Monday Matinee - The Hunt - Finale

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Sunday, April 15, 2007



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MANIC MONDAY word this week is:
TAXED
Head on over to MO's to see the other submissions.

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Cheese Ravioli with home-made gravy, meatball and garlic bread
$3.00

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PART THREE

Lee rode Sheik hard for about a mile but did not think he was TAXING the horse, so was surprised when, all of a sudden the horse stopped and began shaking violently. Lee climbed down and almost immediately the horse collapsed. Getting down on one knee, it did not take long to tell that Sheik was dead. Foam forming at it’s mouth.

Looking at his watch, Lee was still unaware that this was more than a game of “hide and seek.” He grabbed the rope, ax and small folding shovel he found in the saddlebag and began walking further into the woods. His mind was focused on the money and car he knew he could win by just avoiding an old man and his servant.

Jogging away from the horse, Lee began to think about the tricks his grandfather had taught him about deer hunting. Seeing a small pond, he slid his body in and began to rub the silt from the bottom all over his body.

Once done, he climbed a nearby tree and situated himself on a large branch about 15 feet above the ground. That was when he realized he had not eaten that morning, expecting a nice meal from his host and his stomach grumbled its complaint.

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That was when he heard it. The sound of horse hoofs from somewhere in the forest. The hoofs were making their distinctive sound against the dirt and rocks. They were coming fast. There was another sound, but Lee could not recognize it.

He was sure that they would never find him where he had positioned himself and just sat quietly. The sounds came closer and closer and then he saw the first of the dogs. There were three of them. Dogs? Did Jonathan mention he was going to use the dogs?

He breathed a sigh of relief as the leaders moved past his tree. His scent being blocked by the silt and mud he was covered in. Then he saw the two riders and his blood curdled as they came into view. Both were holding shotguns. Why would they need guns for a simple game of hide and seek?

The two riders pulled up their horses just below the tree Lee was hiding in. He froze, thinking they may have spotted him.

“Well sir, Sheik should have gone down by now. We gave him just enough of the poison to let him live for only about 15 minutes. I certainly will miss him, he was a good mount,” Simon spoke.

“Yes, Simon, he was and I was sorry it had to be him, but our quarry would have wondered why we would give him a different horse, it was an unfortunate choice last week. By now the prey should be on foot and the dogs will run him down soon,” Jonathan responded.

Simon looked over, “Shall we call the dogs back and let them have at the clothes?”

“We will wait a while longer to give them the clothes he wore last week. Let’s see how well they do without his scent. I do want to make this last more than an hour. What fun would it be to hunt him down so quickly?”

The two men kicked their horses and cantered away.

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Lee realized he was holding his breath for that entire exchange and slowly let the air out of his lungs. What had he gotten himself into? Well, he would just avoid them and the dogs for the next nine hours and collect his money and car and be done with this old codger.

After about another half hour, Lee climbed down from the tree and began searching for things he would need. He remembered seeing raspberry fields from the last week and began to move through the woods look for familiar signs. When he had left the stable he began to ride in the same direction they had gone on their hunt, but after about ½ mile veered off the trail to avoid falling into a trap.

A short while later, he came into a clearing and recognized an old Oak tree that stood a solitary sentry apart from the forest. They had passed that same tree last week, so he was able to orient himself.

The sun was hot, and Lee began to sweat in his camouflage and mud suit. The mud on his face had dried and formed a crust which became itchier by the minute. He wanted to rub it off, but knew that, with the dogs, that would be a sure fire way to get caught. He stayed low and moved quickly toward the raspberry patch.

Sitting there he began plucking the little red berries off of the plants and shoveling them into his mouth. When he had enough, he put some into the pockets of his jacket and moved on.

That was when he stepped on the branch causing it to send the covey of quail from their resting site. He froze in his tracks listening.

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He began to make his way back to the forest and just as he got to the tree line, the trunk of the tree to his right exploded into splinters.

Lee turned and saw Jonathan astride his horse aiming about 80 yards away, aiming down the barrel of his gun. He saw the smoke puff from the end of the rifle and the tree to his left exploded and then he heard the report from the gun.

