Buck- Chapter 5

From the mantel in his living room, a few heads of animals looked back at Marco Payne. Country music lightly plays on the radio as he sat in a rickety recliner. Eating from a bowl of soup, the hunter puts his feet up on the nearby footrest, looking back at the animals he had killed. He had sold a few furs and antlers for money-but the ones he was most proud of stayed in his home. The heads of a fox, raccoon and finally the head of Daisy the fawn. Even his hunter friends from Fincher’s Bar and Grill secretly found the fact he shot a baby animal to be heinous.

Breaking his concentration was the all too familiar sound of thumping. To most people, this would have made them want to investigate and maybe call the police if they were that sure someone was in danger. Someone was. Marco didn’t see it that way though. Thump! Still sitting in his chair, Marco decided to speak up. “Shutup down there!”

In the kitchen which hadn’t been properly cleaned in months, under a rug, the trap door was well hidden. The young man tried desperately to break through every day. Anyone living under the floorboardswould go crazy, and Aiden Payne certainly had. Marco didn’t keep the underground room neat. This place was full of cobwebs, dust and only a bucket of old water kept him hydrated and when his father decided to feed him, it was left overs. “Let me out!” He shouted in vein. He didn’t want to yell too much,for he knew two things deep down. One, no one would hear him and two, he didn’twant to get beaten again. Or worse, drugged and black out. That was worse thangetting the belt with the nail on the end. The drugging. That was pure terrorand helplessness. He didn’t quite remember how long he’d been under there, sureMarco would take him out occasionally, but he was on a leash and his dad was ahateful and cruel boss.

Darkness surrounded the 17-year-old most of all. Being in the dingy room was what he knew the most. As far as he knew, his fate was sealed.

***

The last days of summer were slowly coming to an end, but the weather was warm enough that Stetson didn’t need his jacket. Opening the back seat to the hummer, he loaded his shotgun and placed the serrated hunting knife in its usual spot. Tonight, was the night. Even he feared what outcome may turn out. Would he die, and all his efforts be washed away? Would furries and humans forever be in a cycle of war and loathing? Years of preparation led to this one moment.

The only source of light were the beams of headlights, which lit the dirt road. Of course, he wouldn’t just go up to the front door. Marco wasn’t an average hunter, he was a very good hunter. Certainly, someone of his caliber had traps along his yard. The last thing he did was make sure the headlight he placed on the barrel of the gun would be enough to aid him. He had extra batteries if it didn’t work out, but it did, and he turned the vehicle off. His ears twitch to any sound, the air not only full of dirt and leaves, but the scent of human flesh. Marco’s flesh to be exact.

The journey to Marco’s home wasn’t too long, he kep this pace slow and methodical. Normally being out in the woods meant fear, but tonight-he was the stalker. His journey was met with thorns and shrubs, a few mud puddles as well.

As the trees disappeared, he realized he must be close to civilization. The trees appeared to be cut down. After he passed the last large tree, he found himself in a field. He saw Marco’s home. Staring at the back porch, he saw lights were on. Walking closer, he kept his body away from the windows. Holding the shotgun with two hands, the deer crouched. His ears move to any little sound, which they’re a lot of. The wind, bugs and other nighttime furries who roamed, but were too scared to interact with him.

Behind the kitchen counter, Marco finished the last of his beer, he was tipsy enough. Opening the giant trap door, he peered at his son, who coward at his presence. “I’ll see you tomorrow for some fun.” He chuckled drunkenly and slammed it shut-he wanted to give Aiden something to think about. The little bit of light from the florescent kitchen light was almost heavenly. Now his world was shut and pure black. He paced in his small area, the wood beneath his feet creaked. The air from the thin walls gave the small room a chill, making it difficult to sleep. Not that he never got much sleep down here.

Sneaking closer to the house, Stetson hid behind a large rock, he stayed close to the edge of the woods in case he had to make an emergency run and kill him that way. Now he was faced at the side of the house,where a window beaming with light shown through and the porch was only a few feet from where the deer knelt. Keeping his body low, he faces the window,narrowing his eyes. Standing at the kitchen sink is Marco cleaning off a hunting knife, the sink was running, and he was preoccupied. If the hunter were to look up from his task, he’d see the decorative rock Stetson used for cover.

A chilly breeze caused the leaves of trees behind him to rattle. His fur stood on end, both from the cold and from the anticipation of what was to come. The deer also got a good look at Marco’s home. The disarray and mess didn’t shock him. Neither did the grotesque sight of the heads of furries hanging on his wall.

Reaching to the grass, the buck tossed a large pebble through the window, which caused one of the pans to break ever so slightly. Unlike Marco who had hunted innocent animals, Stetson was going to give him a chance. To put up a fight. He couldn’t just blow him away and let that be all.He had to know why he was dying.

Quickly turning the sink off, the bearded man went to a nearby closet and pulled out a .44 Magnum. Quickly crouching, Stetson’s backis now to the smooth rock, sitting and holding his gun. Holding his breath tohear every little sound he could.

The wooden back door opened with a squeak, Marco zipped his lightweight jacket up. “Alright, who’s the son of a bitch who broke my window, huh? A furry, wanna be hunted?” Standing up halfway, but still half hidden by the rock, Stetson aimed the shotgun at Marco’s feet. “Gottcha now”Stetson whispered before pulling the trigger. Marco yelped and quickly ducked. Lying on his belly, flopping into the cold grass. He knew the shot wouldn’t kill him. He didn’t want him to die yet. Marco fires the pistol somewhat aimlessly, Stetson’s heart leapt into his throat. For some reason, the sound ofanother gun scared him a bit. The bullets penetrate the rock, sending pieces ofit flying.

The gun Marco had was a strong sucker. “You a furry. I can smell your fear.” Marco chuckled into the night. Now what? Stetson goes back to leaning against the rock, checking the amount of ammo he has. He has plenty. What good was that if he didn’t know where Marco was? Holding his breath again, he listened into the night. Not too far beside him, the sound of a can hit the trunk of one of the nearby trees.

Stetson cocked his head to one side, aiming his gun at the object. He was so focused on where the item landed that by the time a thin,metal wire wrapped around his neck and seemed to get tighter, he dropped his gun in a momentary fit of terror.         

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