by Marge Simon
“Absolutely not, Reggie! I won’t have our house sullied with the heads of those poor beasts!” They’d met on holiday on the French Riviera, a passionate affair ending with an impromptu wedding when they returned to the states. Suffice to say, they didn’t actually know each other very well. Sheila called it “that horrid hobby” and begged him to remove the trophy heads of moose, elk, zebra, and the tiger skin that adorned the living room. When that didn’t work, she moved her bed into another room, ending all connubial visits. The situation displeased him, but the idea of changing his interests to save their marriage was out of the question.
He was considering an affair with a colleague’s wife when he heard of the Reserve. It was located on a small island with a backward culture. The prize was not another trophy for his walls. On the contrary, it would be a young native virgin. All was totally legal according to the brochure. Of course, his bride didn’t know that part. Nor had he told her that he planned to bring the girl back home with him to serve as his mistress. When a friend mentioned that the area, he would be hunting in was rather weak on details, he’d laughed. “But why are there no reports or mention of this place by any hunters you know?” Reggie explained that such brochures were only sent to the most reputable hunters, like himself.
He had come to claim the native girl. She must be seventeen by now, all ripe for the taking. The brochure proclaimed that many a rich hunter had tried to capture her and failed. He’d paid well for the hunt in this Reserve. It was huge, only parts were open for free range hunting. From what the brochure said, it was a big game hunter’s paradise. There was something in the description of the Reserve about birds of carrion to watch out for, but his guide, DunKan, assured him they were no problem.
As promised, the blind was well stocked with cold ale and sandwiches, essential to ensure a pleasurable hunt. He smiled and nodded a thank-you to his guide, making a mental note to give the fellow a generous tip. DunKan pointed south, where the undergrowth was thickest. Two hours later, he caught a glimpse of pale skin weaving through the leaves. Time for the pursuit.
Down and around she wound, disappearing and reappearing. Suddenly, she was much closer, as if teasing him. Reggie licked his lips. The air was very still except for an occasional flapping of wings. He barely noticed the strange birds with hooked beaks alighting in nearby trees. And then, there she was, just ahead in the glade! Bushes rustled, parted. She crossed before him in bright sunlight, dark curls cascading past her shoulders. Insouciant brown eyes glanced his way – the perfect moment! DunKan handed him the stun gun. He fired, congratulating himself when she dropped out of sight.
“Now! The net!” he yelled, but DunKan wasn’t where he was supposed to be. The net suddenly dropped over Reggie and tightened.
The girl rose unscathed from the foliage to join DunKan. Together, they dragged him to the center of the glade. DunKan watched with pride as his daughter deftly slit Reggie’s throat. He helped her remove the head for their trophy room. They left the American’s remains in the glen. Their feathered sentinels would do the rest.
Marge Simon is an award-winning poet/writer. Her works have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, New Myths, Silver Blade, Polu Texni, Crannog, JoCCA and numerous pro anthologies. She is a multiple Stoker winner and Grand Master Poet of the SF & F Poetry Association. She attends the ICFA as a guest annually, and is on the board of HWA.
Marge’s website: http://www.margesimon.com/ and her Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Marge-Simon/e/B006G29PL6%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share