Father and Son, The Hunting of Beasts

Father and Son, 
The Hunting of Beasts

 It's early morning, before the sun has even touched the horizon. Humid mist covers the jungle floors like blankets of clouds. You can't see what's beneath it, so you must keep to the known path if you wish not to be bitten by anything poisonous.

  As I walk down the path beside my father, I rub my eyes with the hand that is free. Adjusting to the glare of our torch. The moonlight is gently falling through the cracks of the canopy. Its soft cool glow always warms my heart. 

  I look around as I walk and see the trees that sprout hundreds of feet high. I wonder what it would be like to live up there? So many creatures and animals have their own world above the ground. Most never even touch the earth. 

Carrying my bag on my back I shrug my body to keep it from sliding. My father, the man that he is, his size allows him no struggle as he carries his bag. Shrugging mine, he looks to me and says,

"Son, eventually you will be like your father, you'll be the one to carry the heaviest bag and carry it with no problem. But first, you must go through the tribulations of a young man so you can appreciate what you will gain."

  I smile at him and reply with a struggling voice as I re-positioned my bag on my back, " I can't wait father, then I'll be the one to kill the animals for our food and our contracts!"

  I then sped up my pace as we were nearing the river. Speeding up, still didn't give me enough to pass my father. My three steps were one of his. As we reach the river bank we can see the sun starting to rise. 

  The beautiful blood haze of the rising sun starts to crest over the jungle horizon. I can see it from across the other side of the river. It never gets old. It always inspires me to smile and feel good about what is in front of me.

  We reach the river and toss our bags in the river boat. As we do, the boat rocks back and forth just a bit. Sending ripples atop the river. When our bags hit, an alligator comes rushing out from behind the boat and swims away.

"See son, that is why we always throw our bags onto the boat, we never just place them in." 

  I nod to him and get into the boat. We push off from the edge of the river and float our way down. As the sun rises, so does the heat. The moon is quickly overturned and vanishes into the air. Setting out to bring a night of wonder to another place beyond our home.

  As we float down the river I get the equipment ready. I pull out a rope, a couple machetes and a short spear, about half the length of my body. I check everything to make sure it's good. I look into my bag for all our rations. 

  This would be the third time checking everything for the day. My father always taught me, "Keep your environment organized and you will be prepared for anything."

  I then place our equipment in an organized fashion, spear on the left, the machetes to the right of the spear, and the rope dangling at the front of the boat from a hook. 

  After about thirty minutes, we reach our destination. Somewhere here should be the beast we are looking for. The creature that has been eating all the villages live stock and then some. As we sit here, we keep completely quiet, my father scans one side of the boat while I scan the other. 

  After about an hour or so, I see something, something is moving in the water, at a pooled area of the river. I give my father a signal, a soft whistle from my bottom lip. I point slowly as my father looks over. 

  My father then looks for a minute or two to confirm. He then nods and quietly tells me to tie the rope around the spear. I grab the spear and rope quietly, the sun is now near its morning high. Heat is radiating off the sun with vengeance. 

  Sweat starts to seep from every part of my body. I can hear the jungle coming to life. As I take the spear and slide the rope through the loop at the end of the spear, a few small alligators coast by our boat. 

  Following behind them is their mother. A few years ago I would be startled by such a sight. But now, after hunting with my father for so many years now, I see there is only fear in danger if you are unprepared. Always remain organized and calm. So in those moments of danger that are unavoidable you at least have a fighting chance. Don't allow irrational thoughts to collect wildly in your mind neither.

  That only leads to certain death and if not death, surely a terrible injury. My father has only had one incident, he was attacked by an alligator as he entered another river a few kilometers from this one. He was after a meal, he had been hunting a tiger for two weeks.

  He saw a fish stuck in a pool and when he entered the water, his hunger got the best of him. He didn't see the alligator that was making its way to the same fish. My father got between the fish and alligator. It latched onto his arm. Though the alligator got the jump on my father, the beast was not as prepared as my father.

  My father always carries an eight inch blade specifically designed to cut through alligator hide. The second the alligator bit down on my father, he pulled his knife from his side and sent it straight into the alligators head. It took three strikes before the beast died. 

  But after that, the fish was no longer needed for a meal. My father had food for a week. Luckily, he only needed it for two days. He found the tiger and killed it. 

  See, my father is a paid hunter, he kills predators that kill village livestock and or people. It has been our family occupation for generations. I can only hope to be as good as my father. 

  I finish tying the rope to the spear, I hand it off to my father. We sit a little longer waiting to see if we can spot the beasts head. The moment the sun sits right above our heads, the beast's head sticks out from a shrubbery of tangled bushes and branches. 

