Placing the dagger back in its sheath with equal ease I went into my parents’ room and opened their wardrobe.
 
After a short search I came across my father’s old black leather jacket. Putting the jacket on made me smile, for the first time in my life it felt the right size.
 
I thought that maybe at that moment I was at last man enough to wear it. I decided on the spot that my Fathers old jacket would pass to me for all time.
 
I turned to my Mothers dresser and saw a small picture of my family sitting on it, quiet and motionless.
 
Reaching over I gently picked the picture up and placed it within the inside pocket of my Fathers jacket.
 
I went down to the kitchen and ate some food. Although it tasted awful to me, and I had no appetite I knew I needed my strength for the coming conflict.
 
I finished my food and proceeded out into the garage for some additional materials. Firstly, I gathered up some large planks of wood that my father had stored.
 
I proceeded out onto the sand and found a patch that would not be visible from the forest. I knew it was vital to not tip the hunter off to my having been at the house.
 
I lay the planks in the shape of a large arrow that pointed towards the forest. I had two thoughts running through my head at that time.
 
Firstly, if anyone came looking for my family and myself they would find the bodies and the arrow.
 
And secondly if Peter and Sarah had been successful, the house would most likely be investigated as well by the authorities.
 
I completed the arrow and returned to the garage. Rolling up my sleeves and removing my glasses, I proceeded to a sump of used engine oil in the corner of the garage.
 
I then proceeded to smother my hands, arms, and face in the oil. Satisfied that I had applied enough I went to the garage sink and washed the excess oil off my skin.
 
Looking in one of the mirrors stored in the garage, I smiled at how darkened the oil had made my skin. I stepped out of the garage and sniffed the air.
 
I could not smell any oil coming off myself, so I was happy with the result. I knew the oil would make me as black as the night but if the hunter could smell me, my efforts would have been wasted.
 
I looked at the world around me, getting a feel for the mood of the land. Looking out to sea I could tell that there was a storm on the way.
 
Black clouds and lighting had made their first appearance on the now darkened horizon. ‘Perfect’ I thought.
 
Turning around and away from the sea I faced towards the forest. I didn’t know how I knew, but I knew that my enemy was out there somewhere.
 
With my first task completed, I proceeded with the next one. I pulled the door to the garage closed quietly and closed the front door as well.
 
Entering into a jog that soon developed into a sprint, I left the shell of my home behind and ran into the darkening forest.
 
The last time I ran into the trees like this was out of fear, running away from something. But now I return for the opposite reason.
 
I have no fear, only a mission. And I am running to my enemy, not away from him. I felt as though I was leaving my whole life and my whole identity behind me, never to return.
 
It mattered to me not. For this night I would have my vengeance. And I would find that vengeance, being exactly who I am. As the hour of darkness approached, I continued into the heart of the forest. As far as directions and destination were concerned, I had no idea where to go.

Chance had favored my escape on the previous night, and now I counted on chance to guide me to where I needed to go.

After only an hour within the forest the sun had almost completely set, and the stars had emerged once again. The moon began to shine brightly through the trees, for there was not a cloud in the sky.

I could only imagine in the dark depths of the forest, I was invisible. The blackness of my clothes and my oil-stained skin concealed my presence as best as I could have hoped for.

Underneath my black leather jacket lay my weapon. I could feel it pressed secretly against my spine and I took great comfort in its presence.

I proceeded up onto the flat plateau that made up a large part of the forest near my home. From that point I could see for many hundreds of yards in every direction.

But all I could see were bare trees and empty space. I crouched next to a fallen tree, hiding in the crater like hole in the ground where it used to stand.

In my quiet corner of the forest I took a few moments to rest. I had underestimated my fitness level earlier in the day when I had instructed Sarah and Peter to run for help.

I was now able to cover great distance without need of a long rest. I used the rest as an excuse to withdraw the photo from the internal pocket of my jacket.

In the pale moonlight I sat, staring into the photograph of my lost family. The light present in the forest was only sufficient enough to see my parents faces dimly.

It didn’t matter, for I had the image of the photograph embedded in my memory from an earlier time.

Releasing a silent but deep hearted breath I replaced the photo within my inner jacket pocket. As I looked up once more, I came eye to eye with the last being on Earth I expected to see at that time.

I could easily tell from the look on its face and in its eyes that this was the same deer I had encountered the previous night, while my friends slept and I lay awake thinking.

I sat hidden inside the tear in the ground behind the fallen tree, with its roots protruding all around me.

The deer stood up on the even ground above and looked down at me. I could not tell what it was thinking. Was it wishing me luck? Was it once again conveying its sympathy for me?
I could not tell.

Without warning, the deer blinked and began moving away. Within a few seconds it was out of my sight.

To Be Continued………

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