The Hunt -- Part Ten

in fiction •  9 months ago


The bright sun felt good on his shoulders as he walked out of the forest. Small birds chirped from the branches of the fir trees that lined the path. The path slowly changed from dirt and dust to stone. The stone was worn smooth as if thousands or tens of thousands of people had hiked this very path. Yet, James knew this wasn’t true. Maybe one person in a generation or two from Hemlin ever chose to climb The Owl. Most never returned.

James felt his stomach grumble. The sun no longer felt just warm on his shoulders, it felt as if it was trying to bake him like a wheat cake in an overly hot oven. He wiped beads of sweat from his forehead. The tree lined path was wide enough for four full-grown men to walk shoulder to shoulder. The trees were tight along the side of the path, allowing nothing larger than a small rabbit or a slim fox between them. The sun, more than halfway through its daily journey, was directly in front and above James, its brightness forcing James to squint as he walked.

Hungry and thirsty, James continued walking along the sunlight path. James looked around, searching for a convenient bit of shade where he could rest and refresh himself. Up ahead, a tree lay fallen across the path. James smiled. There, he could squeeze out from along the path. He sped up his pace. Within minutes he arrived at the fallen tree.

The tree was so wide, there would have been no way for James to wrap his arms around the trunk had he so wished. He stepped gingerly up onto the tree where it lay. He clambered down the trunk and jumped down from the base of the tree into a bright meadow that lay on the other side of the tree lined path.

The meadow was wide and quiet. Small ponds dotted the landscape for as far as James could see. Dark green grasses grew between the ponds. They waved and rustled in the slight breeze. The whispering of their leaves sounded like so many children shushing each other before class. Scattered among the grasses were thick patches of reedmace, their brown heads slowly moving back and forth like upside-down pendulums keeping their own private time. Dust motes floated through the thick and syrupy sunlight. Birds of all types flitted and flittered through the air. Blue, red, green, and even yellow, the birds called back and forth to one another, shrieking with joy and surprise at every new-found seed or ripe, red berry.

James smiled. It was if he had walked into a private sanctuary dedicated to peace and tranquility.

He walked over to a large, flat, circular rock surrounded on one side by several birch trees. James removed his pack and set it down. He set down his spear. Then he sat, leaning against one of the birch trees. From where he sat, he could see across the entire meadow. The semi-circle of trees created a natural amphitheater, highlighting and accentuating the calls of the birds, the sounds of the grasses, and the whisper of the wind.

James pulled out his wheel of hard, white cheese. He cut a wedge off with his maple-handled knife, the handle felt smooth and cool on his hand as he carefully cut the cheese. He removed one of the loaves of rye bread. It felt heavy in his hand. He lifted it close and inhaled deeply. James loved the smell of fresh-baked rye bread. Even still, a hint of the smell remained. He smiled, simply happy he had food to eat.

James tore a small piece off the bread. He broke a small corner of the white cheese and ate. Chewing slowly, he looked around the meadow. He couldn’t imagine a more peaceful setting.

After he ate, he took a long drink of water from his bottle.

He carefully put the remaining bread back in his pack, along with his knife and the wheel of cheese.

He felt tired.

He lay his head down on his pack, adjusting it slightly to get comfortable.

His eyes closed.

James slept.

The sun slowly crept through the sky. The shadows lengthened. The air cooled.

A mist began to rise from the many ponds. It swirled and swayed as it rose. Inexorably, the patches of mist met and combined forces. As the sun cast its final rays across the trees and into the meadow, the only thing which could be seen was a vast sea of mist rising up towards the very tops of the trees.

With a start, James awoke. He rubbed his eyes. He sat up. From his vantage point, all that could be seen was a great, thick mist. Thick in some areas, thin in others, it swirled around him. James shivered.

In the deepening dark of the rising mist and the falling evening, James was unable to see anything beyond the large, flat, circular rock upon which he had supped and then slept. He looked up. The mist was thick.

The dark didn’t scare James.

He considered his options. With the growing realization he would have to wait until morning, James pulled out his blanket and prepared to sleep again.

