The rays of sunlight broke through the cover of fresh spring leaves. The air glowed a shade of gold and brilliant green. Something you couldn’t capture on camera. Life seemed to shine everywhere.
In the clearing ahead – about 30 or so meters – stood a young buck eating what could only be described (based on the time of day) as lunch.
“Go ahead,” was whispered in my ear.
The buck’s fur was radiant in the sunlight. A creature not from this world. Horns had barely sprouted from his head.
“We can’t, he’s too young,” I responded.
“Don’t worry, I have all my tools with me. No one will know.”
“It feels cheap Dad.”
“We’ve been looking all morning, we aren’t likely to see another one.”
My first hunt. This isn’t how I wanted to go about it. I didn’t want to kill Bambi.
The buck moved ever closer to us, munching away, having no idea that we lay in wait. I moved up a few meters careful not to crunch any of the leaves that had fallen the prior fall. I didn’t want dad to be disappointed with me.
“That’s it, take it easy.”
A cover of clouds rolled in and broke the spell.
“Don’t miss your chance. Think of how proud your mother will be.”
My mother wouldn’t be proud. She hated that he hunted. Hated that we hunted.
A few raindrops began to fall. The buck wasn’t bothered.
I was at the edge of the clearing. The buck no more than 15 meters away now.
“Perfect. Perfect spot. Careful. Aim carefully. Breathe out and squeeze, just like we talked about. Just like we practiced.”
I aimed down the sights. The buck’s chest in the center of my scope. I could see him breathing. Never would I be more aware of this creature’s life in my hands. The power that I held.
A then the sky flashed followed by – one, two, three, four – a heavy crack of thunder. The buck looked directly at me. I could have still made the shot but I hesitated. The buck was gone in an instant.
“Dammit,” yelled my dad.