I walked to my car and looked up. Orion smiled down on me. The hunter
. I guess that's what I am. Shoot to kill
and all that, you know. She, and this is one of a long line of shes, had become bad company
, and I found myself out staring at my mentor Orion.
She was down with the task, she just wasn't up to it. Most of them aren't. This is hunting season, I've got no time to waste. Lust, and it's contemporary love, are in season right now, and this is peak. This year the hunting's thin, so many squatters on this once fertile land. But no worries, I have been through hard times before, and I still get dinner on the table.
He was high in the sky now, right in from of me, looking west. I thought maybe I should go west. Everything's bigger out west, isn't it. Life was so small here it made me forget there were places to go. On to 76. I felt a little lonely soon so I grabbed the exit, parked it for the night. Tomorrow was another night, I told myself.
Of course season ended soon enough and I knew I'd better get serious, start shooting for the big game, the game worth dragging home. Lately I'd take down anything that walked. They were all easy enough once I got my head around them. They don't expect that, someone who wants to understand them, and that takes them off guard. "Let the tool do the work," my father used to say. But I had been looking too low, looking at the body, not the eyes. Curves entertain me, I admit, but like my company tonight they were wasted. The eyes were where all the action was, the only real place to gauge their quality. I made a mental note. More eyes.
The next morn, I was off to hunt again. I felt even more lonely with no stars to guide me, so I slept off the hangover. Driving back with the sun in my eyes to my empty home made me bored, so I entertained myself imagining the game I would hunt that night. Wide, alert, not darting, not dilated, sparkling irises like a mirror ball. Green, brown, blue crystals harded around a black abyss centered on me. Maybe I was hunting for them because they really were hunting me. Maybe it was those black dots, sighting right at me. How could I avoid them? They looked at me and I looked right back: a duel. Who cares?
The stars came out again trumpetting the hunt. I didn't need dogs. I never did, they just yapped up the place, scaring all the game. I hunted silently moving across the horizon. As long as every move is natural, everything is natural. No missteps tonight I tell myself. The game didn't come out for a few hours, so I make myself familiar with the surroundings. When they finally do, it's thin again. I start looking, "More eyes," right. Some curves here, there. No eyes. None.
Stupid masses really. They swim through each other, pooling around each other, but just one stupid mass. Drunk to apathy, drunk to forgetfulness, and drunk to make the mistake they want to make so badly. Empty of anything worth the ammo, of course. Just my luck.
It looks like an empty night and I'm about to go when a few more marks show up. I single out a particularly juicy looking one, and go in for a closer look. Very healthy, very alert. But the one next to her, that's the real prize. Taking the long way, I get a good look at the eyes. Glint. That's good. She looks ready to... Ready, anyway. Her eyes stand out from the others she's standing with, trying to merge with. I see her look up, look right in my direction. Look right at me. I come alive. She looks past me, around me, then she hits me full force. I was ready for that, I thought. I look into her eyes, ignoring the rest of the mark. Deep in her eyes is a mirror, she is looking at me with the same eyes. The eyes of a hunter.