The heavy snow deadened the sound of the forest. Despite the swirling snowfall, there was a stillness.
Cal lay on the soft ground, his eye press to the sight, his ungloved finger around the trigger, the rifle caressed against his shoulder.
His father lay next to him. A hundred yards away the stag raised his head, the imperious antlers like a crown. He looked straight at Cal.
‘That’s it,’ Cal’s father whispered into his ear, ‘give him his moment. Give him respect. Look into those eyes. It’s important you see the spirit and understand him.’
Time stood still. Cal’s pulse quickened, his breath grew shallow, casting puffs of frozen moisture across his sight.
‘Relax,’ his father advised, ‘this is your calling. Take a deep breath. Feel your way towards him. Then gently squeeze the trigger.’
Cal blinked, despite the cold he could feel sweat running down from the the brim of his woollen hat. This was the moment they had come for. His first kill. His chance to show his father he was now a grown man. A chance to earn his respect.
The stag was motionless, staring at Cal. Cal felt their closeness. It was just him and the animal, somehow connected.
Bang. Cal fired the rifle, tilting it upwards into the trees above their heads. The stag bolted, vanishing in an instant behind the white veil.
‘What was that?’ his father exclaimed.
‘I saw his spirit, Dad,’ Cal answered, feeling braver than he had ever done when talking to his father. ‘I didn’t want to kill it.’
The first review for my new novel has appeared on Amazon:
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – ‘A great read…Well paced and full of drama. A great sequel.’
‘STATE OF DENIAL’ OUT NOW in PAPERBACK and on AMAZON KINDLE: