By: Stacy L.
CATEGORY: Alternate Universe, Drama
TABLE FIC PROMPT: 023. Curious
AUTHOR’S NOTES: This story serves as a response to a table fic prompt from the LiveJournal community 100moods.
I smile broadly as I get him in my sights. He’s beautiful, majestic, the king of the forest, a magnificent buck. I quietly raise my bow aiming at the deer. I draw back on the arrow hesitating only a moment before I release. The arrow sails through the air and the buck turns to flee into the woods, an arrow now imbedded in its body. I approach where the arrow struck and smile as I see small droplets of fresh blood on the earthen soil. He’s lame and I know I have to find him. My goal was a quick kill, but the buck had turned unexpectedly thus it was now on the run and injured.
I follow the trail for some time before it vanishes, and I surrender in defeat. He travels fast for being lame. Damn! I decide to continue the search as the lure of the woods pulls at me drawing me forward. I lose track of how long I’ve been out here until it registers that the sun is now much lower in the sky. Night fall is fast approaching.
I turn around intent on heading back to the truck. I almost make it back to where I started when something makes me halt in my tracks. I pause and listen. As I focus on the sounds they become clearer and I realize that they are the sounds of someone in pain. I swallow hard before searching for them and am surprised when I stumble across a fallen man. I approach him cautiously taking in his hunched over form. He’s crouched before me panting. He hasn’t yet seen me but as I move closer he jerks his head up and blue pain-laced eyes focus intently on me. He attempts to rise as if ready to run but manages only to release a haggard choked scream as he falls back to the ground continuing to clutch at his leg protectively. I try to see what he’s covering but I’m distracted when he forces out a breathless, “Please don’t hurt me…”
I try to appear non-threatening as I lower beside him and gently question, “What happened?”
Licking his lips he answers in a harsh voice lined in pain, “Unlucky I guess.”
“Yes, hunter’s arrow…”
Shaking his head dismissively he continues, “Wasn’t thinking…walk these woods all the time…forgot, I forgot.”
“Bow and Arrow Season, help…help me up would you?”
“Sure…name’s Jack. Yours…?”
“Daniel, it’s Daniel…”
I help him to rise and offer aid. He hesitantly accepts and I prepare to extract the arrow imbedded deep in his thigh. He screams shrilly when I yank it out biting back as much as he can of it in the process. He blacks out and I’m left with the task of cleaning and bandaging the wound. When done I sit with him until he awakes again. When he does he offers me a shy smile before uttering a quiet thanks and turns to reenter the woods stopping when I utter a quick, “Wait.”
He turns and gazes at me waiting for me to speak again. Silence stretches between us for mere moments before I ask, “Do you live here?”
Shaking my head I find myself asking, “Why?”
He licks his lips nervously before managing, “I’m… I… People are looking for me. I…I can’t be seen, especially right now.”
“It’s too dangerous.”
Is he on the run? I shake my head in wonder before offering, “Let me help you,” before asking myself just why I made such an offer to a complete stranger. He quickly responds with, “It’s not that easy, Jack.”
I know it’s none of my business but I find myself inquiring further, “Are you in trouble?”
A vague answer, too vague for my liking, so I ask another “What kind of trouble?”
“You wouldn’t understand.”
Swallowing hard I ask, “Did you kill someone?” and mentally shout at myself: did he kill someone? Why don’t I just shoot myself while I’m at it!
Relieved I find myself continuing, “Then…what did you do?”
“Then why are you being hunted?” Way too many questions, O’Neill, back the fuck off!
Daniel is getting nervous. I notice how he begins to fidget casting repeated glances towards the dense woods to his left while unconsciously stepping closer and closer to them. He’s ready to bolt at any moment, but I discover I don’t want him to go. He intrigues and fascinates me. I want to know more, and I feel this overwhelming urge within that’s shouting to protect him at all costs. Him, a man I’ve only just met. It confuses and startles me. As he speaks again I focus intently on his face, noticing that he’s quite attractive before forcing my thoughts into silence. As I try to focus more intently on what he’s saying I catch the quickly uttered reply of, “Because I’m prized,” that has him retreating several more steps back from me. I pin him with a glance before responding with, “Arrogant I see…”
I should kick myself for that smart ass comment, especially since I have no idea if this man can be trusted or not. Instead I find myself watching him to see how he responds to the sarcasm. He merely shakes his head before quickly muttering, “No, no I’m not, I’m not arrogant. I’m…I’m a trophy to some. I’m…”
He licks his lips nervously again looking as if he had just revealed something he hadn’t intended and standing on edge to see what my response will be. I have no idea how to respond to that statement so I simply say, “You’re a trophy to some? What…?”
Again I get the sense that he’s holding something back that he’s trying to keep something from me, which urges me to further inquire, “Are you escaping from some where?”
“You could say that.”
“Let me help you then.”
“No, no. I already told you it’s too dangerous.”
He jumps as if startled by the usage of his name on my lips. He gazes at me intently before shaking his head and simply stating, “I have to go. Thank you. Thank you so much for helping me...”
With that said he bolts into the woods and disappears. I attempt to pursue him and quickly realize that he’s gone. I sigh in frustration but continue the search. It’s unsuccessful as I find that no trace of him remains. Shaking my head I surrender in defeat as I realize it’s getting late and I need to head back.
As I return to my truck I think of Daniel and hope that he’ll be all right. I hope he’ll manage to lose whatever demons are pursuing him. As I finish packing up my gear I turn to cast one last glance at the woods behind me and gasp when I see a buck. It looks like the same one I had wounded earlier, but no arrow protrudes from its body. I shake my head and start to turn away pausing briefly before looking back. The deer is gone but hadn’t it…wasn’t its…?
I could have sworn…I’m positive…that deer’s eyes were blue.
** The End **
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