All was still and quiet, aside from the light crackling of the burning firewood. The hunter had got me. I took a chance on it being a campsite and I had failed. I had placed myself in the firing line and also in grave danger.

I now only had two things remaining on my side. If my disguise had been good enough, there was a chance that the hunter would not recognize me until he was very close to me and thus, would probably underestimate me. And he did not know about the large fighting blade I carried hidden underneath my jacket.

Suddenly, and for no reason I managed to purge all of my remaining fear with regards to the dark, and the man I pursued. I then stepped out of the shadow of the tree and moved to a place near to the campfire. I stopped and looked around, knowing that anyone within several hundred yards on the plateau would be able to see me.

Throwing all caution to the wind and casting aside all my precautions and preparations, I yearned for the final confrontation. I no longer feared death at the hand of my parents’ murderer. I only wished for that one potent chance to strike down he who had destroyed all meaning in my life.

At that moment, something happened. Something that was to answer my wishes and to tap into my fears. I heard laughter. A deep throated demonic laugh the kind of which I had never heard outside of my nightmares.

I knew from whom it originates but I refused to let myself be swayed. The laughter continued but I felt no fear. I only felt a certain trepidation, awaiting that moment when the source of the laughter would make itself known.

Because of the sound reflecting off the trees I could not pinpoint the exact direction. And suddenly without warning, the laughter stopped. I felt the fighting blade pressing against my back and I felt very secure knowing it was there. I was facing out towards the gully I had just climbed out of, but I could not work out where the laughter had come from.

It was then I heard it. The last, final giveaway. And the beginning of the end for my confrontation with my nemesis. A gentle rustle of leaves and the crack of a thin, weak branch underfoot behind me.

I slowly turned around and finally came face to face with my target. He was dressed in black, an almost perfect matte sheen effect on his trousers and his top, disguising him and blending him into the darkness.

It was a style of clothing I could relate to, exercising the art of stealth and camouflage. Feeling shocked by the similarity of our tactics I remembered the promise I had made to my inner self.

I bolstered that promise with a new one. At that moment I promised myself that I would fight him by not becoming him. Even in the slightest fashion.

He stood there staring at me, a blank expression on his face despite his evil smile. I stared back at him in much the same fashion, except for the smile. I could not tell if he recognized who I was. I was certain if he knew who I was he would have attacked immediately instead of spending valuable minutes trying to size me up.

Deciding to break the silence and end the confusion I reached into my jacket and withdrew my family photo. Never breaking eye contact, I proceeded to crush the photo in the palm of my hand until it had been shaped into a ball.

I then threw the photo towards the intruder, which landed at his feet. I saw his eyes narrow on me; no doubt confused by my actions. ‘Good’ I thought. I planned to deal him more confusion and justice than he could handle.

Never taking his eyes off me, he slowly crouched down and picked up the screwed-up photo I had thrown at him. He slowly unscrewed it and then took a few seconds to view the photo in the firelight.

I watched as he frowned and then the smile appeared. From the photo he then recognized instantly who I was and why I had come here. He then looked up to me again, the same sick smile on his face.

I saw him take the photo in one hand and screw it up again.
‘You don’t want to do that’ I thought as he drew his hand back and cast the photo of my family into the fire.

I broke eye contact with him and looked at the photo. It opened as it began to buckle and catch fire. I watched the image of myself, and my parents being consumed by the flames. As I watched the remaining parts of the photo disappear into the hellish fire I turned back to the hunter.

His smile had turned into a sick twisted grin. I sensed he was preparing himself for the merciless slaughter of yet another member of an innocent family, and I knew he was going to enjoy every second of it. He was ready, I knew it when he reached to his side and withdrew a dagger.

It was serrated and at least ten inches long. He held it up and pointed it directly at my head. He never said a word, but I never needed him to. As he slowly began moving towards me, I could almost see him licking his lips in anticipation.

I turned my body away from him slightly and raised my left fist towards him. Tensing my body and preparing myself for a fight I could almost see him ready to burst out laughing at my attempt to defend myself.

It was at that moment that I took my jacket off and cast it aside. The hunter stopped as I did so and I saw his smile fade as I reached behind my back and withdrew my fighting blade.

In terms of strength and damage capability my blade matched his in every way. I had turned his expectations of an easy killing into a time of confusion. It was my turn to smile at his reactions.

I drew back the knife above my head as I held my free hand out, preparing to block or divert and attack his. I had left him with a question on his mind. He did not know what my capabilities were at that point.

As I had told myself just a few short hours ago, win lose or draw, the hunter was going to be in the fight of his life. And looking at his face I knew that he could not predict the outcome of this fight.

I myself did not know. Despite where we had both come from and what we had both done to trick each other in preparation for this conflict. All I knew was that for the moment anyway, the two of us were even in preparation.

And although I knew that would almost certainly change quite quickly once we engaged each other, I still had goodness on my side. I still to this moment did not know what the deer was supposed to represent, but I know that it was on my side in whatever I chose to do.

The deer and its mate had helped me find the campfire and helped me reach this position. Everything that could have been done by myself and my adversary to prepare had been done. If he attempted to run, I would chase him down and show no mercy.

To Be Continued…….

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