The Bounty Hunter

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The last turn took him to the lonely trail flanked with large trees competing to tower over each other.

He walked cautiously in the dark; the torchlight flickering with every step forward.

A gust of cold breeze suddenly blew away his hat, orphaning the bald pate to negotiate the chill alone, his head turned around, looking for the hat when a thick dropping fell on his stretched hands, he looked up but it was dead black, dark.

No sign of a bird or a crow, the torchlight moved onto his hands, a scraped piece of blood-stained meat thick with saliva lay stuck on the sleeves of his raincoat, he tried shaking it off, but it continued to cling, unwilling to go.

Putting the torch in his mouth, his other hand tried scraping it off when the torchlight passed through an invisible figure, his mind immediately wandered off searching for what it saw, forgetting the meat on his sleeves.

A crow began cawing loudly as if asking for the food back, his eyes remained fixated on the way ahead staring at the place he felt something, his steps refused to budge, but his mind was unwilling to let go prodding him forward.

Gathering all the strength his body and mind could muster, he moved his feet up; they advanced in slow motion as if stuck in glue. Every step took double the energy and quadruple the effort before he finally reached the place where his eyes observed that body like shape.

Stretching his hands, he tried feeling the air when the meat suddenly vanished off his arms, the crow till now cawing to scare, flew away, his hands couldn’t move any more, suspended in the air as he tried pulling it down with all the energy.

Unable to pull back on its own he used the other hand which also hung in the air now, confused, he didn’t understand what to do, the torch suddenly fell off his mouth, sliding in the dirt, it switched off, now leaving him in complete darkness. 

A single star still stared at him from up above, wondering what he was up to.

The two hands tentatively close, defied gravity to remain dangling in the air when he pulled his leg up to bring his hands back to life and closer to his waist, his legs too suddenly, got glued in the air above, his mind still working couldn’t comprehend what was happening.

The next day a cowboy passed out as he got closer to the dead tree. Others quickly followed to find out what happened. 

They couldn’t keep their eyes open, witnessing a body stuck on the sharply pointed branch of a dead tree, hands holding onto the offshoot along with the right leg. 

He hung like a bat; the left leg though still dangled towards the ground. 

Strangely, there was no blood on the ground. The body resembled ash, eye popping out, mouth still gaping in fear and awe. Another bounty hunter found dead in the woods, discussed the town as the kids told everyone of yet another gruesome death within a week.

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