The massive, grey bull moose pushed his way through dense underbrush near the cliff, his magnificent head and 14-point rack of antlers framed against the pink and blue veins of another breathtaking Sierra sunrise. The early morning sun cast a soft red glow through the fur on his neck as he pulled down a mouthful of dewy leaves from an Aspen tree.
Slowly I raised my bow and took aim at his giant body. At 50 yards, downwind and with a perfectly clear shot, there was no way I could miss him.
Funny how at this moment, all your senses are heightened and you become aware of everything. As I stretched the Dacron bowstring back, drawing the arrow toward my ear, I could hear the fiberglass bow groan softly as the stress increased. A drop of sweat meandered down the side of my face to my neck. Overhead, a red tailed hawk floated lazily on the cold dawn breeze that gently rustled through the rugged Sierra trees around me.
I focused my aim on the area where his neck joined his chest. A shot there, he bleeds to death in a few minutes and I eat moose for a couple weeks. Lower or higher, he's wounded and I have to track him, maybe all day.
My left eye closed as I sighted down the arrow with my right. The moose raised his head, sniffing the frigid air for danger. Suddenly he turned and looked directly at me. His huge, damp eyes appeared green in the dawn light. We stared at each other for what felt like an hour, but couldn't have been more than a few seconds. I slowly lowered the bow, knowing there was no way I could kill him.
The moose took one last look at me, then turned his head and bounded away through the brush. I silently wished him good luck, stowed the bow and headed back to camp.
My name is Dane Snyder and I've been living in the wilderness near Mount Whitney for nearly a year now. I retired from the military 8 years ago after serving 20 years and became a mercenary, a professional soldier for hire. With my experience in Delta Force, it was easy to find good paying work, if you could ignore the moral implications. Most of the time, I could by telling myself that it wasn't me exploiting these Laotian factory workers or forcing those Philippino women into prostitution, it was my employer. I was just there to make a buck.
I had made my camp on the floor of a small box canyon. At one end of the canyon a small waterfall fed a pool, which was drained by a creek. Depending on how much rain or snow had fallen, the falls and creek could be a trickle or a torrent. Consequently, I pitched my tent above the flood line, with a nice beach and pool just outside my door.
One of the problems with this was that a lot of wildlife came to the pool to drink, so I had to be very careful with food. Anything with a scent was stowed in bear-proof canisters and raised off the ground with ropes. Any meats or meat leftovers were washed away with running water or buried in the soft soil of the forest on the rim of the canyon.
My tent was always left wide open so that no curious critters would rip it open to see what's inside.
But as I came to the trail leading down to my camp, I sensed something was wrong. I moved along the rim quietly and looked down toward the boulders about 100 yards downstream from my camp.
From where I stood, I could see two figures moving along the canyon floor. One was a backpacker in hiking shorts and boots, with a big straw hat.
The second was a bear, and he was stalking the hiker.
Now in this area, bear encounters aren't all that unusual. In fact, in a tribute to their ingenuity, the bears had figured ways to victimize backpackers for a meal. One method, what I call the stealth bear, was to track the hiker until they stopped to rest, usually at water of some kind. Hikers would drop their pack and walk to the water to drink or soak their feet or whatever. The bear would run out of the woods, grab the pack and high tail it away. If the hapless hiker ever found the pack it had been ripped to pieces for the food inside, the smell of which drives bears wild.
That's what was happening here. The backpacker was boulder-hopping along the shore, looking for a place to stop. The bear was silently trailing along, awaiting his opportunity. I smiled, thinking this was going to be funny.
The packer stopped, apparently deciding this would be a good place to rest. The backpack was dropped, leaned against a rock and the hiker headed for the water. Seconds later, the bear swooped down and snatched the pack, running along the shore as he tore it open. But the packer saw this and took off after the bear, screaming at him.
Coming near the end of the box canyon, the bear really had nowhere to go. The hiker picked up a rock and threw it at the bear, hitting his shoulder. At this point, I realized the situation had the potential for disaster so I ran down the trail toward the coming conflict.
