ABANDON HOPE

 

 He felt powerful in the fresh morning air, the smell of the forest all around him, the sounds of birds and animals as the small creatures fled at the very sight of him. He was king of the jungle, as he thought of the old proverb “Ye though I walk through the valley of death I fear no evil because I am the bad ass of the valley.” The rifle in his hands gave him the power of master over all creatures, it was oh so wonderful to feel the weight of the rifle, a marvelous piece of engineering and technology that gave him the power to kill. He is the hunter and the deer is the pray.

 He knew this morning he would find a buck with the largest rack that anyone has ever seen. Then he would kill it, cut off its head, leaving the rest of the creature to rot in the forest. To have his trophy mounted on the wall of his office would give him bragging rights for years to come.

For he is god, the trophy hunter!

 He knew where the buck was and walked with confidence that the trophy would soon be his. He could hear a faint sound as the large creature moved through the brush just ahead of him. The thrill of the kill was magnificent and his entire body came alive with the anticipation, he felt the flood of adrenaline rushing through his blood pounding out through his temples. He fought hard to control the excitement of the kill. The chance of a life time; nothing else mattered now, his entire being was centered on this one moment.

 Quite now, be very careful and don’t make a sound, walk light as a feather, even the sound of a breaking twig would ruin his kill. He moved toward the large buck, knowing the creature was not yet aware of him. The trophy hunter froze for a moment as the buck raised his head and sniffed the crisp cold morning air for signs of danger. The buck was magnificent with its large rack of antlers; this is what the hunter came for.

 The trophy hunter knew the large animal could not see him or smell him. The man was an expert at camouflage, blending in with the surrounding brush, masking the smell of human.

 The trophy hunter slowly raised his rifle, holding his breath taking aim then slowly and gently squeezing the trigger. The trigger pulled back with a slight pressure of his right index finger, his senses waiting for the enviable loud sound of the live cartridge full of gun of powder exploding in the casing and, then the bullet racing out of the barrel faster then the speed of sound. He braced himself a little forward to counter-act the sudden kick of the powerful weapon. But something went terror ably wrong, the rifle failed to fire and all he heard was a loud click of the firing pin striking a dead round. He cursed and worked the bolt to eject the dead round and load a fresh one, and just as he knew it would, working the bolt made a very loud metallic sound.

 He was going to loose his trophy, he would lose his bragging rights, and all his buddies would laugh at him and accuse him of lying about the size of the rack. Suddenly hate for the large buck filled his heart and soul. The bastard was going to get away and ruin his moment of glory. In the heartbeat of a thought he wanted to grab the animal by the throat and squeeze the life out of it.

 But much to his surprise and relieve the magnificent beast was still there, it had not moved. The trophy hunter still had his chance at glory.

 For a second time he aimed, pulled the trigger anticipating the kill, and yet again all he heard was the loud click of the firing pin striking another dead round. “This was unbelievable!” and he cursed the One True God of all things.

 The large beautiful creature still made no move to escape, standing its ground looking indifferent and unafraid.

 The trophy hunter’s narcissistic mind raced, as his anger consumed him.

 Thinking about the office where he fired little minions that worked under him. Feeling his power grow as they beg and pleaded that their families depended on the income, the petty little bit of money he paid them. He felt no remorse for them losing their homes, and health care coverage for their pathetic sick children.

 He didn’t have even a heartbeat of sympathy for the minion, begging for his job, “My wife is very sick and without the proper health care coverage she may die for God’s sake please don’t fire me.”

 The trophy hunter reached a hand over the phone setting on his expensive desk. “I will make you a bargain, in the next two seconds if God calls me and ask me nicely to let you stay then you can keep your job. So lets see one thousand and one, one thousand and two. Well looks like God doesn’t give a shit about your wife either.”

 The man’s wife passed away at home slow and painful.

 He was god of his world; his office walls covered with trophy game he had killed and the sign on the door to his office written in Latin read

“'All hope abandon ye who enter here“.

