The Mountain Man

My feet crunch through new snowfall, the powder muffling all other sounds. Most people find that eerie. I think it’s peacful. A crow yells at me from a nearby evergreen and I pause and look up. I pull a small morsel out of pocket and offer it up. The crow gives one more caw, and swoops it out of my hand. Always be nice to crows, they’re smarter than they look.

As I watch him depart the clearing, I watch the crow fly over a trail of footprints. Then it hits me.Footprints.

I drop to a crouch and years of training snap instantly to the front of my mind. There is no sound except for my adrenaline-fueled heartbeat as I follow the path before me. My rifle leads the way and soon I come upon a man crouching next to one of my snares. I find cover behind a nearby tree and look at him through my sight. He still hasn’t noticed me.

He is dressed in department store cold-weather gear, nowhere near heavy enough for this high up in the mountains. He looks hurt.

I raise from my crouch silently, and move towards the man.

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