« Woe Vs Leg: action suit | Main | Paranormal Sites of Kansas: The Big Well & Meteorite »

Hunting for Ernest Hemingway in Kudu Heaven

by Luc Reid

I had been up more than an hour, drinking coffee, when Thorn came out of his tent to join me.

"Coffee?" I said, pointing a hoof.

"Wonderful," said Thorn, and took a cup. Thorn was a springbok, hardly half my size, but he was a good friend, and a damned good hunter.

"Ready for it?" said Thorn. "Maybe you'll have better luck today."


We set out from camp toward the water hole we'd watched for three days. We hadn't seen anything but a few dog teasers, but I didn't care. Crouching in the grass, the dust cool against my legs, the sky the same blank blue as a robin's egg, I was happy. It was good to be a kudu, hunting, in Kudu Heaven.

There was nothing that morning. It was dry and still, and very hot. The trees came close to the edge of the water hole, shading it, and it was hard to see from where we sat downwind. We didn't see anything until a few minutes before sunset. It was nearly too dark to shoot already.

"There!" Thorn whispered. "By god, there!"

An Ernest Hemingway had come out of the high grasses, an old bull, heavy, powerful, wearing a pair of Bermuda shorts.

"Look at that bastard," Thorn said. "Isn't he magnificent?"

I lined Hemingway up with my Winchester special, with its hoof-sized trigger. He crouched by the water, alert, confident. Heat rippled the air between us. Then he lifted his head, and he reared. He'd seen my horns. He bolted for the trees.

I shut away my excitement and tracked ahead of him with the Winchester. When I had the shot, I squeezed. Hemingway jumped at the edge of the trees and disappeared into them.

"Good shot! Marvelous!" said Thorn, leaping out over the grass on all fours. I followed him at a trot. "Do you think you killed him?"

"I don't know if I hit him."

"I'm sure you hit him."

"I don't think so."

He was there when we reached the edge of the wood, collapsed in the brush. My shot had gone through his lung and heart. His massive head was turned to the side, staring at an anthill with glassy eyes. Thorn was delighted. Hemingway looked fierce even dead.

He was mine, dead like that. But he'd been mine since I lined him up in my sights. If I'd let him live, he would have been mine and alive, still roaming. Maybe that's what hunters were bad at: letting things live.

"God, what a kill!" said Thorn. "Don't you admire these things?"

"No," I said.

"You don't?"

"No. Not anymore."

Post a comment