last of its kind, or even the last? I have developed a certain respect for it now, and I'm not sure I want it hanging on my wall. But I long for a glimpse of it and a shot with my camera, a shot of the elusive jackalope.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

This is one of my favorite prompts for some reason. I'm so glad you decided to do it again! And, I dunno about anybody else, but I say yours is begging for a continuation. I'm also looking at Greg on this as well.

I think my iPod playing a fiddle-heavy track of the Sherlock Holmes soundtrack had a hand in inspiring this one as well.
- - - - -
I've been tracking my prey through the wooded hills gathered at the feet of the Rocky Mountains for the past two weeks.

He'd seemed like such an easy target when I'd first spotted him on a bustling city street, a slight, trembling creature nervously dodging through the gray crowd. He must've gotten wind that he'd be pursued and fled. I figured it'd be one day, two days tops, before I apprehended him and brought him back.

Fourteen days later and he's somehow managed to stay one step ahead of me, much to my frustration. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if he didn't continually taunt me with his fiddle. Every night, around sundown, I could hear distant fiddle tunes float through the trees. Some nights, when the tunes were closer, they were more dirge-like, as if confirming his possible fate. Other nights, though, when they were more distant, the tunes were more upbeat, even joyful, teasing me to dare and try to find him. I'd search for the source of the tunes, but they seemed omnipresent, evenly permeating the air around me. When it's mournful I'm more resolute to catching him, but with the perky dance tunes it infuriates me.

Play all you want, gypsy fiddler. You can't dance out of my reach forever.
- - - - -
Feels good to do one of these prompts again. ^^

Marc said...

Greg - ah yes, the frog story. That was squishy good times.

I started laughing at wheelchair and didn't stop until the end, which was unexpectedly... sweet. :)

Morganna - nicely done! I like the change in sentiment in the hunter, the development of respect.

g2 - hey, good to see you 'round here again :)

The fiddling was an excellent touch, I'm glad you were listening to that when you wrote it :)

I'd suggest yours could be continued as well!