Patti Abbott's latest flash challenge was to write a story using this headline from a 1913 Detroit newspaper, "Michigan Man's Tastes Get Him Into Trouble". I've posted mine below, you can find the links to the other stories over at Patti's blog.
by Sandra Seamans
Dave Hilliard lay face down in a heavy thicket of tangled Multiflora Rose and black berry brambles. Thorns ripped at his skin and embedded themselves into his camouflage fatigues. He held his breath as the sound of voices drew closer to his hiding place. If he moved or made a sound...stop, don’t even think that.
A sharp whistle filled the air and a pack of hounds bayed in reply. Within minutes they were swarming around his hiding spot, both men and hounds poking through the thick brush searching for him. The scent of the deer shit he’d smeared on his boots and clothes helped to throw the dogs off his scent, but for how long, he didn't know. Dave wanted to shiver, wanted to swat at the spiders and centipedes climbing on his body, but he remained still, hoping the hounds couldn’t smell his fear.
One of the dogs began snuffing closer around Dave's thorny cage. He closed his eyes and held his breath. Dave wanted to pray but he needed all his strength to keep from moving or making a sound. Besides who would he pray to? No God in his right mind...no, easier to believe that God was dead. No praying required. He only needed to keep his wits about him, his life depended on it.
The men and dogs moved off deeper into the woods, but it still wasn't safe to leave. Dave knew for a fact that they would hunt until first light. The Hunters never left the woods empty-handed. It wasn't their way. Not until the sun began to roll over the top of the mountain would the Hunters consider leaving. With the daylight they would dress out their game and head back to their cabins. Back to hot food and warm beds.
A spooked deer snorted, twitched its tail, and crashed off through the woods, waking him from a fitful nap. Was he safe yet, or were the Hunters still out and about? Dave wasn't taking any chances, he waited in the bramble prison until the sun was straight above him. The Hunters never entered the woods in full daylight. As long as the Hunters didn't stare straight into the eyes of the wood creatures they could hunt without pity.
Dave disentangled himself from the briars and moved on up the hill towards the rock ledges where he'd found a narrow opening that led back into a small den. Along the way he retrieved the haversack he'd stashed. As he approached the cave entrance his wife and children crawled out into the sunlight. They were so thin. Their hungry eyes and gaunt faces brought tears to Dave's eyes.
He knelt down before them and opened the sack. Cans of fruit, vegetables, and meat spilled out on the ground. Bait food he'd managed to steal from the Hunters' traps. Food that would keep his family alive for another day or two.
It shouldn't be so hard to feed your family, but then your family shouldn't be the prey of Hunters whose taste in meat ran toward the human variety.