He wasn’t tired yet, so he wrapped the blanket around him and sat with his back against the familiar birch. The birch felt warm and solid against his back.

James stared out into the rising mists.

As he watched, small lights began to appear within the mists. The lights swirled and swayed, but seemed to keep a different rhythm than the mist. At times, the lights would move close to each other and spin around as if they were two children spinning across the town square. Then, the lights would break apart and dance to a solitary beat. After a time, it seemed to James there were hundreds, if not thousands of the lights, spinning through the mists like so many stars in the night sky.

One light moved closer to James. It approached him and then spun away. The light did this countless times. Each time, it came just a bit closer.

Then, it came right up to James and perched on his left shoulder. He turned his head, slowly so as to not frighten the light.

There, sitting on his shoulder with her legs crossed, dressed in a tiny red frock, sat the smallest woman James had ever seen. She had the long, graceful limbs of a dancer. Her eyes were crystal blue. Her nose was pert and looked perfect on her pretty little face.

“Who are you?” she asked. Her voice was soft and high. It made James think of tiny chimes and soft, fluffy sheep.

“I’m James.”

“I’m Eoland,” she said and stood up on his shoulder. She raised her arms up above her head and twirled on James shoulder.

He could feel here tiny feet as they spun.

“Why are you here?” she asked.

“I want to climb the mountain,” answered James.

Eoland quit spinning. She put her tiny hands over her mouth. “Oh, but you mustn’t,” she said.


“I can’t say.”

James sat and waited. He wasn’t sure what to say.

“Don’t you want to know what I can’t say?”

James nodded.

Eoland floated over next to James ear. “There is an evil sorcerer,” she whispered. Her voice tickled his ear.

“I thought you weren’t supposed to say.”

Eoland shrugged. “I am an independent being,” she said. She put her hands on her hips and glared at James. “I do what I want, when I want to.”

James smiled.

“Do you have a problem with that?”

James laughed. “No, Eoland.”

“Are you sure?” she demanded.

James shook his head up and down, “I’m sure. I think everyone should do what they want to do,” he told Eoland. “As long as it doesn’t hurt other people,” he added as he thought of the Queen of the Forest and the grey beast along the trail.

“Good, because I want to be friends with you.”

“That would be nice,” said James.


My earlier novella, An Assassin's Tool, is available for free download right here . You can also purchase it on Amazon for just $0.99 if you prefer.

© 2015, Stone Golem Publishing, All rights reserved--no part of this may be used without express written consent.

**All pictures used are labeled for reuse. They come from Pixabay

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Great chapter, my girlfriend read it with me and she loved the little fairy.

I love the journey keep up the great writing, here's to the next part.


Thanks @steveuk. I'm glad your girlfriend liked the fairy--I thought she was nice and sassy and independent. Just the way I think every tiny fairy should be. Plus, I realized James really needed a friend after the rough go of it he has been having.

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Check out my latest blog for further details. Will be releasing an updated blog soon.


Glad I could captivate you! :)


Nice, I just Followed @sreepyeldarb you pls kindly follow back

The tenth story of a very good friend. I really enjoy the story. Good luck always for you @bigpanda.


I'm so pleased you enjoy it! May the very best of good luck be with you as well @rizasukma.

Every day is a pleasure read this incredible story. @bigpanda have a wonderful day ♥


Thanks @denissemata. I hope you have a wonderful day as well!

As always your writing continues to amaze and draw me in. You can really paint a picture with your words. Great work.


Very kind words, thanks for bringing a smile of satisfaction to my face.

Like children, I'm glad.
Because my brother loved your stories.
We both love to read :)


I'm so happy to hear you and your brother love the story. It is like getting two for one. Thanks!

Great One written.keep it up @bigpanda.
I love this story.


Thanks for the encouragement @steemit87

i always enjoy your story.@bigpanda
Thanks for sharing with us.Happy new year😊


Happy New Year! to you as well. I'm so glad you are enjoying it

I always enjoy reading your wonderful subjects

i waiting next part


Thanks so very much my friend. I'm glad you stopped by and I really appreciate your kind words.

