My heart is racing, my breathing is labored. I can hear the blood pounding in my veins. The sickly sweet stench of animal dung clings to the acrid air as I run. Run through the tall grass chasing that enviable beast to my glory. I stop short as I have once again lost his trail and a blinding light catches my eye. The sun has begun to set over the horizon that seems to go on forever and I am momentarily distracted from my ultimate goal by its beauty.
I see the grass moving about a hundred feet dead ahead and I take off like a shot, the chase is on once again. Unable to catch my breath for even a moment. The sweat now stings my eyes as I run for all I am worth now huffing and puffing in this unforgiving heat. There are parts of me screaming in agony, but my bull-headedness refuses to let me give up.
I have no fear, this moment, no fear of snakes, or anything else that could jump out and bite me. Only the chase matters now. Through my tunnel vision, I see wisps of grass dripping with blood and I stalk my prey following the trail. Now I know he must be hurting.
I can taste the dust from this dry arid land as it once again kicks up to choke me. It seems this land is punishing me for attempting to hunt its patrons. I begin to slow my pace but I know come hell or high water I will not quit until I have this beast. I hear a moan just a few feet ahead and realize he is down. It doesn’t register until I hear the soft click of my rifle that I have reloaded while running. Just in case I need it. Yet as I stumble into the clearing I see he is no more.
A moment of elation and pride washes over me mere seconds before the inevitable sadness kicks in. I come around to see his cold dead eyes staring back at me. I am exhausted and now reek of sweat and God only knows what else but instead of happiness over the kill I just made all I can think about is the lifeless corpse lying at my feet, that died by my hands. As everyone else catches up to me and slaps my back in a congratulatory fashion one lone tear trickles down my dirt-encrusted face. While I watch this animal’s blood seep into the moisture-starved earth. Devastation leaks into my pores. I am heartbroken…
Then, as if lifted from the scene I blink back the tears that threaten me and I am back in the room. No more desert, no more dead things, no more heat. I am back to reality and I have to tell myself it is only a book! I’ve never been to Africa, hell I have never even hunted before! What the hell!
I am just finishing GREEN HILLS OF AFRICA BY EARNEST HEMMINGWAY and once again he speaks to me. I had gotten so enthralled I lost touch with reality for just one moment I was there. My mouth has even gone dry from the dryness in the air. I could see the sun setting over the African Praire. I can still smell the pungent odors of the wild. I can hear the distant beat of a drum keeping in time with my now rapidly beating heart. I can feel the loss of that animal’s life. My pulse has literally quickened amidst all the excitement chasing the “BIG ONE”.
So enthralled was I, I forgot I was reading a book and not actually there hunting with HEMMINGWAY!
DAMN IT HEMINGWAY! YOU MADE ME CARE ABOUT THE HUNT!