 

The trophy hunters mind snapped back to the present, for a third time he worked the bolt ejecting the dud and loading another round. He aimed and fired and for the third time heard the loud click of nothing.

 The large buck still standing there with defiance, deigning him the trophy.

Now lost in anger, he clicked back the bolt three more times and three more dudes ejected from the rifle. He swung the rifle around and threw it out into the forest hearing it crash against a far way tree.

 The large buck just stood there looking at him as if the creature did not have a care in the world.

 The trophy hunter pointed a finger at the beast and screamed, “Back in my cabin I have three more rifles better then that one, in the morning I will find you again and I promise you I will ram a bullet through your heart. Even if I have to do it with my bear hands!”

 His mind now frothing with anger, the trophy hunter turned his back on the beast and marched back toward his cabin. For sometime he marched through the forest blinded by hatred, when his mind cleared he came to a quick stop.

 “Where am I?” “I am lost!” The surrounding trees seemed to march in on him suffocating him. Suddenly fear gripped him, “This is not right, I know this forest, no way I can be lost.” He looked around for something familiar to gain his bearings. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a compass, an eerie cold chill ran down his spine, watching the needle spinning around and around.

 He walked for hours turning this way and then that way looking for a familiar path, anything he could recognize in the forest to help him find his way back.

 Fear was gripping him, embarrassing him, how could a man of his considerable power be embarrassed. He straightened up and held his head high. When he gets back to his office, he will fire five minions to ease his bruised ego.

 Yes there it is a familiar sight; he walked toward the sight bringing down God in his mind. No human or entity is better then the trophy hunter.

 As he reached the familiar spot in the forest, he was surprised to see the buck again, and leaning against a tree was a rifle. “Some dumb ass left his rifle and by all the rights in the cosmos I have found it. I will still have my trophy.” He picked up the weapon and was surprised at how much it looked like his rifle, the one that he had thrown away, only a few hours ago.

 He raised the rifle up and aimed not caring if he scared the buck are not. But the large animal did not make a move. The trophy hunter pulled the trigger and click. Nothing happened? What, nothing? He took a longer look at the weapon, and with horror realized this was his rifle.

 What madness is this, someone is playing a trick on me. “All right you bastard come out and show yourself.” He yelled out into the forest.

He was shocked to see the large buck had not moved, just stood there with its magnificent rack beaming down upon him.

 What was that, a sound as someone ran through the brush? Or was it just his imagination, all he saw was a fleeing shadow. Still the buck stood there. The trophy hunter worked the bolt of the rifle again and pulled the trigger, again the empty click rang through his ears.

 This is madness, some kind of twisted trick, his mind raced with thoughts of who could be doing this.
 “Fuck this shit!” The trophy hunter pulled out his large hunting knife and charged the buck. “I will gut you, slit your throat, drain your blood, and cut off your head!” He screamed with uncontrollable rage as he lounged at the buck.

 The large animal turned and pranced away with ease, just out of the hunters reach. Again the trophy hunter lounged forward and missed. The buck pranced with ease out of the range of the lounging knife.

 This enraged the hunter’s mind raced beyond madness, screaming at the buck as he lounged forward moving this way and that swinging the large knife determined with all his hatred to slay the buck. The sure-footed creature just moved out of his way but never moving further then an arms length.

 The trophy hunter gave one last leap at the creature, when his right foot kicked something lying on the ground; his discarded rifle had tripped him as he fell forward onto his knife. The blade of the knife completely impaled him threw the heart as the point stuck out of his back.

 The trophy hunter rolled over onto his back and reached for the hilt of the knife in disbelieve, attempting to pull it free of his body.

 The dieing man looked up and saw the dark shadow standing there looking down at him. Then he saw with horror that the buck was standing on two hind legs looking down at him. The buck smiled with teeth of a monster from hell.

 Then trophy hunter died, waking up again laying on hard rock the smell of sulfur burning his eyes. He looked up at the large black gates and read the letters above.

All hope abandon ye who enter here