Turning on his heels, lee ran into the woods. It was about that time that he heard the barking of the dogs. Running in a zigzag pattern Lee moved further and further into the woods. He had to find a place to hide before the dogs made up the distance. That was when he crossed the pond he had been at earlier. He slid into the water and stayed still, only the top of his head exposed in some reeds. The dogs came running. He could tell they did not have a scent by the way they moved, snouts in the air, trying to pick up on his odor.

The passed the pond and close behind came the two riders. They were gone quickly. And Lee put his head up a bit higher. He heard Jonathan’s voice bellowing “WHERE COULD HE HAVE GONE? DAMN WORTHLESS DOGS!”

A rifle shot echoed through the forest. Lee instinctively ducked under the water, expecting another shot to pierce the surface. He held his breath until his lungs were on fire, and then slowly came out of the muck and took a long deep breath.

He did not move for what seemed like hours, but by his watch was only about 10 minutes, then came out of the water slowly.

Listening, he heard only the birds in the forest and the wind blowing.

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Lee began following the trail along where Jonathan and Simon had gone. He came to a dry riverbed and there was one of the dogs, lying dead; a bullet hole in its side.

He stood there staring. This was nuts. This man was hunting him like a dog and now he killed one of his own. It finally hit Lee that even if he did last the time limit, this hunt might not be over. He began to realize this was not a bet he could ever win. There was no money or car in his future. The only things in his future were death, or finding a way back to civilization and freedom.

He then heard panting. Slowly he turned and saw one of the other dogs looking at him. The dog’s eyes moved between Lee and the body. Slowly, Lee reached into his pocket, pulling out the pocket knife he had there and slowly opened it waiting for the dog to attack.

The hound walked over to its dead friend and lay down next to it, whining and licking at the wound.

Lee slowly backed away and moved away from the area. As he walked he picked up a branch which was about four feet long and 3 inches in diameter. As he walked he used his knife on the end of it, sharpening it into a point. Along with the ax, it would give him another weapon, though he knew that neither would do any good against a rifle at long range.

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Over the next two hours Lee worked hard, getting ready. He had made a decision that there was only one way he was going to succeed and last the day. His preparations took as much energy as he had ever expended in his life.

When he was finally done, he sat and ate some of the berries still in his pocket. Now he needed to put his plan into action.

Reaching into the top pocket of his jacket he withdrew a book of matches. Lighting one he set the flame against a small pile of leaves and branches he had gathered and waited to ensure it caught.

Then he moved into position. He climbed the tree he had selected and waited. The sun was about to disappear behind the mountain to the west when he heard the whiny of horses coming down the trail. He could barely make out the silhouettes, but could see Jonathan in the lead.

He was coming at a trot when his horse hit the spot Lee had worked on. Its front leg fell into the hole which was camouflaged by twigs and leaves and Lee could hear the snap of the bone from his position. His heart was pained to see the horse tumble to the ground, but knew he had no choice. Jonathan also went falling over the horses head as he lost his balance. This sight did not sicken lee in the least.

Behind him, Simon reined his horse and began to reach for the rifle which was in its sheath on his saddle. Lee moved quickly and slid down the rope he had tied to his branch and before Simon could react the sharpened branch had found its mark.

The wet sound of the branch pushing into Simon’s stomach sickened Lee, but he pushed again and could see the tip come out Simon’s back as he tumbled from his horse.

Lee grabbed the rifle which was dangling from the sheath and turned quickly toward Jonathan.

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The old man was just gathering his wits, and turned to see the barrel of the rifle inches from his face.

“It was all a game boy. We were never going to hurt you.” Jonathan blurted.

“Old man, tell me why I shouldn’t pull the trigger and leave your brains on the ground?” Lee retorted.

“Money. You want the money, don’t you?”

“You were never going to give me money. You were going to blow my brains out, now get up.”

“What are you going to do?” Jonathan asked. His eyes were on the body of his man-servant, his lips trembling and tears in his eyes.

