An icy wind blows quietly through the thicket, gently stirring the bare branches overhead. She crouches even lower against the brush, holding her position steady, beanie pulled down low over her ears. She flexes her fingers and cups them, blowing hot air into her bare hands. She clenches her jaw to prevent her teeth from chattering. Snow lightly feathers her parka and eyelashes. 6 hours have numbed her core.
A crisp chill settles over the frost-covered forest. Her senses remain vigilant as a shadow finally emerges into sight, not far from where she’s carefully tracked prints. The four-hoofed beast stands majestically against the rays of the setting sun. Its brown coat a stunning contrast to the surrounding snow. Antlers arc gracefully towards the sky. The wait is over.
She bites her lip and doesn’t dare breathe whilst slowly shifting her weight down onto her right knee and reaches to grab an arrow from the worn quiver strapped snug against her back. Her eyes never leaving the target, she nocks the arrow without hesitation. Waiting until the whitetail takes a single step forward, exposing its vitals, she swiftly pulls her bow to a full draw.
The creature cocks its ears and turns its head, alerted to any movement, but doesn’t flee. Seizing the opportunity, she briefly anchors the string into holding – string to nose, fingers to jaw. Aiming low and inhaling lightly, she looses the arrow.
The wind stops, freezing the moment before defeat. As predicted, the animal jumps to life at the snap of release, milliseconds too late. The arrow buries itself into its broadside. She waits patiently and watches as it runs another 200 yards into the woods. Closing her eyes, she quietly whispers a prayer under her breath, finishing just as a defeated thud echoes in the distance. She rises from her crouched position, stretching her spine and stiff limbs and brushing the ice from her hefty clothes. Swallows hard and gritting her teeth, she trails after her fallen prey. Survival is a painful game.
The Daily Post Daily Prompt: Silent