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Wyman raised his rifle, a target staggering in his sights. His index finger hung like a loose vine around the trigger as he watched the figure move in the field. Crouched in tall grass, a rock at his belly, Wyman strained himself to the point of absolute agony.
The man in the sights stood still for a moment. Wyman watched as he reached down into the pocket his wet, mutilated slacks. Sunburned palms retrieved a cantine, and it was pressed to dry lips which sucked the contents down.
Wyman slid his tongue along the bottoms of his teeth, from canine to canine. It had been a few days since his last meal. He hadn’t any luck recently; the animals had been scarce. Wyman’s abdomen had turned red over time and grew crudely. Sweat soaked Wyman’s pores. The sun was an unforgiving bastard that day.
Wyman had been out hunting for weeks. He had eaten snakes, a dwarf mongoose (cooked rare), and one African wild dog, charred over fire. Wyman took pride in the killing of the feral canine. The creature had given him trouble. It nearly outran the bullet. A few miles away, where Wyman slept, the speckled pelt was stretched out, tanning, to be made into an article of clothing; a trophy of a carnivorous warrior.
Over the years in the wilderness, Wyman had eaten all that he could, eating everything he killed. When he would run out of bullets, he would use self made knives and spears until he made the trip to the civil world, where he was known as Mr. Wyman, the man who smiled at you, with teeth, lips, and tongue that had tasted every bird, reptile, and mammal in Africa. He would buy a troop’s supply of ammunition.
Wyman watched as the man lowered to the ground, nearly all strength and energy lost.
In the distance, a lion roared. Wyman focused his ears on the familiar sound, scouting its location. He kept his sights on the man, who cried to the searing sky, mouth open, eyes jammed shut. Wyman concluded that the big cat was less than a mile away. Again the deep vocalization rolled across the grass to Wyman and the wandering man. He had begun to scramble away in desperation, despite his weakness, to escape the beast drawing closer.
The man must be a survivor of a plane crash. He’s probably been stranded for days now, Wyman thinks. His wife is left at their resort in Tanzania, wondering why her husband has not returned from his plane ride across the Serengeti. The staff is trying their best to reassure her. Yet they are no match for the distressed newlywed.
Two hunts commenced. The monstrous cat stalked closer, weakening its prey with its noises, sharpening its claws on the rocks as its mitts pressed over them. Wyman focused now through the sights of his weapon. Every sense heightened, geared forward. He felt the sporadic movements of the man, the rhythmic beat of the lion’s paws.
Wyman heard the cries, breaths, and movements of cat and man. He could the smell the blood, sweat, tears, and urine of the man, and the saliva of the lion, its pinkish tongue lolling out over its fangs as prey was near. He saw the tawny shape stalk into view, two hundred or so feet away from its quarry. The cat would reach the man if Wyman did not act now. The wife would suffer for days until she would receive the crushing news that her husband had been eaten. Wyman felt the vibrations of fear and exhilaration, the latter within himself.
Wyman’s finger choked the trigger and he sent a ball of lead and a man made sound through the empty space, sending fear of human killing machines to the lion’s quickly arching back as it turned and fled.
The man in the field faltered and fell like a stone.
His heart was tainted by the bullet, however the liver and brain were unscathed, and those were Wyman’s favorites.