The Wild Hunt
Her boots squelched in the damp ground as she stalked her quarry.
She hadn’t seen it yet but the tracks that were seemingly leading her to the nearby lake were huge. Her gloved hands gripped a little tighter around her makeshift spear and she pressed on through the quagmire. The hours she had been on the beast’s trail were reflected in the mud plastered over her once colourful clothes and the twigs which now adorned her short dark hair.
Through the clinging mud and the branches which seemingly reached for her at every turn, she pressed on. She was determined to catch up to the owner of the footprints she was following. The footprints were so large and deep that water from the lake had spilled in and formed a network of miniature ponds along the muddy bank. Despite her best efforts, each step was becoming more and more difficult as the mud did it’s best to retain her boots each time one sank into the soft earth.
She paused, the woods had suddenly grown a little quieter, as if her surroundings were holding its breath in anticipation. The young girl slowly, deliberately, surveyed the woodlands around her. Checking each tree and bush in turn to ensure it didn’t conceal some hidden danger.
Suddenly, a burst of movement from behind her, she tries to flee but her boots can’t find any purchase on the muddy ground. All too quickly she finds herself being lifted into the air, she squirms in desperation but try as she might she’s unable to break free.
“Come on Harley…” Her Uncle Steve said softly, in an attempt to sooth the squirming child in his arms, “…It’s time to go home now.”
“Uuuuuuuh! NO!” The girl replies, gesturing towards the lake with the stick in her gloved hand.
“How’ve you gotten this filthy so quickly? Your mum’s going to have a fit!” The man easily hefts the muddy, indignant toddler up over one of his shoulders,
“NO Swe-Swe! Doooowun-uh!” She cries in frustration, attempting to reason as best she can with the man as a last ditch attempt to wriggle for freedom comes to nought.
As the noisy pair began to retreat from the glade and the young girl’s shrieks were gradually replaced, first with giggling and then with the quiet of the woods, a large shaggy figure stepped out into the clearing and let out a sigh of relief before vanishing back into the underbrush.