That kind of dishonest logic worked for my conscience, until that day in Brazil when it all caught up to me. I was working for a big oil company and they had bribed some local officials to get a tribe of Mayorunas Indians off their land. My cohorts Mason, Carter and I had traveled through the sweltering jungle for a meeting with the tribal elders. My job was to reason with them, and if that didn't work, knock some heads.
I wasn't having much success so I stepped outside the hut where the tribal council met to have a cigarette. These people were creeping me out. They all carried knives or machetes and when excited, they tended to reach for them. Not necessarily to pull them, but just to give the implied threat.
One of the young men was drunk on homemade cachaca, and he came closer to me. He looked at me and began to shout. I was being cursed out for what I was trying to do. Of course, I couldn't understand a word he said, since it was a bush dialect. Although I always carried a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol with me, I prided myself on the fact that I never needed to pull it. But when he reached for the machete at his side, I drew my gun and aimed it at his head.
Arriving at the beach on the opposite side of the pool, I saw the packer throw another stone that hit the bear's head. He dropped the pack into the water and tried to escape, but he was boxed in by the end of the canyon. He turned back toward the hiker, who foolishly advanced on him to retrieve the pack.
Suddenly, the bear charged, and the hiker turned to run.
For this kind of bear, that's exactly the wrong thing to do. The bear chased the packer down the beach. Meanwhile, I ran around the pool to the backside of the bear. While trying to scramble over some small boulders, the hiker stumbled and fell as the bear advanced. The straw hat flew off revealing a cascade of dirty blonde hair and I realized this backpacker was a woman. She looked back at the bear as he got closer and tried to get to her feet.
"Stay down," I shouted at her, "play dead."
She saw me running toward her and lay back down on the ground.
I grabbed some rocks and a branch from a dead tree. Peeling my shirt off, I hung it across the branches and charged toward the bear, screaming as loud as I could.
The bear caught up to the woman, who was now lying perfectly still on the beach. He sniffed her and nuzzled her with his nose. Just then, the first of my stones connected with his ear and he turned his attention to me.
Holding the branch with my shirt hung across it above my head, I continued charging, yelling and throwing. Another rock hit the bear's chest. The next one bounced off his nose and that did it. He decided he'd had enough and turned to run away down the beach.
I hit him with two more just to make sure he didn't change his mind.
When I got to her side, the hiker was just raising her head to see where the bear had gone.
"You okay?" I asked.
"I think so," she said.
But when she tried to stand, her ankle gave way and I just managed to catch her before she hit the ground.
"You twisted it," I said as I picked her up, "c'mon."
"Where are we going?"
"What about my pack?"
We both looked around. The pack was nowhere to be seen, having been swept downstream by the current.
"I'll come back for it," I said as I turned with her in my arms and headed up to my camp.
I put her down inside my tent on my sleeping bag, putting my pack under her ankle to raise it above her body.
"Keep your foot elevated," I told her, "it won't swell as much."
As I examined her ankle, I got my first good look at her. She was pretty, very pretty. Her silky, shoulder length hair framed a delicate face and her bright, sea green eyes looked curiously at me. She was wearing a T-shirt over the soft swell of her substantial breasts with a flannel shirt thrown over it—pretty much the standard backpacker's outfit. Below her hiking shorts, her tanned and muscled legs elegantly ended in good, well-used hiking boots.
The drunken Indian looked defiantly at me and started to take a step forward. The last thing I ever wanted to do is fire my weapon. It's just not smart and to me, represented a failure of my ability to resolve a situation. But looking in this guy's eyes, I knew nothing short of a show of force was going to stop him. I fired a warning shot into the bushes next to him, just to scare him. I heard a high-pitched squeal from behind the bushes, and thought maybe I'd shot someone's pig or dog. But I wasn't that lucky. My bullet had gone through the chest of a little 4-year-old girl.
I ran to where she laid on the ground. Her dark, terrified little eyes stared uncomprehendingly at the sky and her mouth worked soundlessly as she struggled to breathe. I tore off my bandana and used it to try to stop the bleeding. Her mother ran into the clearing, saw her daughter and fell to the ground screaming. I yelled for my associates. They came running, as did the rest of the village.