“Walk…we are going back to your mansion and calling the police. I am not an animal like you.”

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They began walking and the entire time Jonathan continued to beg. “Lee, listen, you can have two of the cars, three of them, and I have cash at the house. Much more then I had promised you.”

Lee did not respond, only poking the old man in the back with the rifle whenever his pace slowed down.

“Who is at the mansion old man? And if you lie, you will pay and so will they.”

“No one should be. I sent them all home.” Jonathan responded. “I did not want anyone around for this, um…”

“Yeah, you weren’t going to kill me were you? You sick old bastard. You will pay for this.”

The mansion looked deserted with only a few lights on. The walked into the kitchen area and Lee said “OK, now, you said there was money here, where is it?”

“I thought you were calling the police? But no, you will take the money, won’t you? It's always about money with people like you.”

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The rifle shot filled the room and Jonathan stumbled against the counter grasping his left arm where the bullet had ripped into his body.

“The next one goes into your head, now do you want to show me where the money is?” Lee growled.

Jonathan moved away from the counter holding his arm. The burning sensations making the room spin slightly. Looking down he saw that Lee had only grazed his arm, the blood making it look much worse then it was.

They moved down the hallway, droplets of blood being left behind like the cookie crumbs of Hansel and Gretel, only these not to show the way home.

The entered the room they had first met in, and Jonathan walked to the wall behind the desk at the far end.

He reached up with his right hand and grasped the edge of the painting there. Tugging on it the painting swung to the side, Lee noticing the red bloody hand print left there as Jonathan let go.

Behind the painting was a wall safe. Lee stood five feet away, the rifle pointed at Jonathan as he watched as the combination was dialed in. He could hear a faint click and watched Jonathan turn the handle and pull on the door of the safe.

He began to think about how much could be in there, and of just taking it all and jumping into the Cobra and driving far far away. He knew he would not be able to leave Jonathan alive and would have to get rid of the Pinto so when the police finally discovered the old man dead, they could not tie it to him. He hadn’t been in the house earlier that day and had not touched anything since they had entered.

The thoughts had taken his attention from Jonathan and when the old man turned his eyes widened in shock.

In the old man’s hand was a gun, and the last thing Lee saw was the puff of smoke from the barrel, reminding him of the smoke from the rifle earlier that day. He never heard the sound the gun made as the bullet ripped through his heart and everything went black.

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Still standing in the room a short while later, Jonathan, with tears in his eyes, was saying to the assemblage there, “Yes officers, I had tried to help the young man, trying to be his friend. He had come to visit before and then today, as we were out doing some quail hunting, he just became irrational. He killed one of my dogs and my man-servant Simon. He then forced me back to the house and was going to rob me and, I presume kill me too.”

Looking up from his notepad, Detective Morgen spoke, "It all seems cut and dry sir, lucky thing you had the pistol in your safe, or it might be your body they are taking out."

They turned to watch the body of Lee Hamilton, encased in a black bag, was being wheeled out of the room by the medical examiners staff…

THE END.

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Thought MLB did a nice job last evening before the Dodger/Padre game honoring the memory of Jackie Robinson. His widow Rachel Robinson, who is still chairperson on the Jackie Robinson Foundation, is such a beautiful, classy woman.

Amazing that only 8% of the players in the majors are African-American. Many factors contribute to this, including the view of many kids today that baseball is as exciting as football and basketball, the cost to participate in the sport and the explosion of Latin and Asian talent in the game. these, of course, are not the only factors, but they are certainly at the top of the list.

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CREDITS:

THE CHASE
Danny Elfman
Composer: Danny Elfman

HEADER:
Redkid.net
Customized: VEM2007

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17 Of Your Sparks

  1. Travis Says:
  2. I like the twist at the end.

    Sorry to hear about your friend.

    I watched the tribute to Jackie and I agree that MLB did a classy job. And the cosmic karma aligned correctly so that the Dodgers won the game - that should be a law that the Dodgers always play at home and always win on JR Day.

