by Lee Anne Stark
illustrations by Janet Colvin
CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH
The sound made by the dry Fall leaves was almost deafening. They could hear the hunter approaching. Every step he took gave away his location. They couldn't see him, but they knew exactly where he was. They were waiting for their chance to run.
shhh, don't move, he'll see us. Wait. Not yet. Wait until he moves again. NOW!
They made a break for it, keeping low, and, hopefully, out of sight. The hunter caught a glimpse of them and smiled a nasty smile. He'd been after these two for more than a month. This time they were dead.
It was a beautiful day, temperature in the low 40's, sun shining bright. He breathed in a deep breath of that heady, earthy scent you only get on a Fall day. If a man could bottle that scent he'd be apt to make a small fortune. He was in no hurry, keeping a nice steady pace. They wouldn't get far.
Quiet! He almost caught us that last time, we need to be more careful. Shhh...wait until he moves again. Head over there, behind that old mossy log. Wait. Wait...NOW!
The hunter smiled. He'd seen them again. They weren't very good at this game. He could almost taste his victory.
They were heading North. What were those two playing at? he wondered. There wasn't anything but swamp to the North. They'd get themselves cornered and then they'd be dead.
CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH.
They huddled behind the moss covered log. At one time it had been a magnificent old oak but a wind had brought it down years ago. Its roots were now high in the air casting an eerie shadow in the bright sunlight. They didn't understand why the hunter kept after them. Sure, they'd been playing in his gardens. They didn't think it mattered since the frost last month had killed everything down to the ground. The hunters' gardens were a fine playground...lots of places to play hide and seek, hedges to hide under...They didn't want to die. They had to DO something to make this stop.
shhh. Don't move just yet. Wait for the leaves to make their sound. Wait. Wait...NOW!
The hunter just shook his head in disbelief. He'd seen them again. They were making this much too easy. He slowed his pace some not only to to prolong their agony but also to prolong his pleasure in the hunt.
He heard the tell-tale honking of a flock of geese passing overhead. As if on cue they came in low and fast and it occurred to him that they were going to land in that swamp up ahead.
He raised his shotgun and sighted in on one. Just because he could. He didn't pull the trigger though, he was saving these two shells for that pair up ahead. It was just a matter of time before they got themselves cornered. He'd take care of them and then he'd celebrate his victory with a fresh goose dinner.
shhh. Not yet. Just a second. He's almost here. Wait. Wait.
CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH.
The hunter was watching his step. They were in the swamp now. Just as he'd figured. He smiled another of those nasty smiles. They were his now. They were as good as dead. He glanced ahead at an open area and sure enough, just like he'd figured, that flock of geese were swimming about with not a care in the world. He could almost taste that goose he was going to have for dinner, stuffed, with all the trimmings.
wait for it, wait, soon. He's almost here. Wait until he's just about on top of us. NOW!
Startled, the hunter took a step back and fell into a deep pool. He struggled. His shotgun fell out of his hands and sank. He struggled some more. Quick sand!! He promptly forgot everything he'd been taught about quick sand. He kept struggling, and he kept sinking. He felt something below him but couldn't make out what it was. Eventually he sank out of sight.
hehehehe...perfect! that was perfect!
The two partridge sat on a low cedar branch. They watched the hunter sink. They'd followed their plan and had succeeded. Instead of running away that last time they'd flown right up into his face and scared him right off his feet!
They'd been trying to get this particular hunter to this exact spot for more than a month. Finally, their patience had paid off. He was more of a challenge than were the three before him. He'd been a stubborn one. Four hunters were now sunk in that pool of quick sand. The other humans would never find them.
They raised a wing to the geese. They had played their part perfectly! No human hunter could resist a goose dinner. The two partridge settled in for the night. They slept soundly and dreamed of their next prey. There was lots of room in that quick sand pool.
LeeAnne sent me this article for the Hunting Cubit.
I asked her if she had any photos to go along with it and she said no.
I enjoyed looking through my own photo memories to illustrate the story with.
Special thanks to JRBugs (Wallaby1) for permission to use
her awesome partridge photos