Just outside the tent I found some moss, which I soaked in the cold water of the pool. I brought it back to the tent and wrapped it around her ankle. I rustled through my pack and found some ibuprofen to give her. It would help with the pain and swelling. She took them gratefully and laid back on my sleeping bag to rest.
"What's your name?" she asked.
I grunted in response.
"My pack had everything in it," she said, "food, clothes, sleeping bag…"
"I'll look for it downstream," I said as I started to leave.
Linda's eyes widened and she looked worried.
"You think that bear will come back?"
"No. He's too smart for that."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. But just in case, I'll leave you some rocks. You've got a good arm."
She smiled and I was again struck by how pretty she was.
One of the men began to shout to the others. They yelled back and forth to each other and more men appeared from the neighboring huts. I tried to explain what had happened but my words were lost in the chaos and fury. I knew we had to get out of there, but the little girl was still alive and I couldn't leave if there was still a chance to save her.
Then, she made my decision for me. With a final gasping breath, she convulsed, and then went limp. I saw the life fade from her eyes and my heart was crushed. I held her little body to my chest and sobbed until Carter grabbed my collar and literally dragged me toward the car. He and Mason had their weapons drawn and were back to back as they faced down the tribesmen and pulled me along. Realizing what was happening, my training kicked in and I took a defensive stance with my gun.
Carter carried a bad-ass Mac-10 with a 32 round clip. Mason's Micro Uzi held 30 rounds and my Glock had 33, so we had enough firepower to take down every man in the village. But being professionals, we didn't want to fire unless we had to.
I found Linda's pack about half a mile downstream. It had become lodged against a fallen tree and nothing was left inside. A little further down were a few packets of freeze dried food and a couple pairs of panties. Past that was a torn, waterlogged jacket, but that was it. I got back to camp and showed the few things to Linda, who was none too pleased.
"Shit. How far a walk to get out of here?"
"About twenty miles if we go around the mountain. Twelve if we go over it."
"Yeah, there's a way over it but I don't recommend it."
"Lotta climbing, boulder hopping. Your leg's not in shape."
"How bad is it?"
I carefully took the moss pack off and examined the swollen ankle.
"Not bad," I said, "no bruising or discoloration. You just need to stay off it for a couple of days."
"I can't stay here that long. Christ, I don't know you. I don't have any food or clothes or…"
"I'm not a bad guy, there's plenty of food and you can wear some of my clothes."
"Yeah? And where do I sleep?"
"We can both fit in the sleeping bag."
She looked at me with a bitter, smart-ass smirk.
"Does that mean I have to fuck you?"
For some reason, that just hit me wrong. Annoyed, I slowly knelt next to her and looked directly into her eyes.
"I've never forced anyone to fuck me," I said.
With that I got up and walked away.
"Wait a minute," she called after me, "where are you going?"
"To catch dinner."
As we got near the Land Rover, Mason got in the driver's seat as Carter and I covered him. The Indians were getting more upset and vocal as they followed us. Suddenly, a rock shattered the back windshield. Several more of the men reached for rocks on the ground when Carter decided he'd had enough. Stepping up behind the SUV, he pointed the Mac over the Indians' heads and fired a long burst. They hit the ground and we jumped in the vehicle and made our escape.
I took my fishing gear and some flies I'd made to my favorite little pool, downstream but within sight of the tent. I also grabbed a couple of shirts and a pair of pants and underwear, since I planned to do some laundry. I had set up a small area surrounded by stones where the laundry could soak in running water while I was fishing.
The sun had come up and the little canyon was warming nicely. Arriving at my spot, I decided to take off my shirt, shorts and briefs and wash them too. So I stood there nude, except for my boots and socks, casting a fly across the little stream.
Now I've never been shy about being naked. I've always taken care of myself since the days on my high school football team, so I never saw my body as anything to be ashamed of. At 48 I was 6'1" and 190 lbs, the same as I weighed in college, I had toned muscle everywhere from a lifetime of working out.
At one point I turned back to look toward the tent and I thought I saw a face quickly move back inside. I smiled to myself, figuring my guest had probably just gotten herself an eyeful.
