Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Chapter 1.1 Hunter Hunted: Sightings

Destiny was on her last run of the day before ski patrol closed the black diamond run on the east side of the mountain. She leaned back to turn left and begin the final descent to the lodge. As Destiny straightened out, she leaned too far forward and the front of her board caught a patch of wet snow. An unexpected bump sent Destiny's snow board skyward, but momentum carried her body down to the snow. Her shoulder dug into the snow pack as Destiny flipped onto her backside, and gradually slid to a stop further down hill.

Before she completely stopped sliding, Destiny could hear her boyfriend’s laughter. They had been treating their final run as a race; the loser had to drive home. Spencer turned to face the bottom of the mountain and leaned back on his board, grinding to a stop and spraying a shower of wet snow over Destiny.

"Need a hand?" Spencer chuckled. Destiny's bright red snow pants, pink and red parka, and dark brown hair reminded Spencer of a bloodied animal lying in the snow. "C'mon, get up. You look like road kill."

Destiny released her bindings then reached out her hand, Spencer helped her back to her feet, and the couple paused to catch their breath.

"Just for that," said Destiny, "you're driving."

From their vista, they had a clear view of the lodge, highway, and eastern parking lots below them. They usually did not stop to enjoy the scenery while they were on the slopes, but Spencer took a moment to look around while Destiny bent over to secure her boots back onto her board.

"Whoa," Spencer said.

"What?" Destiny was still digging snow and ice out of one of her bindings.

"Destiny, look. It's a bear."

Destiny stood slowly and stomped her boot down to clip it back into place. She looked around but did not see any thing.

"Where?" she asked.

Spencer pointed toward the base of the hill; Destiny followed his gaze to a small stand of evergreens between the lodge and the eastern parking lots. A hunched over figure with covered with brownish gray hair crouched among the trees, barely discernible in the fading twilight. The beast stood erect and slowly stepped into the light. From such a distance, it was hard to see any defining features, but Destiny knew it was not like any bear she had ever seen before.

"That is not a bear," she said.

"What is it then?" Spencer asked.

Destiny shook her head. "It looks like some guy in a gorilla suit. Maybe the ski resort is holding some kind of promotion."

The creature twitched and crouched again. It turned its head, nose up in the air as if it was trying to locate the odor of some long lost prey. Suddenly, the creature turned its back to Spencer and Destiny and leaped across an access road that led to the lodge.

"That thing is running for the highway." Spencer leaned forward and resumed his downhill snowboarding. "Poor thing is going to get hit by a car."

Destiny remained frozen in place, and watched the not-a-bear run on all four limbs into highway traffic. Two eastbound cars slammed on their brakes and horns blared as the creature narrowly avoided a collision with a mid-sized SUV. The creature stopped in the westbound lanes and stood erect, stuck like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming semi-truck. The semi honked its horn, not able to stop without causing a serious traffic accident. At the last possible moment, the creature dashed into the trees on the north side of the highway.

What was that? Destiny thought to herself.


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