Dylan My nerve endings feel as if they’re on fucking fire. All of my muscles are ready to spring into action if need be. It’s taken me over two hours of skimming over the deep snow before I’ve finally found something to shoot for dinner. It sounds fucking hard, but it really isn’t it. I mean, those folks in the city, in their big fucking houses with the huge mortgages, pay hundreds of dollars a month to go to a gym to get exercise. Not me. I go and shoot my own dinner. Up here in the mountains, I’m totally self-sufficient. There’s no supermarket, convenient store—or any other luxury, for that matter. Nope. There’s just the mountains, my cabin, and me. It wasn’t easy at first. The whole damn thing was a real culture shock, but now? Fuck, now, I’m used to it. I’m more than used to it—I like it. I’ve donned the bearskin coat in exchange for the Armani suits, the starched white shirts, and the ties. Reality is, those things may have made me look super hot, but they don’t keep me fucking warm out here. Sure, the women threw themselves at me in those clothes, but newsflash: there are no women in the mountainside. No beanie, no gloves today—they would just slow me down. As long as my body’s covered and I keep moving, I’m okay. I close my right eye and focus with my left. It’s perfectly still around me. If I didn’t know better, I’d say someone pressed the mute button on nature. In the beginning, this sort of silence unnerved me. It was eerie. Over time, I grew used to it. Now I know I would fucking miss it if I didn’t hear it anymore. Snow settles on my outstretched bow arm. Since leaving my cabin, a storm has been brewing. Soft flakes fall, and the ominous dark color of the sky predicts only worse things to come. The rabbit knows it, too. I can see his nose twitch. Slowly, softly, and carefully, I draw back on my bow. As I do, I’ve got the rabbit in my line of sight.
If my arrow hits its target, I’ll have dinner sorted for at least the next few days. The unknown in all this is my new arrow. I’ve carved it from a special wood and shaped the tip of it from some scrap metal I found. During practice shoots, it worked fucking perfectly. These days, I’m nearly self-sufficient in everything. From my mode of transport—my feet—to hunting and growing my own food and tea, I haven’t needed anything else but nature. Minimal impact on the environment, minimal living expenses—it’s a win-win situation. There’s the tiniest of whoosh sounds as I release the arrow and keep my eye on the target. I see a twitch in the rabbit’s ear before he drops dead where he’s standing. Luckily, the creature never knew what hit it. I pick him up, take out my arrow, and put it back in the slim leather quiver hanging off my belt. Then I attach the rabbit to the same belt and set off again. By now, the wind’s increased, and the snow is coming down almost horizontally. Time to head back. It’s unlikely I’ll be lucky enough to find another animal. Before I turn, though, I see footprints that grab my interest. No harm in investigating. With fast, fluid movements, I skim above the snow. Snowshoes really are an awesome invention. The sweat is pouring down my neck and back. I’m tempted to strip down to my bare chest, but resist the temptation. I don’t want to end up with frostbite. Less than five minutes into following the trail, I come upon the poor creature responsible for it. It’s hairy, it’s massive, and it’s a bear. Slowly, I approach. Instinct tells me my caution is not necessary. However, this is one time where I don’t listen to instinct. When I’m standing right over the poor creature, I see there’s no need to worry about an attack. This bear is well and truly dead. It seems to have been shot. Blood is still trickling out of its wound. Fuck. I hate poachers. Only poachers can have inflicted the wound. Judging from the entry point of the bullet, they were not very good shots, either.