A few hours later, I came back to camp with four nice trout and some clean, if still damp, clothes. I changed out of my wet shorts and laid the clothes out to dry on the rocks. I then set about cleaning and filleting my catch. I purposely stayed away from the tent as I built a fire and put my fish steamer in place. I covered the filets with wild thyme and wrapped them and a few sliced wild potatoes and basil in waterweeds and moss and placed them in my steamer.
"Dane?" Linda's voice called from the tent, "I gotta pee."
When I got to her, she was trying to stand up. I didn't give her a chance, picking her up and carrying her outside to my makeshift latrine. I had put an old toilet seat over a hole I'd dug about 50 feet from the water. A small shovel stuck out of the sand to bury whatever may be deposited.
I put her down in front of the seat.
"Are you gonna watch?" she asked.
I walked behind a tree and waited.
"Okay, I'm done."
I picked her up and returned her to the tent. I set off to gather firewood.
As we drove through the jungle, I couldn't control my emotions. I sobbed every time I looked down and saw the little girl's blood on my shirt. Mason and Carter tried to distract me, to engage me in conversation but it was no use. All I could see was her lifeless eyes staring blindly at the Amazon sky. The oil company wasn't happy with how things had gone, but I couldn't care less.
I was done.
I knew I could never do this kind of work again
When I came back, the food was done and I made a couple of plates.
I gave her one in the tent and I went to eat by the fire. It was getting later in the day and a chill was coming on, so the fire felt good. I was lost in thought when I heard her voice.
"Dane? I'm done," she said, "that was delicious."
"Thanks," I mumbled as I took her plate.
"You don't say much do you?"
"Wouldn't want you to think I was trying to fuck you."
"Look, about that," she said, casting her eyes down, "I'm sorry. I was just frustrated and disappointed about the pack." She fidgeted as she continued, "And believe it or not, more than a few men have tried to fuck me," she said, raising her eyes to mine, a wicked smile spreading across her face, "it wasn't always a bad thing."
She reached out to gently stroke my cock through my shorts, smiling as she felt it begin to stir.
"I saw you out there today. I never knew fishing could be so sexy."
I stared at her, baffled by this turn of events as she slid my zipper down and fished my dick out.
"Oooh, he's a nice big boy, isn't he?" she asked as she stroked my cock to full size. "Does he like being sucked?"
She took the head in her mouth, licking and nibbling around the edge as she stroked my balls, all the while looking in my eyes as I stood there with what was, I'm sure, the stupidest look on my face.
She slowly took more into her mouth, sucking and teasing the underside with her tongue. She backed off, only to gradually take it back into the hot depths of her mouth again.
It was the sweetest torture.
Just when I thought this couldn't get any better, she slowly withdrew, then rammed it quickly to the back of her throat. She growled as she repeated this process again and again, dragging her teeth aggressively along the shaft on the upstroke.
Oh god, it hurt so good.
Her left hand cupped and squeezed my balls while her right stroked my raging dick in time with her mouth. Involuntarily I began to hump her, fucking her face as my breath became ragged. I moaned and sighed as she continued to work her magic on my helpless cock. Soon, my moans turned to groans of ecstasy as I felt my climax rushing headlong toward me.
"Oh my god…" I panted as my orgasm hit me like an electric shock.
The intensity took me by surprise, probably because I hadn't been laid for a while. I dropped the dinner plates I had foolishly been holding and grabbed the back of her head, forcing my cock even deeper as I blasted shot after burning shot of cum down her throat.
I gave my Glock and three other fine guns to Mason and Carter, along some body armor and night vision binoculars. Back in the States, I took some consulting jobs for security companies, but my heart wasn't in it. I was always a drinker, but I started using booze to control my conscience, and to help me sleep.
When I did sleep, every night, I saw her dead eyes in my dreams, and it was killing me.
I stared incredulously at Linda as she took my softening cock from her mouth. My knees buckled and I sat back on my haunches as my breathing slowed.
"Wow," she said as she wiped a pearlescent drop of cum from her lip and slowly licked it off her finger, "you came a lot." A mischievous grin spread across her face. "Been a while?"