Once the hunter was back at the Swan Inn, he ran to his room and grabbed his game bag, a red leader pouch. He reached inside and pulled out an old, worn out tome. How could such a book fit in the red leather pouch was a secret the hunter kept. He carefully turned the pages one by one. It had once been his great-great-great-great-great grandfather’s tome. He himself had also been a hunter and started the book as a way to fill it with the creatures he had seen or hunted. He handed it down to his son who filled it with additional information and then handed it down to his son. He was the last to receive the book and added a few pages himself. After briefing through the book for a while he found what he was looking for.
‘The Crocotta’, the headline read. It was a fierce and deadly creature not to be approached at all cost. It mimic the voices of any human or animal it wishes to imitate to draw close its victims. It also had the ability to mesmerize them, commanding them at its will. “Bloody hell,” muttered the hunter. “It probably mesmerized the sheepherder. That was probably why he didn’t shoot at it.” He looked at the illustration and it looked like a hybrid yellow wolf with zebra stripes on its mid-back ending to the tip of its tail. Its mouth was able to stretch wide enough to fit its prey regardless how large. They use to roam in large numbers and were considered hard to kill and even a menace to the wild.
The hunter stroke his forefinger and thumb on his chin. “Yes, yes, I recall now.” His grandfather use to tell him stories about creatures like this but then the hundred year war eradicated most creatures, including the crocotta. The few that remained were hunted down. “So this must be the last one, hmm,” a mischievous smile came over him. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to capture the last remaining creature, he thought, wonderful indeed. He rummaged through his game bag again and took out his blowpipe. He obtained this somewhere in the Amazon, given to him by a bold warrior. He told him it was special and to use it wisely. The only time he used the blowpipe was when he went after the elusive ghost cat.
He had to enter the most wretched place he knew to hunt down the ghost cat. They called it the Black Forest. It was the one animal that got away. The Black Forest was not a place to enter and come out alive and if anyone did they became mad. A few days of wandering the forest he became derailed, losing his sense of reality and confounded. He managed to crawl out of the forest and for days he became fatuous. A strange old man in a broad hat and staff in hand, helped him come back to life but something inside him changed. He was no longer the man he was but animus and bolder. The old man who was missing an eye, sensed the change and forewarned him, “What you seek you will always find but you will have no peace. Be sure that is what you want.”
He had thanked the old man but did not understand his words. Living alone in the woods can make any men impractical. He himself was a loner and he liked it that way. He was a man with few words himself. Legend of Archibal
to be continued…