     
  3. Matt-Man Says:
  4. I am sending all my prayers their way. Good story Bond....Cheers.

     
  5. Piacere Says:
  6. OK MISTER...you got me on this one. And it brought back memories of a Connell short story I read in high school (The Most Dangerous Game). Great twists and turns, although I get WAY squeamish when you talk about the animals getting it...YUCK.

    Prayers going up for Donna...lost my dad to that nasty disease...

    This commentary was in our local paper yesterday...very poignant:

    http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD%2FMGArticle%2FRTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173350730154&path=%21editorials%21commentary&s=1045855934999

     
  7. Bond Says:
  8. TRAV: TY from Ron, Donna, Cody and Casey.
    I must admit that I am not totally pleased with the end result. I think, given some additional time, I could craft this third part much better.

    MATT-MAN: TY from Ron, Donna, Cody and Casey.

    PIA: I knew the animal part would get a gut reaction, but had to be...
    TY from Ron, Donna, Cody and Casey.

    Loved the commentary. I got to meet Enos and Red in Cooperstown a number of years ago and Matt had his picture taken with the. They were very nice men. I am sure their attitudes changed over time - the times did make the circumstances.

     
  9. i had lung cancer too bond. it is no fun i can tell you first hand. and whenever anyone hears lung cancer they say were you a smoker? if you say no they cluck cluck, if you were you can see in their eyes, ahhh, so she brought it on herself. sigh...
    anyway, good story...

    smiles, bee

     
  10. Dixiechick Says:
  11. Will definitely add Donna and Ron and the rest of the family to my prayer list.

     
  12. the108 Says:
  13. Donna and her loved ones have my most positive thoughts headed their way....

    Bond..... I want some ravioli. Damn you.

     
  14. Angell Says:
  15. Thoughts & prayers to Donna and the family. Awful disease - any form of it.

    WOW - I didn't see that coming. I thought for sure that Lee was going to outsmart him.....

    Great job. :D

    SHRG

     
  16. Prayers are storming heaven as we "speak."

    Well written story. Sorta turned out the way I expected, sorta didn't. (I'm not making sense am I? I've been up for a LOOOOOOONG time already.) Twisty and twisted.

     
  17. Turnbaby Says:
  18. Prayers for your friend and her family are on the way.

    I was pleasantly surprised that MLB did such a fine job.


    I have to agree with your assessment on this last part---That being said I absolutely love the way it ends.

    Smooch

     
  19. Meribah Says:
  20. When Lee brought Jonathan into the house and made him open the safe, I figured there would be a gun in there. I hoped Lee would outsmart the old man, and was disappointed when he didn't. It was a nice read though. :)

     
  21. Bond Says:
  22. Seems like it is official... the storyline fooled no one... and the writing was sub-par...

    Yup.... Drive-In's are things of my youth...

    Thanks all for your insight and readership

     
  23. Travis Says:
  24. Dude, don't be so hard on yourself.

     
  25. Dana Says:
  26. Good story and prayers for Donna.

     
  27. Angell Says:
  28. There's no such thing as sub-par writing for you Bond. Your stories are always excellent - no matter if we can see the ending or not.

    (Psst - hey - at least your stories HAVE endings)

     
  29. Mimi Lenox Says:
  30. Sending prayers and thoughts to your friends.

    Great story here, Bond and surprising ending. Loved it.

     
  31. Coco Says:
  32. Vinny, please don't ever denigrate your writing like that. I started reading it during the break between classes, and made my french class sit and wait until I finished it. It was an "couldn't put it down" story, right to the end. Then, my students asked me to read it to them. Ok, Vin, understand ... this is a group of 28 grade ten kids, most of them non-academics. They sat in enthralled silence until the end of the story. Anyone with the temerity to move their chair or cough was met with menacing glares from other students. I went back and read all three parts for them. At the end, there was a long pause, then as one, the class broke into applause. They have asked me to tell you thank you for the story, and that it was really great. Vinny, you may not be satisfied with your result, but you managed to entertain one of the toughest classes I have worked with in my career. Kudos, honey.

     

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