  Its head is the size of my chest, you can see its black beaded eyes looking around. Its tongue tasting the air, in and out, in and out. It shakes like a leaf fluttering in a wild wind. Once we see its head, my father tells me to carefully row over and stay low. 

  My father had cut out two lower depressions in both sides of the boat. They allow you to place the paddles in the them so you can sit on the boat floor and still row. My father got as low as he can, setting himself in a stalkers position, much like a tighter before they snare their prey.

  We approach the beast quietly and slowly. It does not notice us, we do our best to hide our scent. We took no baths for a week and slept in the mud every night. As we approach it, I can feel my heart begin to spill with adrenaline. Every bone in my body begins to tingle. 

  I keep rowing softly, causing no noticeable ripples. Only a few meters away and my father's eyes pierce the target. I can feel my father's presence flow into the air around us like humidity. I become lathered in anticipation. 

  My father tells me to stop rowing, we coast toward the beast. Still, its head lingers in the air from the shrubs. I keep hold the paddles just in case. My father then raises slowly to one knee. The beast is not aware of our presence. My father readies the spear in his hand. 

  He pulls back with arm and as we float to the beast, he takes in a heavy breath and holds it, as do I. These beasts may have terrible eyesight, but their sense of smell is great. They have learned the smell of human breath quite well. 

  We are only a few meters from the beast. The beast senses something, it turns its head toward us and as it does, we come into its focus. My father then reacts, he tosses the spear as hard as he can, it enters the beasts eye. 

  The beast shrills and swings its head back and forth. My father grabs hold the rope attached to the spear and starts to pull on it. Not to hard though, he doesn't want the spear to come free. He then commands me to paddle backwards as hard as I can.

  So I do, I paddle with everything in me. The sun is beating down wit harsh heat, the beast is fighting us back and my body its filled with adrenaline. I hear my father yelling at the beast. Commanding it to give up and die. That he will fight till the beast is too tired, even if my father must die himself.

  I feel a sense of pride as I watch my father. So well orchestrated in his craft, so well put together in a moment of chaos and death. Such brilliance for a man that is sent out to hunt. Our family is very well known throughout the jungles. 

  We are a prideful family, but humble, for we provide what few will. We save lives in what we do. We are compensated well for our job as well. We are grateful for such beasts to exist, for without them, we would not have our job. We would not have wild adventures and the possibility of death lingering over us day after day.

Such a way of life truly puts in perspective of what beauty and what life really is. I am so thankful to have been born into such a family. 

  We suddenly hit the other side of the river, my father tells me to turn the boat and paddle up stream. I have never had to this before. This will be a true test of my strength. I turn the boat and start to paddle up river. My father wraps the rope around both arms for a better grip. 

  The beast continues to fight. Minutes go by and my father shows no sign of giving up, but the beast does. Its black beaded eye show restlessness. Its tongue only battering into the air every so often. Its head is slowly sinking closer to the water. 

  My father looks to me and tells me to stop paddling, to grab the horn in the bag and send the signal. I release the paddles, reach into my bag and pull out the horn. A horn made from wild field bull. I blow the horn, as I do the beast collapses into the water.

  My father tells me to hurry, to paddle back to the beast. I paddle as fast as I can. My father then ties the rope to the hook at the front the boat and starts to pull us in. I then let go of the paddles and pick up one the machetes. 

  We reach the beast, we now stand right next to it. I then take the machete and start to hack the shrubs that surround it. After twenties minutes we can clearly see the beast. Its black scaled body coiled in a perfect circle. My father looks at me and then looks back at the beast. 

"That my son, is true a adversary and we won. We are great team, we killed a beast that surely would have killed anyone else."

I nod with pride and ask, "How big do you think it is father?"

My father measures it with its eyes, "About fifteen to twenty meters."

  My eyes grow extremely wide with surprise. My father then takes the beasts head and pulls it onto the boat. He rips out the spear, blood pours from it like a small waterfall. He hands me the spear and has me untie the rope as he prepares the other end around the neck of the beast.

  After we tie it up, two other boats show up, each with three men. Behind them is a large platform tied to both boats. After tying the rope around the beasts neck everyone jumps into the river and helps pull it from the shrubs. 

  Once it we remove it from the shrubs, we place it on the platform and make our way back. But not without having to fight off a few brave alligators that will gladly take someone else's victory. Once we get back. We pull the beast from the platform and drag it back to the village that hired us to kill it.

  Once we got there, there is instant praise of our win. A child no older than me was killed by this beast, including three live stalk. It's a great victory for both me and my father and village. That night, my father gives me his eight inch blade and tells me it is my turn. 

He says I have proven that  I can remain calm in the eyes of chaos, even when death is at my throat. 
What do you do in scenarios that bring great stress and or the possibility of danger? 

Help yourself to a heaping of great stories in, A Man's Traveled Heart
Coming soon, The Bleeding of Words

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