“There! Look, there he is!” Bill said in a hushed whisper. He and I had been sitting in a deer blind for the better part of a day, camped just above a creek that he claimed all the woodland critters used.
He’d made that claim at four in the morning, when we set ourselves up.
It was just shy of two in the afternoon now. Had this taken any longer, I was likely to shoot Bill just on principle.
But there he stood, tall and proud. A twelve-point buck, no more than twenty yards away from us, drinking greedily from the bubbling brook as if it hadn’t had a drink in weeks. The creature nervously looked around as it drank, occasionally lifting its head to look around at some imagined sound.
Bill slide the barrel of his Marlin Model 336C out of the cover we’d created, lining up his sights with the deer, aiming just between the exposed shoulder blades. I shook my head once again, wondering how Bill had talked me into coming out here to hunt like this.
“This hardly seems fair, you know.” I’d said as we’d set up, spraying a can of deer urine to cover our scent as we ascended the chosen tree, where we could sit on a wide bough, both slung in via harnesses to the sturdy branch in case we fell. “I mean, this is hardly hunting. This is more like setting a trap.”
“A trap has bait,” Bill had quipped back, shouldering both of our rifles as he climbed the tree slowly, his wide hands finding handholds in the rough bark, “What we’re doing is just using what Mother Nature gave us: our brain power. We’re outsmarting the deer, instead of chasing it down like a couple of morons.”
I watched with grim fascination as he lined up his shot, gently squeezing the trigger in a fluid motion, the loud crack of his rifle’s shot surprising even me as it went off. The deer reared up onto its hind legs, letting loose a high keening wail as the bullet punched straight into its chest instead of its back, tumbling back from the force of the strike into a patch of thick bushes.
Bill looks over at me with mad grin. “And now I claim my prize! Get the camera out and take a picture of me from here!”
“Sure,” I agree with a shrug, catching the small disposable camera as he tosses it to me, climbing down the tree while undoing his harness. “Not like I have anything else to do since that’s all we’ve seen all day.”
The rest of my comment is unheard as Bill tromps through the heavy grass towards his kill. I wind the camera slowly as Bill stops just short of his downed buck. Tugging on the deer’s antlers, he drags the creature from the bushes to lie in front of him, happily bearing his trophy up, waiting for me to take the shot, smiling.
At least until the front of the deer and part of Bill’s upper body became covered in what looked like thick black quills, seemingly from nowhere. Bill screams, dropping the deer atop a shadow just as it erupts from the high grass, pinning it beneath the deer’s bulk.
“Holy shit!” I cry, dropping the camera and grabbing at my own gun, a simple single shot Ruger No. 1B, pushing the barrel through the blind cover before me, lining my shot up with the darkened mass struggling beneath the weight of the deer. The creature quickly shucks the heavy mammal off of itself, revealing it in all of its profane glory.
Bill screams as the spider, roughly the size of a Rottweiler, begins crawling towards him at quickened pace, fangs dripping with saliva as the creature hissed it’s greeting to Bill, as well as its goodbye.
My aim strikes true, blasting a meaty hole through the front of Bill’s orange coat, killing him seconds before the gigantic arachnid could pounce on him. I quickly reload my rifle before shooting the feasting spider in the back of what would pass for its head, killing it instantly.
I smile as I pull out my cell phone, dialing the forest services. I’d said I was just about to shoot Bill on principle for all the stupid shit he’d done today. Keeping them trapped in a blind near a giant spider den was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.