Rain pierced the forest canopy. It clattered between leaves and thumped off branches. Droplets which were not caught by the trap of the forest ceiling landed heavily on the now sodden ground and masked most other sounds along the forest floor. Branches cracking, usually a siren to those dwelling in the forest was now just part of the symphony of the season.
A gust of wind caught the coat hood of a man crouching beside a wide Oak trunk. It plastered his fringe against his face and caused him to blink. For all the benefits the weather gave, it also brought distractions and hinderances.
He raised his arms again and sighted along a freshly fletched arrow, held expertly against his bow. His fingers took the slack from the string and he breathed in. He dropped his shoulders and opened his chest. His right arm heaved the weight out of the bow and he breathed out.
The rain slowed around him and all the noises of the wood stopped abruptly. He blinked again; this time in preparation. The wind gave up tugging at his coat and his heartbeat slowed. He was still. He waited.
He moved almost imperceptibly and the arrow which had longed to be freed from the bow bent with the force of the energy in the bow string. It lunged forward and out into the open forest. It straightened as it gained momentum through the damp air. It whistled underneath a branch with droplets hanging neatly under its length and dropped slightly towards the ground. It flew into a wide clearing where the canopy above was thin and the rain was heavier. It found its way over puddles and continued towards the opposite tree line, where it stopped.
The arrow found it’s mark behind the front leg of a magnificent deer. It ploughed beneath the skin, wending it’s way between bones and muscle. It made it’s way into the animals chest, losing momentum as quickly as it had gained it but still made it deep enough to complete it’s task.
The deer staggered against the impact, and it’s knees began to buckle. It’s head was thrown backwards as it started the long decent to the wet earth. Breathless and panicked, it cried silently into the empty space and collapsed. The weight of the animal and the momentum of the arrow carried it down onto it’s side, dispersing water and mud around it and throwing a splash high into the air as the deer became still.
Sound came rushing back and the rain continued it’s harsh pounding of the earth. The crack of the bow string echoed between the trees, the desperate bark of the deer was carried off into the wind and the crash of it’s body on the ground reassured the man that his persistence and patience had paid off.
He thumbed another arrow into his bow, so as not to leave a wounded animal in pain and walked steadily across the clearing to check on his quarry.
The deer lay motionless, it’s fur parted by the rain which now ran in streams off it’s flank. The man placed the arrow back into the quiver at his hip.
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