Keep up the story, my friend, I'm concentrating on them well


Great, I will keep it up.


Is it still long ?

Great one @bigpanda.
waiting for next part.✌


Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it.



Thanks so much.

Great Story and beautiful photo illustration. Thanks @bigpanda for sharing :-)


Thank you for stopping by.

Wow so James and Eoland became friends? hmmmm we have to wait for another part. You know @bigpanda this story is so unique I like it and I can't wait what will happen next keep it up... I have just got here recently but last night I read your stories for 3 hours keep writing mate.You have got a fan here


Thanks for being a fan! I'm glad you like it and I'm very happy you find it unique. I strive for a bit of different, so I'm glad it is showing.


Yes @bigpanda keep writing good stuff buddy

Well done @bigpanda you described the hunger ,thirst and tiredness of james so beautifuly your words are awesome keep writing waiting for the next part....😊🐼


thanks for the encouragement and the kind words. I especially love the panda emoji! That is fantastically awesome!


I think panda is a peaceful animal i love it. Keep smiling dude

buen estilo de la narración,muy clara la explicación del ambiente y el paisaje...todo perfecto,felicitaciones, lo seguiré....


muchas gracias mi amigo. me hace feliz saber que lo gusto usted. que tenga buen dia y especialmente un Feliz Ano Nuevo

Gosh, another great story, it just keeps on getting better lol. You should write articles or even books. Have you considered it? Or like short story journals.


I actually have three books published on Amazon. One short fiction, one on beekeeping, and one on building good habits. I should have another fiction book published on Amazon within a month and there is a third that should be published at the end of February. Thanks for the kind words--I appreciate it.
I am considering putting all these short stories into one large collection and publishing it on Amazon as well. I think it might be fun.


Wow really, building good habits sounds interesting.I will take a look, thanks. Yeah I honestly think you should do that. People like to read short stories in one cover. Let me know how you get on with that. You should definately consider it.


I will. Thanks for the encouragement.

Awesome photos!! :) If your in to cool photos you might like the Mountains our AI generated.

Really nice work :-)



Good story 👍

I just read all 10 parts of the story and now I’m eager to see what happens next! :)


Thanks for reading them. I'm so glad you are eager for the next installment.

Part 10 is great readable
I enjoyed reading the parts of your thank you
Simple and beautiful style


Thank you.

Good writing. I like this post. thanks for sharing sir


Thank you very much.

U have good creative and writing skills
Good combo @bigpanda


Thanks, I love a good combo.

Wow amazing creation my friend .Your creativity just extra ordinary. You are great creator of steemit..Carry on my friend...


Thanks so much.


Most welcome my friend....

It's Wonderful knocking bro.Really it's good post..


great story & amazing writing style


Very kind of you to say, thanks

Everyday i red your story so.... beautiful thank you so much my friend


Glad you think its beautiful. Thank you.

would be cool to see an animator do his work alongside this, see how it would look like

I love the way you describe
Makes it easy to imagine it in my head

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Foto yang sangat bagus, benar-benar menakjubkan luar biasa bagus.
Nampanya suasana yang sangat aman untuk menikmati sesuatu, itulah yang namanya negri di atas awan
Saya kagum dengan postingan anda, Sukses selalu semoga harimu menyenangkan.

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Great chapter! Awesome work as always

i always enjoy from your amazing story

beautiful view, I love it. happy New Year

The story is very interesting friend @ bigpanda, james is a strong and strong personal figure. by reading the story above seemed to make me blush and feel that this is the life we ​​have to live whatever it is we should be thankful with the steadiness and sincerity, thank you for sharing

That's a good story:) Thank you for your good share. @bigpanda

Now this got me I'm gonna look for the remaining parts and read them all. Thanks @bigpanda

Nice post i like your name bigpanda

very amazing your post

wow great post man very informative.....


ok thanks

This is great
I was so engrossed in it till the end
Please follow me too @estherikott

Wow! I really enjoyed this...Good!!!

Cool view, my friend @bigpanda

Nice story. you sure write very well. More of this

This post has received a 21.44 % upvote from @boomerang thanks to: @bigpanda

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