The Last Hunt of Winter

I crouched behind a fallen pine, breathing in the soft smells of moss and damp wood, watching the fawn as it rooted for acorns beneath the snow. The crisp tang of fear in its scent was absent, a testament to my caution as I moved like a shaggy gray ghost along the ground. It was time.

I launched into motion, golden eyes blazing with anticipation. It dodged around trees, into thick brush ripe with thorns, but I followed in lockstep, our bodies leaping and turning as one.

In desperation, I dodged flailing hooves and tore into the deer’s hamstring. It stumbled and fell, and I leapt in, my powerful jaws crushing its throat.

Hot, thick blood flooded my mouth, choking me, but I held tight until I felt the deer spurt the last of its life onto the snow-covered forest floor.

I woke in my bed, gasping. I could still taste the deer’s blood on my tongue.

“Bad dream?” my wife murmured, rolling towards me.

A moment passed before I replied. “No… Not bad,” I said, my grin hidden in the darkness. “Not bad at all.”

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